Refraction and extinction support in Stellarium (+ a test build for Windows)

Thanks to Georg Zotti and our Fabien Chéreau, Stellarium now can model atmospheric refraction and extinction. This means that objects in the sky won’t appear where they would appear if the Earth didn’t have an atmosphere and that the Moon will get distorted when it sets. 🙂

I’ve uploaded a Windows installer of a test build to the usual place:
Look for stellarium-bzr4896-win32.exe (or any package with a greater version number).

Now in the “Sky and viewing options window” there’s a small sub-window for setting the temperature, the atmospheric pressure and the extinction coefficient. The information field in the upper right corner has been updated to show two values for some of the coordinates: one for the “geometric”, unaffected by refraction value, and the other for the apparent value. The refraction effect is automatically turned off when the atmosphere is turned off.

Other things that happened meanwhile:

  • A slight re-design of the Search window. Now it has two tabs, one for object search and one for entering coordinates directly. There’s also a “keyboard” for entering Greek letters for Bayer designations. (The old way of doing it by entering the letters’ names still works.) The end result looks awkward to me, but it was even worse before I did some improvements. 🙂
  • Thanks to Alexander Wolf, now the markers used for the “nebulae” (that is, all the “deep-sky” objects) reflect their type, so it can be determined at a glance, without clicking on the object.
  • Again thanks to Alexander Wolf, there are a few more planetary satellites buzzing around. 🙂 As they use a simple elliptical orbital model, I guess that the data is going to age quickly. There are some new textures, “stolen” from Celestia, but have in mind that some of them contain terrain that has been made up to fill the gaps.

(And if you find this text incoherent, you should have seen the first draft…)

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