Name that constellation with Stellarium

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Did you sleep through all the astronomy lectures in college? Do you still have problems finding the Big Dipper? Stellarium may be the answer.

Stellarium is an open source planetarium application available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Set your observing position and see the sky as it appears. Did you ever wonder what it all would look like from the moon? You can choose any moon or planet from which to observe, as well as any terrestrial location. How about a different time? Set the time and date, and you can travel back, or ahead, in time.

Now about that Big Dipper: turn on labels to show you what you’re seeing. Fire up the constellation overlays and see if that really looks like a goat up there (Capricornus), or just a bunch of stars. You can dig deeper and look at deep sky objects among the constellations.

Stellarium features over 120,000 stars, as well as all the planets and their moons. There is a scripting feature that allows you to record and play back your own shows, and you can even use Stellarium to drive a telescope.

It’s too late to improve your grade, but you still have time to find Orion’s belt.

Download Stellarium

One Response to “Name that constellation with Stellarium”

  1. Mike Nixon says:

    Great program! Works fine under Ubuntu Intrepid. One question for a complete amateur: how can I search for/display the common names for stars? EG: I was looking for Alpha & Beta Centauri, but Stellarium only shows Hadar and Rigil Kent. Is there an option somewhere that will show common names?
    Many thanks!