editor:Samier Ahmadzai

This section will cover information on 5 different online sky simulator programs giving you all the information to decide which is best.

The first online sky simulator is Stellarium which is the top on my list among the simulators I observed. It provides you with 3D simulation showing everything in the environment with extreme detail. It is also extremely easy to use you just set coordinates and it will locate it quickly and easily. One of the cool features is a star catalog that provides you with names of over 600,000 stars, asterisms, nebula's and very realistic atmospheres along with the planets and their satellites. The controls include telescope control that can easily be done with the keyboard and a full time control making it day or night with the touch of a button. The visuals are the main attraction with Stellarium it shows the twinkle of the stars and even shooting stars and a realistic eclipse simulation. This targets students who are really just getting in to astronomy and want to get nice visualizations of objects. 8 out of 10
last updated 10/13/08
Project coordinator: Fabien Chéreau
Developer: Rob Spearman
Graphic/other designer: Johan Meuris
Doc author/developer: Matthew Gates
Developer: Johannes Gajdosik
OSX Developer: Nigel Kerr
Developer: Andras Mohari

http://www.stellarium.org/Online Sky Simulators

Next is another simulator called Home Planet which creates a planetarium on your computer screen, but a huge plus about this program is that it is completely free. Now this doesn't have the greatest visuals it just has dots and a black background, but it has a lot of information and covers just about everything you can come up with. It includes a sky and earth map with night and day positions with current phases of the moon and a catalog of stars, asteroids and comets. Also a nice telescope view where you click on an object from the catalog and the telescope does a nice zoom to what you have chosen. The plus on this one is its free as I said and is a broken down version of the Stellarium making it extremely simple to use. Home planet targets someone who might want to ge more information and is just a little more technical then Stellarium. 7 out of 10
by John Walker
September 16, 2006


Third is M13 which is very technical and includes a lot of information and out of all maybe the most with listings of luminosity, size, and distance. This program helps you visualize how certain objects appear in the sky and gives you a good idea of different objects around certain areas. It provides a 3-D perspective showing you where the objects are relative to the center plane of the galaxy. It includes a nice feature called sky view and shows you where you can find the object in the night sky and how it will look that night. This also is a free download and is user friendly. This is for astronomers or people who take star watching as a serious hobby and gives you a ton of information for observations and research. 9 out of 10
by:Think Astronomy
6604 Lakewood Point Cove
Austin, TX 78750
Last updated: 2005-2008

external image moz-screenshot.jpghttp://www.thinkastronomy.com/M13/index.html

The fourth is a little different than the traditional sky simulator its called AstroGrav , this allows you to simulate how objects in the night sky react under gravity. The three dimensional view allows you to move around the object while gravity is being put on it. It can also be used to show different theories or laws such as; Kepler's laws and the interchange of potential energy and kinetic energy. The plus is a great visual demonstration with great demonstrations of different properties but it comes with a 15 day free trial then you have to pay. This is great for people who are in school that want a demonstration of different laws for projects and helps you really understand what you may not get about them. 10 out of 10
last updated November 4,2008


Fifth but certainly not least comes a sky simulator that uses something that everyone of the modern era has heard of. It is basically an add on to Google Earth its Google SKY!! It allows you to find planets and skies through the Hubble telescope and you can even watch the birth of distant galaxies. Something that this does different other then live footage is allows you to view the universe at different wavelengths such as infrared or x-rays. The best thing is that if you were interested you can download now and see what in the night sky right now above your head a huge aid in searching for constellations for projects or just making generally observations. This is very user friendly so students astronomers etc.. can use this and it includes a lot of information that is easily accessible. 10 out of 10
by; Google
last updated 2008