For a solar system simulation project I'm looking for a good (semi-accurate) set of textures to texture the skybox.

I've already found these http://paulbourke.net/miscellaneous/starfield/ and we implemented a quick skysphere instead of a skybox. But after testing we found out that the 2048x1024 resolution image was too low-res for our application, and we can't use the higher resolution version because of GPU limitations (we're developing this for a specific platform).

So we came up with using 6 separate 2048x2048 textures on a skybox to have everything look pretty. However I can't seem to find any solar system star textures that are made for a skybox.

So basically what I'm asking:

  • Does someone know where to find skybox textures for our solar system?

  • Alternatively, does someone know a free program to convert a spherically-mapped texture to 6 box-mapped textures?


If you're looking for spherical to cubic projection, this site seems to have an answer. It looks like HDR Shop has some panoramic transformations that will work for this.

Additionally there is at least one Photoshop plugin that will do this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ HDR shop did the trick! \$\endgroup\$ – Roy T. May 16 '11 at 20:33

Not 100% certain this will satisfy your needs, but it sounds similar to what you want:


  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey I found that site, unfortunately no imports from textures, but it's a nice tool. Unfortunately not all functions work on my computer (weird problems useing the noise functions). Definately an option though for someone who is trying to generate a non-realistic but pretty skybox. \$\endgroup\$ – Roy T. May 16 '11 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I'll use that for the night time skybox in my game. Thanks for the link! \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse May 19 '11 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Author of spacescape here - I recently updated spacescape to import start data csv files and work in HDR if you so desire. However, this will only let you get the right colors and positions for stars, it won't get you the milky way. \$\endgroup\$ – petrocket Oct 20 '14 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ With spacescapre you can actually import positions of celestial bodies for skybox creation. \$\endgroup\$ – aggsol Jun 15 '15 at 10:23

Why don't you use softwares like "Celestia" to capture your own skybox ?

If you don't know it,

Celestia is a free space simulation in 3D: http://www.shatters.net/celestia/

Using options, you can hide almost all you need (planets, names, constellations etc.) and using the "Render" menu, you can adjust the screen resolution, the stars radiance, the texture quality etc.

It's not "easy" to use, but it's "not difficult" either, and there is some tutorials on how to "navigate" into Celestia if you need some help. You can use scripts to manipulate the camera and capture images.

Finally, here is a forum thread where someone ask some help to make a skybox using Celestia:

Generating a skybox with Celestia: http://www.shatters.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11079

It is probably not the "easier" way to get what you want, but this way it will be exactly what you want because you can set lots of options. It is maybe not enough realistic tough but I think it could be ok.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes, I've actually looked at Celestia before for this project (alternative to writing our own engine), I could use it to generate a nice skybox, I'll need to be very certain about camera orientation and f.o.v. though, I'll use it as a last resort! \$\endgroup\$ – Roy T. May 16 '11 at 20:25

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