I am by no means a full time astronomer but when I am out on my balcony at night, puffing away on my cigarette brand of choice, I like to look at the night sky.
Living on the edge of a city, I can’t see too many stars, but it is nice to be able to find out which ones I can see, and to be able to tell the difference between real stars, roving satellites and airplanes and the Ornge emergency helicopter service. I used to have this program running on XP and Vista, and it is a great little program.
It defaults to a view from somewhere in France, but you you can change the default for your location. Its free too. Here is a screenshot..
Not bad for a freebie program, eh. I like it. It is a pity that it doesn’t show meteor showers and Northern lights in real times. I wouldn’t have to go outside at all if it did.. As it is, it doesn’t show them in 3D or any D.
OK, so why have I resurrected Stellarium. Well, I booted into Windows 8 and was desperate to install something in a bid to make it more useful than it is and, having initially run the program, I realised that it would make a great addition to the Metro UI interface.
The downsides are that the ‘square’ it installs into the Metro interface is like any other non-Metro square, and like other Metro apps, you might need a screen with a longer diagonal measurement than 7” to be able to make out what is actually being shown.
The upside is that it runs full screen, has a slide out ‘charm’ bar which is not too responsive re sliding out, and there is no obvious way to shut Stellarium down other than to use the Alt + F4 combo.
Apart from its start icon. this program which has been around for some while now, has to be one of the all time great Metro apps, yes? You decide..
Sun, Apr 22 2012 8:01