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

  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – aliential Dec 28 '20 at 2:52

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 Feb 3 '16 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ I like this one for seeing what's overhead ucolick.org/~bolte/AY4_00/weblab/project/chart.html . $\endgroup$ – Jack R. Woods Mar 25 '16 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 Mar 25 '16 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @barrycarter I wonder if astroquery mentioned here and here could be added as well? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 13 '19 at 0:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @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 Aug 14 '19 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 Oct 1 '17 at 17:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The second program is called "Celestia" not "Celestial". $\endgroup$ – posfan12 Oct 8 '18 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Celestia even lets you move around different from Stellarium which is more like a planetarium-theatre $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Feb 19 '19 at 10:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy