Celestia 1.5.0 is ready

Description: General discussion about Celestia that doesn't fit into other forums.

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#1by chris » 26.01.2008, 18:41

After nearly two years of development, the next major version of Celestia is finally ready. You can download the Mac OS X package, Windows package, and source tarball from SourceForge now:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfile ... p_id=21302

The Celestia web site will be updated soon. Thanks to all the developers, test volunteers, and translators who contributed to this release. A huge amount of effort has gone into Celestia 1.5.0.

Here's a summary of the new features of version 1.5.0:

Improved rendering:
- Support for specular textures an normal maps for meshes
- Display of eclipse shadows cast onto meshes
- Per-pixel specular lighting for higher-quality specular highlights, i.e. fewer tessellation artifacts. This is especially noticeable with low polygon models with specular materials.
- Normal maps and specular materials can now be applied at the same time, for 'bumpy-shiny' effects
- Simulated scattering, for much more realistic rendering of planetary atmospheres.
- Lunar-Lambert photometric model for more realistic rendering of dust covered bodies such as the moon.
- Support for compressed normal maps; eliminates the need to use huge amounts of texture memory for high quality normal maps.

* Flexible reference frames
- Celestia now supports flexible reference frames for specifying object trajectories and orientations. This makes it easier to import new objects into Celestia that have orbits defined in some reference frame other than the default ones enforced in 1.4.1.
- New reference frames:
- J2000Ecliptic: defined by the ecliptic and equinox of J2000.0. This
is the default for objects orbiting stars. It may now be specified for
other objects as well.
- J2000Equator: defined by the Earth equator and ecliptic of J2000.0.
- MeanEquator: reference frame defined by the equator of some arbitrary
object. This was previously the default and only reference frame available
for solar system bodies that didn't directly orbit stars.
- BodyFixed: a reference frame that rotates with smoe specified object
- TwoVector: a flexible system for defining reference frames based on two
vectors, either a constant vector, object-to-object direction, or
velocity vector. Useful for local attitude frames (among other things.)
- Separate reference frames may be defined for the position and orientation
of an object. As an example, it may be useful to specify the trajectory of
an Earth-orbiting satellite in an Earth equatorial frame while its attitude
is specified in an LVLH frame.
- A new solar system object called a ReferencePoint is available. This is
useful for defining the origin of a reference frame that doesn't happen
to lie at the center of a planet, moon, or spacecraft.

* New trajectory types:
- FixedPosition: For placing an object at a fixed point within its reference
- ScriptedOrbit: Allows the position of an object to be controlled by a Lua
- SampledTrajectory: A more flexible version of SampledOrbit, with the option
to specify single or double precision and cubic or linear interpolation.

* New rotation models:
- In previous versions of Celestia, all objects rotated uniformly about a
single axis (with optional precession about the z-axis.) Celestia 1.5.0
introduces the concept of a generic rotation model, which is some function
that specifies the orientation of an object over time.
- Rotation models available in Celestia 1.5.0:
- FixedRotation: For an object with an orientation that remains fixed
within its reference frame. This was a notable omission in older version
of Celestia.
- UniformRotation: Describes a rotation of a constant rate about a fixed
- PrecessingRotation: UniformRotation plus a precession rate.
- SampledOrientation: Analagous to SampledOrbit for position.
SampledOrientation specifies a file of time tagged quaternions which
are interpolated to give the orientation of an object.
- ScriptedRotation: Allows the orientation of an object to be controlled
by a Lua script.

* Galaxies:
- Catalog improvements:
- Included the complete local group of galaxies.
- Updated catalog so that nearly 100% of galaxies now have distances.
- Added support for custom galaxy templates; created a custom Milky Way
template with all known galactic arms.
- Improved appearance of Milky Way as seen from Earth.
- Accelerated loading of large catalog files by using an improve name index
(measured over 100x performance increase for 100k+ object catalogs)
- Implemented distance-based fading of labels.

* Data file updates:
- Extrasolar planets: added about 50 recently discovered extrasolar planets,
and revised orbits of known ones based on new data.
- Solar System: Added newly discovered outer planet satellites and names
- Locations: Added new IAU names for features on planets, moons, and asteroids.
- Near stars: Updated near star catalog with latest data from RECONS
- Binary stars: Updated the binary orbit data in visual and spectroscopic binary
catalogs, and included scripts that document the extraction of information
in scientific data sets for use in Celestia star catalogs.
- A new set of higher resolution textures was added for the Moon and several
satellites of Saturn.

* CELX Scripting improvements:
- OpenGL drawing commands allow scripts to display custom graphics on screen.
- ScriptedOrbits and ScriptedRotations provide hooks for objects to be
positioned and oriented with scripts.
- The Lua hook mechanism gives CELX scripts the ability to handle mouse,
keyboard, and tick events.
- Many other CELX functions to enable scripts to accomplish much of what
used to be possible only by modifying the Celestia source code.
- Scripts may now be loaded quickly from the new Scripts menu.
- Updated CELX interpreter from Lua 5.0 to Lua 5.1

* Accuracy
- Established Barycentric Dynamical Time (TDB) as the time scale used
internally by Celestia.
- Established the origin of Celestia's coordinate system as the Solar System
Barycenter and the reference frame as J2000 ecliptical.
- Fixed support for JPL ephemerides. It is now posible to use the JPL
DE405 and DE406 ephemerides whenever extremely accurate positions for
the Moon and planets are required.
- Added an orbit for the Sun around the solar system barycenter

* SPICE support:
Celestia can now use extremely accurate planet orbits and spacecraft
trajectories available in SPICE SPK files from JPL.

* Orbit rendering
- Orbits are now properly depth sorted with respect to other solar system
objects. They are no longer improperly drawn in front of objects that they
are behind, and vice versa.
- The jittering of orbit paths viewed at close distances has been reduced
- Cubic splines are used to reduce the appearance of sharp angles in between
orbit segments. This also has the effect of placing the rendered orbit path
much closer to the the actual orbit path.
- Star orbit paths are now shown, and may be toggled on and off indepently
of the orbits for other objects.

* Translation:
- Windows version finally supports multiple languages
- New translations: Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Chinese, Korean,
- All other languages updated
- Added translations for constellations names.

* Miscellaneous
- Added dynamic star labeling
- Added support for labeled markers and new marker symbols
- Enhanced InfoURLs so that they can refer to local files.
- Added the capability to show reference vectors for objects, including
frame axes, body axes, velocity vector, and sun direction.
- Made label and line colors customizable via script.
- Bound Shift+K and Shift+L to reduce or increase the time rate by a
factor of 2.

* Annoying bugs fixed:
- Fixed the video recording rate on Windows
- Bad calculation of specular exponent when loading 3DS models. This caused
models with specular materials to look very different in Celestia than they
did in 3D modeling software.
- Fixed precision problems that caused location labels to disappear and
jitter at close range.
- Implemented more robust handling of script errors so that they don't
cause Celestia to crash.
- Allow scripts to run before the first frame is rendered so that they can
set the starting observer position.
- Switched to double precision for rotation and precession periods; among
other things, this keeps synchronous rotators from drifting out of sync.
- Implemented adaptive tesselation for comet tails based on their size on
screen. This makes comet tails appear smooth when seen up close.
- Clamped the simulation time to prevent going too far into the past or future.
- Fixed the cmod loader to work properly on 64-bit systems. A nasty bug was
preventing 64-bit Linux versions of Celestia from displaying spacecraft.
- Fixed problems with the displayed time rate getting out of sync with the
actual time rate.


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#2by Fightspit » 26.01.2008, 20:20

Hey :!: Thanks chris :!:

Now, the next step is the 1.5.1 :wink:
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HDD: Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10000 rpm
OS: Windows Vista Business 32 bits

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#3by cartrite » 26.01.2008, 21:01

Thank's Chris, :D
HOORAY for the day!!!!!!!
A great milestone.

I can't wait for the upcoming SVN adventure. I had a SVN client installed on Windows for quite a while now. Tortoise SVN. So....... But my Linux OS only has a command line SVN client. So this will be fun :wink: setting up. 8O
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Re: Celestia 1.5.0 is ready

#4by rthorvald » 26.01.2008, 21:23

After nearly two years of development, the next major version of Celestia is finally ready

Wow, finally! Thanks everyone, and congrats!

- rthorvald

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#5by Brendan » 27.01.2008, 00:39

Wow, what a gift for my birthday today! 8O :o :lol:
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#6by Reiko » 27.01.2008, 03:26

Hooray and thank you! :D

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#7by Guckytos » 27.01.2008, 09:17


now my planning for the rest of the weekend is shot to hell as I have to try everything out :wink: :wink:

And: Happy Birthday, Brendan!!!!

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#8by BlindedByTheLight » 27.01.2008, 09:58

my wife hates you

Steven Binder, Mac OS X 10.4.10

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#9by bh » 27.01.2008, 12:01

Cripes! Thanks Chris... superb effort.

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#10by Boux » 27.01.2008, 15:57

Congratulations Chris and devs and thanks for the great work.
Been away for some time but I guess I am going to spend again too much time with Celestia.
And yes, my wife too is going to hate you again :lol:
Intel core i7 3770 Ivy Bridge @ 4.4 GHz -16 GB ram - 128 GB SSD cache - AMD Radeon 7970 3 GB o'clocked - Windows 7 64 Ultimate / Linux Kubuntu

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#11by Cham » 27.01.2008, 16:10

BlindedByTheLight wrote:my wife hates you

Your wife loves me ! :lol:
"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin", thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

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#12by LordFerret » 28.01.2008, 08:05

Many thanks to you Chris and all of the developers! :D

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#13by NIGHTCAST2000 » 28.01.2008, 14:51

This is fantastic news!!!
I would like to thank Chris and everybody else who made this happen.

I myself is waiting for the repository to be switched over to SVN.

I'm personally using KDESVN with my Linux distribution(Kubuntu Hardy Heron Alpha 3)

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#14by BobHegwood » 28.01.2008, 14:58

Just thought I'd mention that I VERY MUCH like the ability to assign
selected star textures within the celestia.cfg file. This feature alone
was worth the wait, so I'll add my THANKS here also. :D
Brain-Dead Geezer Bob is now using...
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Nvidia nForce 630i, 1680x1050 screen, Latest SVN

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#15by Jugalator » 31.01.2008, 15:15

Great work by everyone involved in this project! :D

I've just quickly tried out the release and the number of new features and small touches alike is actually a bit overwhelming. It's also great that science has progressed nicely during the development of this release so that we have a much needed update even when just speaking about the data files.

So a big thanks to the team behind this one!

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#16by SEBTRIP » 01.02.2008, 04:10

In the names of all my flatmates and all my friends, Thank you SO much for all this! This is an amazing freeware!!! AND FREE!!! I will as soon as I have a bit of resources donate for this incredible work! This should defenetly give a step of conscience to all that will visit this galaxy from this point of vue! So much observation to be done!!! I had found Celestia 1.4.1 last week, and we've just spend the last 72 hours visiting our galaxy, discovering the relativly time speed and relative size of all, it's a change in our way to see our lives! Thanks SO SO much!!! I have trashed the 1.4.1 version to download the 1.5.0 it looks so great, I am discovering the addons, such great work for that too, wouah, very impressing...
Thank you again, I am telling everyone about this, and once they know, they tell everyone else!
C'est quand la colère s'ennuit que nous sommes au paradis...

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#17by bh » 01.02.2008, 07:30

Hey SEBTRIP... it's fantastic isn't it?... welcome, and have fun!

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#18by Psykotik » 01.02.2008, 07:57

Definitely great news.

Hope linux release will follow quickly ! :P

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#19by SEBTRIP » 01.02.2008, 16:10

Aie, caramba! Yes bh, this is fantastic! Now I have my first probably annoying comment :lol: , I have trashed version 1.4.1 to get the new version, and only after I read the bugs of this version, I realize I should have probably wait before doing the switch, wait until all the corrections are done, but I can't find the 1.4.1 anymore! So I can't go back to the older version! I'd like to get it back to be able to run the addons properly, especially the educational ones, what should I do?

Thanks so much again!
C'est quand la colère s'ennuit que nous sommes au paradis...

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#20by Christophe » 01.02.2008, 16:46

Thanks for your enthusiasm Sebtrip. One correction though, Celestia is free software not freeware, that's an important distinction to make.

Previous versions are available from the SF download page.

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