Glunatic - an experimental sky renderer

Last modified: 2009.01.01

What is this all about?

Glunatic is supposed to be a OpenGl rendering program for the sky, the stars, and celestial bodies like the moon (luna) and planets. Since there exist already a couple of free software planetariums - like Stellarium, Celestia and OpenUniverse - it might seem crazy to start a new one. Hence the project name.

The purpose of this project is not to compete with existing software, but to try new software technologies and rendering algorithms for sky drawing. And to present the results of these experiments to the public. The main idea is to utilize GPUs and CPU cores as efficiently as possible in order to achieve both high rendering quality and speed. Another design goal is keeping the code independent of big libraries and toolkits that might be considered an overkill.

Current status

Currently glunatic renders just many stars in the sky and an equatorial grid in several projection modes and optionally multiple windows. But - as I think - with speed and quality superior to the programs above. Navigation is done with keyboard and/or mouse and/or 3dconnexion spacenavigator, or perhaps other XInput devices like multiaxes joysticks.
new feature: a landscape rendered by fragment shaders. No atmosphere and ligthing yet.


If you want to try it, you require a computer, svn (or other subversion client), gcc, X11, Glx and the boost headers. A Windows machine will not be sufficient. For comparison of rendering speed I recommend a dual or quad core machine, because of the heavy usage of threads. And a contemporary graphic card for the shaders, like NVidia Series 8. Yet I found it works also with FX5200 and even quite well with ATI Radion express 1150.

When you have all of the above, follow these instructions to download the source code:

svn co glunatic

The rest is described in the README file.


Scorpius, Centaurus: Scorpius,Centaurus

See the stars bright as you like:
Crux(extra bright)

Some projection modes:
Cylindric equiareal (new: landscape)
Gnomonic (also called "perspective")
Lagrange (new: landscape)
Sinusoidal (new: landscape)
Mollweide (new)


If you want to say your opinion about the Glunatic project, please write to the forum. Logo petition banner