Stargazing can be done in many ways. We can go to the field to lie down to see the sky at night, we can buy a telescope to see them in more detail, go to an observatory or study astronomy to know everything about the stars, constellations and their laws of motion. Although a few years ago learning about this was really complicated, today it is as simple as sitting in front of the computer and choosing the right astronomy program to learn and see the stars directly from our home.
Although surely this type of application may be insufficient for the most expert, for any fan they will open a new world, or rather, a universe of possibilities where they can study and know everything about the stars that surround us.
The best astronomy applications to see the stars from our PC
One of the best astronomy applications that we can find for Windows is Stellarium. This tool is completely free and open source and brings a total of 600,000 stars and stars to our mouse, a collection that we can expand by downloading an additional database of up to 117 million stars. We can also find a large number of discovered planets with their respective stars and satellites.
This application has a very realistic atmosphere, in addition to having a very intuitive, complete and easy-to-use main interface. We can find a large number of controls to move around the universe, a telescope function and also a very powerful zoom to observe all the stars in detail.
Stellarium is completely free, and we can download it from the following link . This program is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Celestia is another similar astronomy app designed to allow us to travel the universe and observe space. One of the main characteristics of this application is that it allows us to generate a real-time 3D view of space. Thanks to it, we will have access to hundreds of thousands of stars, planets and stars.
Starting with the solar system, this application allows us to travel wherever we want, both by free movement through space and towards specific coordinates. This application is compatible with a large number of add-ons that allow us to have access to more stars, stars, planets or satellites, or add many other functions to its exploration engine.
Celestia is also a free and open source application. We can download it for Windows, macOS and Linux from the following link .
Continuing with open source applications for stargazing we come to Gaia Sky . This is an application is designed to allow us to explore from the earth (Gaia) to the sky. Its main feature is its real-time engine that allows us to travel freely through the cosmos. In addition, it has a database of more than one billion stars registered by the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut.
Gaia Sky has a 3D vision system that allows us to use VR glasses, 3DTV or 3D cross-eye techniques to have a more immersive experience. It also supports knobs and other controls to be able to travel through the universe in the way we want. It also has a 360 degree mode to explore all the stars around us.
We can download this application for free from the following link .
Leaving the OpsnSource alternatives, we can also find other commercial, payment options, with which to explore the universe. One of them is Space Engine . This application works as a real-time 3D space simulator that allows us to generate and explore all kinds of universes.
Thanks to this application we will be able to explore from the Solar System to the most distant galaxies as if we were inside a ship in them. Known areas of the universe have their own actual data, while unrecorded regions have procedurally generated data.
Millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, countless planets, all of them available for exploration thanks to the Space Engine. We can download this application from the following link .
Finally, although it is not an application like the previous ones, we wanted to refer to this PC game. As its name suggests, Universe Sandbox is a universe simulator thanks to which we can simulate the operation of any planet, satellite or constellation.
This game uses a very advanced physics engine that allows us to simulate, recreate and even destroy any planet or constellation. Thanks to it we can see, for example, how the slightest change in the speed of rotation or translation of the earth, the moon or any of the other planets would affect the entire Milky Way. Spoiler: the result is catastrophic. And fun.
In addition to being able to create our own systems, planets and stars, this game allows us to travel through certain historical events and even crash meteorites or other planets against the earth, the moon or any other planet, real or created by us.
Of course, playing bowling with the universe does not taste very cheap, and this game (the latest version) costs 21 euros. And we can buy it on Steam .
KStars is another excellent astronomy program that we can install on our computer, regardless of its operating system. This software is free and open source, and is part of the base programs for KDE, the popular Linux desktop. This offers us a very precise graphic simulation of the sky, being able to choose any place on earth and at any time. It includes a database made up of 100 million stars, 13,000 deep sky objects, the 8 planets of the solar system, the Sun and the Moon. It also includes thousands of comets, asteroids, supernovae, and satellites.
We can download KStars for free from this link .
Cosmonium is another planetary program that will allow us to explore the universe through an interactive 3D interface. Thanks to this program we will be able to navigate through the solar system and discover all the planets (including Pluto) and the moons that each one of them has. In addition, if we are adventurers, we can enter the universe to visit other systems or more distant galaxies. It also allows us to observe the passage of time, as well as how to see eclipses. We can even create our own planets and introduce them into the universe “let’s see what happens.”
We can download this program for free from its home page . It has HD and UHD textures, so we can explore the universe at maximum resolution and with all the quality.