Stellarium, a free planetarium software, is the perfect tool for teaching an eclipse. Teachers can simulate a sky from any location at any time. As our school system prepares for the total solar eclipse, we are using Stellarium to show students what they should expect to see outside. Students will be able to understand just how dark it will be and will know how to spot planets that become visible. It (along with NASA TV) also provide a fallback plan in case of cloudy weather.
Deploying Stellarium with Group Policy or SCCM
- Download the appropriate EXE from here http://www.stellarium.org/ and store it on a software share.
- For Group Policy deployment, you will need to either convert the EXE to an MSI or use a startup/shutdown script.
- For SCCM, deploy it as a custom application.
In both cases, the silent installation command is:
stellarium-0.16.0-win64.exe /VERYSILENT /SUPPRESSMSGBOXES /NORESTART /SP-
This command was found by using USSF. Stellarium deploys perfectly for both user and computer installations.
Configuring and Teaching Stellarium
Stellarium should use GPS to find the current computer location. If you wish to set a default location, you can do so by deploying two files with Group Policy Preferences. These files can be found at:
Start Stellarium and configure your default location by pressing F6. Set the following:
- Name/City value
- Enable daylight saving time
- Check Use Current location as default
- Press Add to list
After doing those steps, you can deploy the two files from above. The user_locations file will contain your custom location. The config.ini file will contain the default location to display when Stellarium is first opened. It will also contain all other changes that you make to the UI. One useful setting is found under Sky/View (F4). It is named Show planet orbits .
Here is the user guide that our teachers have been given: How to use Stellarium in your classroom.docx. In the document, you may need to change the eclipse time. You can find date and times by using this website.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know!