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CosmoSaver-Solar System 1.31

A virtual solar system simulator and series of screen savers based on 3D surface maps.

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CosmoSaver-Solar System is an excellent virtual solar system simulator and series of screen savers based on 3D surface maps of the sun, moon, and planets. As a screen saver, it cycles through the sun and nine planets, showing a 3D view of each, with stars and moons in the background. For each planet animation, you can choose things such as the distance, viewing angle, date, and animation mode and the screen saver will calculate the appropriate animation in real-time.

Three modes of animation are available. Sky View calculates a time lapse animation of the sky as seen from any location and elevation on any planet. In the daytime, the sky is blue for earth, and darkens when the sun sets, after which stars move from east to west as the earth rotates.

From a height of 10 kilometres you can see the curvature of earth, clouds, coast line, and topography. Time Step mode shows a view of the planet from space rotating and satellites orbiting it. Custom orbit allows you to specify an orbit around the planet and you view it from that orbit.

Configuring can be done in a resizeable window in Explore mode with visual controls in which you immediately see your animation. If you like it, save the settings to the registry, and the animation will display when the screen saver is activated. You can zoom out of the solar system as far as 1000 AU. It shows occasional prominence for sun, random clouds for Earth, and melting and freezing polar caps for Mars.