The Environment Tab




This page gives you control over the visual effects that surround your system.  It is broken into “General” options and “Solar Plane Controls”.



Display Axes/Labels These are on by default and give you a visual reference to the coordinate system being used by the program.
Reverse Background Colors Makes space white and the stars black.
Star Controls Use these to control the number of stars, their distribution, and whether or not they are even displayed.


Solar Plane Controls

Each of these settings can be applied to one of 3 mutually perpendicular solar planes.  You can control whether or not to display the planes, their shape (disk or square), and their size and resolution.

One nice feature about solar planes is that you can warp them to give a visual representation of the gravitational field.  This image is common when explaining the Einstein view of gravity as curved space-time.  The warping effect here is visual only (not a true, accurate, one-over-r-squared depiction).  One reason for this is that the gravity spikes would become infinitely long near the planet centers.  Nevertheless, this effect gives you a feel for the interaction among the different bodies.

Warp scaling is controlled similarly to the other items on the Scaling Tab (I actually would have put it there except for space constraints).  There is an extra slider here however, the “Localization”.  As you move it to the right, the warping effect becomes more localized (spiky).