Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, Vol 1, No 1 (2015)

Exploring Skyscape in Stellarium

Daniel Brown

Abstract


Exploring and engaging with the skyscape is an important method for developing meaning in the context of archaeoastronomical findings. In some cases the appearance of the sky needs to be simulated to reproduce conditions as they would have been experienced during the time period of interest. To achieve this goal planetarium software such as Stellarium has been used in the past. This paper will describe the context into which work with Stellarium has to be set to ensure a full skyscape experience. The precision of the sky simulated using Stellarium is shown to be as good as one degree for time periods dating back as far as 4000 BC. Most importantly, the paper also illustrates the opportunities photorealistic panorama imported into Stellarium have in conveying realism and also allowing for a fuller experience of temporal rhythms that enforce the skyscape experience. Finally, we conclude that Stellarium offers an ideal environment to develop skyscapes beyond the usual factual and representative dimension towards an artistic tool to convey mood and capture emotion.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsa.v1i1.26956

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