Manual for Stellarium Content Start up Stellarium and brief notes of interest

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Manual for Stellarium

  1. Start up Stellarium and brief notes of interest

  2. Set up point of interest

  3. How to measure where an object will set

  1. Start up Stellarium and brief notes of interest

First start up Stellarium by double clicking the program located on the start menu of your desktop screen.

You will find stellarium will start automatically and the original location would be set to France, Paris.

When Stellarium starts up, you will find that there are 2 main toolbars located on the bottom left corner. To view the toolbar simply drag the mouse to the bottom corner of the screen and both toolbars should pop up. Both toolbars have different purposes and actions; the bottom toolbar is a short cut toolbar whilst the left toolbar is for more advanced options.


Figure 1
he bottom toolbar has 6 different types of shortcuts segregated (figure 1):

First types (red) are the constellation shortcuts; Constellation lines, labels and art.

Second types (green) are the astronomical lines; equatorial lines and azimuthal grid. Third types (black) are the different viewable options, ground (you can toggle between ground or sky), cardinal points (toggle directions, north south east west on and off) and atmosphere (toggle between sky and space).

Forth type (blue), are options to view the names of either; nebulas or planets.

Fifth types (pink) are viewing icons, toggling between equatorial and azimuthal angles, centre your view on chosen planet/nebulas, night mode, full screen mode and exit stellarium.

Sixth types of icons are to change the speed time; fast forward, rewind and change it to the current location in time.

The toolbar of the left are the more advance options, from top to bottom the options are; location window, date/time window, sky and viewing options window, search window, configuration window and help.

The location window allows you to search for locations all over the globe; the date/time window allows you to change the current time positions, allowing you to view what the planet positions are at a specific time and date; the sky and viewing options window allows you to change the viewable background settings, including; sky, markings, landscape and starlore. The last 3 icons allows you to search (objects e.g. Venus), configure (settings of stellarium) and lastly a help window

  1. Setting up point of interest

On the right hand side toolbar, click on “location window” here you can search the location you want to view.

Figure 2 - Location window
Here we can see on the top right hand side we can type in the location we want to view. Once you type in the location the list on the middle right will search for locations which have the same name you typed in. After you find the location that you want to find click on it and stellarium will automatically change the settings of the sun and moon to the location you selected.
If you want to add your own location to the list, if you look at figure 2, type in the name/city to the location you want to add then change the country, planet, the latitude, longitude and altitude then click on “Add to list”. This will add the details you just typed to the list on the top right and you can now search it at the top.

  1. How to measure where an object will set

After you have chosen the location at where you want to view the astronomical activities, you can view where an object will set and rise; example being the moon at France, Paris 2009-11-05. First you turn on the azimuthal grid, located on the bottom toolbar in the second segment. This allows you to measure where the moon will set on an azimuthal grid. To make things clearer to the naked eye change the surrounding to ocean view and un-tick “show atmosphere”, to do this go onto the sky and viewing options window, you automatically be channelled to the sky tab, where you can untick the “show atmosphere” which changes the sky view to space view. Then click onto the landscape tab where you can choose the landscape “ocean” this makes the surface even, without buildings, trees or any other objects.

After you get the selected surroundings, go to the “search window” located on the left toolbar and type in the object you want to view, in this case “moon”. Stellarium will automatically focus on the moon; however when you change the time and date of the moon manually the focus on the moon will be lost. So, on the bottom toolbar; fifth segment is the options of “center on selected object”. Click this so that you will not lose sight of the object unless you click otherwise.

You then need to change fast forward or rewind time on the bottom toolbar in the sixth segment depending on the time and location of your current moon.

Change the time so that the moon is on the horizon, about to set, this should be roughly 10am in this example. You can then further zoom in, to view the azimuthal grid on a small scale by pressing “page up” on the keyboard. You should have something similar to this:

You can manually view where the moon is at on the scale, or on the top left corner is the data on the moon at its current condition, on the 6th line down “az/alt:” is the current position of the moon which should read 306/309°.

Note: The moon in the current picture is setting, it has not set yet. If you want to set the room, the moon sets when the centre of the object is at 0 degrees altitude (figure 3). Figure 4 shows the real setting of the moon, when the moon just turns invisible. Figure 5 shows when the moon sets in a landscape where there is a land elevation.

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

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