There are far ranges of astronomy software on the Linux platform that pave the way to observe the sky for astronomy enthusiasts. In naked eyes, this fascinating universe stays immensely apart. However, there are many things to watch, such as nebulae, asteroids, star clusters, galaxies, meteor showers, comets, planets, stars, moons, etc. Astronomy software truly offers professional astronomers and even amateur sky explorers to deepen insight into the universe. This software facilitates controlling the telescope, mapping the night sky, making stars charts, having a close observation, creating details observation logs, and much more.
Best Astronomy Software for Linux
In this article, the writer has articulately outlined the best astronomy software for the Linux platform. Top 20 planetarium software has been described along with the software’s properties, function, features, and effectiveness. Additionally, the software’s download link has been given; thus, users would get the best possible option to install it on their computer and laptop.
Stellarium is one of the best open source free astronomy software that can be used for the Linux platform. This planetarium software expedites observing the sky in a 3D format, just like how the atmosphere can be seen with naked eyes, telescope, and binocular. It smoothes the path of the constellation for more than twenty different cultures; moreover, a full Messier catalog for nebulae images is inexistent with this extensively useful software.
Features of Stellarium
- Within the built-in system, this software provides more than 600,000 catalogs of stars; additionally, other directories contain 177 million stars.
- This planetarium software is enriched with the deep sky object catalog as well, where it offers 80,000 defaults and 1 million other deep-sky object catalogs.
- There is a powerful zoom, time control, multilingual, and telescope controlling system that could be synchronized with the active program and extensive software.
- All the features regarding sky, interface, visualization, and customizability are inexistent with this astronomy software.
This planetarium software works as a renderer for the solar system and planetary images; moreover, it facilitates illustrating different types of graphics of the solar system. Computer wallpapers are commonly produced with this astronomy software that lets us update the latest cloud maps of the earth, particularly of a region that is in sunlight.
It paves the way of producing project maps of any part of the planet; for instance, mollweide projections assist in watching the entire globe at a glance, or Mercator projections enable the appearance of the earth for filling the screen. Additionally, it is open source the GNU GPL published free software.
Features of the Xplanet
- It allows overlaying text or cloud onto these maps, whereas a particular part of the planet is experiencing night.
- This astronomy software prompts rendering much more general views of the objects of the entire solar system, as in illustration; it can present an image view of earth from the moon.
- It works either way, like producing wallpapers that resulted in an image or textual output with detailed locations of different objects.
- The Linux platform has a specified XplanetFX that is GTK-fronted that prompts a more comfortable option in GUI with many striking features.
Once again, it is one of the best astronomy software that offers users to explore the entire universe by leaving behind any limitations. This software would not confine just to the surface of the earth; moreover, users can experience the solar system as a whole over 100,000 stars or can travel beyond the galaxy. Its all-around movement facilitates a seamless glimpse of exploring the universe, thanks to the exponential zoom features that let you go throughout the immense range of space.
Features of Celestia
- There is a ‘point-and-goto’ interface feature in this planetarium software that allows the user to pinpoint the object they want to view.
- Celestia astronomy software is expandable with an extensive catalog of stars, moons, planets, comets, galaxies, and so on.
- Additionally, more catalogs can be downloaded with many more objects that could be installed on add-ons.
- It seamlessly simulates various types of objects, for instance, from the moon to the planet and stars clusters to the galaxy.
4. Virtual Moon Atlas
Virtual Moon Atlas is exclusively and specially designed to observe the moon and its surface. This astronomy software is open source for Linux users. It facilitates the user processing of high-resolution images and all types of information regarding the moon. All the details can be captured using this planetarium software; moreover, a user can access every aspect of the moon on every date and hour. Additionally, it allows the user to go through the pilot computerized telescope that is existent on the moon’s surface.
Features of Virtual Moon Atlas
- This astronomy software lets the enthusiasts study the lunar formation, and its catalog is enriched with 7000 pictures and more than 9000 entries.
- It is equipped with an airbrush that can be accessed with and without texture and clementine illustration texture and 1,000 m resolution.
- It features librations, phases, and a dual window display with a high-resolution texture.
5. Sky Chart/ Cartes du Ciel
Sky chart is free and available in the open source, allows the user to draw sky chart and smooth the way to access data of catalogs of stars and nebulae. Additionally, it shows the position of planetarium objects such as planets, asteroids, and comets.
The sole aim of this planetarium software is to offer to draw maps of distinct observation for the universe. Its available parameter would let the user find specific and appropriate catalogs for color and dimension for the planetarium objects, namely, stars and nebulae.
Features of the Sky Chart
- This astronomy software can map and label the planets, objects, and constellations visible with the telescope.
- This planetarium software has enriched with a database that contains 2.8 million city’s information.
- It paves the way to observe superimpose images that are made with the digital sky survey charts.
- This software also facilitates tracking telescope with INDI; moreover, it is a handy and practical software for all the telescope supported with INDI.
Gpredict is an open source free software on the Linux platform that facilitates real-time satellite tracking and predicting the orbit. It can track numerous satellites at the same time and show their position and relevant data in a list, table, maps, and polar plots. This astronomy software can also predict the future passes of a particular satellite and provide all information on each pass.
This planetarium software works distinctly like this; first, it makes a group for the satellites to visualization in modules. It paves the way to configure each module individually from the others that lets the users’ vast flexibility in terms of the feel and look of the blades. Moreover, it allows the user to observe the satellites from a different location at the same time.
Features of Gpredict
- Gpredict astronomy software smoothes tracking the satellites quickly and accurately by using the NORAD SGP4/SDP4 algorithm.
- It offers unlimited scopes of using the software for the number of satellites and ground stations.
- It facilitates the stunning visual presentation of the satellites shown in maps, lists, and polar posts.
- It allows users to group the satellites into modules, and each module appears with its visual layout; thus, appealing data are available in this software.
Lin_guider planetarium software is distinctively and exclusively designed for the Linux platform that assists Logitech, Philips, even webcams. Additionally, it works with QHY5, DS12PRO astrocams to input video, and parallel port-based (LTP), chip-based (FTDI) devices are used as a pulse driver for mounts.
This astronomy software is an open source free tool that is available now in English. This software works to provide native support for many cameras and telescopes, and it works very effectively in the astrophysics field.
Features of lin_guider
- This astronomy software is featured with DS12PRO and linear histogram support; moreover, it has been integrated with QHY5 full support.
- It is compelling works with the ATIK cameras; additionally, it offers network notification and base control remote.
- It is intensively designed to support Nexstar protocol, and what is more, various cameras, namely ZWO ASI, Starlight express, and Viewport, are supported with this tool.
Planetarium enthusiasts can track satellites with this astronomy software. Its operating system is straightforward, and it lets the users know the exact location of an artificial moon in real-time moreover, it can be operated in the manual mood. Additionally, this planetarium software accurately can predict the satellite’s passes, iridium flares, and various more calculations.
Satellites’ geocentric position can be determined appropriately with the PreviSat astronomy software that implements the SGP4 model, and PTE orbital elements are used in this program. It illustrates satellite sky map view and world map view accordingly and capable of calculating all passes of satellites at any location in the world.
Features of PreviSat
- This astronomy software is simple to operate, works very fast, and has an intuitive program that reveals the exact position of the artificial software.
- Different frames show the numerical positions such as horizontal, terrestrial, and equatorial in its main tab.
- It also offers some extra information based on the satellite’s position, such as velocity and magnitudes.
- Furthermore, it provides information regarding the orbital events, ISS position contrast with the sun or moon, and data of MetOp.
9. Astronomy Linux 16.04
Astronomy Linux is a DVD-based live 64-bit software that is designed for amateur astronomy enthusiasts. It is open source and free that is downloaded with .iso files and included many more programs too. This file does not require installing permanently on the computer hard disk; nevertheless, it can be connected in the USB flash drive and can be used in many more ways without interrupting the current system. This astronomy software offers a real benefit for amateur enthusiasts.
Features of Astronomy Linux 16.04
- This astronomy software paves the way to explore the universe for amateur enthusiasts to significant context.
- It is easy to download, install, and operate on the Linux platform because of being simple operating.
- This program lets amateur astronomers have the necessary information regarding the universe, stars, galaxies, and planets.
Hallo North SKY or HNSKY is semi-professional astronomy software for the Linux platform. In this planetarium tool, there are more than 30,000 objects with detailed features and characteristics; additionally, it has a comprehensive latest database that allows controlling telescope with INDI and ASCOM. Moreover, through this online program version, an in-depth sky survey can be conducted to enable access to millions of stars’ images. Apart from that, it also allows a professional database that is enriched with in-depth sky survey information.
Features of HNSKY
- This astronomy software is entirely free and available in 21 languages; additionally, it can be downloaded and installed without restriction.
- This planetarium tool facilitates emerging the moon, sun, planets, and satellites in the surface.
- It helps to predict an eclipse of the moon and sun along with the occultation, and what is more, it lets the users watch polar alignment view for the telescope.
- Its installation prompts accessing the Gaia star database up to 18 magnitudes, by the same token; it allows a database of in-depth sky survey for 30,000 objects.
11. Virtual Planet Atlas
Virtual Planet Atlas is the second edition of this astronomy software since its inception in 2013. It is used to study topographic and scientific data for different planets and satellites surface. It was published by Christian Legrand and Patrick Chevalley, who also published the Virtual Moon Atlas.
Having been suitable for the telluric, it offers data regarding the solar system satellites and the planets. Afterward, those data are revealed by the active probes sent by the different space agencies, namely, the USA, Russia, Europe, and others.
Features of Virtual Planet Atlas
- In the very beginning, when this software was published, it could only study Mercury, Venus, and Mars; however, the second edition is developed with Jupiter and its 4 Galilean satellites.
- Additionally, the latest database has been integrated with Virtual Planet Atlas from the IAU that prompts users accessing in different planets.
- In terms of Jupiter, it has created a separate database that allows all the information of Jupiter about zones and belts.
CCDciel is open source free astronomy software that is designed by focusing on amateur astronomy enthusiasts. It is entirely programmed with the required tools to functionalize for the advanced imaging celestial objects. Moreover, it can be operated attendant with sequential performance. Nevertheless, its manual operation is also effortless, and if it is required, it can be customized. It is one of the most active amateur astronomy software that uses INDI and ASCOM as drivers.
Features of the CCDciel
- It has a different option that provides multi-connection facilities using distinct protocols in local or remote drivers.
- It paves the way to use a simple, configurable interface additionally, and the setting can be customized for capture and preview.
- Automatically it can improve the image display thanks to the predefined program gamma and histogram truncation.
- Different devices get boosted with it like CCD/CMOS camera, filter focuser, rotator, wheel, and telescope mount.
EQAlign planetarium software was developed to have helped to align ‘German Equatorial Mount’ (GEM) precisely over the polar axis. Meanwhile, it has been mainly developed, and it is full-featured astronomical software and the Align characteristics.
This astronomy software is open source free. It is distinct from other subcategories; part of the home and hobby category implies it is designed by focusing on amateur astronomy enthusiasts. At the very beginning, this tool was only accessible in the German language; however, the latest version has programmed in English.
Features of EQAlign
- This astronomy software facilitates calculating the exact center of an image and smoothes the way to match all the detected starts into the UCAC2 catalog.
- In the given catalog where many stars are enlisted, EQAMatch would pick a star from the specified zone and initiate a spiral search to detect the image centroids match.
- EQAMatch computes the transformation between the equatorial coordinates and the image coordinates; hence, the exact center-point can be located by it.
14. Digital Universe Atlas
Digital Universe Atlas is open source free astronomy software available under the Illinois open source license performs on the Linux platform very effectively. This planetarium software was initiated by the American Museum of Natural History that facilitates standalone 4-dimensional sky visualization, and it was designed by the Stuart of National Centre of Supercomputing center.
In the solar system, many stars and planets are out to the edge; this planetarium software collects information from the scientist and relevant agencies; hence; enthusiasts can utilize the database.
Features of DUA
- This astronomy software has an incredibly powerful engine that helps visualize the universe’s objects significantly.
- There is an extremely high definition planet rendering with zoom visualization; moreover, it is built on partiview.
- This planetarium facilitates observing the space objects vividly that far way even beyond the Milky Way.
- Most importantly, it lets the astronomy enthusiast observe the planets and space objects from points of outside earth.
15. Where is M13?
Where is M13? It is a characteristically unique planetarium tool that lets the enthusiasts observe the space objects and locate those with appropriate physical properties in and around the galaxies. An exciting option called ‘face-on and edge-on prompts the users to find the cluster and nebulae accurately. It shows all the objects relative at the entre on the plane galaxy with a three-dimensional perspective.
Feature of Where is M13?
- Galactic coordinates are used as plotted to display the night sky view; thus, it prompts users to locate the deep sky objects and familiar stars to the plane of the Galaxy.
- In this astronomy software, a database has been developed with deep-sky objects that can be matched with the list that the user has already input in it.
- There is an out zooming option with excellent control; additionally, in a specific directory, the preset option prompts to open the preset placed with documentation.
KStars is free open source planetarium software that performs on the Linux platform very effectively. The night sky, whatever the location on earth or time and date, provides exact graphical stimulation for astronomy enthusiasts. Its exclusive catalog has 13,000 deep-sky objects, a hundred million stars, all the planets, the sun, the moon, supernova, comets, asteroids, and satellites.
The KStars astronomy software can predict supernatural conjunction and various astronomical calculations as well. It is programmed with the astrophotography suit believed in an entire astrophotography solution that can manage all the INDI devices. It can also control DSLRs, CCDs, telescopes, filters, focusers, and many more.
Features of KStars
- Amateur astronomy enthusiasts benefit from this astronomy software because; it is integrated with an observation planner, FOV editor, and sky calendar to calculate and display them.
- Having enriched catalogs with many information, amateur astronomers benefit from accessing the database and can explore the universe.
- Because of having a flexible operating system, atmospheric refraction, nutation, and precession can be customized.
ORSA astronomy software elaboration is Orbit Reconstruction, Simulation and Analysis, a program of the scientific level that performs Celestial Mechanics Computation in the astronomy field. It mainly aims in different projects to execute state-of-the-art orbit integration and algorithms.
This planetarium tool offers full fledge performance and accuracy required for the development of the number rationalizing tool. Different deep sky objects such as comets, asteroids, artificial satellites, the solar and extra-planetary solar system could be calculated, simulated, analyzed, and reproduced through this software.
Features of ORSA
- This planetarium software can establish appropriate mathematical algorithms; moreover, JPL ephemeris files produce an accurate planetary position.
- Having been used numerical library labors, it can perform all alone in this astronomy field. What is more, an integrated database tool has been used so that the database gets updated automatically.
- It performs distinctively by generating a conventional infrastructure system with the existing celestial mechanical program and standard.
18. Mars Simulation Project
Mars Simulation Projects that aim to establish a human colony on Mars is open source free software on the Linux platform. It is programmed by taking into account all the aspects of Mars; got developed a computer-based model that would let implement human settlement on Mars.
The program developed by studying human psychology is believed that whoever goes to this at the earlier stage might arise among them; it aims to develop a computer-based model to establish a professional relationship among them.
Features of Mars Simulation Project
- In the main window of this astronomy software, many features have been included, such as a menu bar, search tool, time tool, and Mars navigator, and so on.
- It is also designed to monitoring all the events along with rover, settlement, and persona info window.
- This program can be customized for the simulation; however, the new simulation must be started in the event of any change.
The astronomy software list has been integrated with Audela what is free open source software designed for the digital observation of the universe. To some extent, it is entirely a new type of software because of its capability of image processing.
It is discrete because; a simple script has been used in this software that easily allows programming. It performs excellently on the Linux platform that can control telescopes mount, camera, and DSLs, and it is written in six different languages along with English.
Features of Audela
- This planetarium software is user-friendly, and it is easily customizable. The users can customize Even its main interface.
- It is featured to control cameras and telescopes; additionally, those devices can be controlled from a far distance by using the network system.
- It is developed with an extended range of features; for instance, it can be used by beginners, amateur enthusiasts, and advanced users.
- Having written in 6 languages, an extensive range of users can use it for their purpose.
Echoes astronomy software that performs on the Linux platform can be used along with the RTL-SDR and appropriate antenna to monitor the deep sky meteors scatter detections. Scientific research has found that when meteors get entered into the atmosphere and ionized air leaves behind, and when this event takes place, signal reflection and powerful transmitters get involved with it. Because of some supernatural phenomena, FM radio, analog TV, and radars get impacted by it. Interestingly, here is the original lie of the echoes software.
Features of Echoes
- Echoes work to some extent distinctively, for instance; it neither demodulate nor decodes any human-made signals.
- This software is mainly used to record and analyze the natural signals that prompt generating tabular data and screenshots.
- Audio sound does not get produced since there is no demodulation.
My Two Cents
At large, the software, as mentioned above, is recognized as the best tool for astronomical practice on the Linux platform. Nevertheless, a few are used professionally in the solar field among many software, whereas the rest of the others are used for amateur enthusiasts.
Finally, readers are being asked to leave their two pence regarding this article. Additionally, if you find this article and information are useful, please don’t forget to comment, like, and share it.