Nightshade is open source astronomy simulation & visualization software. This is useful for teaching & exploring – astronomy, Earth science, & other related topics. Nightshade development split from Stellarium & focussed on planetarium and educator use.

Nightshade Preview
Solar System as Seen in Nightshade


Current Release: Nightshade 11. Nightshade 12 is in progress.

Nightshade 12 – is a complete rewrite which will support adopting the open simulation industry standards.

Nightshade-12-PR2: expected by end of Mar’13.

Nightshade-12-PR3: expected by Mid of May’13.


Supported Platforms: – Linux, Windows (XP and newer), OSX (Intel)

System Requirements: –

Memory: 1GB minimum, 2GB recommended

Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent recommended

Graphics: Up to date video drivers and Nvidia, ATI, or Intel graphic chipsets. Intel chipset must be GMA X3000 or later.

Download Nightshade here.

Overview of Nightshade:

Nightshade uses StratoScript™ language developed and maintained by Digitalis. Users of Nightshade enjoy the solar system view with features like:

Visiting far-off moons,

Zooming in on planetary features,

Tracing orbits and trails, for example.

Constellations from many different cultures are included, and the software is internationalized to support more than 40 different languages.

Important features:

  • Easy to use
  • Keystrokes are mostly compatible with Stellarium
  • Highly configurable
  • Unmatched starfield realism and configurability
  • Supports ~70 languages, including right-to-left and cursive languages like Arabic
  • Support for daylight savings and all world time zones (Linux)
  • Show moon or other body orbit visualizations
  • Explore a planet from above
  • Zoom to a location below the zenith for easier viewing in a dome
  • Support for distortion correction when the projector must be placed off-center
  • Load solar system objects (such as natural or artificial satellites, asteroids, comets, etc.) from a script
  • Play videos from a script (vendor specific)
  • Integration with media display/distortion correction software (vendor specific)
  • Lens distortion correction capabilities

Nightshade scripting function enables to create prerecorded segments and even entire planetarium shows, (including image manipulation, video, and audio support).  More information can be found at Nightshade’s Official Website.



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