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13 July 2009, 09:45

Celestia 3-D space simulator 1.6.0 released

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The Celestia developers have announced the release of version 1.6.0 of their cross-platform 3-D astronomy program. The application displays interactive objects, from artificial satellites to entire galaxies, in three dimensions using OpenGL. Version 1.6.0 is a major application update and includes several bug fixes, updates and new features.

The release now features the inclusion of 'planetshine' (light from secondary sources), new symbols for locations, improved celestial coordinate grids and new reference marks, such as the Planetographic grid and VisibleRegion. In addition to changing Pluto's class to a dwarf planet, Eclipse rendering has been improved and the code that handled stars has been updated, allowing stars to be placed more than 16k light years from Earth. The 1.6.0 release includes over 20 bug fixes, code optimisations and several platform-specific changes.

Celestia has been used by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) and is based on the Hipparcos Catalogue (HIP), which includes approximately 120,000 stars. Add-ons are supported by the 3-D space simulator and a variety of add-ons are available from The Celestia Motherlode, a repository of approximately 10 GB of extensions. These allow users to add high-resolution textures and models of planets, spacecraft, deep space objects and even fictional models from Star Trek to Star Wars. An introductory guide and add-on installation guide are also available for interested users.

More details about the release can be found in the change log. Celestia 1.6.0 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Celestia is released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2).


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