You are on page 1of 2


Extract the whole MilkyWay folder into Celestia's Extras folder. The model will
be loaded automatically. Nebula rendering needs to be ON to display de model. Ne
bula rendering is toggled by the key ^ (note that if you are using a keyboard la
yout with deadkeys, you may need to press an additional SPACE after ^). Standard
galaxy rendering is toggled by the key u.
The effect is achieved by a simple spherical model. The ASCII mw.cmod is used by
default. Additionaly you will find mw.3ds and mw-bin.cmod. All of them are geod
esic spheres, the 3ds made with Anim8or, the cmods converted with Chris' tools.
Use the one you like best.
The sphere is centered at the solar system barycenter and has 10 light years in
diameter. The effect only makes sense in the neighborhood of the solar system, s
o there is no point in making it bigger. Besides, with such a small model, one c
an still enjoy the standard "blobs" rendering of the Milky Way when the viewpoin
t is far away.
The texture is based on a panoramic view of the whole sky credited to ESO/S. Bru
nier ( I removed the brightest stars
and the planets mostly automatically, a few by hand. I reduced brightness and s
aturation to make it more closely resemble a visual appearance instead of a long
exposure. By the way, the panorama is magnificent, go have a look at it.
I oriented the model by hand as best as I could, so the alignement is approximat
e. I tried the settings of other whole sky models (such as WMAP), but it wasn't
quite right, and I don't know why. It may be a misalignement in the ESO panorama
I used. So I fixed it by hand by aligning stars (which were then removed from t
he texture). You are free to make it better if you please.
To change the alignement (tricky!), edit mw.dsc and comment out (with #) the com
mand "Clickable False". Then start Celestia in verbose mode:
> celestia --verbose > align.log
Enter edit mode with @
Select the model with <enter> mw <enter>
Rotate around X and Y with ctrl+shift+left button+drag
Rotate around Z with ctrl+shift+right button+drag
Save with !
Exit Celestia
Read orientation and rotation in align.log
Beware that the format of the vector in the dsc is different from the one saved
by the edit mode (it made me mad).
There are a number of depth sorting problems that I couldn't solve to full satis
faction. Currently I get the model in front of the standard Milky Way (which is
good), behind the Small Magellanic Cloud (which is bad) but in front of the Larg
e one (which is good). Also, the Sag dSph gets in front (which is weird). Off-di
sk galaxies have behave strangely, and for that reason I have kept the 3 models
and 2 textures: a jpg with pitch black background, and a png with transparency.
Check the behavior in your system and use the one that pleases you best.
Guillermo Abramson
My blog: