Aciqra (uh-SEE-kruh) is a free and open source virtual sky map and planetarium which tracks and displays astronomical bodies including planets, nebulae and stars to an accuracy of a fraction of a degree for thousands of years into both the future and the past. It's software that generates a virtual sky so you'll always know exactly what's up in the real one. Aciqra includes and displays a wide variety of different objects. It tracks and simulates solar system objects like the Moon, the Sun, the planets, asteroids and comets. It also includes a large database of stars and various other deep space objects including star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.
The Aciqra project was started in mid-to-late 2008 to bridge the gap between ease-of-use and capability. It made its first release on December 23, 2008 and grew quickly in the following weeks after being featured on the front page of SourceForge. Over the next few months, several more releases were made patching up several feature holes in the original version. This Aciqra 1 series soon ran into limitations imposed by its design and dependencies which paved the way for the development of the Aciqra 2 series.
The Aciqra 2 series was intended to be a complete rewrite of the planetarium to eliminate the limitations encountered with the previous setup. As a result, development took a very long time. Aciqra 2 was originally intended to be finished in December, 2009, but was actually finished until December, 2011 when the first release was made. Several more releases of Aciqra 2 were in made in the following couple of years before the project again began running into limitations of its system, calling for the eventual need of an Aciqra 3.
After many years of development, the Aciqra project remains very active and is continually progressing towards the next release.
The next major release by the project is expected to be Aciqra 3, currently estimated for completion in 2015 or 2016. Planning is already underway and actual development is slated to begin by December of 2013. More details are posted on the project's roadmap.