Inuit Sky Culture

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The Inuit sky culture files available for Stellarium are an adaptation of John MacDonald's research in The Arctic Sky, Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore and Legend. While placements and specifics of Inuit constellations might differ from tribe to tribe, the information in Stellarium presents the constellations and general themes of the arctic universe. A short intro to Inuit starlore based on MacDonald's book is available as a pdf on the web. It is included in the list of links below. Illustrations are done by Johan Meuris, released under the Free Art License


Inuit constellations in Stellarium

Two Sunbeams

Aagjuuk, an important constellation for timekeeping.

Two Placed Far Apart

Akkuttujuuk, two stars signaling the return of sunlight to the arctic.


Qimmiitt, five dogs harassing Nanook, or Nanurjuk, the polar bear.



Lamp Stand

Pituaq, stand containing the burning fuel providing light


The big dipper is Tukturjuit, the caribou.

Two in Front

Sivulliik, "the first ones" , Little Orphan Boy being chased by an angry grandfather.

The One Behind

Kingulliq, the grandmother chasing the Two in Front


Sakiattiak, The Pleiades, are seen as a breast bone.


Orion's Belt is Ullaktut, three hunters lost on a hunting trip for Nanuk, the polar bear.

Blubber Container

Uqsuutaattiaq, a seal flipper skin sewn shut, contains fuel for lamps.

Never Moves

Nuuttuittuq is the North Star Polaris, the star that never moves.

Nephews or Nieces

The Orion Nebula, Qangimmaariik, a group of children.

The Milky Way

The Divider, Aviguti.

Name of a Murdered Man

Or sometimes: "He who never goes out on newly formed ice". Sikuliaqsiujuittuq is Procyon, the main star in Canis Minor.

Stellarium files

The files needed to display these constellations aren't included in the official 0.8.2 release. They are however kept in SVN, or Subversion, which is the central code repository of the Stellarium developers. It's the place to go if you want to compile development versions of Stellarium (mind that they are often unstable or buggy). Instructions on accessing SVN with an SVN client are on this page: Svn checkout, but Sourceforge also provides a web interface.

The drawings are here:

The data files for the sky culture are here:

No need to compile a development version though, as these files will work just as well in Stellarium 0.8.2. They only need to be placed in the right folders in the Stellarium installation directory for them to show up. Data files go under the data dir, the drawings go in the textures/constellation-art/inuit/ directory. Afterwards, select the sky culture in the Stellarium preferences window and the culture should load. The drawings will be available in the next official release of Stellarium (0.9.0), which is still a while away.

If you have any feedback, corrections or information to add, please do so, either via e-mail or in the Stellarium wiki. --jome 04:20, 2 March 2007 (PST)

External links The Arctic Sky, Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore and Legend

PDF document containing myths from MacDonald's book "The Arctic Sky: Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore and Legends"

The Free Art License

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