Building your own Stellarium landscapes
One of the highlights in using astronomy simulation software like Stellarium surely is the possibility not only to perform astronomically correct simulations of the sky at the domestic latitude and longitude but to do that with the landscape of your home site beneath it - so there is quite a natural reason given for the idea of creating and building an appropriate Stellarium landscape.
The idea of simulating the starry sky is nothing new in itself and well-known to the most of you from the classical projection planetarium that after World War II started its triumph march all over the world. But probably many of you will also know that kind of dissatisfaction when looking at the antarctic sky, the skies of tropical Africa or above Jerusalem during a simulation but having a Hamburg or Berlin horizon beneath it - the impression as a whole is simply not authentic. If Stellarium already has the outstanding feature of integration of photorealistic landscapes and is thus able to put an end to this kind of shortcoming, and if one does not tend to a completely "neutral" landscape anyway, then it is therefore desirable to have landscapes available from as many regions and places of the world as possible or to have the ability to produce them by oneself, so that they can be used together with a Stellarium simulation in order to achieve a more authentic simulation experience.
Currently mainly Europe is represented by a significant number of downloadable landscapes on the Stellarium website, while Asia, Africa, but also the USA, South America, and the Polar regions are still clearly underrepresented among the posted landscapes (as of August 2015). But even the countries and regions within Europe are represented in quite a different extent; so, from the region of German speaking countries, just a handful of landscapes from regions south of 49° latitude with only one exception had been available before spring 2015, when I started publishing several landscapes from Northern Germany.
In the meanwhile, more than 30 already produced and officially posted Stellarium landscapes unfortunately got lost when the web server porpoisehead.net was shut down in the end of 2014 (but there is still a chance to find and get some of them via archive.org services, though).
So there is an unchanged demand and request for additional Stellarium landscapes particularly from up to now underrepresented regions, and the fame and acceptance of Stellarium within a certain region surely depends at least partly upon the availability of Stellarium landscapes from that region. Even when we have arrived at a whole lot of Stellarium and panorama enthusiasts yet, they of course cannot make travelling all over the world their main obligation in order to remedy the lack of Stellarium landscapes from certain continents and regions and to erase the "white spots" on Stellarium's world map.
The most effective actor for increasing the number of Stellarium landscapes is nobody else than you yourself at your home site because no-one else has a shorter way to your local landscapes than you have, so you can perform the photography within a reasonable amount of time and convert it into a Stellarium landscape. Here you can learn how, and you don't need expensive luxury equipment in order to do it, just an up-to-date computer, internet access, an ordinary digital camera, and the extensive and mature open source software packages Hugin and The GIMP - and of course Stellarium. But you can't avoid dealing with at least some maths.
narjesia tutorials on building Stellarium landscapes
How to build Stellarium landscapes from photographs of your own
A tutorial developed and tested through practical experience
- What you need in order to start work
- Preliminary considerations and precautions for the photo session
- Performing the panorama shooting session
- Creating the panorama with Hugin
- Establishing and checking the correct orientation of the panorama
- Scaling, postprocessing, and finish of the panorama with GIMP
- Integrating the produced panorama with Stellarium
- Publishing your Stellarium landscape
Transforming Stellarium landscapes from standard spherical into multiple image format ("old style")
How to safely generate high-resolution landscapes in multiple image format.
Tutorials on creating landscapes from the Stellarium website
- Creating a personalized landscape for Stellarium - official tutorial from the Stellarium User Guide
- Customizing Landscapes - information on Aufbereitung, Anpassung and integrating different types of landscapes with Stellarium from the Stellarium User Guide
- Additional information in the sections Contributions / Tools from the landscapes page of the Stellarium wiki
Other related tutorials from the web
- Création d’un paysage pour Stellarium (in French)
- Erstellung eines Panoramas für Stellarium,
Astronomy Student Lab at Carl-Fuhlrott-Gymnasium, Wuppertal, Germany (in German)