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Viewing the Night Sky with Linux, Part III: Stellarium and Celestia Take You

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| Celestia is worth a look. But for beautiful views of the night sky,
| Stellarium is the application of choice. It's almost like the real thing.


Microsoft is still trying to make Earth spin the other way (sun rises in the
west), turning software into "IP".

"Intellectual property is the next software."

--Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll


Viewing the Night Sky with Linux, Part II: Visit the Planets With

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| Part I of this series covered a simple Linux planetarium program, KStars.
| But there are some questions KStars isn't very good at answering, like the
| question that began Part I: "What the heck are those really bright 'stars' in
| the sunset sky?" For viewing closeups of planets, monitoring the motion of
| the planets, getting precise predictions of events like eclipses, and other
| such information, you'll do better with a more powerful tool: XEphem.
| XEphem is the oldest and arguably the best-known of the Linux planetarium
| programs. It's not included in most Linux distributions due to its license
| terms, but its source is available to download and the program is free for
| personal, educational or research use. You can buy it, too: $69.95 gets you a
| pre-compiled version of the program plus three CDs worth of extra data files
| that aren't in the free version. It's worth it if you're a sky junkie like I
| am.


Exploring Space with Celestia

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| I've found Celestia to be a lot of fun and extremely educational. My two sons
| enjoy being able to visit the planets in our Solar System. As a parent, it's
| satisfying to navigate to a planet on the computer and hear one of my sons
| exclaim, “Ooh, that's Saturn!”



Fun with free software astronomy

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| Being a devoted backseat observer to the evolution of the Universe in
| general and GNU/Linux software in specific, I thought it was time to
| show off what I consider to be the elite of desktop elegance.


Free/Open-source Astronomy Software

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| Astronomy, considered as one of the oldest sciences, is the scientific study
| of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and
| phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere (such as the cosmic
| background radiation). *


Explore the Universe from your Desktop with Celestia

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| Conclusion
| I haven't really discussed the details about what type of information
| Celestia shows you. Obviously, you can set it to label stars, orbits,
| planets, and other bodies; it will tell you the surface temperature and
| luminosity of any object, its distance from any other object, and what class
| planet or star something is. This is all really great information for
| astronomers, and I have no doubt that this software will serve as a useful
| tool for anyone in that profession or field of study. But Celestia is great
| even for those who are just interested in space and the Universe. Celestia
| lets travel millions of light years without ever leaving home * * * *

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