Stellarium is an education tools for those who enjoy astronomy. Stellarium present you the starry sky in different period of time, different locations and different directions in 3D.
It allows you to choose the view port, any location from the earth and some other planets. Press 1 and select location tab to select your location on earth. To travel to other planet in version 0.9.0, you can select the planets and hit ctrl+G.
Zoom in or out with page up/down keys or scroll your mouse leads you to have a closer look at the stars.
Controlling the time pass rate by J K and L, L is to fast forward, J is backward, where K is default rate. With time control, you able to observed sun rise and sun set at various location. Try to observed the time passes at North pole during summer period, where you can experiences twenty-four hours of daylight daily, experiences twenty-four hours of darkness daily during the winter months.
In the main menu (hitting 1), you can change your date. With that, I simulate the next coming lunar eclipse scene at 28 Aug 2007. Refers to the diagram from NASA to identify the eclipse visible location.
Besides that, I like to put stellarium as my desktop background, I can hit F1 to toggle it to window mode, and position the window so it feeds my desktop nicely. Not to forget mention that you can actually screen shot the scene by hitting ctrl+S.
A lots more you can do with stellarium, hit H to trigger the help, from there you can have more options and its usage descriptions.
Enjoy your astronomy session at home :)
[tags] eclipse, lunar, planetarium, astronomy [/tags]