Celestia is a free, open-source, cross-platform real-time 3D visualization software that lets you simulate and explore the Universe in three dimensions.
Note: Linux users, should check the "Linux" section from the download page here.
There are many space simulators out there. Space simulators are one of the most popular categories of simulation programs. However, even in the crowded space simulator arena, Celestia stands out. Most simulators are relaxing and easy-to-use. Celestia is not exactly hard to use. It is very complex and detailed. This means you have to put some effort in to get the most out of the software. It is such an efficient space simulator that is used by both NASA and the European Space Agency to teach employees.
Beginning To Use Celestia
When you first start the software, you'll be looking at the Sun, and the program will switch to Earth. You may spend an hour or two clicking around the sky randomly trying to figure out how to look at different celestial objects. Some tutorials are included, and it is highly recommended that new users make use of these tutorials even if they are experienced with space simulators. With many games and simulators, you can ignore the tutorials. However, Celestia is sophisticated and robust enough that you should use the tutorials to the fullest extent if you want to get the most out of this program.
The Celestial Objects Included In the Program
Celestia uses what's known as the Hipparcos Catalog as a database. The Hipparcos Catalog was a scientific experiment that collected data about stars like speed, trajectory, and distance from Earth. You can travel to any of these stars using the program, as well as many planets outside of our solar system. Of course, you can also travel to moons, planets, and the Sun within our solar system. Celesta even offers you the option to view stars and planets at any time in the past or the future. Those who are dedicated to astronomy may appreciate this feature more than the Casual user.
The Final Verdict
Celestia is a compelling and exciting space simulator. It may be the most detailed space simulator out there. It can be intimidating due to this complexity; however, using the tutorials will help you get the most out of the program.