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Stellarium: A free open-source planetarium for your computer (stellarium.org)
445 points by smacktoward 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments

I haven't figured out the Wayland solution yet, but on X11 you can use a tool called Devil's Pie to make Stellarium act as your desktop background, which is way more fun than any other desktop I've had: http://mooooo.ooo/stellarium-desktop/

> https://github.com/gnome/devilspie - Page not found

;-( Where get it now?

Wow that's pretty dope.

Kind of reminds me of all the stuff I used to do with compiz when I used Linux as a young teenager.

This sounds awesome! Any tips for doing this on a Mac? I haven't found a working version of the tool.

You can still install Linux on a Mac.

They have MAC version if I am not mistaken.

I think the DE compositors should have an option to launch an application as background - full screen, always on the bottom. Wallpaper would just be an instance of an image viewer run this way. Animated wallpapers could just be ffmpeg or VLC playing a loop.

I like it. I used to run electric sheep[0] on my root window, but it made the fans run constantly.

[0] https://electricsheep.org/

Not a readymade solution, but https://github.com/vilhalmer/oguri could maybe provide examples of the code needed to make it possible for Wayland.

amazing - how demanding is Stellarium to run?

Demanding enough that I’d kill it before doing any gaming to get a small boost in FPS, but otherwise, when you aren’t interacting with it I think cpu usage was something like 3% on my i5 processor. When you’re moving around the view and such though, it does use a significant amount of cpu.

What a stellar (!) idea. Thank you so much for posting.

Stellarium is such a beautiful product. I used it back in college and shared it with the astrophysics majors, and they all loved it, too. Stellarium helped me play around with a telescope I had. There is so much joy in playing with a digital, interactive patch of the sky, then being able to look up through a lens and see the real thing a minute later.

As for Stellarium, I fell in love with the countryside aesthetic and how they really went for a VR-type feeling before VR ever became a buzzthing. My favorite features are zooming in and speeding up the clock. Stellarium put a surprising amount of detail into their product, I suggest pushing all of those features to their limits. You will be pleasantly surprised with how far they go.

It’s really handy for astrophotographers, too - I use Astroplanner to chuck together a list of potential targets for a given night or set of nights, then check them out in stellarium, where I’ve imported my actual horizon from my site, and my scope and camera combinations for framing - means I can ensure I’m not wasting time trying to image something obscured by trees or terrain - I’m in a Y shaped valley with a horizon that goes from 10 to 50 degrees which makes this impossible to sensibly automate.

The it’s just on to an SGP sequence, and let it run.

really went for a VR-type feeling before VR ever became a buzzthing

As I remember it, the peak of the VR hype was 1993—SIGGRAPH ’93 was full of the stuff, Snow Crash came out in 1992, and of course Neuromancer had come out in 1984 and True Names came out 1981. Google N-Grams seems to back up this perception: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Virtual+realit...

Stellarium came out in 2001, 8 years later.

I agree that it is beautiful and wonderful.

Hehe, when I was doing my astrophysics major I always felt I was cheating a bit, using Stellarium to help me do my observations.

If you like that check out Celestia too - https://celestia.space/

If you want Stellarium for Android I highly recommends you install «Stellarium for Android»[0] (extended FLOSS fork of «Stellarium Mobile»[1]).

[0] https://github.com/chengxinlun/Stellarium-android

[1] https://www.stellarium-labs.com/stellarium-mobile

This is really cool! Thanks!

I like the web version (https://stellarium-web.org/)

When I clicked "Allow to use my location" I was really hoping that the scenery would change to Google Streetview or something for my exact location. That would make it easier to orient myself. I'm sure that's on the roadmap in the future as the streetview stuff continues to improve and be easier to remix.

Just make a photo for your own place and add it as background for Stellarium, no need to wait :-)

Now this is a good idea. Is there a feature where you can use your webcam or phone's cam to scan in your current surroundings, and then potential use a model to strip out the sky and replace it with Stellarium?

Is there anything like (formerly) Google Skymap that works? In the "good old days", Skymap was my goto to answer the question "what is that point of light in the sky?"

The most recent versions of Skymap don't seem to work for me _at all_. I have to use the manual orientation.

I got it from F-Droid and it works just like always for me. Maybe your phone lacks a necessary sensor.

When I was shopping for a phone lately I noticed that there are still fairly expensive phones lacking a compass or a gyroscope, sometimes depending on the region they are sold.

I don't think that's the case for me but I'm not sure how I'd check. What phone are you using with fdroid?

Hey this looks great!

Excellent suggestion!

Kstars might fit your needs, https://edu.kde.org/kstars/

Nice! But Google Skymap is for mobile and its key benefit was that I could literally point at the point of light I was looking at with the phone and get a good guess as to what it was. KStars looks like a desktop app.

Also... Making me yearn to get back into backyard astronomy.

Awesome will check it out.

I can't speak for Android but on iOS there are several apps that can do this. Pocket Universe and SkySafari are two I use frequently.

They creators did an interview when Stellarium was featured as the project of the month on SourceForge: https://sourceforge.net/blog/potm-2006-05/

I'm throwing in a recommendation for


which is awesome and free and has an Android app ..


> which is awesome and free and has an Android app

> > Contains Ads

NO, thanks.

Stellarium for Android has NO ads.

Do you mean Stellarium Mobile Sky Map, which is $3.50? Or are you compiling Stellarium-android?

There are ready to install Stellarium-android APKs.[0]

[0] https://github.com/chengxinlun/Stellarium-android/releases

Nice! Now have it installed on my phone...

This link pops up every other month on HN, and every time it makes me remember all those nights spent trying to find in the sky the stars I had seen on the software and I smile :).

So thanks I guess!

Also https://stellarium-web.org/, a WASM version of Stellarium (also open source[1]) was previously discussed on HN a year ago[2].

[1] https://github.com/Stellarium/stellarium-web

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17906113

How do people find the time to create free software of this caliber?

By working on it for nearly 20 years.

If you don't work at a place that expects you to work 80 hours per week it's certainly easier to find time. Love Stellarium, now you can even predict ISS passings accurately to see it IRL.

A labor of love.

The Stellarium authors are combing research papers and continuously improving the physical realism of lighting. It's a true work of craftsmanship.

Stellarium is the reason I passed my astronomy classes in college. Mad props.

Thread from 5 months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19513222

and a year ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17906113

We waived the usual dupe criteria (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html) since people like this project so much, and it hasn't had so much attention relative to its (and HN's) history.

Does anyone know if this, or anything like it, is available in VR?

I'm on mobile right now and can't verify the contents of the tarball but you might try


i recommend devilspie2 highly, for years it was the only way i found to remove window decorations from ubuntu unity, remove UI drop shadows from notification windows, and a few other wm- agnostic quality of life tweaks

Stellarium has helped us anticipate the position of astronomical events. It's extremely useful, even for casual stargazers.

I really want to explore the scripting feature

I want to more about it

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