Night Vision

Night Vision 5.3 is here!

Night Vision is a "planetarium" program that will display the heavens from any location on earth. Viewing options allow the user to control which sky objects to display, which font to use, and manipulation of various star parameters. Time may be set to run at multiple speeds, including backwards. Star charts may be printed.

Night Vision is written in 100% pure Java, allowing it to run on all major desktop systems. (Includes PCs, Macs, Linux, ...)

Version 5.3 adds:

Version 5.2 added:

Version 5.1 added:

Version 5.0 added:

A view of Night Vision
Night Vision 4.0 picture

Use the mouse to manipulate the view. Dragging will re-position as desired. The mouse wheel zooms in or out.

Solar system window
Solar system window


Night Vision should run on any computer that contains a recent Java Runtime Environment (Java 8 or later). If your computer doesn't have Java, it can be downloaded from website.

Translating Night Vision

Night Vision has been designed to be readily translable into other languages. See the online help for information.

A Russian translation of (a previous version of) this program appears here.

How to get Night Vision

Note: In recent years browsers for Windows (and probably for MacOS also) dissuade you from installing Night Vision because there is no certificate attached to verify authenticity. This is good as it will protect the user from installing possibly malicious code. But unfortunately the price of a certificate is several hundred dollars per year for something I give away for free, and so I've been unable to justify paying for one. When and if a way to certify this software presents itself I will certainly pursue that course. Until then, the easiest way for Windows users to try it out is to download the zip file (see manual installation below), unzip the contents to a directory of your choice, and then double-click nvj.jar to run the program. Alternately, if you have programming experience, you can download the source-zip file containing the source code and unzip, build, and run it that way. Or you can choose to use the self-installing package, you'll just need to work your way around the browser warnings.

Windows users can click here (22.8MB) to get a self-installing package. (Clicking the link is sufficient on some web browsers. On others a single file will be downloaded onto your PC. Remember where you downloaded it to, find it, and then execute it to install.)

Mac OS X users can click here (21.8MB) to get a self-installing package. Click here if installing to OS 10.8 Mountain Lion or later.

Linux users can click here <32 bit> (22.2MB) and here <64 bit> (23.4MB) to get a self-installing package. (The Java Runtime Environment in recent Linux distributions should work fine. If there are issues, it may be advisable to install Oracle's Java Runtime Environment.)

Users of other operating systems, and those who prefer manual installation, can click here (18.2MB). (Download to a clean directory, unzip, and double-click on the nvj.jar file, or use a web browser to follow the directions in nvj.html).

Source code is available here (18.2MB).

If there is an issue with the latest 5.3 release, the 5.2 release is still available: Windows (22.8MB), Mac OS X (21.8MB), Linux 32bit (22.2MB), Linux 64bit (23.4MB), manual install (18.1MB), and source (18.2MB). Also the 5.0 release is still available: Windows (18.6MB), Mac OS X (21.8MB), Linux 32bit (22.2MB), Linux 64bit (23.4MB), manual install (18.2MB), and source (18.2MB).

Giampiero Spezzano has created a larger deepsky catalog here. (Over 13,000 objects.) Place in the installation directory (Mac and Linux - e.g. /home/<user>/NightVision/) or the "Night Vision" folder in the user's documents folder (Windows). (Also available here, but this copy may not be as fresh.)

Installable packages are created with InstallBuilder, a crossplatform installer builder.


Although Night Vision is targeted for astronomy enthusiasts, it is certainly useful for other interests, e.g. astrology and religious purposes. In May 2010 ASTROLOGYWIZARD featured this page for their
Site of the Week
with the following kind words:

"It is straightforward, informative, intuitive, fully customisable and generally a joy to use."

You may Email me at:

Please prefix your Email subject line with [NV], as in

  Subject: [NV] Like your program!
so that it is easily distinguishable from SPAM and is less likely to get inadvertently deleted.

This page last updated January 13, 2024