New version 0.0.14 is out!

New version 0.0.14 is out!

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This is a major update for our core mechanics and content. It’s built on Godot Engine 3.5.2, perhaps our last 3.x update before the big port to Godot 4!

Try the new Planetarium here!


  1. Saturn Rings are now shader-based (i.e., programmatically generated by the GPU).
  2. Models for the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope.
  3. Orbit lines for asteroids. It looks crazy if you show all ~48,000 present in the web-based Planetarium (see below) and that’s a small subset of the ~1.14 million we can add!
  4. Mouse-over identification of individual bodies (yes, including the ~48,000 asteroids!) and their orbit lines. This involves shader magic that will in the future be extended to almost everything: individual bands and gaps in Saturn’s Rings, individual stars, etc.
  5. You can now save and revisit “views” which optionally include target body, camera position, HUDs visibility & colors (e.g., asteroid points & orbit lines), and/or time state.

See the full changelog here.

Screenshots below!

Saturn Rings from the lit side. The rings change subtly with the Sun’s phase angle based on observed back- and forward-scatter. A big thanks to Björn Jónsson for the rings data and guidance! (Whoa! Looks like we need a bit more anti-aliasing on those inner rings!)
Saturn Rings from the unlit side. The B ring is nearly opaque and especially contrasts with the lit side.
The first spacecraft of many to come (I hope). If you’re a 3D graphics artist, please come help us out with open-source models for JWST, Voyager 1 & 2, New Horizons, Juno, or others…
Juno’s wild ride around Jupiter. This is a representative orbit (from 2021 or 2022, I think).
The new Planetarium interface for v0.0.14 lets you save and revisit “views” and gives you full color control. For example, you can set asteroid point and orbit colors by group membership, or selectively show groups as in the following images…
Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids librate around the L4 and L5 Lagrange points in 1:1 orbital resonance with Jupiter.
The Hilda asteroids orbit the Sun in 3:2 resonance with Jupiter. They have normal elliptical orbits. Each time a Hilda reaches aphelian, Jupiter has gone 2/3 of the way around putting the Hilda in proximity to a different Lagrange point (L3, L5 and then L4, in succession). En masse, they appear to stream through a triangle that rotates with Jupiter’s orbit.
Abstract art? This is what happens when you click the “show all orbits” checkbox for the Planetarium’s ~48,000 asteroids. The orbit lines are, from outermost to innermost, Trans-Neptunian (orangish), Centaurs (cyan), Jupiter Trojans (yellow), Hildas (blue), Main Belt (red), Mars Crossers (green), and Near-Earth (fuchsia).

Well, that’s it for core I, Voyager and the Planetarium…

In other news, the code I use to crunch raw asteroid orbit data is now public in GitHub repository ivbinary_maker. It isn’t polished (and maybe never will be) but, if you are so inclined, it will allow you to generate binary files for >1.14 million asteroids (numbered and multiopposition). I don’t know what kind of graphics card you’ll need to show those orbits! This also has the code I use to convert Saturn Ring data from Björn Jónsson (backscattered, forward-scattered, unlit, transparency & color data files) into the “1-spatial-dimension” texture used by the new the rings.shader.

Also, by the way, I’m making a game! It’s set in our Solar System. Well, I have been working on in for some years now. More on that soon…

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