Stellarium is a 3D educational planetarium application originally written by Fabien Chéreau and is now being developed by the Stellarium Development Team. Chéreau released the first version of the program in 2001. The program is used for converting a personal computer into a virtual planetarium. It can be used to view constellations and planets with detailed information about it. It is capable of calculating the positions of various planetary objects including stars, planets, sun, moon, and others. It can also draw the appearance of the sky based on the observer’s location and time. Simulating various astronomical phenomena like solar eclipse, meteor showers, or lunar eclipse is also possible.
Stellarium offers various Sky features. It supports more than 600,000 stars. Users may also add more star catalogues with over 210 million stars in it. The application is also capable of illustrating constellations for about 12 various cultures. It also features realistic Milky Way, nebulae, and atmosphere. The program’s interface offer zoom features that enables users to zoom in and out the view of the sky. It also offers time control and fisheye projection. The fisheye projection is used for planetarium domes. This planetarium software provides a broad keyboard control and graphical interface, which allows users to manipulate how the atmosphere is viewed easily. Telescope control is supported as well. Other features offered by Stellarium includes visualization features (i.e. star twinkling, supernova simulation, azimuthal and equatorial grids, shooting stars, etc…) and customization features (i.e. plugin support, addition of new solar system objects, and addition of landscapes, deep sky objects, images, and others).