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Stellarium alternative?

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#1 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 07:36 PM

I've been using Stellarium, but it sometimes appears data is missing or incorrect when looking at double stars.  Just off the top of my head, when I zoom in on Polaris, it doesn't show it's companion star.  It says separation is 39.000", but it should be more like 19".  Is there better freeware software out there, or even payware, as long as the price is reasonable?

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#2 khingdheano

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 07:44 PM

Cartes du Ciel. Free.

https://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start



#3 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 09:04 PM

Yeah, - I frequently find issues with Stellarium, such as  your issue about Polaris, and that Mira always shows a magnitude of 6,45, any time of year, etc. But I don't do imaging, and I look at  the program as I do All my optical aids, the weakest link is My own Eyes, - and the things Stellarium does right, truly amazes me.  The good things I can access thru it, are way beyond my own capabilities. Mine is still an old 2015 download.  From age and health issues, what it does enable, is way beyond my ability to fully utilize. Like Jack Nicholson  said, "I think this is as good as it gets". Or something close to that. smile.gif


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#4 dghent

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 09:44 PM

Have you considered submitting corrections instead? I do know that catalog data can be wrong at the source and that is how it ends up in planetarium catalogs. Just this past summer we found an error with Sh 2-104 in SINBAD’s database. Both NINA and Stellarium got their coordinates from SINBAD so the errant coordinates ended up on their respective object database. SINBAD was contacted and they corrected it. If you find an error then it may indicate that it is in fact wrong from a canonical source, which would also mean that other apps also have the bad info.

Try being a good Astro-citizen and point these issues out instead of gambling that there is greener grass elsewhere.

Edited by dghent, 27 November 2022 - 09:46 PM.

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#5 btschumy

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 10:26 PM

They may have an error reading the WDS catalog.  The AB pair, which is what most people think of as the main double is currently 18.4".  However the AC pair is separated by 39".  But the C star is 13.8 magnitude so you are unlikely to see it.  But maybe they are reporting the value for AC?


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#6 blakesphere

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 05:07 PM

I regularly submit bug reports and make feature requests. They are very accommodating.

 

Stellarium is pretty amazing for completely free.

 

Now, for extreme high accuracy and VETTED data, I rely on SkyTools.


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#7 gmiller123456

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 07:06 PM

Another tool, which I cannot vouch for, you might want to look at is Stary Night Pro.

Stellarium's main goal is visual accuracy. If you're trying to use it for astrometry, you should look for something else.

Edited by gmiller123456, 30 November 2022 - 07:06 PM.

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#8 Rac19

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 07:14 PM

+1 for Cartes du Ciel. I have used both but have settled on Stellarium because I find it better than the Sky Viewer in CPWI but simpler to use than Cartes du Ciel.



#9 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 09:37 PM

I really do like Stellarium, aside from the occasional issue I find with the data.



#10 dghent

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 10:28 PM

I really do like Stellarium, aside from the occasional issue I find with the data.

Problems don't announce themselves. Stellarium is an open source project that is curated by volunteers. You can help make it better by reporting data issues instead if just grousing about them. There is even a to-do tracking list specifically for catalogs.


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#11 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 01 December 2022 - 09:18 PM

OK, here is another example.  It's saying Fomalhaut's companion is 12.7" away.  I don't think this is correct?  I was able to see the B star, but it's almost 2 degrees away.  A far cry from 12".  I guess there is actually a C star, but it's even farther.

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#12 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 01 December 2022 - 09:57 PM

Rigel does not show as a double either in my 2015 Stellarium. It says "pulsating variable star". 



#13 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 01 December 2022 - 11:10 PM

Rigel does not show as a double either in my 2015 Stellarium. It says "pulsating variable star". 

I could see if we were talking about some obscure stars, but it seems odd that many named stars aren't correct.  Other than that, I love the program.  I just discovered the mobile app, and that is handy, too, but it seems to have even less info.



#14 gzotti

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 07:07 AM

Rigel does not show as a double either in my 2015 Stellarium. It says "pulsating variable star". 

Time to upgrade then. 1.1 has

 

Rigel (Algebar)
β Ori - 19 Ori - Σ 668 - β 555 - HIP 24436 - HR 1713 - HD 34085 -
SAO 131907 - WDS J05145-0812
Type: double star, pulsating variable star (ACYG)

 

...

Please don't complain about old issues. Update regularly. And yes, report issues where we deal with them. ;-)


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#15 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 12:54 PM

Time to upgrade then. 1.1 has

 

Please don't complain about old issues. Update regularly. And yes, report issues where we deal with them. ;-)

10/4!, Gotcha! - In my mind, I didn't  think of it as a complaint, - just a comment. I love "Stellarium", I probably won't update, as with my meager computer skills, I would not chance fixing what is Not Broke.



#16 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:19 AM

I am using 1.1, but realized I had "default" set for the information shown.  When I changed it to "all information", it shows double.


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#17 blakesphere

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 08:16 AM

Double stars in most planetarium apps is handled very poorly or without the proper context, maybe that's the better way to put it. Double stars are hierarchal. There's a primary and then one or many companions. This is a one-to-many scenario and requires some more advanced database handling in the back end.

 

Stellarium does not do this. SkySafari is horrible.

 

SkyTools is very good about this (still there are sometimes errors). But it is apparent that there's good database design in SkyTools. I don't use it per se but AstroPlanner is also good in its handling of DS data. 

 

I like Stellarium. But I don't use it for double star work. It's split separation and position angle information is for ONE pair only and you don't know which one.

 

For this to be done properly, the WDS data needs to be folded in and carefully utlitised.


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#18 blakesphere

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 08:17 AM

And Cartes du Ciel can load in WDS data too...



#19 lphilpot

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 11:00 AM

I probably won't update, as with my meager computer skills, I would not chance fixing what is Not Broke.

Updating is as simple as:

  1. Go to http://stellarium.org/
  2. Download the installer for your platform
  3. Double click the file you just downloaded. It will prompt you to click Next / OK a few times and it's done.

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#20 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 12:13 PM

 

Updating is as simple as:

  1. Go to http://stellarium.org/
  2. Download the installer for your platform
  3. Double click the file you just downloaded. It will prompt you to click Next / OK a few times and it's done.

 

Thanks!  - I did get the newer version downloaded. Now I have both old and new. I'm giving it some time to get fully adjusted to the newer one before deleting the older one. The labeling of DSO's is much better, and the double stars are better, and I'm sure when I get more immersed it it, I will find many improvements. 



#21 ET_PhoneHome

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 06:40 PM

Double stars in most planetarium apps is handled very poorly or without the proper context, maybe that's the better way to put it. Double stars are hierarchal. There's a primary and then one or many companions. This is a one-to-many scenario and requires some more advanced database handling in the back end.

 

Stellarium does not do this. SkySafari is horrible.

 

SkyTools is very good about this (still there are sometimes errors). But it is apparent that there's good database design in SkyTools. I don't use it per se but AstroPlanner is also good in its handling of DS data. 

 

I like Stellarium. But I don't use it for double star work. It's split separation and position angle information is for ONE pair only and you don't know which one.

 

For this to be done properly, the WDS data needs to be folded in and carefully utlitised.

Thanks!  I'll have to check out SkyTools.  Another thing that's nice about stellarium is that there's a mobile app, which I just discovered.  Comes in handy since I usually don't bring a computer outside with me.




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