Why space and 3D galaxy tracking is open source

Highly ranked on the sourceforge open source code repository attractions this month is the download for Celestia — an application for real-time 3D visualisation of space.

Celestia provides what its development team detail and describe as a detailed model of the solar system comprising of:

• over 100,000 stars,

• more than 10,000 galaxies,

• and an extension mechanism for adding more objects such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and spacecraft

Celestia is open source and runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

a celestia Capture.JPG

Given the limitless nature of all the galaxies available to explore, anything proprietary would be unthinkable i.e. this always had to be an open data project from the start.

Celestia’s developers say that unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn’t confine you to the surface of our Earth i.e. you can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond our galaxy as we know it.

According to the official documentation, “All movement 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.”