In my recent wanderings around  the web I stumbled across a space simulator that renders stunningly beautiful vistas and detailed star systems. In the past I’ve loved space simulators like Celestia and  I’m wowed by the level of detail with Outerra. If you were to combine the two you come up with a program like Space Engine. Like Celestia it can render planets, stars, galaxies, moons, and a whole range of space objects. Like Outerra it can render planet surfaces and atmospheres, but not quite to the fine scale as Outerra.

Space Engine poster

The program uses a procedural method to generate solar systems to include the number of stars ( most solar systems have more than one star!), the type of stars, planets and their orbits, and asteroids.

The majority of stars in the galaxy are red dwarfs and their planets tend to cluster close to the star. This causes the planets to become tidally locked so that one face always faces the star. This is similar to our moon which has the same face pointing towards earth.

The twilight zone is green

Some worlds are blazing hot on one side and freezing cold on the backside. Perhaps in the twilight areas life is possible?

Tidally locked ocean world - front

Large, subsolar hurricanes could form,

Double star tango

In multi star systems each star could hve its own collection of planets.

Dual water worlds

Dual waterworlds.

Covering the bullseye

An eclipse.

Big blue is on the horizon

Gas giant moons could have an atmosphere and possibly harbor life.

A pretty blue sky

Planets and alien skies can be beautiful.

The Gogolita planet!
A large moon hovers above