An interactive sky atlas viewer to visualize digitized astronomical images.


Our rating: 


Pros & Cons:

View stars and deep space objects--all of them that have been imaged. Actual images in different wavelengths. Also density maps and other databases. Excellent index of stars and deep space objects. Bookmarks.
No solar system objects.

Our Review:

Aladin could be thought of as an astronomy browser. Instead of the internet, Aladin browses through astronomy images, density maps, and other astronomy sources, e.g. Hubble images, the Simbad database, and the VizieR service. You select the item you wish to view and it automatically downloads a view of the item selected.

This program provides access to professional quality telescope images in several wavelengths. In effect you are looking through a very large telescope. The images are downloaded from the internet so some displays take a few seconds to update—your results would depend of course on the connection speed and on how many databases are being utilized. One can apparently download files for offline viewing.

I could superimpose various views in to one and I could open up to 16 panels with images in each.

It was one of only two programs which indexed every star and deep space object in my test sample as well as showing several images of each item. You can also point at a specific location using the right ascension and declination coordinates. You can bookmark views.

Since Aladin is a sky atlas image viewer and not a planetarium program it has no solar system objects in its index. Obviously there could be images of the solar objects in many of these images but it's beyond my ability to locate them.

It requires Java 1.5 and runs under Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Aladin was reviewed by on