November 2022 – WinStars 3

3d landscapes and photogrammetry

And now, here are some 3D landscapes ! For the moment, this new feature is very experimental. The program only displays a single object (a mesh) containing all the elements of a landscape (vegetation, constructions etc…). These 3D objects have been obtained by photogrammetry, a technique that consists in shooting a scene from a multitude of points of view in order to reconstruct it in volume.

The solar radio telescope element in WinStars.
You can see the complexity of the mesh by activating the 3D/wireframe mode option.

But this solution is not optimal. The details of the landscapes are still too approximate in some cases and the files are far too heavy. I will use later the tessellation technique to improve the quality of the rendering and the size of the modules.

Resuming the development of W3, exoplanets and Artemis 1 mission

After several months of interruption, the development of WinStars is slowly resuming. Among the latest features, we can mention the integration of all known exoplanets that can be easily located from the planetarium mode.

Since the first discoveries of Aleksander Wolszczan and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz in the 90’s, thousands of exoplanets are now referenced in the catalogs. The space missions Corot, Kepler and Tess have largely contributed to the explosion of their number these last years and the James Webb space telescope is also used to observe them directly. We can mention the example of HIP 65426 b and the first image of an exoplanet obtained in the mid-infrared. It is a very young giant exoplanet, about 15 million years old, located at 90 astronomical units from its star. With an estimated mass of about 7 masses of Jupiter, it had been discovered with the European instrument SPHERE at the Very Large Telescope in 2017.

Images of the exoplanet HIP 65426 b observed by NIRCAM (3.3 and 4.4 microns) and MIRI (11.4 and 15.5 microns). The white star indicates the position of the host star. NASA/STScI/ESA published by Carter and al. 2022

The complete list of exoplanets is accessible from the program by typing the command list exo in the search box. You can also find an object its identifier. The database used by W3 is extracted from the site and will be updated every week.

51 Pegasi b was the first exoplanet identified around a main sequence star. It was discovered in 1995 by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz.

The revision 3.0.268 also proposes to follow the position of the Orion capsule in real time. The objective of this Artemis 1 mission is to return to the moon in 2025 and to maintain a human presence in the long term.

The Orion capsule of the Artemis 1 mission.

The next revisions of W3 will include the ability to visit these exoplanets in the 3D Navigation mode. I also plan to add 3D landscapes in the planetarium mode (for fun) and many other things… But I’ll tell you more about that later.

I continue to improve the stability of the program. It is therefore important to report any malfunctioning to me using the bugtracker or the forums (here and there1). Thank you for your participation!

(1) Many thanks to Sora Kozima for creating this forum on !