Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nice download.

What Google Earth is to, well, Earth, Celestia is to the Universe.
An amazing free program with 3D virtual tours of the universe.
Here are some screenshots:

Discovery in orbit over FL:

Recently discovered extrasolar planet Rho Cancri e, a system of at least four planets. Rho Cancri b is visible on the right of e.
Want to know how bright Alpha Centauri is?

Just click "Navigation" and "Goto" and type it in.

The program will "fly" you where you want to go, and provide you info like distance, luminosity, and class in the left-hand corner.

Insanely cool is the ability to set a "time" for Celestia. In other words, if you set the time for between February 20, 1986 and March 23, 2001, you'll see Mir in orbit. If you set it up between July 16 and July 24, 1969 you can see Apollo 11.

Shift+ arrow keys spins the object you're looking at, though looking at the dark side of a celestial body isn't exactly thrilling.

"Eclipse finder" allows you to select either lunar or solar and whichever planet you're inquiring on and view upcoming eclipses for whatever amount of time you select.

Then, Goto takes you to the planet where the eclipse will occur. "Render" and then "Select Objects" and click on "Eclipse shadows" to see where the eclipse will be visible.

Obviously, planets we've landed on and mapped are more detailed, and gas giants won't let you land on the surface because of course they don't have a surface.

A fun and free program.

Download it here.

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