This evening a cold front is making its way across central Oklahoma, and we are witnesses to a grand display of lightning off to the east. My wife and I haven’t sat outside and watched a lightning storm together in a LONG time– in part because in our last house, we didn’t have a front porch and the view of the sky from our back porch was almost completely obscured by trees. (I know, when you think of Lubbock, Texas, you don’t typically think “view of the sky obscured by trees,” but that WAS the case.)

This evening we’ve been sitting on the back porch watching the lightning, and remarking how bright several of the stars look. I felt pretty sure the red star we were seeing almost right overhead is Mars, and so I turned to Stellarium (a free, open source and multi-platform star map/planetarium program) to check.

Stellarium screenshot looking SE from Edmond, OK

Sure enough, we’re looking at Mars! Wow it looks red tonight! Combined with the lightning to the east, it makes for quite a show.

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On this day..

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3 Responses to Fun with Stellarium: Yes that IS Mars!

  1. Have you seen Celestia?

    http://www.shatters.net/celestia/

    Here is a bit of a comparison, for what it’s worth.

    I learned about Celestia about five years ago when I worked for the NASA Deep Space Laboratory.

  2. Trina says:

    Neat! I’ve been seeing a really bright star early every morning and I’m not entirely sure what it is–I’ll have to check this out to confirm my guess.

  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    Gary: I hadn’t heard of Celestia– it looks great too! I like that it’s not just limited to earth views / views from earth. I am downloading it now and will check it out! Thanks for sharing the link.

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