Beyond 3D Models: Simulation of Temporally Evolving Models in Stellarium

Abstract

In recent years the open-source desktop planetarium Stellarium has gained high popularity for simulation in archaeoastronomy, and we have improved recent versions to also become accurate enough for such applications. A dedicated plugin which we introduced a few years ago can be used to visualize loadable scenes of 3D reconstructions of past or present monuments in their landscape. However, while Stellarium can simulate the view of the sky and positions of celestial objects and their respective motions over several millennia in sufficient accuracy for most historical applications, the 3D plugin until recently could only show one static version of a landscape. However, landscapes and monuments may have changed, temples may have been rebuilt and rededicated in part to reflect changes in the sky caused by precession, changes in ecliptic obliquity or stellar proper motion. Our latest developments in Stellarium now enable the simulation of phased or temporally evolving three-dimensional sceneries under Stellarium’s sky by configuring parts of the 3D model with material properties that can be used to hide parts of the monument when they don’t fit the epoch of the currently simulated sky.

Publication
Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry
Georg Zotti
Georg Zotti
Researcher