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..