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Welcome to XEphem!

XEphem is an interactive astronomy program for all UNIX platforms, written and maintained by Elwood Downey over more than thirty years 1990–2021 and now generously released under the MIT License.

Sky view

There are more screenshots at bottom of this README.



Installing XEphem

Thanks to our community of contributors, there are XEphem packages available for several operating systems (though these are not official):

Or you can try compiling from source code. XEphem should compile fine on modern Linux systems, though perhaps not as well for folks on macOS. The source includes an INSTALL file with instructions. There are two ways to get the source:

If you want to get it running quickly from the source code, the repository includes the code for three Docker containers that are each capable of compiling and running XEphem. The commands to launch them when sitting at the repository root are:

$ ./Containers/docker-ubuntu-14.04/run
$ ./Containers/docker-ubuntu-20.04/run
$ ./Containers/docker-ubuntu-21.04/run

Once one of the containers has launched, use the shell command history: press up-arrow to ask for the previous command — it will be the correct command to compile and run XEphem.

The repository also includes a .tito directory and xephem.spec file for building an XEphem RPM package.

More Screenshots

Sun view

Solar system view

Saturn and its moons

Binary star view

Moon view

Earth view