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Not sure if this is the right StackExchange for this, but seems appropriate.

Is there any off-the-shelf software that can display a star field (view of the night sky) as if seen from a particular location and looking in a particular direction? Ideally, I'd like to be able to specify the location (Lat/Lon coordinates) and the direction in which the virtual camera is pointing, and get an image of the starfield.

The ability to modify the parameters of the virtual camera would be of additional benefit.

Free software would be best, but paid may be ok as well, depending on the price.

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I use cartes du ciel - free opensource software. You can construct your own catalogues and then use them, or import external data from other packages - I have used it in conjunction with the 'TopCat' academic package in scientific papers - it's that good! Also you can connect to your scope, set FOV for various eyepieces, etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you add some links? Thanks. $\endgroup$ – user1569 Nov 12 '17 at 13:04
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Yes. Stellarium is a very nice package that meets your needs. I use it on my mac and it works great. There are versions for Windows and Linux as well. It is a free package. You can enter your location and see the night sky in any direction. It has zoom capability and you can rotate sky to look in any direction. Their website describes it as a planetarium for your computer. It has a database of over 600,000 stars. The website is here

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  • $\begingroup$ Piggybacking on this to mention that there is also Nightshade, which is very similar to Stellarium. $\endgroup$ – Phiteros Nov 4 '17 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ There are plenty for smartphone too. Another beautiful package that is more than a planetarium dome on your screen is Celestia. You can 3D navigate through space in it. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Nov 4 '17 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ Does Stellarium offer a virtual camera option, where you specify for example an alt/az and a FOV in degrees? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 11 '17 at 1:22

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