Unfotunately the development of Celestia has stopped, and its official webpage is off-line. The program can still be downloaded from its source code repository, at SourceForge.
My contributions and resources
This page contains some contributions I have made for
Celestia, a realistic simulation of the Universe. Celestia is free, it is open source, it is easily expandable, and it is available for all popular operating systems. Best of all, it is a beautiful and inspiring experience.
- Looking for Celestia builds for Windows? They are here (regularly updated).
- The Pleiades
A catalog of the Pleiades based on data from Gaia DR2. Get it here pleiades.zip.
- Europa in true colors
A high resolution set of textures for Jupiter's moon Europa. The colors have been tweaked so as to approximate a beautiful rendition of natural colors released in 2014 (see the images). A normal and a specular maps have been synthetically produced from it. Get Europa in new colors ready to unzip in Celestia. (Images are in DDS format; if your system cannot display them, you can convert them to jpg or png and edit the ctx file accordingly.)
- Mars NormalMaps
A set of Perl scripts to produce high quality Mars NormalMaps, from MOLA elevation data, and using NMTools (but get the 1.5 version). Stitch the necessary MOLA files, and easily generate high resolution virtual textures (up to exquisitely detailed 32K) or regular textures as you prefer. They are ideal to use with a very flat Mars texture, such as the 16K made by Mario Rossi of Space Graphics. My screenshots are based on it: Valles Marineris, Olympus Mons, Gusev, northern valleys, South Pole (showing MOLA deficiencies above 88 degrees of latitude). Get the scripts (easy to use and well documented, even if you don't speak Perl). Get a 2K NormalMap (if you are sooo lazy).
- Milky Way
A realistic rendering of the Milky Way as seen from the vicinity of the solar system. Click on the screenshots to see the region of Sagitarius to Crux (left) and Orion to Taurus (right). Get the add-on here or a bigger texture to play with.
Moons of Saturn
Iapetus: A surface texture based on PDS map of September 2008, colorized to match this near true color picture from Ciclops. Download: iapetus-pds.zip (4k jpg textures + ssc file + detailed readme).
Dione: A surface texture based on Ciclops' map of February 2010. Download: dione-ciclops.zip (jpg virtual texture + ssc file + detailed readme).
Enceladus: A surface texture based on Ciclops' map of February 2010. Download: enceladus-ciclops.zip (jpg virtual texture + ssc file + detailed readme).
Rhea: A surface texture based on Ciclops' map of February 2010. Download: rhea-ciclops.zip (jpg virtual texture + ssc file + detailed readme).
Tethys: A surface texture based on Ciclops' map of August 2010. Download: tethys-ciclops.zip (jpg textures + ssc file + detailed readme).
Mimas: A surface texture based on Ciclops map of February 2010. Download: mimas-ciclops.zip (jpg textures + ssc file + detailed readme).
- Scripted asteroid data in Celestia format
Mpcorb2ssc: A program to extract asteroid data from the official MPCORB.DAT catalog, and converting them to Celestia format. The user can select the asteroids according to a variety of criteria. This is a command line utility, very easy to use. A Perl script is provided (OS independent, but you need Perl installed) as well as a stand alone Windows executable. Both are thoroughly documented. See screenshots of Hilda asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, and NEAs, all produced with mpcorb2ssc and Celestia. Download: mpcorb2ssc.zip (the Perl script), mpcorb2ssc-bin.zip (the win executable). (Current version: 1.1, 2009-02-19, implementing alternative names for asteroids, not supported in Celestia 1.5, besides other improvements. Celestia 1.5 compatible version included also.)
- EPOXI orbit data
On 29th May, 2008, NASA probe EPOXI photographed a transit of the Moon in front of the Earth from a distance of 0.33 AU. This small addon contains orbital data for EPOXI in Celestia format, so the observation can be reproduced. See the readme file for instructions and details. Compare the true image with Celestia's simulation.
- Moon NormalMaps:
An 8k NormalMap of the Moon, synthetically made from a shaded relief and a photographic maps. It is detailed and the relief is not so strong. Use it for fun, but beware that true elevation maps of the Moon already exist (from Kaguya and LRO). Get it. Preview shots were made with John van Vliet's 16k VT.
An 8k NormalMap of the Moon, made from the elevation data from the Japanese probe Kaguya. It has some artifacts but works great. Get it.
- Globular clusters: A rather complete catalog of globular clusters in Celestia format. As of version 1.51, Celestia lacked a proper rendering of globular clusters. This catalog defines them as galaxies of appropriate size and brightness, providing a reasonable alternative (see an example here). Download: globular_clusters.zip. NOTE: This workaround has been largely superseeded by a proper rendering of globular clusters since Celestia 1.6+, thanks to the work of Fridger Schrempp (discussion).
- Autotile: An old Perl script to make virtual textures. It has been largely superseeded by Fridger Schrempp's F-TexTools. It stays here just for reference.
- Build Celestia yourself: Instructions to build Celestia from its SVN sources with free MS C++ tools. (If you are too lazy, you can download an up-to-date precompiled executable from here. You will still need to download the SVN tree. Instructions are included.)
- Celestia changes to the Windows Registry: If you loose your default behavior regarding cel:url, or want to change it because of multiple installations, here's how to do it manually (source forgotten). Be careful when editing the registry!
- Gallery of images
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© Guillermo Abramson