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B Trying to study the major constellations

  1. Dec 6, 2016 #1
    I sometimes find it difficult to visualize the proper positions of constellations in the sky. It depends on so many factors, such as the time of year, the time of day, and the specific location on Earth.
    With that said, I would really like to find a downloadable or online interactive planetarium that places the user in outer space right at the center of where the Earth would be, thus allowing the user to look in all directions in all three dimensions without having to worry about the Earth's position. Can anyone recommend a program like this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2016 #2


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    welcome to PF :smile:

    Stellarium is one that I and 1000's of others use


  4. Dec 7, 2016 #3
    Great, thank you!
  5. Dec 7, 2016 #4
    Downloaded it today. This is absolutely awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. As a frame of reference, would it be better to use the ecliptic grids or the celestial equator-based grids? Do astronomers talk in terms of hours (right ascension) or degrees?
  6. Dec 7, 2016 #5


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    for RA = Hrs Min Sec
    for DEC = Deg Min Sec
  7. Dec 7, 2016 #6


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    You normally want the equatorial grid. Practically all stellar databases use it, and/because it is the natural choice for earth-based telescope observations.
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