Can I force the stars to twinkle with no atmosphere?

Asked by Mario Di Maggio on 2016-07-24


I operate a portable planetarium business and for a long time I have been using Stellarium 0.9.1 (because spherical mirror projection worked well with a MacBook).

This week I upgraded to Stellarium 0.14.3 and it looks FANTASTIC. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen.

I would like to know please if I can keep the stars twinkling even when the atmosphere is turned off (as I used to do with ver. 0.9.1)?

I know a perfectly black sky is not realistic, but that is what I prefer to show in the planetarium (because I believe for education the 'feel' of the starry sky is more important than the 'view' of the starry sky).

So I'm wondering if in this new version it's possible to keep twinkling on all the time?

Thanks very much


Question information

English Edit question
Stellarium Edit question
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Mario Di Maggio
Last query:
Last reply:
Alexander Wolf (alexwolf) said : #1

It's not possible without editing source code. Current behaviour exists since version 0.10.3 IMHO.

Mario Di Maggio (domeclub) said : #2

This is a pity, as it means we cannot show people what a truly dark sky feels like.

Is it possible to create a light pollution level of total and absolute zero perhaps, to achieve the same effect?

Alexander Wolf (alexwolf) said : #3

You can set light pollution to zero to get dark sky.

Mario Di Maggio (domeclub) said : #4

Thanks. I think I have tried that, but the result is not a completely pitch black sky, is it? ie. it is still much brighter than the sky with atmosphere off, isn't that correct?

gzotti (georg-zotti) said : #5

If Zodiacal light disturbs you, you can switch it off. But Zodiacal light can be seen when it is otherwise dark enough. There is no pitch-black sky in nature (except under clouds...)
Set light pollution to zero, set atmospheric extinction to completely unnatural 0, this may put you where you want it. But there is always some extinction and background light (airglow etc.) when you observe below the atmosphere. You can demonstrate what it would feel like on the moon by switching atmosphere off: no airglow, no extinction, no twinkle.

Mario Di Maggio (domeclub) said : #6

That's great, thank you for all your advice guys.

Fortunately my main projector has excellent black levels / contrast ratio - but you must remember not all planetarium projectors can achieve good black levels. So having a Stellarium option where there is absolutely no air glow - yet with twinkling stars - would be appreciated by many small planetarium managers.

Thanks again and regards, Mario