Astronomy computer program / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Quick facts: Original author(s), Developer(s), Initial rel...
Original author(s)Chris Laurel
Developer(s)Chris Laurel, Celestia Development Team
Initial release26 February 2001; 21 years ago (2001-02-26)[1]
Stable release / 13 January 2021; 2 years ago (2021-01-13)[2]
Preview release
1.6.2-beta3 / 10 June 2020; 2 years ago (2020-06-10)[3]
Written inC++
Operating systemAmigaOS 4, BSD, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android
SizeLinux: 27.7 MB
AmigaOS 4: 44.4 MB
macOS: 38.7 MB
Windows: 32.8 MB
Source code: 52.6 MB[4]
Available in31 languages[5][note 1]
TypeEducational software

Celestia is a real-time 3D astronomy software program that was created in 2001 by Chris Laurel. The program allows users to virtually travel through our universe and explore real objects that have been catalogued. Celestia also doubles as a planetarium, but the user is not restricted to the Earth's surface, like in other planetarium software such as Stellarium. To summarize, Celestia is a scientifically accurate 3D universe simulator, that is also highly customizable. Celestia can display objects of various scales using OpenGL,[note 2] and the user can seamlessly transition between different scales, from entire galaxies to spacecraft a few meters across.

Celestia is available for AmigaOS 4,[6][7][8] Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, iOS,[9] and Android.[10] It is free and open source software released under the GNU General Public License.

Celestia's development stopped in 2013, with the final release in 2011.[2] Since then, some of its development team went to work on celestia.Sci,[11] a cosmological visualizer featuring more realistic rendering of galaxies and planets, gravitational lensing, and many other scientifically accurate enhancements. However, since the Celestial Matters forums went down in 2020, there have been no updates on the progress of the program. The original creator of Celestia, Chris Laurel, created Fifth Star Labs after Celestia's development stopped, and started work on the widely-used iOS app Sky Guide, which is now the 9th most used Reference category app on the App Store. In late 2016, the official Celestia forums were restored,[12] and development restarted.[13] As of 2020 beta testing builds of version 1.7.0 are available,[14][15] as well as the bugfix release 1.6.2.[16] Celestia was ported to mobile devices in 2020, and it continues to receive updates and loads of experimental beta versions.[17] As of 2021, there is a project on the main Celestia GitHub repository titled Release 1.6.3, but it hasn't been updated in over a year.[18] If 1.6.3 were to be released, it would consist of a major data update, likely backported mostly from 1.7.0.

Celestia is available for download from its main website, celestia.space, but it can be obtained from a large multitude of free software websites as well. Between 2001 and May 2017, the former central distribution site SourceForge counted approximately 12 million downloads.[19]