Celestia User’s Guide For version 1 Rev 1 and 0 February 2006 Table of Contents

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Celestia User’s Guide

For version 1.4.1

Rev 1.4.1 and 1.4.0

February 2006

Table of Contents

(click title below to go there)

Introduction to Celestia 3

Night Sky Demo 5

Scripts 6

Educational Journeys 6

Program download and add-ons 6

Computer Hardware Requirements 8

Installation, Updating and Uninstallation 9

General Operation and Keyboard commands 11

The Opening Screen 11

Field of View (FOV): [ shift + left-click+drag] or [ , ] or [ . ] 12

Rendering & Resolution: [Ctrl + V], [Shift + R] or [R]. 13

Set View Options (Render menu) 15

Alternate Textures, Surfaces and Sound (NEW) 26

Movement 28

 Joystick Control [F8] 29

 Selecting Objects (general) 29

Navigation Menu 30

Select Objects by Keystroke 35

Selecting Objects by Enter/Name/Enter Method 35

Flying your Spaceship A], [Z], [S], [Q] 36

Telling Where You Are 37

Adjusting Time (TIME MENU)

[L], [K], [J], [Spacebar], [\], [!] 37

FILE Menu – Open Script 39

FILE MENU - Saving Images, Movies and Locations 40

 Cel: //URLs [Ctrl+C] or [Ctrl+INS] 41

Multiview (VIEW MENU) 43


Console Display (New) [Shift + ~], [pageup], pagedown] 43


Troubleshooting and Cautions (read carefully) 44

Other Documentation Available 44

Credits 45

Celestia Keyboard and Mouse Command Summary 46

Introduction to Celestia

Many of us have looked up at the stars on a dark night and wondered what it would be like to launch ourselves into space and soar among the stars. What do the astronauts of the Space Shuttle really see when they look down upon our beautiful Earth turning slowly below? What wonders might we encounter if we could visit Saturn alongside the Cassini spacecraft and sail right through its rings? If you have ever wondered about these things and would like to find out the answers, we of the Celestia community are happy to introduce you to Celestia!

Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you visually experience our universe in three dimensions. Celestia was the initial inspiration and creation of Mr. Chris Laurel, a Seattle, WA computer programmer who in 2001, decided to write a free software program to be made available to everyone on the world-wide-web that would place you in control of a virtual reality world of the universe. His vision and dedication gave birth to a program that is unlike any other space simulation program in existence. Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth as do many other programs. Instead, Chris created a dynamic capability to travel throughout the Solar System and elsewhere in space, at any speed, at any moment of time and in any direction you choose. If you wish, you can fly via your own “hyperdrive” spacecraft to visit stars within the spiral arms of the Milky Way beyond the confines of our Sun, or leave the galaxy entirely to view the bigger universe from deep space. Chris also insisted this program would be scientifically accurate … a true source of dynamic astronomical graphics.
When Celestia version 1.0 first appeared available for download on the Internet, space enthusiasts all over the world discovered and quickly realized the potential of this beautiful program. Within a year, many talented people worldwide joined Chris in a collaborative volunteer effort to make Celestia into not only a good graphical space simulation but into a great one, capable of producing a meticulously accurate virtual universe rivaling the visual quality seen only in Hollywood films.
They have succeeded. As of this writing, over 4,600 members of the public are part of the Celestia forum community. Over 2.7 million people have downloaded the program for use at home or school. It is in use in homes, schools and government agencies throughout the world. The list grows daily and includes talented graphic artists, computer programmers, astronomers, astrophysicists, planetarium directors, animators, engineers, teachers and students, professionals from government, private occupations and ordinary citizens in over 25 countries. Together, they have created a world of space that utilizes not only the basic Celestia program, but over 8 gigabytes of add-ons and extras that truly bring your Celestia experience to life. We invite you to join the Celestia forum by clicking here.
Celestia 1.4.1 is available free of charge for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X from http://www.shatters.net/celestia/download.html. Hopefully, you’ve already downloaded Celestia and are ready to install it and experience the beauty of space. Using some of the add-ons available for the program, here is just a taste of what you will be able to encounter:

  • Learn the unbelievable size and magnitude of our universe firsthand, with a journey from the surface of Earth to the farthest reaches of our observable universe … at hyperspeed.

  • Take up station off our mighty Sun and watch solar flares rising off the surface in motion or count its sunspots as you measure its rotational period.

  • Hover over each of the planets in our Solar System as they rotate slowly below you. See clouds drift by (where applicable) and shadows being cast on mountains and craters as the Sun sets low.

  • Fly along with Mariner 10 on its historic flyby of Mercury.

  • Visit the searing surface of Venus and view it in a panoramic 360° vista from the surface.

  • Take a spin down to the Earth’s surface in your own hyperdrive spacecraft. Skim over the oceans of Earth as you fly below the clouds. Soar back into space to see the lights come on in the cities of Earth.

  • Be present as Apollo 11 lands on the Moon in 1969, or drop by Sputnik 1 in 1958 shortly after its launch.

  • Journey from the Earth’s surface up to rendezvous with the International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope as they orbit Earth every 90 minutes. Attempt a difficult docking at the ISS Shuttle port.

  • Discover Mir as it passes over the Russian homeland with its cosmonaut crew onboard.

  • Hover over Mar’s Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum and drop down to the surface to visit Spirit and Opportunity at their landing sites, then fly over to Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris and fly through the canyon on a virtual flyby.

  • Be there in 2004 when asteroid 2004 FH misses a direct collision with Earth by a hair’s breath. Stand watch in the year 2029 when a new asteroid will approach Earth on a possible collision path.

  • Observe a spectacular lunar eclipse of our own Moon and a total solar eclipse on Earth.

  • Position yourself above Jupiter and watch as its large moons drift across the face of the planet, casting multiple eclipse shadows on its banded clouds and Great Red Spot.

  • Examine the volcanoes on Jupiter’s very active moon Io as you pass above it.

  • Hover far beyond Saturn, speed up time and count its many moons revolving around its magnificent ringed body like pearls swirling on an invisible necklace.

  • Be there when the spacecraft Cassini arrives in Saturn space in 2004 and drops the Huygens probe into the atmosphere of Titan in January 2005. Follow Huygens down to a parachute landing on Titan’s surface.

  • Engage in a dangerous maneuver and plunge through Saturn's rings in the Celestia spaceship.

  • Journey to the frozen wasteland of Pluto and its three moons and see their icy coldness for yourself.

  • Take up station behind comet Halley in 1986 as its gaseous lavender tail streams out behind it near Earth.

  • Seek out Planet 10, Sedna and Quaoar, Kuiper Belt objects that are our Solar System’s newest “planets”.

  • Fly out to the edges of our Solar System and follow Voyagers 1 and 2 as they speed away from their creators back on Earth, headed on a one-way journey to distant stars.

  • Experience a rendezvous with and fly-by of the speeding asteroid, Gaspra.

  • Witness the impact of the Deep Impact spacecraft onto the surface of comet Tempel1 in July 2005.

  • Travel forward in time to the year 3000 CE to be there as giant mirrors melt the Martian polar ice caps and help to terraform Mars into a verdant world of water, plants and cities of the future.

  • Set your ship at faster-than-light speed and sail to Rigel Kentaurus A, located 4.3 light years away.

  • Travel far into the future and rendezvous with a colossal rotating Space Station as it orbits Earth.

  • Journey to the edges of a massive rotating Black Hole as it spins near its stellar companion. Witness another Black Hole swallowing its companion star.

  • Travel to the heart of Betelgeuse, a distant Red Supergiant star that will Hypernova someday.

  • See stellar creation from deep within the Rosette and Eagle Nebulas, giant stellar nurseries.

  • Observe for yourself the deep field galaxies that were photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

  • Count the pulses of the new pulsar in the Crab Nebula, spinning before you at over 30 times a second.

  • Contemplate the future and witness the end of Earth, as it is swallowed by our swelling Red Giant sun billions of years from now.

  • Jump at hyperspeed beyond our Milky Way and cruise on over to the Andromeda spiral galaxy, M 87 located in the rich Virgo Cluster or the beautiful Whirlpool galaxy, or visit over ten thousand galaxies, accurately drawn.

  • Be witness to the future of space travel as you cruise next to Cosmos, a revolutionary new spacecraft that may someday “sail” on a wind of pure sunlight (it has no engines).

  • Travel backward in time 4 billion years to witness the planet “Orpheus” catastrophically collide with Earth to actually form our Moon.

  • Learn what efforts are being taken to discover if extraterrestrial intelligence exists in the universe.

  • Travel in tandem with the USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Picard, as it battles the Borg Empire.

  • Travel in the whimsical world of Hollywood and visit the StarWars® worlds of Tatooine, Endor and Hoth. Fly next to the Imperial Death Star or Star Destroyer as the Millennium Falcon swoops in for an attack.

  • Explore over 20 different fictional solar systems, many complete with meticulously detailed, exotic alien civilizations, terraformed moons, futuristic space stations, entire space fleets, wormholes and interstellar extraterrestrial spacecraft.

These are just a few of Celestia’s features. Each week, new features are being added by Celestia’s programmers and other talented contributors. It is a program undergoing a rapid evolution in computer graphics. Add-on features, for example, will include entirely new solar systems with dozens of planets and moons drawn in vivid detail, sound effects, gaseous nebula clouds, new galaxies, stars, globular clusters and spacecraft both real and imaginary. Periodically as new features are added, this User’s Guide will also be revised. If this list above excites you, let’s get started on our journey into the heart of Celestia.
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