Granholmstoppen Stellarium Landscapes
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Granholmstoppen Stellarium Landscapes

Updated 2015-02-16: The landscapes now work in Stellarium 13.x[a] as well as 12.x.

I'm rarely interviewed when I'm out, but this summer I was asked by no other institution than Stockholms Stadsteater[b] what my favorite place in Stockholm is. It's always difficult to choose a place that is better than all the others, and it tends to only be approximately right. But neither theater nor interviews are exact sciences, and my preferences aren't either, so I struck a blow for... Granholmstoppen.

Would you believe me if I said that the interviewer had never heard about it?

After having described where it is and how easy it is to get there, I motivated its preeminent position just by its position: Close enough to an urban area to have good communications, yet far away enough to give a sense of nature. A perfect oasis to escape to - quickly. But this is just the practical. What sets Granholmstoppen apart from all other places in Järva is the view. During daytime, you can see all of north Järva. Nighttime, you can see all the way to the Stockholm Globe Arena[c], with Akalla - Husby - Kista as a radiant band along the northern horizon - and above the band, thanks to the trees that hide the city lights, the stars.

The easiest way to see the stars from Granholmstoppen is of course to go there on a clear night and look up. But in order to learn a bit more about what is seen, or to plan your excursion, there is a free program that I have mentioned before: Stellarium[d]. What I haven't mentioned before, because it hasn't existed until now, is a Granholmstoppen landscape for Stellarium, and that is what I want to share. I've taken two 360-degree panoramas from the top of Granholmstoppen - one that was taken a warm summer evening, and one that was shot on a cold winter night, and turned them into Stellarium landscapes. Here they are:

Both of the landscapes have plenty of atmosphere along the horizon. First I tried to separate out the sky from the image, but it turned out to be much more difficult that I had expected. Buildings and trees ended up with a "halo" of brighter sky around them, or I ended up cutting into landmarks such as Kista Science Tower. Even Photoshop's "background eraser" was of no help. Finally I gave up and just let the atmosphere fade out a bit above the rooftops.

The landscapes are for Stellarium 0.12.4 or later, as they are made with a fixed light level. If used during simulated day they will look strange. Please see the accompanying readme.txt for installation instructions.