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celestia software Celestia is a free and open source space simulator that allows you to explore space right from your computer. Celestia is available for download on Windows, Mac OS X, and even Linux.  Celestia has many very cool features, including an eclipse finder.

Not only does the eclipse finder allow you to find solar and lunar eclipses on Earth, but you can seek eclipses on other planets as well. I found out something really cool when checking out eclipses on Jupiter – because Jupiter is very large and has many moons, solar eclipses are very common.

There are even days when multiple solar eclipses take place on the same day on Jupiter. I found an article about a triple lunar eclipse on Jupiter that Hubble captured back in 2004. I used the eclipse finder to find the day it happened (March 28, 2004) and was able to simulate it.

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Celestia Eclipse Finder

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WIth Celestia you can view celestial events that have taken place in the past or will take place in the future. Events can be viewed as they would have occurred in real-time, or time can be sped up. You can also run slower than real-time, but I don’t find that feature all that useful since most celestial events take place over several hours or years.

There are numerous add-ons and textures available at the Celestia Motherlode. The add-ons provide additional celestial bodies and spacecraft not included by default. The textures provide more detail for planet surfaces, stars, and star systems as well.

If you are viewing the earth, you can enter specific coordinates you want to visit and use the surface view (CTRL-G in windows) to see the night sky as you would from your backyard.

eclipse finder

This is a great way to learn where the constellations are and which ones you can see during what time of the year. Celestia is like having a planeterium right on your desktop!

Which apps do you use for astronomy and space simulation?

  1. Friends
    October 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Vielen Dank für diesen Vorschlag. Ich schicke Dir einen Gruß aus Deutschland.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I send you regards from Germany.

  2. Altzan
    November 18, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Not a "simulator" per se, because it's fictional, but I always thought Noctis was fun to play with.

  3. Devicepedia
    November 17, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Isn't Microsoft or Google already doing this sort of thing? Or do they have it in the pipeline.

    • Jorge Sierra
      November 19, 2008 at 6:09 am

      To my knowledge, neither have any product offerings like Celestia. They do have products that provide terrestrial mapping, and Google does also offer maps of Mars and the moon. However, these products only provide surface maps. Celestia does much more than just provide surface images.

      Celestia truly is a space simulator. You can see the orbits of planets, moons, and comets. You can accelerate time and watch them move in tandem. You can see where they were located 10,000 years ago or see where they will be in another 10,000 years. You can travel to systems and galaxies thousands of light years away.

  4. RIZZY
    November 17, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    That is a tight tool, reblogged

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