By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

A new update for Starry Night Pro and Starry Night Pro Plus is available today. Use the ‘Help/Check for Updates’ menu option to download and install the update. I updated Starry Night Pro Plus and did not see any glitches during the update nor after restarting SNPP.

I emailed Starry Night Support for a list of fixes in this update and they responded:

“There was only one bug fixed between 6.4.2 and 6.4.3, but it was deemed critical for several of our education customers.”

  • Planet shadow cones drawing errors were fixed.


Recently I’ve read that some Starry Night users discussing the ‘LiveSky/Show Photographic Image…’ menu option. This option is ghosted (not available) unless you zoom in on a deep space object. Below is a screen shot I took in Starry Night Pro Plus – I was checking out Saturn and noticed M16 (I typically spec the Messier object labels on), so I went there and zoomed in and the included photo (very nice detail) was displayed:

Very cool. I’ve also seen posts where there were questions about the inclusion of the SDSS in SNP. I asked Starry Night’s Support and this is what they said:

“We have not yet included support for the SDSS III (Sloan Digitized Sky Survey 3) because after doing some testing, we found that their download service was not yet reliable enough for us to consider adding it as a feature into SN.”

Good news, and hopefully the download service will improve soon.



For a bit of space-related humor (Mars rover attitude issues), check this out.



Tips regarding using Celestron telescopes and SNP 6.4 from Bob, who had this issue:

Problem: Go to the configure screen, selected Celestron, then tried to go to properties and all he saw was a message, “Failed To Load Driver : Cannot create ActiveX component”. He has a CG-5 which connects just fine to The Sky (using the same computer and cables).

Brenda from Starry Night solved the problem for Bob:
“Make sure you have the latest version of the ASCOM telescope driver platform and Celestron drivers. You can get them here:



Tip to address an unusual SNP bug known to affect Mac OSX users, courtesy of Kevin Schultz from Kevin recommended this approach to Konstantin, who confirmed it addressed the problem.

Problem: To address an unusual bug in SNP (know to affect Mac OSX users): When updating from inside the SNP program, the Program does not require the administrative rights in order to update the program in the Application folder. SNP tries to download the installer and notices that it can install and then gives you the message you see which is actually not happening!!

To update, try this first.

  1. Start SNP
  2. Check for Updates
  3. Choose just download
  4. Wait for the download to complete (that downloading is in progress in upper right corner of the window)
  5. Quit SNP
  6. Open the SNP folder in the Applications folder(Program) !
  7. Open the folder Standalone updaters
  8. Double-Click on the latest Updater



The azimuth in the HUD is read in hours, not degrees. How is that changed? Per Stan Glaser from

Preferences > Number Formats > Azimuth (hh or ddd° in one of the variations presented)

– Mike

  1. Thommy says:

    Hello everyone. update 6.4.3 error message ( There was a problem opening the preferences file. Try throwing it out and starting again) Windows 7 ultimate 64. Thank

  2. mikeh2013 says:

    We’ve seen that situation (bad preferences file) in versions 6.4.1 and 6.4.2. I was hoping this new update addressed that issue. I’ll pass this on to Starry Night Support.

    Thanks for leaving this comment Thommy. It’s good to know people are reading our material.
    – Mike

  3. Nick says:

    I also had the preference file error running SNPP 6.4.2 under Win 7. I right clicked and ran as Admin and it then runs fine. Give that a shot and let us know if that works for you.

    – Nick

  4. Piet says:

    I installed updates from SN Pro from 6.0.0 to 6.3.3 and then 6.3.3 to 6.4.3 and now get this too:

    “There was a problem opening the Preferences file. Try throwing the it out and starting again.”

    Where do i find this Preferences file???

  5. Faizal says:


    Could you please explain me about ‘OpenGL’ cause I can’t execute the program,
    Cheers.. :)..

  6. cyclingfun says:

    Hi All!,
    For the win7 pref problem.

    do a right mouse click on the SNPP6 apps icon in “All Programs” or find it in the apps directory in the X86 programs directory, both methods will have the same effect. Then choose “properties”. When the new window opens, choose “advanced” in the lower right. In the new window which pops up, choose “Run as administrator”. Once and for all this will end the problem of the “bad pref. file”

    Good seeing!

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