The idea of using a hires panoramic image of the entire MilkyWay as a realistic rendering background in Celestia, was pioneered by Guillermo Abramson
http://www.shatters.net/forum/viewtopic ... 23&t=16697
His nice add-on is available at
http://www.celestiamotherlode.net/creat ... lkyWay.zip
His texture is based on a panoramic view of the whole sky credited to
ESO/Serge Brunier, http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0932a/
Unfortunately, there is a major, persistent problem with alignment!
After spending quite a lot of time with it, I was able to prove that the image from the ESO site is badly distorted (internally), making a decent alignment within Celestia(.Sci) basically impossible (no matter what projection and/or coordinate range is assumed). So I contacted Serge Brunier
, who confirmed these inherent distortions by email. Possibly, the reason was that he assembled his 224 individual frames with software, which --according to Serge B.-- does not have astronomical precision standards.
Since the inherent misalignments are really disturbing, I started working instead on Nick Risinger's panoramic MilkyWay image, http://skysurvey.org/
, that is also publicly available under a Creative Commons License up to 3000 x 1500 pixels resolution.
Here is a small window from the 3000x1500 original, so you can tune yourself in on the amazing amount of details and subtle colors:
Despite its smaller resolution, it has a number of major advantages
Last not least, here is an overview of the MilkyWay in Celestia(.Sci). Since Nick Risinger's original involves rather strong colors and high brightness, I have reduced both parameters by 50% which appears like a good choice.
[click on image by all means!]
Finally: Here is my add-on for download
http://www.celestialmatters.org/users/t ... singer.zip
For details, license, installation,... see README.txt! Alignment data are in mw.dsc.