| Note: this FAQ is a short list of answers to common problems.
It is not supposed to be a substitute for the user's guide that provides much more detailed information about using Stellarium, landscapes, customization, astronomy, etc. This page will only list the bare minimum to get you up and running.
If you have any other questions about Stellarium, you can:
What is Stellarium?
Stellarium is an open source desktop planetarium for Linux/Unix, Windows and MacOSX. It renders the skies in realtime using OpenGL, which means the skies will look exactly like what you see with your eyes, binoculars, or a small telescope. Stellarium is very simple to use, which is one of its biggest advantages: it can easily be used by beginners. The Stellarium project was started by Fabien Chéreau during the summer of 2001 and uses Sourceforge intensively. Access the Sourceforge project page here.
Is Stellarium free?
Yes! Stellarium is open source software. Anyone has the right to download and use the software for free, to distribute it without modifying to other people, or modify the source code, all of this under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Where can I download Stellarium?
Via the download page. Stellarium is hosted on Sourceforge servers. After clicking on the right link of the download page, you will be taken to a list of Sourceforge servers, each with their location. Click on the file icon of the one geographically closest to you, it ensures a speedy download.
Where can I provide feedback?
Your ideas and comments are invaluable to Stellarium. Have a look at the homepage to see where you can get personal support, ask for new features, report bugs and even submit your own patches.
Reporting a crash
Every few days we have a question along the lines of saying "I tried to install on my computer, and it does not work."
What does such a message say to us?
"I have some kind of computer, bought likely 1995-2015, consisting of some box with keyboard and screen, and some operating system that allows me to go online and download software. Some version of Stellarium does not work here."
What do you think we can do with such a report? Yes, NOTHING! We have to ask for more information. This takes lots of our (spare) time and energy we could otherwise use for improving the software.
Before reporting a crash, please read and understand FAQ "Common Problems with Version 0.13", and update your graphics card drivers. If problems persist, continue.
When reporting a crash, please list:
- Platform and operating system: Windows (XP? Vista? 7? 8? 8.1? 10? 32bit? 64bit?), MacOSX (which?), Linux (which?)
- What kind of graphics card do you have? Driver version?
- Which version of Stellarium causes problems: NAME OF THE DOWNLOADED FILE or "built from sources at revision <9645> with Qt <version>(5.3.2, 5.4, 5.5?), <tools> (specify which: MinGW, MSVC2010/2012?), CLang, cmake/gcc/...? ANGLE or OpenGL?)"
- The LOGFILE. From your program menu, there should be a link to "Last Run Log". Copy&Paste its contents. If logfile is empty (i.e., crash is really immediately, very early at start), please say so.
- If crash was not immediately at startup, actions that lead to it. (Keypress sequence, some scenario to reliably recreate the crash.)
Please don't expect further help if sending very incomplete reports. Thanks for your understanding.
What are Stellarium's system requirements?
A graphics card capable of rendering OpenGL 3.1. Stellarium is also fairly processor intensive, so you will get higher framerates with faster processors. Any reasonably recent computer should be able to run Stellarium. Furthermore your computer should be running a Linux, Windows or MacOSX operating system.
System requirements for version 0.13.3:
- Linux/Unix; Windows 7 and above; OS X 10.7.4 and above
- 3D graphics card which supports OpenGL 3.1
- 512 MiB RAM
- 250 MiB on disk
- Linux/Unix; Windows 7 and above; OS X 10.8.5 and above
- 3D graphics card which supports OpenGL 3.3 and above
- 1 GiB RAM or more
- 1.5 GiB on disk
How do I install Stellarium?
For Windows users, run the downloaded file "setup.exe" and follow the instructions. For Linux users, the easiest is to find a pre-compiled package for your distribution. But it is also possible to compile the program yourself: detailed compilation instructions for Linux, Posix, Cygwin and MacOSX are available in the "INSTALL" file. Mac OSX users should download the dmg file, double click on it to open, the application is contained inside, drag the application to your Applications folder.
How do I uninstall Stellarium?
- For Windows users, uninstall Stellarium using the "Add or Remove Programs" applet in the Windows control panel.
- For Linux users, use your package manager if you installed a pre-compiled version.
- If you compiled yourself you can uninstall by typing "make uninstall" in the compilation directory.
- If you compiled yourself, ran make install as root afterwards, and removed the compilation directory
- First redownload (if necessary) and extract the source of the version that is installed
- To see what version you've installed run:
- To see what version you've installed run:
- Then run:
./configure && sudo make uninstall
- First redownload (if necessary) and extract the source of the version that is installed
How do I start using Stellarium?
- Set your location first! The default location is Paris, France. You can click on your location on the map in the configuration window, or enter coordinates manually. Don't forget to save the changes. Do that by clicking "set as default". From now on, the sky will look exactly as it looks where you live when you run Stellarium. If you take Stellarium along on a trip with a laptop, you will need to adjust your location of course.
- Use the mouse or arrow keys to look around.
- Use the page up and page down keys to zoom in and out.
- Use the left mouse button to select an object, the right button to deselect the object and middle mouse button or spacebar to center on the selected object.
- Zooming on nebulas or planets is very interesting...
- J slows down or reverses speed, L increases time speed, and K makes time return to normal speed.
- Press the H key for help.
You are running Stellarium on one of those fancy widescreen laptops, and there is no option specifying your screen resolution in the menu. In that case, just open the config.ini file with a text editor, and find the screen_w and screen_h values. Set the numbers to the desired dimensions, save the file and restart Stellarium: enjoy the view!
Is there a user's guide to Stellarium?
Yes. Find out everything you want to know about Stellarium, and the astronomic principles you see demonstrated in the program. Essential reading. See here for more information
How do I use the Satellites/Ocular/Telescope control plugin?
See the the Plugins page for more information.
How do I use other constellation art in Stellarium?
Want to use other drawings than the ones included in Stellarium, like your own drawings, or antique drawings from the Uranographia?
You will need to change the constellation textures, and possibly adjust their coordinates in the constellationsart.fab file. If they're not burdened by restrictive copyrights, you can share the set you made with the rest of the community.
Is it possible to show more stars?
Stellarium uses the Hipparcos catalog, which contains over 120000 stars. It is currently not possible to use other star catalogs. Additional stars allowed in Stellarium may be found at the sourceforge download site: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=48857&package_id=233730
Is Stellarium available in my language?
Starting from version 0.8.0, Stellarium can be tailored to show your language. Settings are in the preferences window, or in the config.ini file. It is possible that the translation isn't complete yet, so we would be grateful if the talented translators among the Stellarium users would contribute to the translations. Info about the process is on the translation page.
Adding a comet to Stellarium with the Solar System Editor plug-in
An explanation about how to enable the Solar System Editor plug-in and add a comet, for example C/2010 X1 (Elenin):
1. Get the latest Stellarium, 0.11.0 (version 0.10.6 will also do, but its bookmarks are out of date because the Minor Planet Center changed their website)
2. Enable the Solar System editor plug-in if it hasn't been enabled: 2.1. Open the "Configruation window" and go to "Plugins"; 2.2. Select "Solar System Editor" in the left column (the plug-in's description should appear); 2.3. If the "load at startup" box is not checked, check it and restart Stellarium.
3. Go to the same plug-in screen, select the same plug-in and click on the "configure" button.
4. In the window that opens, go to the "Solar System" tab, then click on the "Import elements in MPC format window".
5. In the window that opens, select "Comets", then "Download a list of objects from the internet". 5.1. If you are using 0.10.6, copy this URL to the "URL" box: http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/Soft00Cmt.txt 5.2. If you are using 0.11.0, just select "MPC's list of observable comets" from the bookmarks list.
6. Click the "Get orbital elements" button and wait for the file to be downloaded.
7. After it has finished downloading, it should display a list of comets. Find the comet(s) you want to add in the list, check the checkbox in front of it and click the "Add objects" button. (In this case, look for "C/2010 X1 (Elenin)". In future versions, you will be able to search/filter the list.)
After the comet has been added, you can find it in the "Search" window: start typing the name of the comet for it to appear in the list of suggestions. The name should be written in the same way as it was displayed in the list, for example "C/2010 X1" (without the quotation marks, of course).
Adding Satellite Elements from a Local File
This may be a way to share Satellite Elements among various users on various systems without less use of the sometimes scarce bandwidth of Elements servers, or of supplying elements not available from some servers.
Format your file in TLE format, similar to http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/visual.txt (A detailed description is in: http://celestrak.com/NORAD/documentation/tle-fmt.asp)
Use a browser to navigate to this file with a URL with the scheme "file:///...". Copy that URL and paste it into the Configuration dialog at "Configuration->Plugins->Satellites->Configure->Sources". Click on "Settings->Update now". "Save settings as default".
Common problems in series
Common problems with version 0.12
To remove 90% of the common problems like strange graphics effects after an update to 0.12, or stars rendered as triangles, upside-down sky, strange text characters, off-center or distorted appearance of the sky sphere and other effects:
- Make sure you have the LATEST DRIVERS for your graphics card installed.
- Delete config.ini. Some LEFT-OVER ENTRIES may interfere with recent changes.
- Esp. on OLDER HARDWARE: Try "No OpenGL2 mode" (may also be called "fallback mode"). --- if this helps, please file a bug report and ATTACH THE LOG FILE log.txt to let us improve startup diagnostics to immediately launch without attempting OpenGL2 mode which later caused problems. Really ancient systems (built around 2002) may have to use older versions (0.12.0 or 0.11.*) of Stellarium.
- MISSING MOUSE? There are recent reports about missing mouse cursor on Windows 8. Switching off mouse trails may help!
- In any case, when all this does not work and you still need to report a problem, PLEASE ATTACH THE LOG FILE log.txt TO YOUR BUG REPORT!
Common problems with version 0.13
V0.13 is the first release based on Qt5, which brought several technical changes. The most critical is that rendering graphics with Qt5 requires at least OpenGL2.1 support. This normally utilizes a dedicated piece of hardware, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Any recent (say, post-2011) hardware should provide sufficient functionality, but you may need to update the driver not just with the built-in Update driver search of your operating system, but with drivers downloadable from the graphic card manufacturer's website. (Sometime drivers for notebooks can only be found at the respective notebook manufacturer's support websites, and using the reference drivers from GPU manufacturers may not be completely compatible.)
In fact, the shader programs (which drive the computation on the GPU) used by Stellarium V0.13 and later require even GLSL1.30, which came only with OpenGL3.0, although some OpenGL2.1 cards also support it.
This requirement is valid for all platforms (Win/Mac/Linux, in any flavor). As always, update drivers if you see graphic problems (missing characters, flickering, ...) where there should not be any. Read the log file for warnings hinting at graphics problems. (You find the log file either in the application's help menu, or via start menu->Stellarium->Last run log.)
Graphics cards which are no longer supported by Stellarium 0.13 and later include early ATI/AMD Radeon cards up to and including the Xxxx series (built 2004/05), NVidia up to GeForce FXxxx (2003/04), and Intel GMA before X3000, unfortunately also including the popular Atom-based netbooks of 2010. For such systems, you need the MESA software rendering (circumventing the outdated graphics card on Windows, at cost of very slow performance), or you may use an older version of Stellarium. MESA is also used in many Linux installations, but allows hardware acceleration.
The following is particularly directed towards Windows users.
In doubt, you can verify your GPU's capabilities with tools like "GPU Caps Viewer" (free download). If this shows support for OpenGL 1.4, 1.5 or 2.0 only, and your PC is otherwise still OK, you may consider upgrading your PC at least with a dedicated entry-level graphics card. If this is not possible, read below for MESA support.
We are providing two flavours of Windows versions. One uses OpenGL drivers directly. This should work with graphics cards from AMD/ATI series Radeon HD-2xxx and later, NVidia 8xxx and later, or Intel HD Graphics (built into Core-i processors of the "Sandy Bridge" generation) and later. Make sure you use the latest drivers from your graphics card manufacturer.
The other uses ANGLE, which translates OpenGL to DirectX on Windows 7 and later. Also here we need hardware providing DirectX VertexShader 2_0 and PixelShader 3.0 (vs_2_0 ps_3_0), i.e. DirectX10. This should include even earlier graphics cards: ATI/AMD X1xxx, NVidia 6xxx, Intel GMA X3000. Again, keep your drivers updated! Current trial versions seem to run even on WinXP, but are not 100% stable. ANGLE is officially only supported on Win7 and later, we cannot therefore do anything if it does not work on your particular XP PC.
For systems without hardware capable of supporting OpenGL2.1 with GLSL1.30 or DirectX/ps_3_0, we provide a Windows 32 build that includes the MESA software OpenGL library (providing the required minimum of OpenGL2.1 and GLSL1.30) as optional item to be selected during installation. MESA totally circumvents the GPU, all graphics is rendered with the CPU (Central Processing Unit; this is the device referred to as "Pentium", "Celeron", "Athlon", "Xeon", "Core i5", "Atom", etc.) only. Of course, this lack of dedicated hardware means a severe slowdown, but a slow system with good graphics may still be preferrable to a dysfunctional one. MESA can make use of multicore CPUs, so if you have e.g. an older multicore CPU system with only Intel GMA graphics, performance may still be OK.
So, if the OpenGL version shows problems (message about "Insufficient OpenGL support" at startup, crash just seconds after launch, or graphical errors like broken screen fonts, planets not rendered, ...) please install the OpenGL version with MESA addon. You may check for graphic-related problems in the logfile (linked from the start menu).
Problems with comets (v0.13.0 only)
Version 0.13.0 was the first to display comet tails. When you add comets with the solar system editor plugin, you may be tempted to include all observable comets from the MPC database. Please don't do that in version 0.13.0! Stellarium gets very slow, because computation and rendering of hundreds of tails takes lots of computation. You should select the < 50 comets you really want to observe and only add or update elements for those. The situation has been corrected in V0.13.1.
Too many deep-sky objects (v0.13.3 only)
Version 0.13.3 brought some more nebulae catalogs. Unfortunately visibility function was not well-balanced however, and some users are unhappy about too many (!) objects. You can simply replace the respective files in the program directory (win64: C:\Program Files\Stellarium\nebulae\default) by empty files. V0.14 will provide better visibility balance and catalog selection options.
Common problems with version 0.14
General graphics issues
Hardware requirements have not changed since V0.13 (see Common problems with 0.13).
Particular note for Windows 10 upgraders: If you upgrade some older computer, you may have to also upgrade graphics drivers manually. Not all graphics card manufacturers provide drivers for Win10 explicitly for their old hardware, but some drivers for Win7/Win8 may work. If Stellarium V0.11 worked for you some years ago, it should work also here. If the hardware allows it, V0.14 will also work. Don't expect latest programs to run on outdated hardware without latest drivers though.
Instead of special packages for older hardware, thanks to developments in Qt5.5 the Windows version now comes with links to force ANGLE (OpenGL to DirectX translation) or MESA (software rendering) modes. Modern hardware should be able to run the untagged "Stellarium" link, and you can happily delete the ANGLE and MESA startup links. Older hardware may require the special links and maybe even special handling which we learned ourselves from https://wiki.qt.io/Qt_5_on_Windows_ANGLE_and_OpenGL
We have first reports about missing buttons which seem to be related to errors in the ANGLE driver in Direct3D11 mode. If the logfile indicates something about GL renderer is "ANGLE (XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Direct3D11 vs_x_0 ps_y_0)" , you may be lucky if you set an environment variable QT_ANGLE_PLATFORM=d3d9 or even QT_ANGLE_PLATFORM=warp. Of course, the requirements vs_2_0/ps_3_0 or better remain the same for hardware acceleration.
It appears that on some hardware even the MESA version which should emulate a proper GPU fails. It is very unclear at the moment what we could do here. Software rendering is also available via ANGLE, so maybe try the ANGLE version with environment variable QT_ANGLE_PLATFORM=warp and please report with your logfile if this helps. Alternatively, please copy the file opengl32.dll from an earlier version into the Stellarium 0.14 program folder and rename it to opengl32sw.dll. This worked in one case, but not in another.
We have reports that upgrading to El Capitan solved graphic issues.
I can't install Stellarium.
Read the installation instructions contained in the "INSTALL" file, which comes with Stellarium.
Stellarium installs, but does not run.
0.9.0 / OSX
If you have upgraded from an older version of Stellarium, and your old config.ini file was set so that Stellarium started in full screen mode, 0.9.0 will fail to start. Just edit your config.ini file and edit the line with the fullscreen setting so the value is false.
For other problems, we can offer some accounts of what people experienced in the past. Maybe a file necessary for Stellarium was corrupted or badly formatted in some way. Try reinstalling, don't forget to backup any Stellarium files you might have customized.
Stellarium reports basic actions on standard output and standard error. This output can be read in the cmd window on Windows, or can be seen by starting Stellarium from a terminal in Linux and OS X. Have a read of this output and see if there is any helpful information. If you can't fix your problem, post a support request, and include this output.
Stellarium does not start on Mac OS X 10.4
Mac OS X 10.4 is no longer supported.
The Stellarium 0.10.6 package available from the website is built for Mac OS X 10.5 and later. The last official Stellarium version that has a package for OS X 10.4 is Stellarium 0.10.5.
You can compile Stellarium for Mac OS X 10.4.x from source code yourself. Instructions are available in the Stellarium Wiki
Message on console, "locale::facet::_S_create_c_locale name not valid"
If stellarium does not start, and you see this message on the console:
terminate called after throwing an instance of 'std::runtime_error' what(): locale::facet::_S_create_c_locale name not valid Abort trap
Try setting the LC_ALL environment variable to "C" and re-run.
I experience very slow rendering, very low framerates on my computer.
This happens when hardware rendering is disabled. If you have a 3D video card, make sure that your OpenGL drivers are installed and up to date.
Stellarium crashes after it has been running for a while.
Stellarium is pretty processor intensive. This means things can get quite warm inside your computer. If you experience freezes or computer crashes, you might have a heat problem. If this is the case, other processor intensive tasks such as mp3 encoding should lead to the same problem. In the newest versions, a frame rate limiter is present. That should solve your problem.
Some moons are in another position than they should be.
Currently we have no accurate ephemeris for Charon and no ephemeris for Neptunian satellites at all. The other satellite ephemeris should be correct. When you compare with what you see in your telescope you should enable light travel time compensation in config.ini.
The non-Latin font for my language doesn't show up
Chances are your language is included, but the program doesn't include a font for your language, as we're concerned about download size. Find a font for your language, and tell the program which font to use in the config.ini file. See Display complex characters in Stellarium for more details.
Stellarium runs fullscreen at a refresh rate of 60Hz
This is a bug in Windows XP. There are numerous fixes, and there is a small program available for it here (install at your own risk): RefreshLock.
My local language isn't complete, or some terms are incorrect
Translations in Stellarium are a community effort, so it is possible that a local translator started the project, but never finished it, or didn't find help with some specific words. You can help us! Translation tips are on this page: Translation using gettext
I'm having display problems (e.g. fonts render as dots)
Problems range from missing parts in the Stellarium interface, text display problems (on S3 and ATI Rage graphics cards), to missing stars. They mostly occur on older hardware, or on specific on-board graphics chips (an onboard Geforce 4MX user solved the problem by reverting to the older 22.214.171.124 driver for his model). We advise experimenting with the graphics driver (updating, changing settings, reverting to older versions) if you're comfortable doing this. For users experiencing problems with S3 graphics controllers, update the driver to the S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR driver for Windows XP.
Many GUI enhancement, theme engine and skinning programs for Windows can cause problems with OpenGL applications including Stellarium. Please try disabling these if you have them running: WindowBlinds, WindowFX, ObjectDock, IconPackager and Entbloess (and similar programs).
I can't record scripts (on Windows)
- Note: Since version 0.10.1, Stellarium has a new scripting engine. The text bellow applies to versions prior to that.
Stellarium attempts to save a Stellarium script file (.sts) in your user directory. On international versions of Windows, this doesn't work perfectly yet, as the program is looking for the English "Documents and Settings" folder. Workaround: open the stderr.txt file in the Stellarium directory to see where Stellarium is trying to write, create that folder, and you should be able to record scripts now.
When in full screen mode, I still see some of my desktop (on Windows)
If you run WindowBlinds or another skinning/theme program, try de-activating it, or adding Stellarium to the list of applications which should be excluded.
I can't save screenshots (on Windows Vista)
Vista doesn't allow most user programs to write to the Desktop directory. You can choose another directory to save screenshots to by editing the shortcut in the start menu which is used to start Stellarium, like this:
stellarium.exe --screenshot-dir "C:\Path\To\Dir"
In version 0.10.1, the screenshot save directory can be set via the GUI, in the Tools tab of the Configuration window.
Object information in the upper left corner is unreadable
In Stellarium 0.10.5, on some systems the information field that appears in the upper left corner when an object is selected is unreadable - the characters are garbled or missing.
On Windows: Try starting Stellarium from the "Stellarium (no OpenGL2)" shortcut in Stellarium's Start menu folder. If it works, you can copy it to the desktop and replace the original shortcut.
On Linux: Try starting Stellarium from a console with the following command:
On Mac OS X: Try the same solution as with Linux, though it may turn out to be necessary to specify the full path to Stellarium's executable file (the application bundle, "stellarium.app").
Stellarium running very slowly
This happens when hardware rendering is disabled. If you have a 3D video card, make sure that your OpenGL drivers are installed and up to date.
You can download up-to-date drivers for:
- nVidia cards from site: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en
- ATI/AMD cards from site: http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx
- Intel cards from site: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/default.aspx?iid=gg_support-EN_01+home_downloadctr
Mouse cursor invisible
Some users reported mouse cursor is invisible. Make sure to switch off mouse trails to avoid this problem.
High DPI screens
If you are lucky enough to have a High DPI screen (4k or similar), you may find the GUI fonts are too small. We received an anonymous hint with a solution (untested by us) that may work at least on Windows:
>here is the solution to the problem.... > >http://www.danantonielli.com/adobe-app-scaling-on-high-dpi-displays-fix/ > >I tried this on my Hi DPI machine and it works great with Stellarium 14!
Stellarium for Blackberry Playbook
Stellarium developers are not affiliated with Stellarium (Astronomy StarMap) for Blackberry Playbook OS. Please ask your question for developers from Ontario Inc. - http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/36306/?lang=en
Can I use Stellarium screenshots in my book/website/calendar etc?
If you want to use screenshots for publications, videos, presentations etc., this is fine in principle for non-profit productions if credit is given. However, some of the images and textures used by Stellarium are copyright by others, and may require separate attribution or copyright/use clarification with the original authors. There was a lengthy discussion.
The README file in the program folder contains all known credits, references and special licenses for images and data.
"There is no year 0", or "BC dates are a year out"
Stellarium 0.9.1 and later uses astronomical year numbering.
The conventional BC/AD (or BCE/CE) scheme has no year 0 because at the time of it's creation, Europeans were widely ignorant of the concept of the number zero, thus the year before 1 AD is 1 BC. This makes arithmetic awkward, and for this reason astronomers often use a different scheme, referring to AD dates as a positive integer, and re-designating 1 BC/BCE as the year 0. Thus:
|2 AD||2 CE||2|
|1 AD||1 CE||1|
|1 BC||1 BCE||0|
|2 BC||2 BCE||-1|
|3 BC||3 BCE||-2|
How can I find out which graphics card I have in my PC?
The easiest way to find your graphics card is to run the DirectX Diagnostic Tool:
- Click Start.
- On the Start menu, click Run.
- In the Open box, type "dxdiag" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.
- The DirectX Diagnostic Tool opens. Click the Display tab.
- On the Display tab, information about your graphics card is shown in the Device section. You can see the name of your card, as well as how much video memory it has.
The easiest way to find your graphics card is to run lspci tool in terminal:
lspci | grep VGA
How to create a environmental variable
- Open the Start menu and right click on Computer. Select Properties.
- Select Advanced system settings.
- In the Advanced tab, select Environment Variables.
- Select New.
- You will now be able to enter the environmental variable. Most environmental variables are given to you in the form Variable_name=Variable_value. So if you were given the environmental variable QT_ANGLE_PLATFORM=d3d9, you would enter QT_ANGLE_PLATFORM in the Variable name field and d3d9 in the Variable value field.
- Select OK. You should now see the new Environmental Variable that you created.