Stellarium comes with several plugins to add features to the original program.

Enabling a plugin

- Go to Configuration Window from the side bar or press [F2]

- Select the Plugins tab

- Select the desired plugin

- Check the "Load at startup" box in the options section

- Restart Stellarium

- Go to Plugins again

- If the plugin needs configuration, you will see the configure button active. Select it and enter the necessary configuration values.

Angle Measure

(This plugin does not need any configuration)

The angle measure lets you measure the angle separation between two points. 
After you enable the plugin, you will find the angle measure button added to the horizontal bar. 

To start the angle measure function, select the angle measure button or through the key combination Ctrl+A.

To measure the angle separation between two points, drag with the left mouse key.
To clear the two points and starts another measurement click with the left mouse key.
If you want to select a new end point with the same start point, click at the end point with the right mouse key.

You will find a discussion about this plugin by Matthew Gates (the Author) at the Stellarium Wiki Angle measure plugin.

Compass Marks

(This plugin does not need any configuration)

This option will display compass bearing marks along the horizon. Compass marks and the four cardinal points cannot be displayed at the same time. 0 is North, 90 is East, 180 is South and 270 is West.
After you enable the plugin,  you will find the compass marks button added to the horizontal bar. Selecting this button will display the marks along the horizon.


(Configuration needed)

This plugin serves several purposes:

- the primary use is to see what the sky looks like through a particular combination of eyepiece and telescope. I wanted to be able to get an idea of what I should see when looking through a physical telescope, and understand why one eyepiece may be better suited to a particular target. This can also be very useful in deciding what telescope is best suited to a style of viewing. And with the support for binoculars, you now have the ability to understand just about any type of visual observing.

- to show what a particular camera would be able to photograph of the sky. Also to better plan what type of telescope (or camera lens) to pair with a particular camera to capture what you want.

- lastly, with the help of the Telrad sight, understand where object in the sky are in relation to each other. This can be very useful if you have a non-GOTO telescope, and what to get an idea of how to star-hop from a known location to an area of interest.

An in-depth discussion about this plugin can be found in Stellarium wiki Oculars plugin.


(This plugin does not need any configuration)

This plugin plots the position of various pulsars, with object information about each one. Pulsar data is derived from 'Catalog of Pulsars' (Taylor+ 1995).

Note: pulsar identifiers have the prefix "PSR"

You can search for a particular pulsar through the search window.


(This plugin does not need any configuration)

A plugin that shows some quasars brighter than 16 visual magnitude. A catalogue of quasars compiled from 'Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei' (13th Ed.) (Veron+ 2010)

You can search for a particular pulsar through the search window. You can get the quasars identification from the list of quasars brighter than 16 magnitude.

You may have to zoom in to a narrow FOV to see the quasar label and object.


Enable the Satellites plugin as described in the "Enabling a plugin" section.

Using the Satellites plugin

After you enable the plugin,  you will find the Satellites  button added to the horizontal bar. Selecting this button will show the satellites on the Stelarium display.

Searching for a satellite

You can search for a satellite, by its identification, using the search window [F3]. If the satellite is below horizon, you can switch ground off and turn on the horizon line. This way you will see and know which satellites are above horizon and which ones are below it.

Satellite data

The data about the satellite is:
  • Name of the Satellite
  • Satellite catalog number, a sequential 5 digit number given to the satellite by USSPACECOM and International designator which is an international naming convention for satellites. 
  • Satellite position
  • Range is satellite distance from the observer in kilometers
  • Range rate is the parting/closing rate in kilometer per second useful for calculating Doppler shift necessary for communication
  • Altitude is height of the satellite above ground in kilometers
  • SubPoint is the coordinates of the point on earth where the satellite is directly overhead.
  • TEME coordinates are the coordinates using the True Equator Mean Equinox frame as reference.
  • TEME velocity is the velocity  using the True Equator Mean Equinox frame as reference.
  • Visibility of the Staellite (4 situations)
    • The satellite and the observer are in sunlight.
    • The satellite is visible.
    • The satellite is eclipsed.
    • The satellite is not visible
  • If the Satellite broadacast in frequencies that can be received by general public or amateur radio operator, they will be listed by Stellarium if available.


Although the default configuration is sufficient for the majority of users, this plugin gives you the facility to alter settings of the satellites display, select satellites to display or remove and add or change the sources of orbital elements.


Under the settings tab you can set the following options:

TLE lists Download options

If the "Update from internet sources" box is checked, the plugin will download the TLE (Two-Line Element) sets describing  the satellites orbits from the internet sources. The default frequency of update is every 72 hours, but you can change this value. If you need to update the TLE lists immediately, press the "update now" button.
If the "Update from internet sources" box is unchecked, you will have a "Update from files" button where you can specify the files having the TLE lists. This is useful to have when no internet connection is available.


You can set the size of font for satellite labels. Default is 10.

Orbit lines

Some satellites have orbit lines displayed by default. Through the Satellites settings you can add or remove this feature to selected satellites.
The orbit line length will be the number of segments multiplied by the length of each segment. For an orbit line of 90 segments with each segment length of 20 seconds, the satellite line length will be 90X20 = 1800 seconds, a line that the satellite will move from end to end in 1800 seconds. 

The fade length is number of segments of the line that the line goes from full thickness to nothing. A fade length of 5 segments with segment of 20 seconds is 100 seconds, meaning the line will decrease in thickness in the last 100 seconds.

Save settings

You can save your settings as default if you wish or revert to plugin settings default by using the "Save settings as default" or "Restore default settings" buttons.


The satellites tab has the settings and information  for each satellite in Stellarium database.

Satellites list filtering

The satellites list can be filtered using a dropdown list of filters:
  • [all]: all satellites in the database will be listed
  • [all displayed]: only satellites that Stellarium displays will be listed
  • [all not displayed]:  only satellites that Stellarium does not display will be listed
  • [all newly added]: only satellites that have been added in this Stellarium session will be listed
  • [Orbit calculation error]:  only satellites with orbit  calculation error will be listed
  • [Visual]: only satellites that can be visually observed will be listed
  • [Amateur]: only satellites that broadcast in frequencies that can be received by general public or amateur radio operator  will be listed
  • [Non-operational]: only satellites that are non operational will be listed
  • [Scientific]: only scientific satellites will be listed
  • [Weather]: only weather satellites will be listed

Satellite attributes

when you select a satellite from the list you have its name, catalog number, description, group and orbital elements data displayed on the right hand side,

You can also do the following for the selected satellite:
  • check the "displayed" box to instruct Stellarium to make this satellite displayed. When unchecked, the satellite will not be displayed. Note that for each satellite which is displayed, Stellarium must do extra work to calculate and show the position of the satellite. If Stellarium is running very slowly with the Satellites plugin enabled, try reducing the number of satellites which are displayed.
  • check the "orbit" box to instruct Stellarium to display the satellite orbit. When unchecked, the satellite orbit will not be displayed 
  • Remove the satellite from Stellarium database using the "-" button.
If you double click a satellite, Stellarium will go to it and display it in the center of the screen.

The "+" button will display a dialog with a list of new satellites. Check the ones you want to add to stellarium and press the "add" button

To save your changes to the satellites press the "save changes" button (button with a floppy disc icon).

The button with communications antenna icon has no function currently.


The Sources tab lets you see (and modify) where Stellarium is getting its TLE data from. The default is a list of sources from

Solar System Editor

An interface for adding asteroids and comets to Stellarium. It can download object lists from the Minor Planet Center's website and perform searches in its online database. Still a work in progress.

To add asteroids or comets:

- Go to Configuration Window from the side bar or press [F2]

- Select the Plugins tab

- Select the Solar System Editor plugin

- Check the "Load at startup" box in the options section

- Restart Stellarium

- Go to Plugins again

- Select Solar System Editor


-  Press the configuration button

Configuration file

Stellarium uses a solar system configuration file called ssystem.ini. This file is located in the path specified under the "Configuration file" tab. Take a note of this path.

If the addition of objects causes Stellarium to crash or malfunction, you can simply delete the ssytem.ini file in the path specified. The next time Stellrium starts, it will build a new good file with the default objects.

You can also discard all changes and return to default configuration by pressing the "Reset to defaults" button.

After you modify the solar system, by adding or removing objects you can save a backup of your new definition in a new file by any name and in any directory you specify.

To replace the contents of an existing backup file with the new definitions, press the "Replace the Solar System file..." button.

Solar System

Removing objects

Under the Solar System tab, a complete list of the current solar system objects is displayed. You can scroll through the list and remove any object that was added to the default list. Select the object you want to remove by clicking its name and press the "Remove" button.

Adding objects

To add asteroids and comets, press the "Import orbital elements in MPC format ..." button. A new dialog will appear. You can either select from a list or do a search for an object.

To select from a list:
- go to "Lists" tab
- Select the type of object, asteroids or comets
- Select the source you will import the list from. You have three choices
  1.    Check "Download a list of objects from the internet" and select one of the bookmarks provided in the dropdown list
  2. Check "Download a list of objects from the internet" and enter a URL. You can add this URL to the bookmarks by checking the "Add this URL to the bookmarks list" box and giving it a title.
  3. Check "A file containing a list of objects" and specify the file.
Select from the bookmarks provided

Specify a file containing the list

- Press the "Get orbital elements" button
- The list of objects will be displayed
- Objects that were added previously appear in italic
- Mark the objects you want to add and press the "add objects" button

- You can filter the list by the search field. Entering the string "ap" will list only the objects that has the string "ap".

To select an object by online search:
- Go to "Online search" tab
- Enter the name of the object, its number or its designation in the search field
- For comets, prefix the name with C/ or P/ without any blanks before the name. Ex. C/Elenin.

- If more than one comet matches the name, only the first result will be returned
- If the object is found, it will be returned in "Import data" window where you can mark it and add it.

Historical Supernovae

(This plugin does not need any configuration)

The Historical Supernovae plugin provides visualization of some historical supernovae brighter than 10 magnitude:
  • SN 185A (7 December)
  • SN 386A (24 April)
  • SN 1006A (29 April)
  • SN 1054A (3 July)
  • SN 1181A (4 August)
  • SN 1572A (5 November)
  • SN 1604A (8 October)
  • SN 1680A (15 August)
  • SN 1885A (17 August)
  • SN 1895B (5 July)
  • SN 1937C (21 August)
  • SN 1972E (8 May)
  • SN 1987A (24 February)
  • SN 2011FE (13 September)
SN is a prefix for Supernova, the number after the prefix is the year of the supernova and the date is when the supernova occurred.

You can search for a supernova using the search window. When the supernova is found use the date and time window to change to the date of  supernova. Select a date before the date of the supernova and then advance the time day by day to see how the star brightens until it reach its maximum at the supernova date, then it dims again. To advance or go back in time use the time keys ( - go back one day, = advance one day, [ go back one week, ] go forward one week) or use the days spin arrows in the date and time window.

Telescope Control

Because telescope control needs hands on experience, I will not attempt to explain it here. Instead, I will provide some links of useful material.

- Stellarium help provided with the Telescope Control plugin

- Stellarium wiki - telescope control plugin

- Stellarium wiki - telescope control

- Stellarium wiki - telescope compatibility

- You can do a search on youtube using "stellarium telescope control" and you'll find several videos on the subject.

Text User Interface

(This plugin does not need any configuration)

This plugin provides a text interface to control some settings of the program. 
To activate use Alt+m key combination and a text menu will appear on the screen. To navigate from a main menu to another, use the Down or Up arrows of the keyboard. To go to a sub menu use the Right arrow key. To go to a main menu from a sub menu, use the left arrow key. To change values of a sub menu use the left arrow key until the value is surrounded by > <, ex >0.38<. you can use the up and down arrows to change the values.

Example: Changing the milky way intensity
  1. If the TUI plugin is not enabled, enable it from the plugin list and restart Stellarium
  2. Alt+m to bring on the text user interface
  3. Use the Down arrow to go to menu 6. Effects
  4. Use the right arrow key to go to sub menu 6.1
  5. Use the down arrow to go to sub menu 6.5. Milky way intensity:
  6. Use the right arrow to select the value
  7. Use the up or down arrow to change the intensity

Time Zone plugin

Why a Time Zone plugin

Normally, you set your location and Stellarium will pick the time zone from the system. Stellarium displays the time as the local time of the system time zone which usually match your default location.

Suppose now you select another location. You need to set the time zone to match the new location. Instead of changing the system time zone, you can use the Time Zone plugin to set the time zone independent of your computer system time zone.

Functions of the Time Zone plugin

- Enables the user, when he selects a new location, to set a time zone for the new location to have the sky display and time according to the selected location

- Enable the user to select the format of the display of date and time.

Time Zone setting

When you press the "configure" button of the Time Zone plugin, the time zone configuration dialog will be displayed.
Select the "Time zone" tab. You have four options:

  1. Use system settings (default): Stellarium will pick the time zone settings from the system. This is the default behavior, same as that of when this plugin is not enabled.
  2. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC): The time zone will be that of UTC. Time offset is zero and no summer daylight saving adjustment.
  3. Offset from UTC (hours): Specify an offset value in hours and quarter parts of an hour. The value can be positive  or negative. For example, San Francisco is UTC - 8 and Kathmandu, Nepal is UTC + 5.45 hours.
  4. User-defined: Here you can set a custom time zone, defining its UTC offset hours and how daylight saving time is observed. Press the "..." button to continue configuration.
Save your settings by pressing the "save settings" button.

Setting a user-defined time zone

When you press the "..." button to continue configuration in option 4 above, the "Define a time zone" dialog window will be displayed.

- Enter the time zone name

- Select the offset from UTC in hours using the spin arrows 

- If you need to specify a Daylight saving time, check the box and additional options will be displayed

- Give a name to the DST (Daylight Saving Time) time zone

- Usually the offset from UTC will be more by one hour, the value will appear automatically but you can adjust it.

- Specify when the daylight saving starts and when it ends. For example, San Francisco, USA uses PDT which starts  Sunday of second week of march at 02:00 AM and ends Sunday of first week of November at 02:00 AM. 

- Save your settings by pressing the "Use this definition" button.

Set format of date and time

When you press the "configure" button of the Time Zone plugin, the time zone configuration dialog will be displayed.
Select the "Display formats" tab.

Select the format for time and date. The selected formats will be used to display the time and date in the status bar.