What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artificial satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?

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    $\begingroup$ I was sleeping under the stars with a program called redeye... taught me star trivia like Vega and all the constellations. It tilts and zooms and has labels. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


There are many resources online, so this is a community wiki answer. Please feel free to add to it!

  • If you want to visualize the stars/planets/etc (as viewed from Earth or another location), you are looking for planetarium software: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetarium_software

  • If you want accurate positions for stars/planets/etc, you are looking for horizons:



Note that these computational libraries don't always agree with each other or with planetarium software:


  • $\begingroup$ I also use SIMBAD (simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-fid) if I want to do a quick search for a star or galaxy based on its identifier, and you can also do the reverse and searching for coordinates too. $\endgroup$
    – Dean
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ I like this one for seeing what's overhead ucolick.org/~bolte/AY4_00/weblab/project/chart.html . $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ That appears to be a framed verison of fourmilab.ch/yoursky -- feel free to add the latter link above. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @barrycarter I wonder if astroquery mentioned here and here could be added as well? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh This is a community wiki answer, so please feel free to add them yourself. But, if you run into trouble, let me know and I'll add them. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 15:51

To add to the excellent answer by barrycarter, there are 2 planetarium-like codes, that I know of, that run on a mac and would make excellent tools for viewing certain astronomical objects. The codes are Stellarium and Celestia. Both turn your computer into your own planetarium where you can search and view objects in space.

  • $\begingroup$ It's actually a public wiki answer (not all my content), so you can add to it directly if you'd like. I had considered listing individual planetarium software (Stellarium is my favorite), but thought linking to the wikipedia list page may be more useful and neutral. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ The second program is called "Celestia" not "Celestial". $\endgroup$
    – posfan12
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Celestia even lets you move around different from Stellarium which is more like a planetarium-theatre $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 10:21

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