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Real-time Space Simulator


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#1 sundog

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 05:01 PM

Here's an amazing program I found some time ago.

If you have any kind of interest in space, check it out. You'll love it.
It's about 11 megabytes. Completely free and open source.

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/


from the site-

"Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit."

To add to this-

You can hitch a ride on numerous comets as they fly round the sun and back into the depths of space. Sit yourself on any moon and watch the planet drift by. Saturn looks fantastic from Enceladus. You can speed up time, slow it down or reverse it. Set the date to catch events like eclipses or follow Galileo on its voyage to Jupiter. Get a perspective from Hubble or ISS. Orbit Mars from the Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor or one of its moons Phobos & Demios. I believe all major moons are modelled and many of the minor ones. Even follow Voyager 1 and 2 as they make their pioneering journey out of the solar system.
There's many asteroids including Ida which has its own satellite Dactyl. There's 80+ stars with planets (I'm guessing they are in estimated orbits). You can even invent your own star system with planets and space craft if you wish.

After using this for a while, it really does give you a sense of scale. Travelling at over 100xC you can't even perceive the stars going by. At 0.5 light years per second is like a casual drift through the cosmos.

Many add-ons are available:-

Larger textures for the planets and moons.
1 or 2 million star databases for greater exploration. 25Mb & 50Mb respectively. But worth it.
Satellite models and other crafts.
Nebula. (These are not volumetric. Just mapped onto a plane)
Fictitious 3rd party star systems.
Many more...

EDIT: I have just realised that Galileo, Voyager 1&2, Mars Odyssey and Mars Glogal Surveyor are not included in the original package, but available as add-ons. Sorry about that.

Enjoy. Posted Image


sundog

#2 Frogon

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 07:48 PM

Whoa, that rocks. I haven't figured it all out, but I've gotten to see a few planets, Alpha Centari, and a comet.

#3 Tormod

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 04:51 PM

Sundog posted: http://www.shatters.net/celestia/

Yeah, probably great stuff! I didn't download it yet but I like freebie stuff like this.

However, Starry Night has all of those features and more (hundreds of thousands of stars, galaxies, and other objects etc) but it does cost quite a bit (I own version 4.5 and it is very, very good but I paid almost $200 for it...should have bought a telescope instead).

Tormod

#4 Frogon

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 05:18 PM

Yea, and it even supports people's .3ds models! I've seen a Borg cube, which was really interesting. But, it is really good for being free, plus being version 1.3

#5 Tormod

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 05:25 PM

Yeah, I took a look at their forums and they have a really strong community. The customization is one thing you don't get with Starry Night!

Tormod