Built-in Plugins

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Information is actual for version 0.13.0

Since version 0.10.3, Stellarium's packages include a number of plug-ins: Angle Measure, Compass Marks, Oculars, Telescope Control, Text User Interface, Satellites, Solar System Editor, Time Zone, Historical Supernovae, Quasars, Pulsars, Exoplanets and Observability analysis. All these plug-ins are "built-in" in the standard Stellarium distribution and DON'T need to be downloaded separately.


Enabling plugins


To enable a plugin:

  1. Open the Configuration dialog (press F2 or use the left tool bar button)
  2. Select the Plugins tab
  3. Select the plugin you want to enable from the list
  4. Check the Load at startup option
  5. Restart Stellarium

If the plugin has configuration options, the configuration button will be enabled when the plugin is loaded and clicking it will open the plugin's configuration window.

Data for plugins

Some plugins contain files with different data, e.g. catalogs. JSON is a typical format for those files and you can edit it's manually. Of course, each plugin has specific format of data for the own catalogs and you should read documentation for plugin before editing of it catalog.

You can read some common instructions for editing catalogs of plugins below. In this example we use catalog.json file for identification of catalog for typical plugin.

You can modify the catalog.json files manually using a text editor. If you are using Windows, it is strongly recommended to use an advanced text editor such as Notepad++ to avoid problems with end-of-line characters. (It will also color the JSON code and make it easier to read.)

Warning: Before editing your catalog.json file, make a backup copy. Leaving out the smallest detail (such as a comma or forgetting to close a curly bracket) will prevent Stellarium from starting.

The path to the directory which contains catalog.json file is something like:

  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Stellarium\modules\<Plugin name> (Windows Vista, Windows 7)
  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Stellarium\modules\<Plugin name> (Windows XP)
  • HomeDirectory/Library/Preferences/Stellarium/modules/<Plugin name> (Mac OS X)
  • ~/.stellarium/modules/<Plugin name> (Linux)

(Note that this is a hidden folder, so in order to find it you may need to change your computer's settings to display hidden files and folders.)

How you can help

We are welcome bug reports, feature requests and feedback through the usual channels (trackers, forums and so on).

Angle Measure Plugin


The Angle Measure plugin is a small tool which is used to measure the angular distance between two points on the sky. *goes misty eyed* I recall measuring the size of the Cassini Division when I was a student. It was not the high academic glamor one might expect... It was cloudy... It was rainy... The observatory lab had some old scopes set up at one end, pointing at a photograph of Saturn at the other end of the lab. We measured. We calculated. We wished we were in Hawaii. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button, or by pressing control-A. A message will appear at the bottom of the screen to tell you that the tool is active.
  2. Drag a line from the first point to the second point using the left mouse button
  3. To clear the measurement, click the right mouse button
  4. To deactivate the angle measure tool, press the tool-bar button again, or press control-A on the keyboard.

Plugin's home page


Bright Novae Plugin

The Bright Novae plugin provides visualization of some bright novae in the Milky Way galaxy.

Example (Nova Cygni 1975, also known as V1500 Cyg): NovaCygni1975wiki.jpg

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Set date and time (30 August 1975 year for Nova Cygni 1975 as example)

Plugin's home page


Compass Marks Plugin


Stellarium helps the user get their bearings using the cardinal point feature - the North, South, East and West markers on the horizon. Compass Marks takes this idea and extends it to add markings every few degrees along the horizon, and includes compass bearing values in degrees.

Using plugin

There is a tool bar button for toggling the compass markings, or you can press control-C.

Note that when you first enable compass marks, the cardinal points will be turned off. You can have both active at once, but there is a small bug which means you have to press Q two times to re-enable cardinal points after enabling the compass markings.

Plugin's home page


Text User Interface Plugin


Older versions of Stellarium used to have a little menu system which was controlled by the cursor keys. This was used primarily by planetarium system operators to change settings, run scripts and so on. In the 0.10.x series, this function vanished as we totally re-designed the user interface. This plugin re-implements the "TUI", as it was known. Full list of the commands for the TUI plugin you can read in the section TUI Commands.

Using plugin

  1. Activate the text menu using the m key
  2. Navigate the menu using the cursors keys.
  3. To edit a value, press the right cursor until the value you wish to change it highlighted with > and < marks, e.g. >3.142<. Then press the up and down cursors to change the value. You may also type in a new value with the other keys on the keyboard.

Plugin's home page


Oculars Plugin

Oculars. This places a window on the screen that corresponds to the view through a telescope or on a camera. It reads from an editable data base.


When this plug in is active a window will appear around the selected object depicting what would be seen by the viewing object. On the top right hand side of the screen a menu will appear that can be used to select the viewing device eg. Camera, Eyepiece. This menu is filled with items from the ocular.ini file in the modules\oculars folder. his file can be edited from the Plugins menu screen or by a text editor.

Telescope Control Plugin

Telescope Control. Stellarium has a simple control mechanism for motorised telescope mounts. The user selects an object (i.e. by clicking on something - a planet, a star etc.) and presses the telescope go-to key (see section []) and the telescope will be guided to the object.

Multiple telescopes may be controlled simultaneously.


The control interface uses the Meade or the Celestron protocol and most telescopes use either one or the other so many different brands of telescopes can be controlled. There is a third party Telescope control system going under the name of ASCOM. They provide an interface to stellarium and then translate the control into many other forms

Multiple telescopes may be controlled simultaneously.

WARNING: Stellarium will not prevent your telescope from being pointed at the Sun. It is up to you to ensure proper filtering and safety measures are applied!

Satellites Plugin

Satellites. This displays a number of earth orbiting satellies. automatically updated every 72 hours from the internet.


This plug in reads information on a selected range of near earth orbiting satellites from a file satellites.json that is updated every 72 hours and displays hint.png with a name. The file is editable with a text editor to change the colour and visibility when required.

Solar System Editor Plugin

This plugin provides a window to the Minor Planet Center where the latest Solar System information can be found. When this plugin is loaded you can select configure and the second window will appear where you can select the planet, asteroid or comet database. You can then download the latest orbital data from the MPC. This done you will be able to select the object you need and have it automatically added to the ssystem.ini file

Time Zone Plugin

TimeZoneConfiguration. Used to manipulate the time zone of the display.


Historical Supernovae Plugin

The Historical Supernovae plugin provides visualization of some bright historical supernovae from table below.

Supernova Maximum brightness Type Name
Date Apparent magnitude
SN 185A 7 December -6.0 Ia
SN 386A 24 April 1.5 II
SN 1006A 29 April -7.5 I
SN 1054A 3 July -6.0 II
SN 1181A 4 August -2.0 II
SN 1572A 5 November -4.0 I Tycho's Supernova
SN 1604A 8 October -2.0 I Kepler's Supernova
SN 1680A 15 August 6.0 IIb Cassiopeia A
SN 1885A 17 August 5.8 IPec S Andromedae
SN 1895B 5 July 8.0 I
SN 1920A 17 December 11.7 II
SN 1921C 11 December 11.0 I
SN 1937C 21 August 8.5 Ia
SN 1960F 21 April 11.6 Ia
SN 1960R 19 December 12.0 I
SN 1961H 8 May 11.8 Ia
SN 1962M 26 November 11.5 II
SN 1966J 2 December 11.3 I
SN 1968L 12 July 11.9 IIP
SN 1970G 30 July 11.4 IIL
SN 1971I 29 May 11.9 Ia
SN 1972E 8 May 8.4 Ia
SN 1979C 15 April 11.6 IIL
SN 1980K 31 October 11.6 IIL
SN 1981B 9 March 12.0 Ia
SN 1983N 17 July 11.4 Ib
SN 1987A 24 February 2.9 IIPec
SN 1989B 6 February 11.9 Ia
SN 1991T 26 April 11.6 IaPec
SN 1993J 30 March 10.8 IIb
SN 1994D 31 March 11.8 Ia
SN 1998bu 21 May 11.9 Ia
SN 2004dj 31 July 11.3 IIP
SN 2011fe 13 September 10.06 Ia
SN 2013aa 13 February 11.9 Ia

Example (Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler's Supernova, Kepler's Nova or Kepler's Star): sn1604wiki.jpg

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Set date and time (29 April 1006 year for SN 1006A as example)

Plugin's home page


Quasars Plugin

The Quasars plugin provides visualization of some quasars brighter than 16 visual magnitude. A catalogue of quasars compiled from "Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei" (13th Ed.) (Veron+ 2010).

Example (3C 249.1, also known as LEDA 2821945 or 4C 77.09): qso_3c_249.1.jpg

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Enable displaying of the quasars on the bottom bar (or press Control+Alt+Q for toggle plugin).
  3. Find the quasar by their designation (3C 249.1 as example)

Plugin's home page


Pulsars Plugin

This plugin plots the position of various pulsars, with object information about each one. Pulsar data is derived from Catalog of Pulsars (Taylor+ 1995) for 0.1.x series and derived from The ATNF Pulsar Catalogue (Manchester, R. N., Hobbs, G. B., Teoh, A. & Hobbs, M., Astron. J., 129, 1993-2006 (2005) (astro-ph/0412641)) for series 0.2.x.

Example (PSR J0332+5434):


Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Enable displaying of the pulsars on the bottom bar (or press Control+Alt+P for toggle plugin).
  3. Find the pulsar by their designation (PSR J0437-4715 as example)

Plugin's home page


Exoplanets Plugin

This plugin plots the position of stars with exoplanets. Exoplanets data is derived from "The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia". List of potential habitable exoplanets and data about them were taken from "The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog" by Planetary Habitability Laboratory.


Potential habitable exoplanets

Since version 0.2.0 (Stellarium 0.13.0) this plugin can display potential habitable exoplanets (orange marker) and some information about those planets - habitable class, mean surface temperature and Earth Similarity Index.

  • Habitable Class — Classifies habitable planets based on temperature: hypopsychroplanets (O or hP) = very cold (less −50°C); psychroplanets (P) = cold; mesoplanets (M) = medium-temperature (0–50°C); thermoplanets (T) = hot; hyperthermoplanets (E or hT) = very hot (above 100°C). Mesoplanets would be ideal for complex life, whereas class O or E would only support extremophilic life. Non-habitable planets are simply given the class X (or NH).
  • Mean Surface Temperature — Temperature in (K)[1] based on a similar terrestrial atmosphere to planet mass ratio and a greenhouse effect due to 1 percent of CO2 (assuming an albedo of 0.3 in all cases).
  • Earth Similarity Index (ESI) — Similarity to Earth on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the most Earth-like. ESI depends on the planet's radius, density, escape velocity, and surface temperature.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Enable displaying of the stars with exoplanets on the bottom bar (or press Control+Alt+E for toggle plugin).
  3. Find the stars with exoplanets by their designation (24 Sex as example)

Plugin's home page


Observability Analysis Plugin

Reports an analysis of source observability (rise, set, and transit times), as well as the epochs of year when the source is best observed. It assumes that a source is observable if it is above the horizon during a fraction of the night. The plugin also gives the day for largest separation from the Sun and the days of Acronychal and Cosmical rise/set.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"

Plugin's home page


Equation of Time Plugin

The Equation of Time plugin shows the solution of the equation of time.


The equation of time describes the discrepancy between two kinds of solar time. These are apparent solar time, which directly tracks the motion of the sun, and mean solar time, which tracks a fictitious "mean" sun with noons 24 hours apart. There is no universally accepted definition of the sign of the equation of time. Some publications show it as positive when a sundial is ahead of a clock; others when the clock is ahead of the sundial. In the English-speaking world, the former usage is the more common, but is not always followed. Anyone who makes use of a published table or graph should first check its sign usage.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Click on the Equation of Time button on the bottom toolbar for displaying solution for equation of time on top of the screen

Plugin's home page


Field of View Plugin

The Field of View plugin allows stepwise zooming via keyboard shortcuts like in the Cartes du Ciel[2] planetarium program.


By default Stellarium uses smooth zooming via mouse wheel or keyboard shortcuts. Some users want stepwise zooming to fixed values for field of view like in Cartes du Ciel planetarium, and this plugin provides this feature. You can edit values and use the keyboard for quick-setting of FOV. All values in degrees.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Press shortkeys for quick changes of FOV

Plugin's home page


Navigational Stars Plugin

The Navigational Stars plugin marks the 58 navigational stars of the 2102-D Rude Star Finder[3], also tabulated in the Nautical Almanac[4].


Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Click on the Navigational Stars button on the bottom toolbar for displaying markers of navigational stars

Plugin's home page


Meteor Showers Plugin

This plugin displays meteor showers and a marker for each active and inactive radiant, showing real information about its activity.

Example (Leonids 1833):



Meteor shower

A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories. Most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all of them disintegrate and never hit the Earth's surface. Intense or unusual meteor showers are known as meteor outbursts and meteor storms, which may produce greater than 1,000 meteors an hour.


The radiant or apparent radiant of a meteor shower is the point in the sky, from which (to a planetary observer) meteors appear to originate. The Perseids, for example, are meteors which appear to come from a point within the constellation of Perseus.

An observer might see such a meteor anywhere in the sky but the direction of motion, when traced back, will point to the radiant. A meteor that does not point back to the known radiant for a given shower is known as a sporadic and is not considered part of that shower.

Many showers have a radiant point that changes position during the interval when it appears. For example, the radiant point for the Delta Aurigids drifts by more than a degree per night.

Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR)

In astronomy, the Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of a meteor shower is the number of meteors a single observer would see in one hour under a clear, dark sky (limiting apparent magnitude of 6.5) if the radiant of the shower were at the zenith. The rate that can effectively be seen is nearly always lower and decreases the closer the radiant is to the horizon.

Population index

The population index indicates the magnitude distribution of the meteor showers. The values below 2.5 correspond to distributions where bright meteors are more frequent than average, while values above 3.0 mean that the share of faint meteors is larger than usual.

Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Click on the Meteor Showers button on the bottom toolbar for displaying meteor showers markers and activity

Plugin's home page


Pointer Coordinates Plugin

The Pointer Coordinates plugin shows the coordinates of the mouse pointer.


Using plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Click on the plugin button on the bottom toolbar for displaying the coordinates of the mouse pointer

Plugin's home page



  1. Stellarium re-calculate temperature in (°C).
  2. Official website of SkyChart / Cartes du Ciel planetarium.
  3. Rude Starfinder 2102-D description and usage instruction
  4. The Nautical Almanac website
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