11 Best Free Linux Astronomy Apps (Updated 2021)

Astronomy is a branch of science that deals with the study of celestial objects (including stars, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteor showers, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and other phenomena.

We were introduced to the world of astronomy by the venerable Sir Patrick Moore. For anyone who does not know, Sir Patrick was an amateur astronomer who presented The Sky at Night, the longest-running television programme, for over 54 years, and made an outstanding contribution to astronomy.

Astronomy is particularly well suited to the layperson. It’s a wonderful hobby which has almost no age limits, it is open to individuals of all financial means, and there is always the potential for an amateur to discover something that has eluded professional astronomers, or to help monitor stars and track asteroids. Even with the unaided eye, there is much to study in the night sky including constellations, shooting stars, planets, and of course the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite.

There is a wide variety of free astronomy software available for Linux that offer real benefits to astronomy enthusiasts. This category of software lets you map the night sky, plan detailed observations, control telescopes, present star charts, offer observing logs, and much more.

This article focuses on selecting the best free astronomy software available for Linux. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to study the sky. Here’s our recommendations.

Best Free and Open Source Astronomy Software

Let’s explore the 11 astronomy applications at hand. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Astronomy Software
Celestia Real-time space simulation
Stellarium A virtual planetarium
AstroImageJ Powerful tool for astronomical image analysis and precise photometry
Skychart Prepare different sky maps for a particular observation
KStars Desktop planetarium for KDE
OpenSpace Interactive data visualization software
ORSA Framework for celestial mechanics investigations
Virtual Moon Atlas Real-time moon observation
Digital Universe Atlas Standalone 4-dimensional space visualization application
PreviSat Satellite tracking software for observing purposes
mars-sim General purpose simulator

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