Kstars – great personal astronomy software under linux

I’ve played around with Kstars off and on for a good while. It reminds me vaguely of a program I used to have under windows. It’s essentially a planetarium on your desktop. It is GPL licensed and part of the KDE Education suite of programs for the KDE desktop under Linux. It has all the basics for a program of this class (view the night sky and the stars from your latitude and longitude.)

It paints the stars, planets and other objects on the display, and can outline constellations. Again, all the basics. I like the feature to download additional content from the internet (thumbnail images of some of the datasets for instance.) I like the ability to scroll in with the mouse wheel to zoom and right click on an object for details (including images from online sources.)

Now it has the ability to interface with a telescope and control where the scope is pointing, very nice. I’m sure this is being put to use by a number of amatuer astronomers and even college astronomy courses. There’s a color scheme (shades of red) to help preserve night vision.

For internet connections, Kstars should respect KDE proxy settings that can be configured in the KDE Control Panel… Network…. Proxy area of the settings. This area should control Konqueror and any KDE applications internet connection, proxy or direct connected settings.

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