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Alien Skies

Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Selecting Alpha Centauri
Full-size view of Stars in the NeighborHood, Viewing Cube, with Alpha Centauri selected as the "Focus" star.

Select a Star

In order to see the night skies from another star system, first you need to select that other star system. After ensuring that your mouse cursor is in "Star Data" mode, click on the desired star. In this example, we have clicked on Alpha Centauri, just below our own sun. The green, "Focus" marker shows that we have selected the star.

With over ten thousand stars near our own, this software provides nearly two million Alien Sky views. To make these views more complete, many stars beyond our galactic vicinity have been included in the software.

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Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Orion as seen from Alpha Centauri
Full-size view of Stars in the NeighborHood, Sky Map closeup, Alien Skies mode, with the view of Orion as seen from Alpha Centauri.

View a Portion of the Sky

From Hood Tools, select "Sky Map," click to checkmark "Show Alien Skies," then click on the desired portion of the Sky Map. In this example, we have selected the direction of Orion. As you can see, the constellation looks much as it does from Earth. The "sword" stars seem to have been rearranged, as do the stars at the head of the Great Hunter. In addition, we see a "new" star in the constellation, just off the shoulder of Orion, near Betelgeuse. What is this new star? It happens to be the "Dog Star," Sirius, moved up from Canis Major.

The farther you move from Sol (and Earth), the more distorted or completely unrecognizeable, the constellations become. In some cases, new stars are added. In other cases, stars are missing, because your new viewpoint has passed them, leaving them behind you as you face what is left of the constellation.

Below is a view from beyond the Pleiades star cluster, looking across those "Seven Sisters" back toward our own sun (the yellow marker).

Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space
Stars in the NeighborHood: Beyond the Pleiades, looking back toward Sol
Full-size view of Stars in the NeighborHood software, Viewing Cube on the left, Viewing Cube controls, and Alien Skies, Sky Map closeup of the Pleiades with our sun (invisible to the naked eye) in the distant background.
 
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