Solar System Objects
Solar System objects are defined in the ssystem.ini file in the data directory. It can be extended to contain comets and asteroids. Here are a few extended ssystem.ini files which you can use. If you want just some of the bodies from one file and some from another, you will have to copy and paste the relevant sections of the various files together into your own ssystem.ini file.
Future versions of Stellarium will contain some sort of method to manage groups of extra bodies, but for now it is manual.
|Hendrik's Comet List||here||2008-02-16||This file contains a lot of the brighter comets.|
|Hendrik's Great Comet List||here||2008-02-17||This file contains a bunch more comets, including multiple fragments of Shoemaker-Levy 9.|
|Selected asteroids||here||2008-02-17 (corrected)||Some bright and/or large asteroids.|
|Complete MPC List||here||2008-07-01 (updated monthly)||MINOR PLANET CENTER ORBIT DATABASE (MPCORB). This file contains published orbital elements for all numbered and unnumbered multi-opposition minor planets for which it is possible to make reasonable predictions. (See the note bellow)|
- ssystem.ini structure: Your ssystem.ini file must contain all bodies referenced as parent bodies of objects in your ssystem.ini file - you can't say that the moon is in orbit around Earth, and then not have an Earth body - Stellarium will crash if you do this.
- the MPC list: The current version of Stellarium is not designed to handle the complete list of objects by the Minor Planet Center. So please use this file to copy-paste your preferred objects into your own ssystem.ini file. This list is (automatically) updated regularly to reflect the quickly growing number of known dwarf planets and other small bodies of the solar system. Currently, the (unpacked) file is 140 MB (and growing), so make sure you have an editor which can handle files that large ;-)
This section contains code describing some often requested individual objects.
Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin)
Source: This code has been created by hendrik_d, based on comet ephemerides by the IAU Minor Planet Center, and posted on the Feedback forum on 2009-01-13. The orbital elements may be slightly out of date.
[C\2007 N3 Lulin] name = C/2007 N3 Lulin parent = Sun radius = 10 oblateness = 0.0 halo = false color = 1.0,1.0,1.0 tex_halo = star16x16.png tex_map = nomap.png coord_func = comet_orbit orbit_TimeAtPericenter = 2454842.1414 orbit_PericenterDistance = 1.212289 orbit_Eccentricity = 0.999987 orbit_ArgOfPericenter = 136.8614 orbit_AscendingNode = 338.5353 orbit_Inclination = 178.3730 lighting = false albedo = 1 orbit_visualization_period = 10401394706.0
(This is code for Stellarium 0.10.0 and 0.10.1. For version 0.9.1, replace orbit_visualization_period with sidereal_period.)
International Space Station
After version 0.10.3, Stellarium comes with the Satellites plugin which shows the positions of a number of artificial objects in Earth orbit, including the International Space Station.
For previous versions of Stellarium the ISS can be added as a Solar System object. This is strictly a workaround - Stellarium's orbital mechanics module is not designed specifically for satellite tracking. Satellites are small, (relatively) fast, and their orbits are influenced by a lot of factors and change over time, so orbit data should be updated periodically. The Satellites plugin downloads TLE lists from a website, but using the ssystem.ini to add satellites requires manual updates.
This forum thread contains a discussion on how to add the ISS to ssystem.ini:
- Feedback forum - Tracking the ISS (when copying code from the forum make sure to strip the spaces in the end of all lines)
- the User's Guide
- JPL HORIZONS
- JPL/Horizons Parser for Stellarium, an on-line JavaSrcipt-based parser by Andreas Steinel that can use data for an solar system object from the JPL Horizons database to create an entry suitable for Stellarium's ssystem.ini.
- Small Bodies in Stellarium, a blog post describing how to add asteroids and comets to ssystem.ini using data from the NASA JPL Solar System Dynamics website