Starry Night Pro 6.3.9 (August 3, 2010)

Posted: August 3, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Software Reviews, Space Exploration
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by Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Have you tried any of the excellent astronomy packages on your home computer? One of my favorites is Starry Night, by Imaginova. I originally installed Starry Night Pro 6 on my iMac and reviewed it for MacWorld UK, and recently installed it on my 2.26 GHz Macbook. I had received the 6.0 release, so I downloaded and installed the 6.0 to 6.3.3 and the 6.3.3 to 6.3.9 updates, which took much less time to install than they did to download.

One of the nicest thing about Starry Night is the ability to create and save movies, which I’ve done for some of our space missions like the New Horizons mission to Pluto. To see the mission, click on this link to NASA’s video.

I’m hoping to have more reviews of Starry Nights products on our site in the future, as using astronomy software on your local PC beats standing outside in subzero weather, trying not to freeze as you peer through a telescope lens.

Let us know if you use Starry Night or any of the other excellent astronomy packages out there, and why you like or dislike them.

6.3.3 Updates

Enhancements

  • New minor planets and their moons have been added and updated.
  • Distance Spheres can now be added to any solar system body with any radius and color. (All programs except C.S.A.P.)
  • Shadow Cones can be displayed to show the shadows of orbiting bodies.
  • New update technology built directly into Starry Night. Will check for updates automatically if registered.
  • Animated trips between planets now use more visually appealing planet avoidance.
  • Tully galaxy rendering now implemented as particle systems.
  • Tully database improved to allow for more galaxy types.
  • Saturn’s rings and ring shadows now draw even more precisely, and look much better.
  • Universal Time can now be displayed and edited in the toolbar. (Pro, Pro Plus, Astrophoto Suite only.)
  • The precessional path of the celestial poles can now be displayed.
  • The circumpolar region, based on your latitude, can now be displayed.
  • The value of DeltaT has been improved and can now be overridden by the user. (Pro, Pro Plus, Astrophoto Suite only.)
  • All planets now draw with softer edges.
  • Updated LiveSky links and images.
  • Some lines now draw thicker on high-DPI displays to maintain visibility.
  • Added more features that can help Customer Support track down issues.
  • Spaceship responsiveness dramatically improved.
  • Various space mission data sets have been broken into smaller, logical segments to improve rendering speed.
  • Added 5 new horizon panoramas.
  • Improved Find feature for multiple objects of same name.

Bug Fixes

  • Exported data of the sky view now contains a header row.
  • Galaxy types in several databases have been fixed.
  • Horizon drawing improved when looking at the nadir.
  • Spaceship speed controls now work when Starry Night time is stopped.
  • Telescope name now indicated in Windows 3-pane print settings dialog.
  • SkyCal. Adding event times between 12am and 1am now save properly.
  • Pluto now correctly classified as a Dwarf Planet in the orbit editor.
  • Satellite eccentricities now correctly imported from source file.
  • Moons can now be added to dwarf planets.
  • Adding/editing planet surface images or 3DS model assignments now works.
  • User-specified images are now correctly rendered on moons.
  • One-pane printing FOV fixed.
  • Print legend now shows correct size on all Windows machines.
  • Cardinal points can now be controlled independently of horizon using horizon layer labels.
  • Increased delay in Find search box autosearch.
  • Observing list filters fixed.
  • Comets are now correctly indicated on printed output.
  • Observing lists can now display the objects constellation.
  • Coordinates now export in the format selected in the preferences.
  • Peak times for Meteor Showers are now listed.
  • Ambient sound has been restored.
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