Stellarium is a free open source software planetarium licensed under GNU Public License and uses OpenGL that depicts a realistic real-time 3D simulation of the night sky. This software is appropriate for all ages and anyone wanting a better understanding of the night sky and contains educational resources for PreK-12th grade.
    The purpose of Stellarium is to show a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope, making it accessible to everyone with an Internet connection. The user interface is simple and intuitive enough for children to use. It includes zoom, time control, multilingual interface, scripting to record and playback shows, fisheye projection for planetarium domes, spherical mirror projection for personal domes, graphical interface and extensive keyboard control, and telescope control.
    Stellarium works for Linux (no minimum memory requirement), Mac OS X (minimum memory requirement of 64 bit), Windows (minimum memory requirement of 32 bit), Ubuntu (no minimum memory requirement), and Beta (no minimum memory requirement). Stellarium does not work in a browser. Certain features contain plug-ins that are built into the standard Stellarium distribution and do not need to be downloaded separately.
    Realism is one of the greatest strengths of Stellarium however the earth-centric view hinders the program if someone wants to explore the rest of the galaxy. Stellarium encumbers many educational resources for educators and includes some examples of how Stellarium might be used in science teaching such as: Stellar Navigation (6th-8th grade) where students can navigate using the stars and determine latitude and compass points, Solstice and Equinox can show students to how these stellar events relate to the seasons, and World in Motion shows students how movements gives us days and years.
Science teachers should familiarize themselves with the software prior to introducing it to their students. Preparation is always the key to a successful lesson. Teachers should also look into the educational resources Stellarium makes available to help with lesson plans.