Megastar Sky Atlas

Forums Computing Megastar Sky Atlas

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    Alan Snook

    I’ve been using Megastar for 20 years, lately running on a Windows XP virtual machine. It recently stopped working and I doubt I can fix it. My new laptop doesn’t have a CD drive so I can’t even attempt a simple reinstall. So, I figured it was about time I migrated to a modern software package. I’ve spent most of today trying out KStars, Carte du Ciel and Stellarium. I feel I have wasted the day. I don’t want pretty, I don’t want zodiacial light, I don’t want constellation mythology in 40 different cultures. These modern packages don’t seem to be a patch on Megastar. I feel they are tailored to a different customer. What are astronomers using? Is there a ‘proper’ competent bit of software out there, without all the frills and frippery? Any advice gratefully received.

    owen brazell

    Alan with the demise of Willmann-Bell Emil made Megastar free to use and made a 500Mb download of the program available. It has been hosted here

    When you try and access this it may give a certiicate error but I believe you can proceed to the site with no issues.

    Dr Paul Leyland

    Alan, I have a USB DVD drive you cound borrow if required, depending on where you live.

    I’m back to La Palma on Friday, all being well, so logistics might be a problem but surely a solveable one.

    Alternatively, perhaps you could ask someone with a drive to image it onto a USB thumb drive for you and then re-install from there.

    P.S. I very much like Stellarium because it can show the positions of even minor satellites of the planets. Perhaps I am weird.

    Added in edit

    I forgot to mention which is my atlas of choice for anything outside the solar system. Searchable, goes down to mag 21 or so, precision astrometry and photometry from Gaia, stars, clusters and fuzzies — what more could a deep sky observer want?

    Alan Snook

    Much appreciated Folks, that’s all most helpful. Certainly Stellarium seemed the most promising (least worst?) of the 3 packages I tried initially. I spent a half-day on it yesterday trawling through the 420-page instruction manual and so far I’ve moved the output to about half-way to where I’d like it. I found the planetary satellite displays you mentioned, I can see that being useful.  It would be good to keep Megastar going if possible so I’ll try Emil’s dowload, and check out the Aladin link too. Much appreciated. Alan.

    Daryl Dobbs

    The link below might be useful as the Stellarium handbook is certainly heavy going.

    Stellarium Handbook (B&W).indd (

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