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KStars 2.9.6 (64-bit)

KStars shows the night sky, now or in the future, with plenty of information on what's out there.

by Neil Bothwick

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License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Windows 10, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8
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Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 28 May 2018
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 791
Developer: KDE
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Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/kdecommunity
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KStars 2.9.6
KStars shows the night sky, now or in the future, with plenty of information on what's out there.
KStars is a desktop planetarium that is part of the KDE desktop environment, or it can be run on any other desktop provided you have the standard KDE libraries installed.

The first time you run it, KStars asks for your location, either from a list of cities or in latitude and longitude, which you can usually get from a GPS/SatNav device or from Google Maps (right click on your location and select What's Here). With that information, it displays a map of the night sky as seen from your location at the current time.

You can choose which objects are displayed and search for specific stars or planets, right-clicking on an object gives more details and links to telescopic photographs of it. Dragging the mouse changes your angle of view, or you can select an object and have it always centred in the window. You can also change the display to show the sky at any time, future or past, and have it run a time-lapse animation of the sky, showing the movement and transit of the various objects. You can also bring up a list of the objects that will be visible tonight

This is more than a toy for the curious, KStars has the ability to control a digital telescope, even remotely over the Internet. Whether your interest in astronomy is casual or serious, or anywhere in between, KStars provides a useful, interesting and fun window on the night sky.

Please note: KStars wouldn't launch on our Windows 10 system, complaining about a missing OpenSSL SSLEAY32.DLL file. To fix this, we went to the OpenSSL wiki Binaries page, chose the indy.fulgan link , scrolled to the bottom of the page, downloaded and unzipped the latest x64 build, and copied ssleay.dll and libeay.dll to the same folder as KStars.exe. A hassle, but it fixed the problem immediately.
Verdict:

A very useful and professionally presented, yet still fun, astronomy tool.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 October 2018 Update (build 1809)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows October 2018 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a Windows 8 twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

Fall Creators Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO here will give you build 1809 which is the October 2018 Update.

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