Celestia is an amazing simulation that allows users to navigate through space in their quest to visit other planets, stars, galaxies, and other celestial objects.

Get an up close and personal view of the solar system as well as explore hundreds of stars.

This program gives you the feeling of really touring around the universe.

Budding astronomers will find it fascinating.

When this program is launched, the user sees an image of the earth positioned as it would appear from space at the current time. The user is then free to "launch" the spacecraft and navigate toward other planets or celestial objects. Spacecraft speed and direction is controlled by the user. As well as flying at the speeds of a real spacecraft, the user can also travel faster than the speed of light if needed to get to an object in a short period of time. A real-time clock is running, so planetary objects can be seen to move across the screen as they orbit their home planet.

The quality of planetary graphics is very good, based on the latest photographs taken by real satellites and sent back to Earth.

Imagine being able to take control of your own "hyperdrive" spacecraft and fly to any part of our amazing universe you wish, at any time in history. Visualize looking out your ship window at a vista of galaxies, stars, nebula, black holes, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and spacecraft. Envision the excitement of not only seeing but also hearing your ship's sounds and many of the environmental sounds present at places you visit.

Then, consider being provided a comprehensive and detailed written Astronomy lesson on what you were seeing and hearing! Along with free exploration of space, scripts that provide journeys designed by educators to focus on certain aspects of exploration (e.g., comets, inner planets, etc.) can be used. These scripts can also be found on the motherlode site. Many of the scripts include printable handouts with activities. Teachers and students can also create their own scripts and projects to share, making Celestia a powerful free open source tool for collaborative work with peers.