The development of information technology brings great benefits to astronomy enthusiasts. Now, even when the sky is dark and cloudy, you can still know exactly what’s appearing in the sky. Now, even though your destiny is forever tied to the little blue planet, you can still travel freely through the Milky Way. The software below will help you do this.
1. STELLARIUM – Guide in the night sky
When talking about astronomy software for PC, it’s impossible not to talk about Stellarium, a name that has been so famous for over a decade.
It is open source software, completely free for users. The software integrates data on more than 600,000 stars from the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogs, as well as 210 million stars from other catalogs. So this will help you know the names and parameters of all the stars you see in the sky.
The constellations and their legends are represented on Stellarium. This is an image from a version from over ten years ago. Today’s new versions have a similar interface but add many tools.
Additionally, Stellarium simulates constellations and star arrays from many different cultures, providing vivid images of nebulae, galaxies and star clusters. The Milky Way, the atmosphere, the rising and setting of the Sun, the movements of the planets and satellites… everything is presented wonderfully. With Stellarium you can simulate a telescope; Update comet trajectories and the appearance of meteor showers; Go back in time to see a solar eclipse that happened hundreds of years ago, or step forward into the future to see images of constellations from tens of thousands of years later.
There are plenty of other real-time sky simulation software out there, but you’ll probably never want to use them again once you try Stellarium.
Download for free on stellarium.org
Web version of Stellarium: Stellarium-web.org
2. THE EYES OF NASA – The eyes of NASA
If you love NASA and want to update the latest status of this organization’s missions, don’t miss NASA Eyes – a software provided by NASA itself.
Cassini spacecraft simulation software in NASA’s eyes
NASA’s eye data is essentially divided into three parts:
- Eyes on Earth: observe and study our planet in a 3D environment
- Eyes on the solar system: allows you to visit the planets of the solar system, their satellites, meteorites, comets and even the spaceships that have visited them.
- Eyes on exoplanets: explore the thousands of discovered exoplanets
One of the benefits of this software is that you can closely monitor the progress of spacecraft, such as the INSIGHT spacecraft that landed on Mars late last year. Extremely excited!
Download for free on eyes.nasa.gov
3. CELESTIE – From the solar system to the stars
First released in 2001, Celestia has long become familiar software for those who love exploring the vast universe. NASA and ESA have also used this software in educational programs.
The Moon is simulated very vividly on Celestia
Celestia will help you explore the universe thanks to data from more than 100,000 stars, in addition to 10,000 galaxies, star clusters, nebulae… In the solar system, you will be able to freely admire the planets and satellites, the planets, comets, famous spaceships; they even determined the names of craters on Mars, the names of lava seas on the Moon, and the names of cities on Earth. If you are still not satisfied, you can download additional “additional data” (add-ons) available on the website.
This software is quite old (last updated in 2011), the interface is a little “old”, but in return it is quite light (a little more than 30 MB) and can run without problem on current, poorly configured machines .
Download the software and add-ons from Celestia.espace
4. SPACE ENGINE – Space travel machine
The sparkling graphics of Space Engine
Similar to Celestia, another software that will take you off Earth to explore the universe is Space Engine. Moving at the speed of light is impossible, but rest assured, the Space Engine will use “space distortion” technology (warp drive) to take you to the confines of the galaxies and visit the stars. Vibrant clouds, admire the bright stars, and maybe even land on an exoplanet if you’re so inspired. Additionally, in “spaceship” mode, the software will simulate many physical factors such as inertia, gravitational wells and atmospheric dynamics. With 3D images as sparkling as movies, you definitely won’t be able to take your eyes off Space Engine.
Currently, the software offers a paid version on Steam, and a free version can be downloaded for immediate use. The free version, although not fully updated like the paid version, is enough to satisfy your passion for exploration. This software requires quite high device requirements, you need to check your device before downloading it.
See the configuration requirements and download the free version at spaceengine.org
5. UNIVERSE SANDBOX – Universal laboratory
If you’re curious (and like…destructive), try Universe Sandbox. Unlike the four software programs mentioned above, Universe Sandbox is actually a game that transforms your computer into a space laboratory.
Users place a series of Earths around Jupiter to see what’s happening on the universe’s sandbox.
On Universe Sandbox, you can watch two galaxies merge or observe the history of the formation of the Moon. More playfully, you could give Earth’s rings to Saturn; “throw away” the Sun and replace it with a black hole; Send hundreds of comets to bombard the Moon or pour water on Mars and see what happens. With Universe Sandbox you can destroy and build the entire universe.
This is paid software, even if you can find a cracked version somewhere online, it is still recommended to buy it on Steam (price around 220,000 VND).
Learn and buy software at universesandbox.com
SUPPLEMENT | STARRY NIGHT SOFTWARE – Explore the sky professionally
The 6th software that HAS wants to present in this article – Starry Night – is not recommended for everyone, because it is expensive and very complicated. However, it is the ideal choice if you are pursuing a career in astronomy, are a seasoned amateur astronomer, or are passionate about new things.
Starry Night Interface
The author of this article also tried the Starry Night software and discovered only a very small part of its vast treasure. Simply put, Starry Night includes almost all the features of the 5 software mentioned above, along with many other tools and data.
- Open GL graphics create incredible detail and richness
- User-optimized interface, you can find everything (celestial objects, events, data files, instructions…) on the search bar
- 3D database of 200,000 galaxies
- Detailed information and 3D models of 30 space missions
- Exoplanets with full 3D images, location parameters, sizes, orbits and surfaces
- The positions of the planets reach the greatest precision thanks to data from JPL etc.
- Control the telescope in the most professional way
The software has many versions and packages depending on customer needs.
Learn more about Starry Night.com
Refer to En.wikipedia and software website information