Seeing The Stars With Stellarium 0.10
A great new update from Apple, Stellarium 0.10 is a software that allows you to view the stars and sky and learn about different constellations and formations in the never ending void we ponderingly peer into every night. Stellarium “is an open source desktop planetarium. It renders the skies in realtime using OpenGL, which means the skies will look exactly like what you see with your eyes, binoculars, or a small telescope. Stellarium is very simple to use, which is one of its biggest advantages: it can easily be used by beginners.”
I especially liked the features that allow you to view the stars and constellations from other out-of-this-world places like the moon and the planet Mars. Also, click on the major stars or constellations showing up on your view and you can get real-time information on that particular star or stars.
You can add equatorial and constellation lines that can help you better visualize and understand the constellations and there connections and the tool bar on the side of the screen lets you search and configure your window, as well as set daytime viewing options.
Also, for increased educational opporunities, go to the ‘sky and viewing options’ on the sidebar and click on ‘starlore’ giving you detailed information and stories from different time periods and cultures as to the naming of and history of particular stars and constellations.
The program takes a little while to get used to, and there is a lot of terminology that I am not familiar with like magnitude vs. absolute magnitude, or hour angle or a spectral type, but the definitons are out there and it only whets my appetitie in further exploring and understanding the vast and mysterious sky that looks constantly down upon us.