Computer planetarium software offers a truly dynamic view of the universe but can be costly, such as Slooh and Starry Night. Astronomy software does not have to be expensive to give you a grand tour of the heavens. Free planetarium software is available with multi-function solutions for both the novice and advanced astronomer. The following astronomy software programs feature functionality for most professional astronomers and offer the best cosmos viewing experience.
Celestia is one of the best free planetarium software programs available for astronomers. With Celestia, you can travel the universe and observe nebulae, other galaxies, planets and stars. This software offers you a bird’s-eye-view of over 100,000 stars. Celestia has smooth frame transitions and a powerful zoom feature. This software also allows you to download add-ons from the Celestia website that include Solar System objects, spacecraft and extrasolar objects. If you’re a Star Trek or Star Wars fan, you can even add on fictional objects from these sci-fi films.
Stellarium astronomy software features over 600,000 stars with the ability to add over 200 million more. This software package also incorporates illustrations of constellations and asterisms. The constellation information cover eleven cultures and a multilingual interface. Stellarium includes zoom controls, time controls, telescope control and spherical mirror projection. You can enjoy the added details of shooting stars and eclipse reenactment. Sellarium allows you to add deep space objects and constellations, so you can customise it to your liking.
Microsoft Worldwide Telescope
Microsoft Worldwide Telescope has the most dynamic and rich tools for exploring the universe out of the three free planetarium software programs listed here. One of its unique features is the ability to view space with electromagnetic wavelengths, rather than visible light. Using this feature, you can see hydrogen clouds, energy fields, supernovae and star clusters. Worldwide Telescope also features zoom control and you can travel through time to view the different stages of universe development.