Aciqra : Open Source Planetarium


Aciqra (Version: 2.2 tested) is an open source planetarium software. It is one of the more complete ones available. It features star catalogs and NGC and IC catalogs that include millions of stars and 1000s of deep sky objects such as galaxies. It offers corrections for atmospheric refraction and other enhancements to be as accurate as possible in tracking stars and other objects. It also provides extra information on objects such as asteroid and comets and events such as eclipses.

The interface of the program is not the best but it does try to stay true to the claim that it is made to be efficient. The color and contrast of the buttons is the first issue when using Aciqra. They almost mix into the sky image behind them.

The bottom of the program from left to right features the buttons to exit, correct for refraction, track for earth’s rotation, toggle night vision mode (red color) and toggle current view information (universal time, location, field of view, right ascension, declination, azimuth and altitude).


The right hand side features the time control (view the sky in the past and future), label data which lets the user view very useful information on the objects in the sky like  magnitude brightness,  color (star temperature indicator), common name, scientific name and size. Object labels highlights constellations, stars, solar system and deep space objects. Further up the right hand side are toggles for the visibility of stars, deep sky objects, solar system objects and ground level.

The program opens with a DOS window where it takes longer than one would expect to load the objects and other information. Also upon first install it opens with its configuration settings text file where default user location, font and many other settings can be viewed and edited. It has some of the mouse and keyboard controls to navigate and move within the sky but the scroll wheel does not zoom in and out as I expected. Aciqra includes an option to save the current sky view as an image. It is available for Linux as well.


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