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Zon Mosaic Pro5 User`s guide
Starry Night
User’s Guide
FOR MACINTOSH AND WINDOWS
111 Jarvis Street - 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON
M5C 2H4 Canada
www.starrynight.com
©2006 Imaginova Corp.
All rights reserved. Starry Night and Imaginova are
trademarks of Imaginova Corp.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft
Corporation. Apple, Macintosh, Mac, and QuickTime
are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.
OpenGL® is a registered trademark owned by Silicon
Graphics, Inc.
Printed in Canada.
Table of Contents
Getting Started
Welcome ..................................................................... 7
Outline Of This User’s Guide ..................................... 8
Feature Dividers.......................................................... 9
Starry Night Companion ............................................. 9
Special Fonts ............................................................. 10
Installing Starry Night............................................... 10
Running Starry Night ................................................ 13
Registering ................................................................ 13
Data Updates ............................................................. 13
Setting Your Home Location .................................... 14
Starry Night For the First Time................................. 15
Daily Events Reminder ............................................. 16
Getting Help.............................................................. 16
Program Updates....................................................... 17
Product Upgrades...................................................... 17
Starry Night Website................................................. 17
Basics
12 Important Features ............................................... 19
Using The Controls ................................................... 20
Taking A Guided Tour (SkyGuide) .......................... 22
Changing Your Viewing Direction ........................... 22
Changing The Date And Time .................................. 23
Identifying Objects In The Sky................................. 24
Labeling Objects ....................................................... 24
Displaying Constellation Figures.............................. 24
Finding Objects ......................................................... 25
Finding Celestial Events ........................................... 27
Zooming In On Objects............................................. 27
Learning More About Objects .................................. 30
Printing Star Charts................................................... 30
Tool Selection Control .............................................. 30
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Appearance of the Sky
Sky Contextual Menu................................................ 33
Options Pane ............................................................. 34
Light .......................................................................... 35
Ambient Sounds........................................................ 37
Changing the Horizon ............................................... 37
Displaying Celestial Objects..................................... 38
Labeling Celestial Objects ........................................ 39
Celestial Object Display Options.............................. 40
Star Display Options ................................................. 41
Star Brightness, Contrast & Colour .......................... 44
Planet Display Options.............................................. 45
Location Markers and Surface Feature Outlines....... 47
Space Mission Display Options ................................ 49
Comet, Asteroid & Satellite Display Options........... 49
Messier Objects/User Images Display Options ........ 49
Milky Way Display Options ..................................... 50
Tully Database Display Options ............................... 50
Selecting Filaments/Groups in the Tully Database... 51
Other Object Display Options................................... 52
Label Options............................................................ 52
Constellations............................................................ 53
Guides 1 (Co-ordinate Systems) ............................... 55
Guides 2 (Display Options)....................................... 57
Guides Layer in Enthusiast ....................................... 57
Guides Layer in Pro and Pro Plus ............................. 58
Field of View Indicators ........................................... 60
Heads-Up Display (HUD) Options ........................... 62
OpenGL Options ....................................................... 63
Number Formats ....................................................... 64
Full Screen Mode ...................................................... 65
Saving Your Settings ................................................ 65
Sky Data
SkyGuide................................................................... 68
SkyCalendar .............................................................. 69
DVD Movies ............................................................. 71
LiveSky Pane ............................................................ 72
Status Info ................................................................. 73
Downloading Photographic Images .......................... 77
Online Telescope Imaging ........................................ 78
Object Databases
Introduction to Databases.......................................... 80
Databases 1 (Solar System)....................................... 80
Databases 2 (Stars).................................................... 81
Databases 3 (Deep Space)......................................... 82
5
Databases 4 (Other)................................................... 83
Database Updates...................................................... 85
Find Pane Info........................................................... 87
Object Contextual Menu ........................................... 88
Info Pane ................................................................... 91
Pronunciation Guide ................................................. 97
LiveSky.com Object Database.................................. 97
Bending Space & Time
Time Flow ............................................................... 100
Time Flow Modes ................................................... 101
Local and Celestial Paths ........................................ 102
Changing Your Viewing Location.......................... 103
Changing Elevation................................................. 106
Location Mode ........................................................ 107
Orientation .............................................................. 109
Orbits....................................................................... 110
Spaceship Mode ...................................................... 112
Observation Tools
Event Finder............................................................ 116
Graph Tool .............................................................. 120
Ephemeris Generator............................................... 122
Observation Lists .................................................... 124
Log Book................................................................. 128
Telescope Control ................................................... 130
Imaging Plug-in (Windows only) ........................... 134
Satellite Tracking .................................................... 135
Wireless Telescope Control .................................... 135
Field of View Indicators 1
(Creating an Equipment List).................................. 135
Field of View Indicators 2
(Displaying Indicators) ........................................... 138
Flip .......................................................................... 140
Printing.................................................................... 140
White Sky Mode ..................................................... 143
Night Vision Mode.................................................. 143
Working With Files
What is a Starry Night File?.................................... 146
File Features............................................................ 146
The Favourites Menu .............................................. 147
Adding notes to Starry Night Files ......................... 148
Creating Files - An Example................................... 148
Multiple Windows................................................... 149
Starry Night AppleScripting (Mac only) ................ 150
Exporting Images .................................................... 151
Making Movies ....................................................... 151
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Playing Back QuickTime Movies ........................... 153
Movie Compression Settings .................................. 153
Making QuickTime Virtual Reality Files ............... 154
Quicktime VR Movie Settings................................ 155
Copyright and Images ............................................. 155
Exporting Sky Data................................................. 156
Adding Your Own Data
Adding Calendar Events ......................................... 160
Adding Log Entries................................................. 162
Adding Objects 1 (Single Solar System Objects) ... 162
Adding Objects 2 (Multiple Solar System Objects) 168
Adding Objects 3 (Stars)......................................... 169
Adding Objects 4 (Databases)................................. 170
User Images............................................................. 171
Modifying Images and Models ............................... 175
Custom Horizons..................................................... 176
Photorealistic Horizons ........................................... 176
Customizing the Favourites Menu .......................... 177
Custom Asterisms ................................................... 178
Backing Up Custom Data ....................................... 178
Starry Night Pro Plus
AllSky CCD Mosaic ............................................... 182
AllSky Options........................................................ 182
AllSky CCD Mosaic Frequently Asked Questions. 183
Nebula Outlines....................................................... 185
High Resolution Images.......................................... 185
MaxIm DL Plug-In (Windows only) ...................... 186
Frequently Asked Questions
QuickTime .............................................................. 189
Registration Number ............................................... 190
Installation............................................................... 190
Support .................................................................... 190
Updates/Upgrades ................................................... 190
OpenGL................................................................... 191
Time & Date............................................................ 191
Viewing Location.................................................... 193
Printing & Making Movies ..................................... 194
Telescopes............................................................... 195
Constellations & The Zodiac .................................. 195
Solar System Bodies ............................................... 196
Stars......................................................................... 197
Keyboard Shortcuts ...................................... 199
Index ..................................................................... 201
Chapter 1
Getting Started
Welcome
The invention of desktop astronomy software has
been the most exciting new development in the
astronomy hobby in years, perhaps since that
night four centuries ago when Galileo pointed the
newly invented telescope at the heavens for the
first time! Starry Night is the premier astronomy
software package on the market, putting more
power and knowledge in your hands than even
the world’s pre-eminent astronomers had just a
few years ago.
You can see how the sky will look tonight,
tomorrow, or far into the past or future. You can
view the stars as they appear from your own
backyard, from a country on the other side of the
world, or from another planet. You can witness a
total eclipse from the Moon, watch the Sun set
from the surface of Mars, or even ride a comet.
You are limited only by your curiosity.
This guide is designed to help you harness the
full power of Starry Night. Enjoy the ride!
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Outline Of This User’s Guide
This User’s Guide provides instructions
for using Starry Night Complete Space &
Astronomy Pack (CSAP), Enthusiast, Pro
and Pro Plus. It can also be used with
Starry Night Astrophoto Suite which
includes a copy of Starry Night Pro.
Everyone using Starry Night should read
chapters 1 and 2 of this User’s Guide for a
basic understanding of how to use the
program. Only chapters 1 and 2 are
applicable to Starry Night CSAP. Chapter
7 only applies to Starry Night Pro and Pro
Plus, while chapter 10 applies exclusively
to Starry Night Pro Plus.
After reading chapters 1 and 2, Starry
Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus users
may want to explore the program on their
own and only refer to the User’s Guide if
they have questions about a specific
feature. Alternately, you may wish to read
the entire User’s Guide. This is especially
beneficial if you wish to learn more about
features that are not available in your
current Starry Night product.
Below is a brief summary of each chapter
in the User’s Guide.
Chapter 1: “Getting Started” tells you how
to get Starry Night up and running for the
first time.
Chapter 2: “Basics” covers the most
frequently used features in the program.
Chapter 3: “Appearance of the Sky” shows
you how to modify the onscreen
appearance of Starry Night.
Chapter 4: “Sky Data” shows you how to
get more information about astronomy and
the sky in general.
Chapter 5: “Object Databases” describes
the different types of celestial objects
included in Starry Night and the
information you can learn about each
object.
Chapter 6: “Bending Space & Time” takes
a detailed look at the features of Starry
Night that let you visit other locations in
the universe, view the sky from dates in
the past or future, and modify the speed at
which time in Starry Night moves forward.
This section will be particularly useful for
educators who plan to use Starry Night
simulations to demonstrate astronomical
concepts.
Chapter 7: “Observation Tools” describes
some of Starry Night’s astronomy tools
that go beyond displaying the sky. Some
examples are telescope control and
observation planning and logging.
Chapter 8: “Working With Files” teaches
you how to save files, capture colour
images and make QuickTime videos using
Starry Night.
Chapter 9: “Adding Your Own Data”
teaches you how to expand the vast library
of data that is built into Starry Night. You
will learn how to create your own
constellation sets, add custom images, and
even build your own databases!
Chapter 10: “Starry Night Pro Plus”
teaches you about the features that make
Pro Plus the most realistic astronomy
program. You will learn about the AllSky
Getting Started
CCD mosaic, exclusive databases and the
plug-in to MaxIm DL imaging software.
Appendix A: “Frequently Asked
Questions” answers the questions most
commonly asked by users of Starry Night.
Appendix B: “Keyboard Shortcuts” is a
handy reference table listing the Windows
and Mac keyboard shortcuts for the
features in Starry Night.
Feature Dividers
Because this is a universal User’s Guide
for all Starry Night products, not all
features mentioned in this guide will be
available in your specific product. These
product specific differences are indicated
either in the text or with dividers that
specify in which products the features are
available.
Indicates the end of the feature or control
being described for the specific product(s)
indicated on the divider. Features that
follow this divider apply to all products
applicable to the chapter you are currently
reading.
Note: All screenshots shown in this User’s
Guide were captured with Starry Night Pro
Plus. Unless otherwise noted, some
features shown on the screenshots might
not be available in your product.
If you read about a feature or control not in
your current product, you can purchase an
upgrade for one of the more advanced
programs at any time by visiting http://
www.starrynight.com
Starry Night Companion
Denotes features and controls that are
available in Starry Night Enthusiast, Starry
Night Pro and Starry Night Pro Plus.
Denotes features and controls that are
available in Starry Night Pro, and Starry
Night Pro Plus.
Denotes features and controls that are only
available in Starry Night Pro Plus.
This User’s Guide will teach you how to
use Starry Night. The second book
included with your package, Starry Night
Companion, is a guide to learning more
about astronomy and the night sky. This
200 page book, written by astronomer
John Mosley, is your tour guide to the universe and will help you appreciate what
you see when you are outdoors looking up
at the night sky.
You can access an electronic version of
Starry Night Companion by choosing
Help->Companion Book from the main
menu.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Special Fonts
Two special fonts are used throughout this
User’s Guide:
1) Command Font: This font is used to
indicate a button, clickable area,
keystroke, or menu choice.
Examples:
1
Click the Online Info button.
2
Press the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keys.
3
Choose File->Open from the menu.
2) File Font: This font indicates a
folder or file, either on your hard drive or
the Starry Night DVD. File and folder
names are always enclosed in quotations.
sequences. Starry Night will not run if
QuickTime (version 7.0 or later) is not
installed. To install Starry Night and
QuickTime, follow the installation
instructions below.
Note: If you already have QuickTime
(version 7.0 or later) on your computer,
you do not need to install it again. If you
have an older version of QuickTime,
install the newer version of QuickTime
from the Starry Night disc. It will
automatically overwrite your older
version.
Windows:
1
Insert the Starry Night disc in the CDor DVD-ROM drive.
2
A window will pop up onscreen with
instructions on installing Starry Night.
Follow the instructions that appear.
Examples:
1
Locate the “satellites.txt” file
on the DVD.
2
Your comet data is saved in the “Starry
Night\Sky Data\” folder.
Installing Starry Night
Depending on the product level, you will
receive Starry Night software on either
CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs. You will need
either a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM to install
the program All discs include both the
Windows and Macintosh versions.
To run Starry Night, you need to install
two programs: Starry Night and
QuickTime. QuickTime is a tool for
manipulating graphics files and
constructing and viewing animation
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus users
have the option to select a “Full Install”
or “Custom Install”. The “Full Install”
option will install extra star data, with
stars as dim as magnitude 15 (these
stars are not visible in your sky without
a telescope) and the Principal Galaxy
Catalog (PGC) with 980, 000 galaxies
Getting Started
as dim as magnitude 18.
The “Full Install” option in Starry
Night Pro Plus will also install the
AllSky Image in Direct Draw Surface
(DDS) texture format. DDS textures
load up to 20x faster making Starry
Night run smoother when viewing the
AllSky Image. The difference is
substancial but the AllSky DDS texture
will take an additional 8 GB on your
hard disc (compared to the non-DDS
AllSky Image at 1 GB).
The “Minimal Install” option will not
install the dimmer stars and galaxies or
the DDS version of the AllSky Image,
saving about 8 GB of hard disk space.
The “Custom Install” option allows you
to select which extra data to install.
3
At the end of the installation, the Starry
Night installer launches an application
to install QuickTime. Follow the
instructions that appear onscreen. .
4
At the end of the installation process,
there will be a screen with a button
titled "Configure File and MIME
Types". Press the File Types tab to edit
the associations.
5
Make sure that only the box marked
"Quick Time Movie" is checked under
the Video category. This will associate
.mov files correctly with QuickTime.
Other movie file types (for example,
mpeg or avi files) will not be affected.
.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Following the QuickTime installation, the
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus installer
launches an application to install
telescope control. If you have a motorized
telescope you wish to control with Starry
Night, follow the onscreen instructions.
See “Telescope Control” on page 116 for
more information on telescope control.
Telescope control is not available in Starry
Night CSAP and Starry Night Enthusiast.
Macintosh: To
install Starry Night for the
Macintosh, follow these steps.
1
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus users
have the option to select a “Full Install”
or “Custom Install”.The “Full Install”
option will install extra star data, with
stars as dim as magnitude 15 (these
stars are not visible in your sky without
a telescope) and the Principal Galaxy
Catalog (PGC) with 980, 000 galaxies
as dim as magnitude 18.
The “Full Install” option in Starry
Night Pro Plus will also install the
AllSky Image in Direct Draw Surface
(DDS) texture format. DDS textures
load up to 20x faster making Starry
Night run smoother when viewing the
AllSky Image. The difference is
substancial but the AllSky DDS texture
will take an additional 8 GB on your
hard disc (compared to the non-DDS
AllSky Image at 1 GB).The “Minimal
Install” option will not install the
dimmer stars and galaxies or the DDS
version of the AllSky Image, saving
about 8 GB of hard disk space. The
“Custom Install” option allows you to
select which extra data to install.
Tip (Astrophoto Suite and Pro Plus only):
Windows users do not need to install a
separate plug-in for Maxim DL imaging
software, it is packaged into the main
Starry Night installer. See “MaxIm DL
Plug-In (Windows only)” on page 186 for
more information on MaxIm DL.
6
Starry Night includes a standalone
DVD disc (“SkyTheater”), which
contains short movies about astronomy.
You can play the DVD disc on your
computer DVD-ROM drive or your
home DVD player.
Insert the DVD into the DVD-ROM
drive and double-click on the Starry
Night installation icon.
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): Macintosh
users do not need to install a separate
driver for telescope control, it is packaged
into the main Starry Night installer.
Telescope control is not available in Starry
Night CSAP and Starry Night Enthusiast.
2
Starry Night includes a standalone
DVD disc (“SkyTheater”), which
Getting Started
contains short movies about astronomy.
You can play the DVD disc on your
computer DVD-ROM drive or your
home DVD player.
Running Starry Night
Once you have installed Starry
Night, you can run the
program as follows:
Windows: Double-click the
Starry Night icon on your desktop, or
select it from your start menu.
Macintosh: Double-click
the Starry Night
icon in the Applications folder, or click the
icon on your dock.
Registering
When you run Starry Night for the first
time, you will be prompted to enter your
name and registration number. To get your
unique registration number, click Get
Registration Number. For this to work,
you must have an active Internet connection. If you do not have an active Internet
connection, you can still click OK and the
program will operate normally—but you
will not be able to download the periodic
data updates, such as new comets, upcoming events and tours.
Registering makes it possible for us to
notify you of any upgrades, bug fixes, or
plug-ins as they become available. You
may also be eligible for reduced upgrade
prices to other astronomy software
programs. You can update your
registration information at any time in the
future by visiting
www.starrynight.com/register.
Tip: You can retrieve your registration
number at any time by choosing
Registration from the Help menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh).
After you have typed in your name and
registration number, press OK to begin
Starry Night.
Data Updates
The first time you run Starry Night, a
window will pop up that asks if you wish
to update your data files.
If you press Update Files, Starry Night
will attempt to connect to our website and
download updated data files. Downloading
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Starry Night User’s Guide
these files ensures that any new comets,
asteroids, satellites, calendar events or
tours are added to the program. If you do
not want to download updated data files at
this time, just press Cancel to skip this
process. Starry Night CSAP users can
update these data files at any time in the
future by choosing LiveSky->
Update Data Files... from the menu.
User’s of Starry Night Enthsuiast, Pro and
Pro Plus can update the data files by
choosing LiveSky->
Update Comets/Asteroids/Satellites
from the menu. See “Database Updates”
on page 85 for more information on
updating data files.
Starry Night, see
“Program Updates” on page 17.
Setting Your Home Location
The first time Starry Night runs, a dialog
box opens that asks you to set your home
location. Once you have done this, you do
not need to change your home location
unless you move.
1
Click the List tab. This displays a huge
database of cities throughout the world.
2
Use the scrollbar on the right to look
through the list. If your home city is
listed, click on its name to highlight
this city. Then press the Select
Panorama button to associate a
landscape with your location. Press the
Save As Home Location button to
save the changes. If your city is not
listed, try entering your zip/postal code
by pressing the Zip/Postal Code tab. If
your city is still not listed, proceed to
step 3.
Only registered users can download the
updated data files. If you did not register
Starry Night, the following window will
appear onscreen when you try to download
new data files
Click Open Registration Dialog to obtain
your registration number and proceed with
updating your data files or click Cancel
File Update to continue without
downloading.
Note: Updating data files is not the same
as updating the program itself. To ensure
that you are running the latest version of
Getting Started
Tip: A list of astronomical observatories is
included in the location list. To see this
list, click on the Province column heading
and scroll down to “Observatories”.
3
Click the Latitude/Longitude tab.
Type in the name of your location and
enter your latitude and longitude. You
can enter these values in degrees,
degrees & minutes, or degrees, minutes
& seconds. Starry Night will convert
your values to degrees and minutes.You
must also enter the correct time zone.
Time zones are calculated according to
the time difference from London,
England. For example, all communities
on Eastern Standard Time are 5 hours
behind London, so you would enter “-5
h” if you are on Eastern Standard Time.
If you do not know your latitude,
longitude, or time zone, click Lookup
Lat/Long on Internet for Internet
resources that will help you find this
information.
4
Once you have entered your coordinates, click the Add Location to
List button. This will open a window
where you can enter your city,
province/state and country. Press the
Add Location button once you have
entered this information, then press the
Save As Home Location button.
Tip: If you ever move and need to change
your location (or if you initially enter your
home location incorrectly), choose
Set Home Location from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) to enter a new home location.
Starry Night For the First Time
After you have entered your home
location, the main screen of Starry Night
appears. This window shows what you
would see if you stepped outside at the
current time, and looked south from your
home location. Direction markers along
the horizon help you orient yourself. If you
open the program at night, you see a starfilled night sky. If you open the program
during the day, you see a daytime scene
with blue sky and sunshine. A horizon is
shown to give you some perspective.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
The current time is shown in the upper left
corner of the screen.
Note: The current date and time are
calculated from your computer’s clock. If
your computer’s clock is incorrect, Starry
Night may show night when it is day
outside, or vice versa. See
“Time & Date” on page 193 if you do not
know how to change your computer’s
clock settings.
Most of the controls in Starry Night will
probably look unfamiliar to you. The next
chapter will show you how to use them
and become more comfortable with the
program.
To view an event, click on its name and
then press the View Event button. To close
the Today’s Events dialog box press the
Cancel button. If you do not wish to be
reminded of daily events, uncheck the
“Always warn me about visible events at
startup“ box.
Getting Help
Hopefully this User’s Guide will help you
master Starry Night! But if you still have
questions, there are plenty of places to turn
for help.
Contextual Help: Hold
the cursor over any of
Starry Night’s
controls, and a text
box will pop up that
describes the function
of that control.
Info Icon: Whenever you see this icon
Daily Events Reminder
Each time you open Starry Night, a dialog
box will open listing all observable
celestial events visible today from your
current location. If there are no events
available on that day, the Today’s Events
dialog box will not appear.
beside one of the controls in Starry
Night, click the icon to see a short
description of that control.
Electronic Manual: Choosing
Help->User’s Guide from the menu
opens the PDF version of this manual.
Tech Support Website: A list of frequently
asked questions is included in Appendix
A: “Frequently Asked Questions”. An
up-to-date version of this FAQ is available
online by choosing Help->Online Help
from the menu. Any new bugs or other
issues regarding Starry Night will be
covered in this FAQ.
Discussion List: The Starry Night
Discussion List is a newsgroup that allows
you to ask questions and share tips with
Getting Started
other owners of Starry Night. At press
time, the Discussion List had more than
8000 members, so it is an excellent
resource. Sign up for this list at http://
www.starrynight.com/support/
discussion_lists.html
program, to ensure that you are running
the most up-to-date version of Starry
Night.
Product Upgrades
can
contact our technical support staff at http://
www.starrynight.com/support/ for help
with your problems.
Whether you’re an astrophotographer,
serious amateur astronomer or new to the
night sky, Starry Night has software that
meets your needs.
Program Updates
As a user of Starry Night, you qualify for
discounts on upgrades to new and
advanced versions of Starry Nigh.
Contact Technical Support: You
Starry Night is updated on a fairly regular
basis. Updates may add new features, or
may fix bugs in the existing program. To
find out if you are running the latest
version, run the Starry Night updater
(Internet connection required). The
updater will automatically download and
install any required updates. To run the
Starry Night updater, click the Start button
and select Program Files-Starry NightCheck for Starry Night Updates. On the
Macintosh, click on the Starry Night
Updater application located in the same
folder as the Starry Night application.
To find out your current version number at
any time, choose About Starry Night
from the Starry Night menu (Macintosh)
or the Help menu (Windows). A new
window will open, and this window will
have your version number in the bottom
left corner.
We recommend that you check for
program updates soon after you install the
An upgrade allows you to move from an
old version to a new version of the same
title, for example Starry Night Pro 5 to
Starry Night Pro 6, or to a more advanced
product, for example, Starry Night
Enthusiast 6 to Starry Night Pro Plus 6.
Even if you own a planetarium software
program other than Starry Night, you can
still qualify for a discount.
Visit http://www.starrynight.com and click
on the “Upgrades” link for details on great
offers.
Starry Night Website
More information about Starry Night and
other astronomy products is available at
our website, www.starrynight.com.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Chapter 2
Basics
It is impossible to cover all of the features of
Starry Night in one short chapter. However, you
will use certain features much more than others.
This chapter will show you how to use the 12
most important features in Starry Night CSAP,
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus. Once you have read
this chapter, you will be able to use Starry Night
effectively as a guide to the night sky.
12 Important Features
Here are the keytasks you will learn to perform
with Starry Night in this chapter:
1
Use the controls.
2
Take a Guided Tour (SkyGuide).
3
Change your viewing direction.
4
Change the date and time.
5
Identify objects in the sky.
6
Label objects.
7
Display constellation figures.
8
Find objects.
9
Find celestial events.
10
Zoom in on objects.
11
Learn more about any object.
12
Print star charts.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Using The Controls
All of the controls in Starry Night are in
three areas of the screen: the toolbar, the
side panes, and the menu. There is more
than one way to access many of the
features in Starry Night - for example, you
may be able to access a feature through the
main menu and through the side panes.
Tip: If some of the controls described in
this section appear to be missing from
your version of Starry Night, you may not
have installed QuickTime correctly.
Reinstall QuickTime and you should then
see all of the controls. See
“Installing Starry Night” on page 10 for
more information.
Toolbar: The
toolbar is the strip of buttons
which runs just above the main window.
The toolbar has the following controls
(each set of controls is explained in a later
section):
Time and Date
Time Flow Rate
Viewing Location
Gaze
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): Clicking
the blue pin button on the toolbar will
display a menu with all the log entries you
have added to Starry Night. See “Adding
Log Entries” on page 162 for more
information on observing logs.
Side Panes: These
panes are along the left
side of the screen. Depending on which
version you own only some panes will be
available.
Clicking on a pane causes the pane to slide
out, revealing a set of controls. Each pane
opens to a default width. However, by
clicking along the right edge of the pane
and dragging the mouse, you can make the
pane narrower or wider.
Within a pane, you can expand or collapse
various layers by using these buttons:
Expand layer (Windows).
Expand layer (Macintosh).
Collapse layer (Windows).
Collapse layer (Macintosh).
Zoom (FOV)
In Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus, you can hide
the toolbar by choosing View->Hide
Toolbar from the main menu.
Layer
(expanded)
Layer
La
(collapsed)
Pane
Basics
Each of the side panes controls an
important function in Starry Night, and is
explained in detail in a later section.
Pane
Menu: The menu runs across the top of the
screen, above the toolbar. Clicking on an
item in the menu expands the menu to
reveal additional options.
Page
Starry Night CSAP includes the
following side panes:
Find
87
Status
74
Info
90
SkyGuide
68
Events
69
Starry Night Enthusiast includes
the side panes listed above and
adds the following:
Options
32
Favourites
131
SkyCalendar
69
LiveSky
73
FOV
58
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus
includes all of the side panes
listed above and adds the
following:
Lists
120
Telescope
116
Themes: You can choose from a range of
themes to customize the look and feel of
the controls in Starry Night. Also known
as skins, a theme alters the appearance of
the Toolbar and side panes. To choose a
theme, select Options->Theme from the
main menu. Button Bar (Windows only):
On Windows, the button bar provides an
additional set of controls. The button bar is
located under the menu, just above the
toolbar. It contains a set of buttons for
some of the most commonly used
functions in the program. Point the cursor
at one of the buttons, and a text tip will
pop up that describes the button’s function.
Tip: You can hide the button bar at any
time by selecting View->Hide Buttonbar
in the menu. If you prefer to hide the
button bar, you can still access all of its
controls through the other menus and
tools. You can also turn off the text tips for
the button bar by choosing Preferences
from the File menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh), choosing
General from the dropbox in the upper left
corner of the Preferences dialog box, and
unchecking the “Show button help on
scroll over” box.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Taking A Guided Tour (SkyGuide)
The SkyGuide pane is a
link to dozens of
interactive multimedia
tours that explore the fascinating science
and history of the solar system, the stars,
the galaxies, the beginning of time, and the
fate of the universe. SkyGuide works just
like a web browser; click on the links to
take a tour, see astronomy news headlines
and find instructions on how to use the
most common Starry Night features.
To start exploring right away, open the
SkyGuide side pane and click on the
“Guided Tours” link.
Starry Night CSAP users can learn more
about SkyGuide by clicking on the “Starry
Night Basics” link inside SkyGuide.
User’s of Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and
Pro Plus should read “SkyGuide” on
page 68 for more information.
Changing Your Viewing Direction
By default, Starry Night always opens
with your view facing south, looking
slightly above the horizon. You can then
adjust this view to look in any direction.
Tip: In Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus, if
you would prefer that Starry Night open
with your view facing in a direction other
than south, choose Preferences from the
File menu (Windows) or the Starry Night
menu (Macintosh), choose General from
the dropbox in the upper left corner of the
Preferences dialog box, and adjust the
“Default Viewing Direction” ring slider.
You can also adjust the default altitude
(how high above the horizon you are
looking).
The default cursor icon in Starry
Night is a hand. When you hold the
mouse button down, you will see the
hand close, as if it is “grabbing” part of the
sky. If you hold the mouse button down
and drag the mouse, your view shifts in the
direction that you moved the mouse. The
compass icon in the upper right corner of
the screen shows the direction in which
you are viewing. You can also use the
compass points marked along the horizon
to find your viewing direction.
Tip: You can configure Starry Night to
display scroll bars along the edges of the
window by selecting
View->Show Scroll Bars from the menu.
You can then use these scroll bars in place
of the hand to adjust your viewing
direction.
Zenith and Nadir Markers: If
you adjust
your view so that you are looking high
above the horizon, you may see a red
marker. This marker identifies the zenith,
the point in the sky that is directly above
your head. If you are located in space, you
can also look straight down to see a
marker for the nadir, the point directly
beneath your feet. If you are located on
Earth or another planet, you are limited in
how far down you can look. You are able
to look only slightly below the horizon,
and cannot see the nadir.
In Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro
Pro Plus you can turn off the markers for
the zenith and nadir by choosing
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the
Basics
Starry Night menu (Macintosh), choosing
General from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box,
and unchecking the “Show zenith and
nadir while scrolling” box.
Changing The Date And Time
When you open Starry Night, you may see
a bright blue sunny sky, a dark sky filled
with stars, or a twilight realm with only a
few bright stars showing. This is because
Starry Night always opens showing the
sky at the current date and time. The date
and time are shown in the upper left corner
of the toolbar.
Tip: A small icon of the Sun
appears to the left of the time in the
toolbar. If Daylight Saving Time is
turned on, this icon is lit up. Starry Night
uses your computer clock to determine if
Daylight Saving Time should be turned on.
Click on the icon to turn on or off Daylight
Saving Time.
If Starry Night is showing a daytime
scene, try changing the time so that it is
night. If you already see a night scene,
change the time so that it is day. Starry
Night allows you to set the date from
anywhere between 4 713 B.C. and 3 000
A.D. for CSAP, 4 713 B.C. and 9 999 A.D.
for Enthusiast, 99 999 B.C. and 99 999
A.D. for Starry Night Pro and Starry Night
Pro Plus.
Immediately below the Time and Date
control is a set of 3 buttons that allow you
to reset the time to the current time or
quickly change the time to sunrise and
sunset.
Tip: As you are working through the rest of
the features in this chapter, you will
probably want to set the time in Starry
Night so that the sky is dark. In the day,
only the Sun will be visible onscreen, and
it will be difficult to use some of the
features.
Special Times:
Immediately to the
right of the time
display in the toolbar is
a pull-down menu that
lets you quickly change
the time to one of
See “How does Daylight Saving Time
work in Starry Night?” on page 192 for
more information on Daylight Saving
Time.
To change the date or time, just click on it.
The date or time will light up, and you can
type in a new value.
several key times.
You can reset the time to the current time
by pressing Now or set the time to sunrise,
sunset, moonrise or moonset. You can also
change to solar noon, the time at which the
Sun is highest in the sky, or moon transit,
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Starry Night User’s Guide
the time at which the Moon is highest in
the sky.
Identifying Objects In The Sky
If you point the cursor at any object shown
onscreen, information about the object will
automatically appear. This is Starry
Night’s Heads-Up Display (HUD).
Displayed are the object’s name, the
constellation it is in, and its distance (if
known) from Earth. This makes it easy to
identify any of the points of light
displayed onscreen.
keyboard key). This labels the brightest
objects in each category (stars,
constellations, planets, deep space
objects). You can turn these labels off
again by choosing
Labels->Hide All Labels or by pressing
the “L” keyboard key.
Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus
offers much more precise control over
object labels. You can label only certain
types of objects, increase/decrease the
number of labels, or label only the objects
that you select. See “Labeling Celestial
Objects” on page 39 for more information.
Displaying Constellation Figures
In Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro
Plus you can choose which information
fields are displayed when you point the
cursor at an object. See
“Heads-Up Display (HUD) Options” on
page 62 for more details.
Labeling Objects
The Heads-Up Display is great for finding
out what a specific object is, but it’s not
much help if you want a quick overview of
all of the brighter objects onscreen. The
best way to quickly identify all bright
objects is to choose
Labels->Show All Labels from the menu
(in Starry Night CSAP press the “L”
For thousands of years, stargazers have
joined the brighter stars together into
patterns that we call constellations.
Astronomers currently recognize 88
constellations, which together cover the
entire sky. Knowing which constellation
an object is in is the first step to finding the
object.
You can turn on the stick figures for the
constellations by choosing
View->Constellations->Astronomical
from the main menu (in Starry Night
CSAP press the “K” keyboard key).
Choosing this option again will remove
the figures. Use the Labels menu in Starry
Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus to turn
on/off the constellation labels.
Basics
object. Several information fields are
listed beside each object in the list of
found objects. See “Find Pane Info” on
page 87 to learn what these fields mean.
Many more options exist in Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus for displaying
the constellations. These options are
outlined in “Constellations” on page 53.
Note: The same objects might be available
in more than one database. In these cases,
Starry Night will group and list all the
databases in which the object appears.
The primary database in which the object
is found is listed first.
Finding Objects
If you are interested in finding a
specific object, such as a planet
or a bright new comet, open the
Find side pane. Click in the text box at the
top of this pane and type in the first few
letters of the object you are looking for. As
you type, Starry Night displays a list of
objects that match your name.
Tip: The object you are searching for may
be hidden beneath the horizon. If this is the
case, Starry Night will offer you the option
of hiding the horizon or advancing the
time forward to a time when the object will
be above the horizon. Objects below the
horizon are greyed out.
Panning To Found Objects: By
Once the object that you are looking for
appears in the list, double-click on its
name, and Starry Night will centre on the
default,
Starry Night slowly pans to objects that
you have double-clicked on in the Find
pane. This feature is handy because it
allows you to see where the new object is
relative to your current view.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
If you choose Preferences from the File
menu (Windows) or the Starry Night
menu (Macintosh) and choose
Responsiveness from the dropbox in the
upper left corner of the Preferences dialog
box, you will see a slider and checkbox
named “Pan to found objects”. Adjusting
the slider changes the speed at which
Starry Night pans to found objects.
Unchecking the box disables the panning
feature completely, so that your view
changes instantly to the “found” object as
soon as you double-click on it.
Tip: If you hit the space bar during a pan,
the program immediately takes you
directly to the object. If something catches
your eye and you want to stop the pan,
press the Esc key.
with the first letters typed in the text box at
the top of the Find pane. Clicking on the
dropbox that reads “begin with’ opens a
menu with additional search options. You
can customize your search by selecting to
find objects that exactly match, contain or
end with the letters you entered in the text
box.
If you clear the
text box at the top of the Find pane, the
list of items found is replaced by a list of
solar system objects.
Solar System Object List:
By default,
Starry Night searches all of its object
databases when you use the Find pane.
Searching Specific Databases:
If you wish, you can
choose to search in only
a specific database, by
clicking the arrow on
the left side of the textbox in the Find
pane, and choosing the appropriate
database from the menu that appears.
“Object Databases” on page 79 describes
each of the object databases included in
Starry Night.
Enhanced Find: By default Starry Night
searches for objects whose name begins
Click the symbol to the left
of an object’s name to
expand the list to include all other objects
that orbit this object.
Basics
For example,
clicking on this
symbol for Mars
will expand the list to include the moons
of Mars. Clicking again collapses the list
and hides Mars’s moons. You can doubleclick on any object in this list to centre on
the object in Starry Night’s main window.
Finding Celestial Events
If you want to know what is happening in
the night sky tonight, open the Events side
pane. Events such as lunar phases, eclipses
and meteor showers are listed for the
upcoming month.
Zooming In On Objects
Now that you know how to find objects,
you will probably want to know how to
zoom in for close-up views of spectacular
objects such as Saturn and the Andromeda
Galaxy.
The amount of sky that you can see is
called the field of view. If it were possible
to see the entire hemisphere of sky that is
above the horizon at any time, you would
have a 180° field of view. Of course, this is
impossible. Including some peripheral
vision, the human eye can see
approximately a 100° field of view. If you
look through binoculars, the area you see
is a much smaller piece of the sky, which
means binoculars have a correspondingly
smaller field of view (usually 5° to 7° ).
Telescopes have an even smaller field of
view than binoculars.
Starry Night opens with a 100° field of
view. We call this the normal field of view,
since it approximates a view of the sky
that you would see with your own eyes.
Along the top right corner of the toolbar is
a set of zoom buttons which adjusts your
field of view.
To view an event, right-click (Ctrl-click
on the Mac) on the event name and choose
View Event from the contextual menu.
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus users should
read “Event Finder” on page 116 for more
information.
Clicking the (+) zoom
button on the right zooms in
(reduces your field of view), while
clicking the (-) button on the left zooms
out (increases your field of view). Clicking
the left zoom button and holding your
mouse button restores your field of view to
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Starry Night User’s Guide
100°. It is important to remember that
when you zoom in on objects, you are not
in fact changing your location. Think of
zooming as looking through a more and
more powerful telescope, while your feet
remain firmly planted.
Your exact field of
view is always listed
in the Zoom control of
the toolbar.
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): If you click
on the arrow to the right of the Zoom
display, a pull-down menu opens which
allows you to choose from several preset
fields of view. You can also use the
Magnification tool to adjust your field of
view. See “Magnification Tool” on
page 31 for more information on the
Magnification tool.
Note: When you zoom in to a very small
field of view, your field of view will be
shown in arcminutes. If you zoom in even
closer, your field of view will be shown in
arcseconds. One arcminute is 1/60 of a
degree, and one arcsecond is 1/60 of an
arcminute. The smallest field of view
which Starry Night can display is 1
arcsecond.
The compass image in
the upper right corner
(visible only when you
are using the field of
view controls or changing your viewing
direction) provides an excellent graphical
interpretation of the field of view. This
image shows how large a patch of sky is
being displayed in your current view. As
you zoom in, the patch of sky shrinks. As
you zoom out, the patch of sky expands.
The compass image also shows your
viewing direction.
Tip (Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus only):
To hide the compass, open the Options
pane, expand the “Guides” layer and
uncheck the “Show compass indicator
while scrolling” box.
Maximum Zoom Out: By default, you are
unable to zoom out past the standard view
of 100°. To zoom out to see an even larger
field of view, choose Preferences from the
File menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh), choose
General from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box,
and check the box marked “Allow
Maximum Zoom Out”. Then continue
zooming out using the left zoom button
until you have a circular field of view of
180°, which is the entire hemisphere of
sky that is above the horizon at any one
time. This is the view of the sky that most
planispheres (handheld circular star
charts) represent.
Basics
If you choose
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and choose Responsiveness
from the dropbox in the upper left corner
of the Preferences dialog box, you will see
a slider named “Zoom Step”. This slider
adjusts the rate at which Starry Night
increases and decreases your
magnification when you use the Zoom
buttons. By setting this slider farther to the
right, you will zoom in or out faster,
because each zoom step will be larger.
Changing the Zoom Step:
Angular Separation: Angular
separation
provides another way of understanding
fields of view and angles in the sky. If you
point at an object and click and hold the
left mouse button and then drag the mouse
to a second object, a line appears which
connects the two objects. The angular
separation between the two objects is
displayed, along with the direction of the
line and the actual distance between the
two objects (if known).
The angular separation measures how far
apart in the sky two celestial bodies
appear. The entire sky is divided into 360°,
so an object which is directly in front of
you and an object directly behind you in
the sky have an angular separation of
180°. If you measure the angular
separation between two objects on
opposite sides of your screen, you should
find that it is very close to the field of view
that Starry Night is showing. Note that the
angular separation of two objects has no
connection to how far apart these objects
really are: two bodies which appear side
by side in the sky may be hundreds of light
years apart!
Example: Magnifying Jupiter
1 Open the Find pane and type in
“Jupiter”.
2 Double-click on Jupiter’s name in the
list to centre on Jupiter. If a dialog box
shows that Jupiter is beneath the horizon,
choose the Best Time option.
3 If Starry Night is displaying a
daylight sky, choose View->Hide
Daylight from the menu to turn off daylight.
4 Click the “+” zoom button to slowly
zoom in on Jupiter. As you zoom in, Starry
Night automatically shows dimmer stars.
Once your field of view reaches about 30
arcminutes, Jupiter will start to look like a
ball instead of a point.
5 Continue clicking the “+” zoom button
all the way until your field of view is about
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Starry Night User’s Guide
6 arcminutes. Note that Jupiter will still not
fill the screen.
Printing Star Charts
6 Press the “+” zoom button to continue
zooming in on Jupiter. Once you reach a
field of view of about 35 arcseconds, Jupiter should fill the screen.
Starry Night has a special set of print
settings which make printing informative,
legible charts a snap. You can then take
these charts outside to help with your
stargazing.
7 Click the “-” zoom button and hold your
mouse button down to restore your field of
view to 100°.
Once you have set the time, viewing
direction and field of view, select
File->Print from the menu. You will get a
full-page printout of the area shown
onscreen.
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus users should
read “Printing” on page 140 for more
information.
Tool Selection Control
Learning More About Objects
You can double-click on any
object displayed onscreen in
Starry Night to learn more
about it. Double-clicking will open the
Info pane, which has information on the
object organized into different categories.
All of the information fields in the Info
pane are described in detail in “Info Pane”
on page 91.
Tip: Right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the Mac)
on any object onscreen will open a
contextual menu of options. Select Show
Info from this menu to open the Info pane
and learn more about the object.
Now that you know about some of the
major features in Starry Night, we’ll take a
quick look at the Tool Selection Control.
This control (in the upper left corner of the
toolbar, to the left of the time controls)
alters the functionality of the cursor,
giving you easier access to a variety of the
program’s features.
The Tool drop down menu contains a
number of selections. To use a tool, click
Basics
on its name. When selected, the tool’s icon
replaces the mouse pointer on your
computer screen.
Arrow Tool: Highlights objects in the
sky. To select multiple objects, press the
Shift key while making selections.
Hand Tool: Changes the direction in
which you are viewing. Use this tool to
drag the sky to the left or right, up or
down, until you reach the area you want to
see.
Tip: When using any other tool, you can
temporarily switch to the Hand tool by
holding down the keyboard’s space bar.
Constellation Tool: Selects
constellations. Choose this tool and click
anywhere in the sky to select the
constellation that contains that point.
Location Scroller: Changes the latitude
and longitude from which you are
observing. Dragging up or down adjusts
your latitude, while dragging left or right
adjusts your longitude. For example, while
viewing from Earth, you can use this tool
to quickly travel anywhere on the Earth’s
surface.
Tip: This tool is particularly useful when
you’ve lifted off into space and want to
adjust your view of the planet below you.
Angular Separation Tool: Displays the
angular separation between two objects, as
seen from your current viewing position.
Select the tool, click on one object, and
drag to another.
Magnification Tool: Magnifies your
current view. Select the tool and click
anywhere in the window to zoom in that
direction. To magnify a specific area of the
sky, hold down the mouse button and drag
to encompass the area you want
magnified.
Tip: Holding down the Ctrl key (Windows)
or the Option key (Macintosh) while using
the Zoom tool zooms you back out.
QTVR Tracker Tool: Changes your
viewing direction. Unlike the hand tool,
you don’t drag the sky around. When you
hold down the mouse button, the cursor
changes from a bull's eye icon to an arrow
icon that points in the direction you move
the mouse. The sky will move in the direction you are moving the cursor, and moves
faster the further you move the cursor with
the mouse button down. If a line appears in
front of the arrow cursor, it means you
have reached the limit of scrolling in that
direction. The QTVR tool is a fast way of
moving around the sky.
Adaptive Hand Tool: By default, the
adaptive hand tool is selected. This tool
allows you to change your viewing
direction. However, unlike the regular
Hand Tool, the adaptive hand tool can
change to other tools automatically. For
example, it will change to a selection tool
when you point to a selectable object, a
location scroller when viewing from space
or an angular separation tool when you
click-hold on an object and drag to
another.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Chapter 3
Appearance of the Sky
Unlike the real world, Starry Night Enthusiast,
Pro and Pro Plus allow you to modify the sky’s
appearance to best suit your needs. You can
display illustrations of the classical
constellations, show only the artificial satellites
circling overhead, or customize your view in
dozens of other ways. You can even change the
look and feel of the user interface with themes.
This chapter will look at all of the functions that
let you modify Starry Night’s simulation of the
night sky.
Sky Contextual Menu
You can open a
contextual menu in
Starry Night by pointing
the cursor at any area of
the sky and right-clicking
(Ctrl-click on the Mac).
If you are pointing the
cursor at a specific
object, the contextual
menu will provide
options specific to that object. If you were not
pointing the cursor at a specific object, the menu
gives you options for the appearance of the sky as
a whole and the constellation which you are
pointing at. Many of the most used functions
relating to the appearance of the sky are in this
contextual menu (for example, turning daylight
34
Starry Night User’s Guide
on/off, turning light pollution on/off and,
in Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus, turning
the horizon on/off).
Options Pane
Many of the options for modifying the
appearance of the sky are in the Options
pane. The Options pane is organized in a
layered framework, based on the distance
of various celestial objects from Earth.
Controls for altering the appearance of the
sky are slotted into the appropriate layer.
For example, controls for adjusting the
appearance of the planets fall into the
“Solar System” layer. Any of the layers in
the Options pane can be expanded by
clicking the expand button to the left of the
layer’s name.
2
Solar System. Controls for objects in
our solar system. For example, planets,
comets, and asteroids.
3
Stars. Controls for objects outside the
solar system, but inside the Milky Way.
For example, stars, extrasolar planets,
and the appearance of the Milky Way
itself.
4
Deep Space. Controls for objects
outside our galaxy. For example, other
galaxies.
Tip: This layer also includes databases
that include objects both within and
outside of our galaxy. For example, the
Messier database includes globular
clusters, which are inside our galaxy, but it
also includes other galaxies, so it is
classified in the “Deep Space” layer.
Guides and constellations do not fall
naturally into this layered scheme, so they
are given their own layers. Finally, certain
databases overlap with other databases, so
their controls are placed in the “Other”
layer. See “Databases 4 (Other)” on
page 83 to see which objects fall into this
category.
Most controls fall naturally into one of
four layers. These layers correspond with
different databases - see
“Introduction to Databases” on page 80 for
a description of these databases.
1
Local View. Controls that affect the
view of the sky from your location. For
example, turning the horizon on/off.
Appearance of the Sky
Most of the object classes listed in the
Options pane have special options
associated with them. Clicking on the
object name in the pane will open a dialog
box with options for that object class. For
example, clicking on the word “Comets”
in the Options pane (“Solar System”
layer) will open a dialog box with options
for altering the appearance of comets.
Light
Many celestial objects are only visible
during certain times of the year. At other
times in the year, they are above the
horizon only during the daytime, when
they are washed out by the Sun’s light.
With Starry Night, you can get around this
problem by selecting View->Hide
Daylight from the menu, or unchecking
“Daylight” in the Options pane (Local
View). This turns on or off the effects of a
planet’s atmosphere, including the
scattering of light which makes our sky
appear blue. If it is daytime and you turn
daylight off, you will be able to see the
stars which are normally hidden.
Tip: This feature works on any planet
which has an atmosphere. On Mars, the
atmosphere scatters sunlight and makes
the sky look pink. Turning off daylight
eliminates this effect. Our Moon has no
atmosphere, so turning daylight off on its
surface has no effect.
Light Pollution: There
Tip: Use the brightness slider to the right
of an object class name to control how
bright these objects appear onscreen.
Brightness Slider
may be times when
you want to add light, instead of
eliminating it. This is because the default
night view in Starry Night assumes the
observer is far from bright lights, under
dark skies. As a result, many stars are
visible, perhaps too many for the urban
stargazer.
Even on a perfectly cloudless and
moonless night, an observer in a big city
will not see anywhere near the number of
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Starry Night User’s Guide
stars which his or her counterpart in the
country will see. Starry Night allows you
to mimic the effects of light pollution,
showing only the brighter stars and
making the sky more closely resemble
what you see from home. To turn light
pollution on or off, check or uncheck the
“Light Pollution” box in the “Local View”
layer of the Options pane.
Distant Light Pollution: Even when we
live in an area of low local light pollution
there is often a source of artificial light on
the horizon. A nearby city for example,
can create a light pollution dome, washing
out celestial objects that are low on the
horizon. You can add light pollution
domes for one or more nearby cities.
Click the “+” button in the Distant Light
Pollution section of the dialog box to bring
up another dialog box that will allow you
to name the light source, set the direction
and control the intensity of the light
pollution dome.
To add the light pollution dome of a
nearby city, click on “Distant Light
Pollution” in the “Local View” layer of the
Options pane. This will open a dialog box
with options for adding distant light
pollution sources.
Your new distant light pollution entry will
be added under “Distant Light Pollution”
in the Options pane (“Local View” layer).
Appearance of the Sky
Click on the word “Ambient Sounds” to
open a dialog box with options for
choosing from several naturally occurring
sounds such as crickets, wind and water.
Changing the Horizon
Tip: You can also turn on light pollution
by right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the Mac)
on the background sky in the main window.
This will open a contextual menu with two
light pollution options: Local Light
Pollution and Distant Light Pollution.
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): Another way
to customize light pollution levels is to
specify a limiting magnitude for celestial
objects, especially stars. See “Constrain”
on page 40 for more information.
Ambient Sounds
Ambient environment sounds can be
played in the background by checking the
Ambient Sounds box in the “Local View”
layer of the Options pane.
By default, Starry Night shows a
photorealistic horizon. Photorealistic
horizons are panoramic images. A pulldown menu lets you choose from one of
several horizon images and also cloud
types. To view a dialog box with options
for changing the horizon, choose Options>Other Options->Local Horizon.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
you can turn them off by unchecking
“Show Compass Points”.
You can choose from one
of four horizon types. Flat horizons have
no variation in elevation or scenery.
Custom horizons are illustrated horizons
with images of trees, hills and clouds. See
“Custom Horizons” on page 159 for
information on modifying custom
horizons. Photorealistic horizons use
panoramic images. Animated Horizons
show a live landscape view with moving
elements such as grass.
Horizon Styles:
Tip: There may be times when you wish to
hide the horizon (for example to view a
close-up image of an object that is beneath
the horizon). You can turn the horizon on/
off by checking/unchecking the “Local
Horizon” checkbox in the Options pane
(“Local View” layer), or by choosing
View>Hide Horizon from the main menu.
Nighttime Slider: Adjust the brightness of
a photorealistic horizon at night.
Displaying Celestial Objects
Checkboxes in the Options pane for each
database of celestial objects let you turn on
or off these databases. See
“Object Databases” on page 79 for a
complete listing of the object databases
included in Starry Night. You can turn
databases on/off so that only the objects
that you are interested in appear onscreen.
For example, you may want to find out
which of the many points of light shown
onscreen represent planets. By turning the
database of stars off, it will be much easier
to identify the planets.
Note: In all Starry Night software, if you
do not have an OpenGL compatible
graphics card, you will not be able to view
the photorealistic or animated horizons, so
you will probably want to use the custom
horizon type.
Options: The standard horizon view is
opaque, but you can make it semitransparent by checking “Translucent” or
reduce the horizon to a thin line by
checking “Outline”. This will help you
determine which objects and
constellations are about to rise above the
horizon.
By default, Starry Night displays
compass points on the horizon. If
you find that you don’t use or need them,
Tip: You can also turn databases on/off by
choosing View from the main menu and
checking the appropriate database.
If a database is turned off, no objects from
this database will be displayed. However,
if a database is turned on, not all of the
objects in the database will be displayed.
Appearance of the Sky
There are two reasons for this. First,
several databases are very large. It would
be impossible for Starry Night to show all
of the millions of stars in its database
onscreen at one time! Second, Starry Night
strives to present a realistic representation
of the sky, so it only shows those objects
bright enough to be visible. As you zoom
in to a smaller field of view, dimmer
objects are automatically shown
(remember that zooming in is equivalent
to looking through a more powerful
telescope). Many databases have options
that let you adjust how many objects are
displayed. See
“Celestial Object Display Options” on
page 40 for more information.
By default, all databases are turned on,
with the exception of those databases in
the “Other” layer, which are turned off
because they may overlap with the core
databases. See “Databases 4 (Other)” on
page 83 for a listing of these “other”
databases.
Labeling Celestial Objects
In “Labeling Objects” on page 22, you
learned how to turn on labels for all types
of objects. You can also selectively choose
which types of objects to label. To the
right of each database listed in the
Options pane is a “labels” checkbox.
Checking this option will label the
brightest members of this database.
Labeling certain object types makes it
easier to identify these objects. For
example, deep space objects may be hard
to identify among the glare of the brighter
stars and planets. By labeling only deep
space objects, these objects will be easy to
locate.
Tip: You can also turn database labels on/
off by choosing Labels from the main
menu and checking the appropriate
database.
Labeling Select Objects: If
you only want
to label a few specific objects, point the
cursor at the first object, and click the left
mouse button. This “selects” the object,
and its label will appear, along with an
arrow pointing to the object. For
subsequent objects, hold down the Shift
key and click on the object. You can
deselect all objects by choosing
Edit->Select None from the menu. You
can change the label colour for selected
objects by choosing Preferences from the
File menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh), choosing
General from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box,
and clicking on the “Selection colour”
rectangle.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Database Label Options: You have great
control over how labels appear in Starry
Night. You can change, the size, colour,
font and number of labels for each
database. See “Label Options” on page 52
for more information.
Celestial Object Display Options
As mentioned in “Displaying Celestial
Objects” on page 38, clicking on a
database name in the Options pane will
open a dialog box with display options for
that database. The options fall into two
categories: options for displaying the
objects in the database, and options for
displaying the labels for these objects.
This section focuses on the options for
displaying the objects, while
“Label Options” on page 52 will look at
label options.
Tip: You can also access database options
by choosing Options from the main menu
and selecting the appropriate database.
Some display options are common to all
object databases, while some are specific
to certain databases.
Most (but not all) databases have these
three options:
Number of objects: This slider controls
how many objects from this database are
displayed onscreen. Moving the slider to
the right will display more objects.
Constrain: If
this box is checked, only
objects that fall within the apparent
magnitude range that you specify will be
displayed onscreen. For example, if you
live in a city, and your naked eye limiting
magnitude is around 4.00, you could use
this function so that Starry Night displays
all stars whose magnitudes are between -2
and 4. That way, what you see on the
computer screen will be similar to what
you actually see while observing from
your urban location.
You may also want to use this control to
simulate your telescope view on a given
night. If you know the magnitude of the
Appearance of the Sky
dimmest star that your telescope can make
out, setting the “Dimmer” end of the slider
to this magnitude gives you a good idea of
what you can view through your
instrument.
Tip: The “Constrain” function only
displays a subset of the objects that would
be shown if this function was turned off.
For example, assume you want to increase
the number of stars onscreen so that all
stars brighter than magnitude 7 are
visible. If you are at a 100° field of view,
then Starry Night will only show stars up
to a magnitude of 5.7, by default.
Increasing the apparent magnitude range
using the “Constrain” function would
have no effect. To increase the number of
stars shown, you would first move the
“Show” slider farther to the right (so that
stars as dim as magnitude 7 are now
visible), and then use the “Constrain”
function to ensure that no stars dimmer
than magnitude 7 are shown.
Many databases have unique options. We
will look at these options in the next few
sections.
Star Display Options
There are more options for displaying stars
than for any other database of objects in
Starry Night. Many of these options can be
turned on/off from a checkbox in the
Options pane, while clicking the option
name will often open a dialog box with
more controls.
Limit by Distance/Magnitude: These
options let you set up Starry Night to
display only those stars whose distance
from Earth or whose apparent magnitude
(brightness) fall within a certain range.
One use of this function would be to
identify which bright stars are within 100
light years (for example) of Earth.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
In Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus, clicking
the words “Limit by Distance” in the
Options pane opens a dialog box that lets
you set numeric values for limiting by
distance or magnitude.
The Proper Motion Options dialog box has
a “vector scaling” option that allows you
to change the length of all proper motion
vectors, and a “vector colour” option that
allows you to change the colour of these
vectors.
Mark Binaries/Mark Variables: You can set
special markers for variable stars (stars
whose brightness varies), binary stars
(double stars that orbit around a common
center of mass), Variable stars are marked
with one of four symbols, according to
how much they vary in brightness.
Proper Motion Vectors: Every star is
moving rapidly through space, in a unique
direction. However, because the stars are
so far away, they appear to remain in the
same place in the sky. Only over thousands
of years can we see the stars shift position
with respect to each other. This slow
movement of the stars is called proper
motion. Starry Night lets you display
proper motion vectors, lines that represent
the speed and direction of each star’s
motion. The length of a star’s proper
motion vector indicates its relative speed.
Mark Stars With Extrasolar Planets: These
options let you display special markers for
stars that are known to harbour planets.
Tip: If you turn on markers for extrasolar
planets, the star’s Info pane will include
information about the extrasolar planet,
such as the planet’s mass and distance
from its central star. See
“Extrasolar planet information fields” on
page 95 for more details.
Appearance of the Sky
Additional Star Options: The
main Star
Options dialog box lets you control how
many stars are displayed and how they are
labeled.
Example: Isolating the Hyades
Cluster
This example will show you how to use
star display options in Starry Night Pro
and Pro Plus to separate stars in the
Hyades cluster from other stars.
1 Turn off daylight and hide the horizon
by checking the appropriate boxes in the
Options pane (“Local View” layer).
2 Ensure that the star database (in the
“Stars” layer of the Options pane) is
turned on, and the “Bright NGC Objects”
database (in the “Deep Space” layer) is
turned off. We need to do this because the
Hyades is an object in the “Bright NGC
Objects”
database - and that would be too easy!
It also has a “3D Positions” slider that lets
you determine how many stars are drawn
in the correct position in 3-dimensional
space. This feature is only useful when
your viewing location is outside the solar
system, in such a manner that you can see
the 3-dimensional arrangement of the stars
in our solar neighbourhood. See
“Changing Your Viewing Location” on
page 104 to learn how to change your
viewing location. “Only show 3D stars
when outside Solar System” hides those
stars for which we do not have accurate 3dimensional positions, making it easier to
see the 3-dimensional structure of our
solar neighbourhood.
3 Open the Find pane and type in
“Epsilon Tauri”. This is a bright star in the
Hyades cluster. Double-click on this star’s
name to centre on the Hyades cluster.
4 Use the zoom buttons in the toolbar to
zoom in to a field of view of about 15°.
5 Turn on proper motion vectors for stars,
using the checkbox in the Options pane
(“Stars” layer). Increase the length of
proper motion vectors to maximum, by
pulling the “Vector scaling” slider in the
“Proper Motion Vectors Options” dialog box
all the way to the right. You should see
that many of the stars have vectors
pointing in the same direction, indicating
that they are moving together through
space and are part of the same cluster.
However, many other stars, such as the
bright star Aldebaran, are moving in very
different directions.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
6 Open the “Limit by Distance Options”
dialog box for stars. Check “Limit stars by
distance” and set the distance range from
140 to 170 light years, the distance of the
Hyades cluster. This will cause almost all
stars that do not belong to the cluster to
disappear, leaving only stars in the Hyades
cluster, all with proper motion vectors
pointing in the same direction. Those few
stars with vectors pointing in different
directions (likely not cluster members) are
now very easy to identify.
The Star type dropbox lets you choose
from several different types of star images.
Star Brightness, Contrast &
Colour
The Range slider increases or decreases
the size distinction between the brightest
and dimmest objects in the sky, while the
Contrast slider increases or decreases the
colour distinction between the brightest
and dimmest objects in the sky. If you’re
viewing from an urban location, you may
want to decrease the contrast so that Starry
Night’s display is closer to your physical
view. If you’re viewing from a rural
location, you can increase the contrast to
view a more diverse night sky.
Starry Night gives you complete control
over the brightness, contrast, and colour of
star display. To access these options,
choose Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and select
Brightness/Contrast from the dropbox in
the upper left corner of the Preferences
dialog box.
This preference will be applied to every
star drawn onscreen. Try testing out each
of these different star images and seeing
which one you prefer.
The “Min/max star size” slider determines
how large stars appear onscreen.
A star’s colour is determined by its surface
temperature, ranging from blue (hottest) to
red (coolest). The Colour slider increases
and decreases the extent to which Starry
Night displays star colour. Pulling the
Colour slider to the right shows more and
more of the full spectrum of star colours,
to an extent you would never see from
Earth. Pulling the Colour slider to the left
strips away colour distinctions until all
stars appear white.
Appearance of the Sky
Planet Display Options
Starry Night gives you many options for
the display of our Sun and its planets and
moons. A variety of guides are also
available to give you perspective.
is available, Starry Night uses the timehonored tradition of deploying space
artists to create the surfaces of distant
worlds as seen from space, such as Pluto,
Charon, and Saturn’s moon Phoebe.
Several of the planet images in Starry
Night were created or enhanced by
astronomy enthusiasts.
Choose Help->Image Credits from the
menu to see thumbnails and credits for the
planet surface images and the images of
deep space objects.
Earth/Moon Shadow Outlines: Earth
At a 100° field of view, planets are
displayed like stars, which is how they
appear to us from Earth’s surface. As you
get closer to a planet (by zooming in on
the planet or by changing your location)
you begin to see the disc image and any
phase information.
Starry Night depicts the planets using the
latest images from NASA and other space
agencies. Unfortunately, we have not yet
been able to fully image all of the objects
in our solar system. Where little or no data
and
the Moon cast shadows upon one another
in certain alignments with the sun. The
two circles of this target represent the
limits of the umbral and penumbral
shadows projected out at the Earth/Moon
distance. The umbral shadow encloses the
area experiencing a total eclipse, while the
penumbral shadow encloses the area
experiencing a partial eclipse. This feature
is useful when watching a solar eclipse
from the Moon — you can see the Moon’s
shadow approaching Earth before it
actually casts its shadow upon Earth.
Dark Side: For more realistic and exciting
viewing, you can choose to display the
dark sides of planets. The slider lets you
control the sharpness of the transition
between the dark and lit side.
Specular Reflection: This
feature is only
available with OpenGL graphics cards. It
realistically models the Sun’s glare.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Show Atmosphere: You can turn off the
atmospheres of objects that possess an
atmosphere, such as the Sun, Venus, and
Earth. This allows you to see the rocky
surface of Venus, instead of seeing the
almost featureless cloud cover. Turning
the Sun’s atmosphere off shows the Sun as
it would appear when viewed through a
hydrogen-alpha filter.
Surface Guides: You can turn on several
types of guides to help you determine a
planet’s orientation in space, or to locate
features on the planet surface.
The grid draws planetary lines of latitude
and longitude. You can also turn on the
planet meridian and equator lines. The
pole sticks show you the north and south
poles of the planet. Grid numbers mark the
lines of latitude and longitude on the grid.
In the following image, we magnified
Jupiter and turned on all of its surface
guides.
Turns on all the location
markers you have selected in the Markers
and Outlines dialog box. See “Location
Markers and Surface Feature Outlines” on
page 47 for more information on Surface
Features.
Mark Locations:
Surface Features: Turn
on all the surface
feature outlines you have checked in the
Markers and Outlines dialog box. See
“Location Markers and Surface Feature
Outlines” on page 47 for more information
on Surface Features.
Surface detail slider: Starry
Night uses
high resolution surface maps for planets
and moons. If you experience slow downs,
move the Surface slider towards Less
surface detail. This will increase the
performance but lower the quality of the
surface map.
Tip (Pro Plus only): Starry Night includes
a ‘super’ high resolution image of both
Mars and Earth. Zoom in and explore the
surface of Mars and Earth in
unprecedented detail. The Mars surface
map is a 24 bit color map representing the
Mars land mass topography above the sea.
The Earth surface map has a 1 km (0.6
miles) resolution.
Appearance of the Sky
Location Markers and Surface
Feature Outlines
Starry Night allows you to search for and
identify thousands of predefined locations
and features on the surface of the Earth or
any other rocky planet or moon where
surface data is available. For example, you
can zoom in on the Moon and flag all of
the Apollo Moon landing sites, display the
location of all the astronomical
observatories on Earth, or draw an outline
around the craters on Mars.
Starry Night can display location markers
and surface feature outlines. It is
important to distinguish between a marker
and an outline. A marker places a flag or
pole on the surface of a planet to identify a
location. An outline draws a contour
around a surface feature.
To display markers and outlines, you
should first zoom in on the object of
interest. This will allow you to see the
markers and outlines. Then right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the object and
select Markers and Outlines... from the
object’s contextual menu. This will open
the Markers and Outlines dialog box.
Note: Location markers are available for
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth and Moon.
Surface feature outlines are only available
for the Moon and Mars.
Click on the
Markers tab to add a location marker or
click on the Outlines tab to draw an
outline around a feature.
Adding markers and outlines:
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Starry Night User’s Guide
dropdown menu and typing in the name of
the location or feature in the adjacent text
box.
To display a complete list by location or
feature type, select Type from the drop
menu and then narrow down your choice
on the adjacent dropbox menu.
By default, List All Locations and List
All Surface Feature Outlines is selected.
To show a location marker or outline on
the surface of an object, check the box to
the left of the location or feature name.
Pressing the Check All Shown button will
select all locations and features. Press the
Unmark All button to uncheck all of your
selections.
Tip: You can also add location markers by
right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on
the objects surface and choosing Mark
“Location Name” On Surface from the
contextual menu. Repeat to add additional
location markers.To unmark a location,
right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the
location marker and choose Un-Mark
“Location Name”.
Searching for locations and features: To
search for a specific location or geological
feature, click the List radio button. You
can search for a specific location or feature
name by choosing Name from the
Appearance of the Sky
Space Mission Display Options
Brightness: For these three classes of
objects, a slider lets you adjust the
apparent brightness of the objects. For
comets, the slider actually adjusts the
brightness of the comet tail. You also have
the option to turn comet tails off entirely.
Orbit Colour: This rectangle lets you
choose a new colour for the orbit lines of
these objects. See “Orbits” on page 110 for
more information on object orbits.
By default, Starry
Night displays the full path line or trail an
interplanetary space probe makes from
launch to mission end. The future path of
the probe can be dimmed to aid in
orientation. You also have the option to
only display the path line up to the current
date (does not draw the future path) by
unchecking the “Draw full path” box.
Space Mission Paths:
Comet, Asteroid & Satellite
Display Options
Messier Objects/Bright NGC
Objects/User Images Display
Options
These databases have a specific image
associated with each object. Most of the
images from the “Messier” and “Bright
NGC Objects” databases were
photographed by astronomy enthusiasts.
Choose Help->Image Credits from the
menu to see thumbnails and credits for the
planet surface images and the images of
deep space objects.
Starry Night lets you adjust the brightness
of images using the slider provided. Using
this control, you can adjust the image so
that its brightness appears as it would
through a backyard telescope (as a very
dim image), or as captured by a long
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Starry Night User’s Guide
exposure observatory photograph (a much
brighter image). You also have the option
of selecting to display the outlines for
these objects instead of their images.
Milky Way Display Options
In Starry Night you have great control over
how this database is displayed onscreen.
To open the “Tully Database Options”
dialog box, click on the words “Tully 3D
Database” in the Deep Space layer of the
Options pane.
By default, Starry Night displays a
stunning photographic image of the band
of the Milky Way. If you find this image is
too bright, you can use the Brightness
slider to tone down the image brightness,
or uncheck the Milky Way box in the
Options pane, to turn off the image
entirely.
You will find the following options:
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): From the
Wavelength drop list, you can select from
several images of the Milky Way taken at
different wavelenghts. These include XRay, Infrared, Gamma, Radio and more.
Tully Database Display Options
One of the core databases in Starry Night
contains 28 000 nearby galaxies plotted in
3-D. This database was compiled by
astronomer Brent Tully and colleagues,
hence it is referred to as the Tully
Collection. This galaxy database is very
special because it shows the 3-D position
in space of each galaxy, not just the
galaxy’s position as seen from Earth.
If you have “Entire
dataset” checked, all galaxies will be
surrounded by a 3-dimensional box, letting
you see the spacial area occupied by the
Tully Collection. “Selected filaments/
groups” will only draw a box around the
filaments/groups you have selected.
Bounding boxes:
When a galaxy is very
close, it is represented by a full-colour
image instead of a dot. This slider lets you
enlarge these galaxy images. The “correct”
position of the slider is all the way to the
left-this will draw galaxies the proper size,
and you will rarely see more than one or
two galaxy images onscreen at the same
time. Moving the slider to the right allows
Magnification:
Appearance of the Sky
you to see many galaxy images at the same
time, producing some spectacular views.
Selecting Filaments and Groups in
the Tully Database
Visibility range: Use this slider to display
only those galaxies that lie within a certain
range. If you move the slider all the way to
the left, only those nearby galaxies that are
bright enough will be displayed, moving
the slider all the way to the right will
display all the galaxies in the Tully
Collection at the same time.
When exploring the Tully Collection of
galaxies, you can get more information by
pointing the cursor at an object (you
should see the cursor icon change to a
pointer) and then right-click or Ctrl-click
(Macintosh). This opens a contextual
menu with specific options for the object
you have clicked on. Some of the options
specific to the Tully Collection are
described below. But first lets look at some
terms you may not be familiar with.
Colour saturation: Each different type of
galaxy is represented with its own colour
image. The dots used to represent a distant
galaxy are the same colour as the full-size
image. Moving this slider to the right
makes the colour of the dots closer to that
of the galaxy image, while moving the
slider to the left strips away all colour
distinctions until all galaxies are
represented by white dots. The advantage
of having the slider far to the right is that
you can quickly identify galaxy type, for
example, a cluster of blue dots indicates a
group of elliptical galaxies. The
disadvantage is that the sky becomes
gaudy and unrealistic-looking.
When a galaxy is too far away
for its image to be visible, Starry Night
will represent its position in space with a
dot. This slider controls the brightness of
these dots. The ideal position of this slider
will depend on the brightness of your
monitor and the lighting conditions in your
computer room. Moving this slider to the
right makes the dots larger and brighter,
while moving it to the left makes the dots
smaller and dimmer.
Brightness:
Groups are gravitationally bound clumps
of galaxies. Membership can range from a
few to a few thousand galaxies. Large
groups are also known as clusters.
Filaments - or their kin walls, clouds, and
arcs - are formations of galaxies in
expanding space, which are not
necessarily gravitationally bound. These
formations can be string-like or sheet-like.
They can have curvature like a bow or like
a sail. Filaments can be grouped together
into even larger structures called filament
families.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Centre Sun: If you are centered on another
galaxy, selecting Centre Sun will move
your view so that you are looking towards
the Sun (and hence our galaxy the Milky
Way). If you are centered on the Sun, you
can use the elevation buttons in the toolbar
to go back to our solar system.
Centre Group: Each galaxy belongs to a
larger group of galaxies. This option will
place that group at the centre of your
screen.
Label Options
Every database in Starry Night has label
options. To access these options, open the
Options pane and click on the name of the
database you are interested in. This will
open the “display options” dialog box for
this database. The label options will be at
the bottom of the dialog box.
Highlight Group: This displays a special
marker for all other galaxies that are in the
same group as the object you have clicked
on.
Many (but not all)
galaxies can also be classified as
belonging to a filament. This option
centres on the filament containing your
object.
Centre Filament:
This displays a
special marker for all galaxies belonging
to the same filament as the object you have
clicked on.
Highlight Filament:
Other Object Display Options
The options for other databases in Starry
Night vary greatly. Open the Options
dialog box for any database to see its
display options.
Most databases share the following label
options:
Appearance: For
all databases, you have
the option of changing the label
appearance. Dropboxes allow you to
change the font and size of the label, and
choose whether you want the labels to be
in bold or italics.
Colour: This
determines the colour that
labels appear onscreen. Click on the colour
bars to choose a new label colour. Many
users use different label colours for each of
the major databases, making it easier to
quickly distinguish between planets, stars,
and deep space objects.
Appearance of the Sky
Number of Labels: A slider allows you to
change the number of objects that are
labeled onscreen for each database. If the
slider is near the left edge, only the
brightest members of the database will be
labeled. As you move the slider farther to
the right, dimmer objects will be labeled as
well.
Some other label options appear only for
certain databases. These options are listed
below:
Label by Magnitude Slider: This
is an
option for planets/moons, comets,
asteroids, and artificial satellites (when
open, it replaces the “Number of Labels”
slider). By default, Starry Night will not
label an object if it is too dim to appear on
screen. You can change this option. For
example, you may wish to know the
position of all the planets. Pluto and
Neptune are generally too dim to be seen,
but by selecting this option, you will still
be able to see where they are in the sky.
“Show” dropbox
in the Star Options dialog box allows you
to label a star by its common name,
catalogue number, Bayer letter, or
Flamsteed number. Most common names
are thousands of years old and have an
Arabic origin. The classification scheme
for Bayer letters and Flamsteed numbers is
discussed in “Bayer” on page 91. You can
also choose to show the magnitude of
stars, an option that is particularly useful
for printed charts, as you will often use the
brightness of an object to help you
determine if you are looking at the right
object.
Constellations
People have always joined together
patterns of stars to create images in the
night sky. The most well known of these
are those that have been handed down to
us from the Arabs, Greeks, and Romans.
Astronomers use these ancient
constellations as a guide to map the stars
into various regions. Today the
International Astronomical Union
recognizes 88 unique constellations, which
together cover the entire sky. Many of the
best-known figures in the sky, such as the
Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are
not formal constellations, but are known as
asterisms. Starry Night has many options
for drawing the constellations. All
constellation options can be accessed by
expanding the “Constellations” layer in
the Options pane.
Star Label Options: The
Auto Identify: Checking
this box will
highlight the constellation which is at the
centre of the screen. If you scroll around
the screen, the highlighted constellation
will change.
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Illustrations: Checking this box displays
classical illustrations for the
constellations.
Labels: Checking
this box turns on or off
constellation labels.
Stick Figures: Turns on or off stick figures
for the constellations.
Constellation Options: Clicking
on the
words “Boundaries”, “Labels”, or “Stick
Figures” will open the Constellation
Options dialog box.
Tip: Clicking on the words “Auto
Identify” opens a dialog box that lets you
choose how to display the highlighted
constellations. The display options are the
same as for displaying all constellations
(name, boundary, stick figure or classical
illustration), except they only apply to the
highlighted constellation. If you choose to
display an illustration, you can also
control the brightness of this illustration.
Boundaries: Checking this box displays
the boundaries of the 88 official
constellations.
This dialog box lets you adjust the colour
of the constellation figures, boundaries
and labels. You can also adjust the size and
font of the labels. For the labels, a dropbox
lets you choose whether to display the
constellation’s astronomical name, its
common translation, or both. For the stick
figures, you can choose from several
different figure sets.
Appearance of the Sky
You can draw stick
figures using either
the standard
astronomical figures,
or those popularized
by H.A. Rey in his book The Stars, a New
Way to See Them. These figures closely
resemble the names of the constellations.
For example, Ursa Major, the Great Bear,
is depicted as a stylized bear. To get the
figures to match the names, Rey had to
take some liberties, so it may be difficult
to match these figures to what you actually
see in the sky. You can also choose to draw
only the constellations of the Zodiac.
Finally, you can draw the asterisms, stick
figures that are not formal constellations.
It is also possible to create your own stick
figures. See “Custom Asterisms” on
page 162 for information on creating your
own figures.
layer that control the display of these coordinate systems.
Note: It is not possible to view more than
one set of stick figures onscreen at the
same time.
The most commonly used systems are the
alt/az and equatorial systems. You may
also use ecliptic and, in Starry Night Pro
and Pro Plus, galactic and extra-galactic.
By default Starry Night shows the
“Classical” image set for constellation
illustrations. If you have more than one set
of illustrations, you can select which one
to display from the “Image set” dropbox.
Guides 1 (Co-ordinate Systems)
The Guides layer in the Options pane
allows you to display reference points and
grids for different astronomical coordinate systems. These co-ordinate
systems can be used to help you locate
objects in the sky. This section describes
the co-ordinate systems, while the next
section describes the options in the Guides
Looking up into the night sky, you can
imagine that the stars are fixed on the
inside of an imaginary sphere surrounding
our planet. To specify locations on this
celestial sphere, astronomers use a
spherical system of co-ordinates similar to
the latitude and longitude measurements
used to map Earth.
All spherical co-ordinate systems require
two independent co-ordinates, which are
determined by an object’s distance in the
sky from two “great circles” which are
perpendicular to each other. For example,
the great circles in Earth’s latitude/
longitude co-ordinate system are the
Equator (which runs east-west) and the
Prime Meridian (which runs north-south).
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): You can find
the co-ordinates of any object in any of
these co-ordinate systems using the Info
pane. See “Info Pane” on page 90 for
more details.
Alt/Az: The alt/az co-ordinate system is
the most useful system for figuring out
where to actually look in the sky to find a
particular object. The two co-ordinates in
this system are the altitude and the
azimuth. The altitude measures how high
above the horizon an object is, and is
usually measured in degrees. An altitude
of 0° means the object is right on the
horizon, and an altitude of 90° means the
object is directly overhead. Azimuth
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Starry Night User’s Guide
measures the compass direction of an
object. An object which is due north in the
sky has an azimuth of 0°, one that is due
east has an azimuth of 90°, and one that is
due south has an azimuth of 180°. The
local meridian is the line passing directly
overhead in the sky that runs from 0°
azimuth (due north) to 180° azimuth (due
south).
Equatorial (aka Celestial): The
equatorial
co-ordinate system is the most common
system for describing the position of
objects in the sky. Its two co-ordinates are
declination and right ascension.
Declination is the astronomical equivalent
of latitude. It measures an object’s angular
distance north or south of the celestial
equator, which is simply a projection of
Earth’s equator into space (an object of 0°
declination is directly on the celestial
equator). Because of this, objects with
positive declination can be seen more
easily in the Northern Hemisphere, and
objects with negative declination can be
seen more easily from the Southern
Hemisphere. Declination is usually
measured in degrees, arcminutes, and
arcseconds (°, ', "). Polaris, the North Star,
has a declination of almost 90 degrees.
The east-west measurement is called the
(RA), and is most often
measured in hours, minutes, and seconds
(h, m, s), from 0 to 24 hours. Because
Earth rotates, it is not possible to equate
longitude on earth with right ascension.
Think of lines of right ascension as
longitude lines which are fixed in space,
not rotating with the Earth-centred lines of
longitude. The zero-point of right
ascension (RA) is defined to be the right
right ascension
ascension of the sun at the Vernal Equinox,
which is the first day of spring in the
Northern Hemisphere.
Earth is precessing on its axis of rotation
(picture a spinning top which does not
point straight up but instead moves in an
arc around the vertical) with a period of
26 000 years. Because of this, the Vernal
Equinox slowly changes over time and so
do the equatorial co-ordinates of an object.
These changes are quite small and often
unimportant for the amateur astronomer.
Note (Pro and Pro Plus only): To
standardize astronomical positions,
astronomers often refer to an object’s
position using the co-ordinate system of a
particular date. For example you will
often see positions given in J2000 coordinates, using the equatorial co-ordinate
system of Jan 1, 2000. Starry Night’s Info
pane displays equatorial co-ordinates for
the current time (JNow) and for the year
2000 (J2000).
Note: The book Starry Night Companion
(included with your copy of Starry Night)
has more information on using the alt/az
and equatorial co-ordinate systems.
Ecliptic: This reference system uses
ecliptic latitude and longitude as its two
co-ordinates. Ecliptic latitude is similar to
declination, except the line of 0° latitude is
the ecliptic line (a projection onto the
celestial sphere of the plane of Earth’s
revolution around the Sun), instead of the
plane of Earth’s equator. Notice the
constellations which the ecliptic line
passes through - these are the familiar
zodiac constellations. The Sun will always
be found directly on the ecliptic line,
Appearance of the Sky
passing through the constellations of the
zodiac over the course of a year. Because
the planets all move in almost the same
plane, with the exception of Pluto, they
will all be found close to the ecliptic line.
Ecliptic longitude has the vernal equinox
as its zero point.
The Guides display looks very different in
Starry Night Enthusiast compared to
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus. First we’ll
look at the” Guides Layer” in Enthusiast.
Skip to the next section if you are using
Starry Night Pro or Pro Plus.
Guides Layer in Enthusiast
This system uses the centre of
the Milky Way as a reference point. Its
co-ordinates are galactic latitude and
galactic longitude. Galactic latitude
describes how far an object is from the
plane of the Milky Way (an object with a
galactic latitude of 0° is in the plane of the
Milky Way). The zero point of galactic
longitude points directly toward the
galaxy’s centre.
Galactic:
Extra-Galactic: The co-ordinates of this
system are extra-galactic latitude and
longitude. A large fraction of the nearest
few thousand galaxies from Earth are
concentrated in a narrow band. The centre
of this band is defined as the plane of 0°
extra-galactic latitude, the extra-galactic
equator.
Guides 2 (Display Options)
Now that you know what each of the
different co-ordinate systems are, let’s
look at the options for displaying markers
for these systems. Recall that all of these
options are in the “Guides” layer of the
Options pane.
The Guides layer in the Options pane
allows you to display reference points for
different astronomical co-ordinate
systems. These reference points can be
used to help you identify the position of
objects in the sky.
Celestial Grid: The celestial grid shows the
gridlines of the Equatorial co-ordinate
system mapped onto the sky. See “Position
in Space” on page 69 for a description of
the equatorial co-ordinate system.
Celestial Poles: The North and South
Celestial Poles are projections into space
of Earth’s north and south poles. Polaris,
the North Star, is very close in the sky to
the North Celestial Pole.
Local Meridian: The local meridian is an
imaginary line running from due north
along the horizon through the zenith,
through to due south along the horizon.
During a given night, a celestial object will
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be at its highest point in the sky when it is
on the local meridian line.
Show compass indicator while scrolling:
This turns on or off the compass image in
the upper right corner of the screen, which
appears when you scroll around the sky to
help you determine your viewing
direction.
positions in the sky at the two exact times
when the plane of Earth’s equator is the
same as the plane defined by Earth’s
revolution around the Sun.
Guides Layer in Pro and Pro Plus
The ecliptic line is the
apparent path in the sky which the Sun
moves through over the course of a year.
Notice the constellations which the
ecliptic line passes through - these are the
familiar zodiac constellations. The Sun
will always be found directly on the
ecliptic line, while the Moon and planets
will always be found close by.
The Ecliptic:
Zenith/Nadir: The zenith is the point in the
sky directly above your head, while the
nadir is the point directly below your feet.
Summer/Winter Solstice: The Summer
Solstice is the Sun’s position relative to the
stars on the first day of summer (in the
Northern Hemisphere), while the Winter
Solstice is the Sun’s position relative to the
stars on the first day of winter. More
precisely, they are the Sun’s positions in
the sky at the two exact times when the
plane of Earth’s equator is inclined at the
largest angle (about 23.5 degrees) to the
plane determined by Earth’s revolution
around the Sun.
Vernal/Autumnal Equinox: The Vernal
Equinox is the Sun’s position relative to
the stars on the first day of spring (in the
Northern Hemisphere), while the
Autumnal Equinox is the Sun’s position
relative to the stars on the first day of fall.
More precisely, they are the Sun’s
Axes: In
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus,
this option displays a 3-dimensional set of
reference axes and/or a reference plane for
the co-ordinate system in question.
Options for changing the look of the
reference axes are in the Guides Options
dialog box. It is not possible to turn on
reference axes for the alt/az system.
Equator: Displays the line of 0° “latitude”
for the co-ordinate system in question. For
the alt/az system, this is the horizon line.
For the equatorial system, this is the
celestial equator, a projection of Earth’s
equator into space. For the ecliptic system,
this is the ecliptic line, a projection of the
Appearance of the Sky
plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun onto
the celestial sphere.
For the galactic system, available in Starry
Night Pro and Pro Plus, this is the galactic
equator, a line passing through the centre
of the band of the Milky Way.
Grid: Displays a grid with the latitude and
longitude gridlines for the co-ordinate
system in question. As you change your
field of view, the grid spacing will
automatically change. You can change the
default spacing of these gridlines in the
Guides Options dialog box.
Meridian: Displays
the line of 0°
“longitude” for the co-ordinate system in
question. For the alt/az system, this is the
local meridian, a line running from due
north along the horizon through the zenith,
through to due south along the horizon.
For the equatorial system, available in
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus, this is the
Celestial Meridian, the line of 0° right
ascension which passes through the Vernal
Equinox.
Hemisphere), while the Autumnal Equinox
is the Sun’s position relative to the stars on
the first day of fall. More precisely, they
are the Sun’s positions in the sky at the
two exact times when the plane of Earth’s
equator is the same as the plane defined by
Earth’s revolution around the Sun.
Summer/Winter Solstice: Displays
markers for the Summer and Winter
Solstices. The Summer Solstice is the
Sun’s position relative to the stars on the
first day of summer (in the Northern
Hemisphere), while the Winter Solstice is
the Sun’s position relative to the stars on
the first day of winter. More precisely,
they are the Sun’s positions in the sky at
the two exact times when the plane of
Earth’s equator is inclined at the largest
angle (about 23.5 degrees) to the plane
determined by Earth’s revolution around
the Sun.
Guides Options: Clicking on the words
“XXX Guides” in the Options pane will
open the Guides Options dialog box for
the co-ordinate system in question.
Poles: Displays
markers for the points at
“latitudes” of 90° N and 90° S for the
co-ordinate system in question. For the alt/
az system, these are the zenith (the point in
the sky directly above your head) and the
nadir (the point directly below your feet).
For the equatorial system, these are
projections of Earth’s north and south
poles, known as the North and South
Celestial poles, respectively.
Vernal/Autumnal Equinox: Displays
markers for the Vernal and Autumnal
Equinoxes. The Vernal Equinox is the
Sun’s position relative to the stars on the
first day of spring (in the Northern
You can change the colour of the markers,
gridlines, and reference axes. You can also
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turn on/off numerical labels for the
markers and gridlines.
Tip: Any objects that you select (by
clicking on the object) will automatically
have their position highlighted on the 3-D
grid.
Field of View Indicators
If you own binoculars or a telescope, you
may wonder how the views that you see
onscreen match up with what you would
see outdoors using your astronomical
instrument.
A dropbox lets you control the spacing of
the guides grid, choosing fine (lots of
gridlines close together), medium, or
coarse (a few lines, widely separated).
The bottom set of controls in the Guides
Options dialog box affects the look of the
guide axes. You can choose whether to
draw just the XY grid plane, just the XYZ
axes, or both. Finally, you can choose to
highlight the closest objects. This will give
a 3-dimensional view of the position of
these objects in relation to the co-ordinate
system in question.
The FOV side pane allows
you to display an outline
onscreen that shows the
shape and typical field of
view (FOV) of any of your astronomical
instruments.
Tip: To change the colour of an FOV
indicator, just click on the colourbar to the
right of the indicator name in the FOV
pane.
Starry Night lets you display an outline
onscreen that shows the shape and field of
view (FOV) of any of your astronomical
instruments. We call these outlines field of
Appearance of the Sky
view (FOV) indicators. Field of view
indicators are useful because they show
the exact size of the patch of sky that you
will be able to see through a given
astronomical instrument. Therefore, the
area shown inside the indicator by Starry
Night should correspond very well to what
you actually see outdoors when you are
observing.
You can also create special indicators that
highlight specific objects or areas of the
sky.
Indicator List: To see a list of available
FOV indicators open the FOV pane.
The name of each indicator and its field of
view are shown. The colour of the
indicator is displayed to the right of its
name.
After you have turned an
indicator on, you should see
the indicator in the main
Starry Night sky view at the
centre of the screen.
Multiple Indicators: You
can turn on more
than one FOV indicator at a time. You may
wish to make each indicator a different
colour to make them easier to distinguish.
One situation where you might wish to
display indicators is if you are using a
primary telescope and a finderscope.
Adding Indicators: To add a new indicator,
click the Add button in the “Other (All
Charts)” or “Other (This Chart)” layer in
the FOV pane.
The difference between these two layers is
that indicators added to “Other (This
Chart)” will automatically disappear from
your list of indicators when you adjust the
sky view in Starry Night. This is handy if
you want to add indicators only to create a
specific image, as you will not need to go
to the trouble of deleting these indicators
after you have created the image.
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): See “Field
of View Indicators 1 (Creating an
Equipment List)” on page 135 for more
information on FOV indicators and on
how to create an Equipment List.
Turning indicators on/off: Checking/
unchecking the box to the left of the
indicator name turns on/off the outline for
that indicator.
Once you press the Add button, a dialog
box opens that allows you to specify the
properties for your new indicator. You can
choose a name, colour, and field of view
for the indicator. Unlike FOV indicators
that are associated with an item from your
Equipment List (which are automatically
centred onscreen), you can also specify the
indicator position.
There are three ways to enter an indicator
position:
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• Relative to screen centre: Your
indicator will be at a certain offset from
the screen centre. The offset is
determined by the values that you enter
for “Delta H” and “Delta V”. “Delta H”
is the horizontal offset and Delta V is
the vertical offset (both in pixels). An
indicator with an offset of (0,0) would
be directly at the centre of the screen.
• RA/Dec: This keeps your indicator
centred on a specific right ascension
and declination on the celestial sphere.
• Alt/Az: This keeps your indicator
centred on a specific altitude and
azimuth, relative to your local horizon
and direction.
Heads-Up Display (HUD) Options
In “Identifying Objects In The Sky” on
page 21, you learned that pointing the
cursor at an object onscreen causes Starry
Night to display the object’s name,
constellation and distance. This feature is
known as the Heads-Up Display (HUD).
You can change the look of the HUD and
also change the information fields that it
displays, by choosing Preferences from
the File menu (Windows) or the Starry
Night menu (Macintosh) and selecting
Cursor Tracking (HUD) from the
dropbox in the top left corner of the
Preferences dialog box.
Tip: If you want to centre your indicator
on a specific object or area of sky, rightclick (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the object
or area of sky and choose Add FOV
Indicator from the contextual menu that
pops up. Choose an RA/Dec position or
Alt/Az position. The default co-ordinates
for this indicator will be centred on the
object or area of sky in question.
There are several cases where adding
specially positioned indicators might come
in handy. For example, assume you want
to create a star chart that shows you how to
“star-hop” from a bright deep space object
to a more obscure object. You could add
multiple indicators to your Starry Night
view (and printed chart), tracing out the
path that you would need to follow.
Deleting indicators: You
can delete any of
your Field of View indicators by doubleclicking on the indicator’s name in the
FOV pane, then clicking the Delete button
in the dialog box that opens.
You can set the HUD to display
information only when you are holding
down a certain key. This is useful if you
find that the HUD information appears too
frequently and gets in your way. You can
also avoid this problem by moving the
Appearance of the Sky
“Mouse is idle for...” slider farther to the
right. This slider controls how long the
cursor must be pointing at an object before
the HUD information is displayed.
Unchecking the “Show info only when
over an object” option causes the HUD
information to appear even when you
point the cursor at the black background
sky. This can be useful in determining the
co-ordinates of any position in the sky.
OpenGL Options
OpenGL offers improved graphics on
computers whose video hardware supports
it. You can access the OpenGL preferences
by choosing Preferences from the File
menu (Windows) or the Starry Night
menu (Macintosh) and selecting OpenGL
from the dropbox in the upper left corner
of the Preferences dialog box.The
OpenGL dialog box allows you to select a
number of options.
A long list of information fields gives you
control over which object information is
displayed, including name, magnitude,
distance, and so on. You can also choose
the colour in which you want to display
these information fields.
Finally, you can choose the font, style, and
size of the text in which the HUD
information is displayed.
Tip: You can choose to display the HUD
information on the upper left side of the
screen instead of directly beneath the
object, by checking the “Show info in
upper left corner of screen” box.
Cross fade slider: Rather
than jumping
straight into a new scene, instantly load a
new Starry Night File (SNF) or label an
object, you can add a fade ‘break’ between
actions that change your sky view. Think
of it as the fade-in/fade-out effect between
images in a photo slideshow. Use this
slider to control the cross fade transition
timing between actions in Starry Night.
Use OpenGL: Checking this option will
enable OpenGL if your video card
supports it. If for some reason, you have
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an OpenGL graphics card but do not wish
to run the OpenGL version of Starry
Night, uncheck this box.
Use sub-pixel accuracy when plotting
labels: Sub-pixel accuracy gives labels a
smooth feel as they move on the screen.
However, depending on your video card,
this can cause labels to flicker.
Draw stars using polygon smoothing:
Some video cards have trouble doing
what's called polygon smoothing and this
can cause "blocky stars". By default,
polygon smoothed stars are turned off on
the PC and turned on on the Mac. If you
are experiencing the "blocky star" effect
on the Mac you can try turning this feature
off. On the PC, if your card supports it,
turning this feature on can improve the
speed at which stars are drawn; if your
card doesn't support it, it can result in stars
being drawn slower or having a blocky
appearance.
Show specular reflection on planet
surfaces: Realistically models the Sun’s
glare on planet surfaces.
Use prespective correction when
showing planet surfaces: Corrects for
prespective when viewing planet surfaces.
Number Formats
You can change the number format for the
information displayed by the HUD by
choosing Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and choosing Number
Formats from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box.
There are a number of different formats in
which declination, altitude, right
ascension, and azimuth can be displayed,
and you can choose appropriate formats
for each of these options using the
dropboxes.
• d: degrees
• m: minutes
• s: seconds
The number of occurrences of each letter
indicates the number of decimal places.
For example, “dd mm.mmm” indicates
that degrees will be displayed by up to two
digits, with minutes being displayed by up
to two digits rounded off to three decimal
places — 25° 30.123'.
Appearance of the Sky
For distances, you can choose to view the
distance between you and any celestial
object in either light years or parsecs. One
parsec is equal to about 3.26 light years.
Full Screen Mode
Starry Night has two menu options that
allow you to hide the screen controls.
Selecting View->Hide All Controls will
hide the side panes, the toolbar, and the
button bar (Windows only). Selecting
View->Fullscreen hides the main menu,
the scrollbars, and the window frame. By
using these two options together, you hide
all controls and menus, for a full screen
view of the sky. Even with all controls
turned off, you can still move around the
sky using the many keyboard shortcuts
available, such as the arrow keys. For a
complete list of shortcuts, see
“Keyboard Shortcuts” on page 179.
Tip: Once you are in full screen mode, you
will need to find your way back out! Press
the F7 key to restore the main menu, and
then choose View->Show All Controls to
restore the other controls.
Saving Your Settings
Now that you know all of the features for
adjusting the appearance of the sky, you
may wish to make some changes to Starry
Night’s default settings. For example, you
may want Starry Night to always open
with daylight turned off. Choosing
Options->Save Current Options as
Default will save all of your appearance
settings so that Starry Night will use these
settings whenever you start the program or
open a new window. This allows you to set
up Starry Night to look exactly the way
you like, every time you use the program.
Restoring Default Settings. Choosing
Options->Presets->Default will restore
all of the settings in Starry Night to the
default values you have chosen (or the
built-in default settings, if you have never
used the
Save Current Options as Default
option).
Multiple Settings: You may wish to create
a set of appearance settings that is not used
as the default. To do this, set Starry Night
up the way that you want, then choose
Options->Save Preset... from the menu.
This will open a dialog box that allows
you to name your new settings files. Any
settings files that you create can then be
turned on from the
Options->Presets menu.
Adding Print Presets: You
may wish to
modify Starry Night’s default print presets
or add additional print presets. To modify
an existing print preset, first apply the
preset by choosing
Options->Presets-><preset name>from
the menu. Next, make any changes to
these settings. Finally, choose Save
Preset... from the Options menu and click
on the file “<Preset Name>.sno” in
the Save dialog box that opens. This will
replace that print preset with your own
changes. You may also choose to create an
entirely new print preset by making your
own settings and then choosing Save
Preset... from the Options menu and
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Starry Night User’s Guide
naming the preset in the Save dialog box.
Your new preset will then be listed in the
Options->Presets menu.
Global Preferences. Certain aspects of
Starry Night are treated differently than
your appearance settings (which you save
by choosing
Options->Save Current Options as
Default). These aspects are called global
preferences. When you change a global
preference, the change will be saved
automatically (there is no need to choose
Options-> Save Current Options as
Default). All of the options in the
Preferences menu are global preferences.
Tip: You can restore the global
preferences which initially accompanied
Starry Night by choosing Preferences
from the File menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh) and
pressing the Factory Defaults button in
the Preferences dialog box.
Chapter 4
Sky Data
This chapter will show you how to use several
different Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro
Plus features and functions that teach you more
about the night sky and give you more
information about astronomical events and the
sky in general. In the next chapter, “Object
Databases” on page 79, you will learn how to
access information about specific objects.
Note: Some of the features in this chapter require
an Internet connection. If you are not connected
to the Internet when you try to access these
features, Starry Night will try to connect you. If
you do not have Internet access, you will not be
able to make use of these features. All of the
features in the LiveSky menu require an Internet
connection. If you are using a feature that
requires downloading information from the
Internet, and the download is going too slow, you
can choose LiveSky->Stop Downloads to abort
the download.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
SkyGuide
Dozens of interactive multimedia tours
await you in the SkyGuide pane. These indepth experiences reveal the fascinating
science and history of the solar system, the
stars, the galaxies, the beginning of time,
and the fate of the universe. It also
includes daily headline news on
astronomy and step-by-step instructions
on how to use the most common Starry
Night features.
There’s no interface to learn: it works just
like a web browser!
As you and SkyGuide explore together,
you will learn tips for navigating the sky,
fun facts of the solar system, seasonal
tours of the sky, and much, much more.
Throughout this multimedia matrix you’ll
discover images and movies to enhance
the experience.
This section highlights some of the main
features in SkyGuide.
Click on the tab named
SkyGuide to open the
SkyGuide panel.
From the home SkyGuide page you can
select several main options:
Daily headline news: The
latest astronomy and hobby news. This is a page
devoted to amateur astronomers and space
enthusiasts, written by professional space
journalists. It is updated daily and has lots
of skywatching tips, plus topical stories on
astronomical events (new comets, meteor
showers, planet conjunctions, and much
more). Many of the stories are illustrated
with graphics created with Starry Night.
An Internet connection is required to view
this content.
Guided Tours: Begin
your exploration of
the night sky here. This link will take you
to dozens of interactive tours - your passport to a voyage through the universe.
Review the basic
controls and functions in Starry Night.
Starry Night basics:
Highlights the
main features of your program. We highly
recommend that you read through this section.
Starry Night features:
To start exploring the main SkyGuide content, select the Guided Tours link. The
Guided Tours menu is divided into eight
major categories:
Welcome Tour: A self-running guided
introduction to Starry Night and the things
you can do.
Sky Data
Quick Find: Find a planet, star, constellation and other interesting objects. These
lists of objects are usually organized by
season, letting you know when they can be
best observed.
First Night Out: An
introduction to the
night sky and how to navigate your way
around.
Night Sky Tours: Guided
tours of selected
objects in the night sky. Take a seasonal
tour of the night sky or explore the images
taken by space observatories.
SkyCalendar
The SkyCalendar is your portal to astronomical events such as solar and lunar
eclipses, meteor showers, conjunctions
and Moon phases. You can also import,
view and even create your own calendars
(using the standard vCalendar format). For
example, you can create a calendar of local
events and share them with other members
in your club. See “Adding Calendar
Events” on page 143 for instructions on
adding your own events to the SkyCalendar.
Our Solar System, the stars and our galaxy: An introduction to objects in our solar
system and beyond. This section tells you
what to look for and how to locate them in
the night sky.
Space Missions: Explore
the solar system
through the "eye's and ears" of
interplanetary spacecraft such as Voyager
2 and Cassini.
Record holders: What
is the largest planet
in our solar system? Which one is the hottest? Find out the answers in record holders.
Dictionary: A
list of the most common
astronomical terms.
We suggest you start with the Welcome
Tour and then explore the other sections
of SkyGuide. Have fun browsing!
To open the SkyCalendar,
click on the SkyCalendar side pane.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Expand the “Calendar” layer at the top of
the pane to view a clickable monthly calendar with Moon phase information.
Expanding the “Browser” layer will list all
the event calendars available. The “Info”
layer describes the calendar events in
detail.
Viewing a calendar event: The Browser
layer lists the calendars that come with
Starry Night. Each calendar has a name.
The “Event Finder” items calendar contains a list of celestial events visible from
your home location. This calendar is based
on the settings in the Events pane. Starry
Night Pro and Pro Plus users should read
“Event Finder” on page 116 for more
information.
You can click on any calendar name to
learn more about that calendar. The information will be displayed in the Info layer.
To view a calendar event for any of
the calendars listed, click on the
expand icon to the left of the calendar
name. This will display a chronological
listing of all the events for that calendar.
Clicking on an event will highlight it and
display the details and other options for
the event.
Each event can contain the following
information fields.
Event name: The name of the calendar
event.
Start/Finish: The start and finish times for
the event.
Location: The location of the event.
URL: An Internet link with additional
information about the event.
Description: A detailed description of the
event.
Depending on which calendar event you
select, you may see one of the following
control buttons.
Web: An option when viewing an upcoming event. If an Internet link with additional information about the event is
available, you can click on this button to
open your web browser.
View Event: An option when viewing an
upcoming event. Clicking this button will
display the celestial event on the main sky
window.
Home View: An option when viewing
lunar and solar eclipse events. Places you
at the event time looking in the proper
direction, as seen from your home location. If the event is not visible at all from
your location at this time, this option is
grayed out.
Best View: An option when viewing lunar
and solar eclipse events. Places you at the
best time and place to watch the event. For
example, selecting Best View for a solar
eclipse places you on the surface of the
Moon.
Edit Log: An option when viewing log
events. Allows you to edit your log entry
and make changes.
Centre Target: An option when viewing
log events. This adjusts your view so that
the object in your log is placed in the centre of the screen.
Sky Data
By default Starry
Night lists all calendar events. You
can also select to
only display events
for this week, this
month, this year or
even just past
events. To customize the events
shown in the Browser layer, select an
option from the Show Events dropbox.
Searching for an event: If
you are interested in finding a specific event, such as a
lunar eclipse or an occultation, click on the
Show Events dropbox on the upper left of
the “Browser” layer and select one of the
find options in the menu. You can select to
search for events that contain, begin with
or end with. If you want to exclude a class
of events, select not containing.
Tip: You can select multiple dates on the
Moon phase calendar by holding down the
Shift key on your keyboard when clicking
on subsequent dates.
Calendar icons: Some dates on the Moon
phase calendar will have small icons.
These icons are there to let you know of
any events happening on that date. Clicking on any date with an icon, will display
the details about the event in the Info layer.
The log icon lets you know you
have a log entry for that date.
The telescope icon symbolizes an
interesting celestial event or star
party.
You can toggle the icons displayed on the
Moon phase calendar on and off by using
the Calendar layer options button to the
right of the Calendar layer name.
DVD Movies
Browsing events with the Moon phase calendar: The Moon phase calendar offer a
quick way to glance at Moon phase information for any month of the year. To
change the month and year displayed on
the moon phase calendar, use the year and
date buttons immediately above the Moon
phase calendar.
You can double-click on a date you are
interested in on the moon calendar, and the
date in Starry Night will switch to that
date.
Over an hour of multimedia videos are
included with Starry Night on a separate
standalone DVD - “SkyTheater”. These
videos explore topics that range across the
entire field of astronomy, from observing
satellites to hunting comets. The videos
will help you learn more about astronomy,
and will increase your enjoyment of Starry
Night.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
LiveSky Pane
Although Starry Night has a wealth of
built-in astronomical information, much
more information exists on the Internet.
LiveSky is a gateway to the rich resources
of the Internet. You can use LiveSky to
locate information on the Internet for any
object, or to access live, up-to-the minute
data and images for certain celestial
phenomena. This section shows you how
to use LiveSky to access live images for
celestial phenomena.
“LiveSky.com Object Database” on
page 97 will show you how to use LiveSky
to locate Internet information for specific
objects.
source and date. Beneath the image
information are two buttons.
Clicking this button opens
the image in a new, larger,
window.
Clicking this button
causes Starry Night to
begin downloading an up-to-date image
from the Internet.
Accessing Images: You
choose which
image will be displayed in the LiveSky
pane by expanding one of the layers listed
beneath the image, and then clicking on an
image name.
Open the Livesky side pane
to access live images.
Clicking on an image name will display
the most recently downloaded version of
this image. It will not attempt to download
an up-to-date version of the image - you
need to press the Refresh button to do this.
Clicking the information icon to the
right of an image name will display a
brief description of the image.
At the top of the open LiveSky pane will
be an image. Beneath the image is
information about the image, such as its
Types of Images: LiveSky can provide
you with up-to-date images of many
different celestial phenomena: images of
the Sun as seen through different filters
and at different wavelengths, plots of the
sun’s electromagnetic activity, images of
auroral activity (northern and southern
Sky Data
lights) in Earth’s atmosphere, and satellite
imagery of Earth. As more types of live
planetary images become available online,
links to these images will be added to
LiveSky.
1
General Information:
Status Info
The Status side pane
provides a handy summary
of all of the general
information about your sky view - for
example, your viewing location, time, and
viewing direction. All of the information
in the Status pane is dynamic - if you
change your view onscreen (for example,
by changing your time or viewing
direction), the fields in the Status pane
will automatically update to reflect the
new view.
The information displayed falls into four
areas: general information, time
information, location information. Starry
Night Pro and Pro Plus also have a
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Note (Pro and Pro Plus only): Some of the
fields in the Status pane are only useful to
specialists. These fields are marked with
three asterisks (***) and are only
available in Starry Night Pro and Pro
Plus.
Export: Clicking the Save Info button will
export the information in the Status pane
to a text file.
Looking: The direction in which you are
viewing. Both the distance from the
horizon and the compass direction are
listed.
Field of View: The
exact width and height
of your current field of view.
Limiting Magnitude: The
magnitude of the
dimmest object visible in your current
view. Magnitude is a measure of the
brightness of objects and is discussed in
“Magnitude” on page 94. As you zoom in
to smaller fields of view, Starry Night
automatically shows dimmer objects, or in
other words, increases the limiting
magnitude.
Local astronomical
weather forecast to help plan your
observing session. Internet connection
required.
Observing conditions:
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Starry Night User’s Guide
2
pull-down menu to the immediate right of
the date/time display in the toolbar and
choose Set Julian Day from the menu.
Time:
The local sidereal time
of your current view, which ranges from 0
hours to 24 hours. Sidereal time measures
the rotation of Earth with respect to the
background stars, not the Sun. A sidereal
day is about 4 minutes shorter than a solar
day. Astronomers find sidereal time
helpful because objects with a right
ascension equal to the sidereal time are
crossing the local meridian at their highest
point in the sky, and this is often the best
time to observe the object.
***Sidereal Time:
Universal Time: This
field displays the
of your current view.
Because of time zones, an astronomical
event (such as a lunar occultation) could
take place at any of 24 different times,
depending on your location. To avoid
confusion, astronomers often report event
times using a standard time known as
Universal Time, which is the same
everywhere in the world. Universal time is
equal to the local time in Greenwich,
England (without Daylight Saving Time),
5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Universal Time
Local Time: The
local time of your current
***Delta T: Delta
T measures the
difference between terrestrial time (aka
ephemeris time) and Universal time.
Historians use delta T to date historical
events precisely using solar eclipses.
3
Location:
view.
***Julian Day: The Julian Day is another
astronomical time concept, used by
astronomers to avoid the problems
resulting from historical calendar changes.
The Julian Day is simply the number of
days that have elapsed since noon, January
1, 4713 B.C. Fractions of days are given in
decimal values. For example, the Julian
day 2451544.5 is 2 451 544 days and 12
hours after noon, January 1, 4713 B.C.,
which happens to be midnight on Dec. 31,
1999!
Tip: If you want to set the date in Starry
Night to a specific Julian day, open the
Location: The name of your current
viewing location (usually a city name).
Latitude/Longitude: The
latitude and
longitude of your current viewing location.
Sky Data
***Heliocentric X, Y, Z: Heliocentric
co-ordinates reference your position in
space with respect to the Sun. Heliocentric
co-ordinates of (0, 0, 0) would place you at
the center of the Sun. The X and Y
co-ordinates mark your position along the
ecliptic plane (the plane of Earth’s orbit
around the Sun). The Z co-ordinate
indicates your distance from the ecliptic
plane. Earth travels along the ecliptic
plane, so if you are on Earth’s surface,
your heliocentric Z value will be close to
0. Heliocentric co-ordinates are given in
astronomical units (AU’s). 1 AU is the
average distance between Earth and the
Sun, about 150 000 000 km.
axis. Young stars which are still burning
hydrogen in their cores are found in the
“Main Sequence”, the curve along the left
side of the graph. The larger and heavier a
star is, the farther it will be to the upper
left along this curve. Older stars in the “red
giant” phase of their life are no longer on
the main sequence, and will be found in
the upper right corner of the H-R diagram.
Finally, “white dwarf” stars will be found
along the bottom left of the H-R diagram,
beneath the main sequence.
***Distance from Sun/Angle from Ecliptic
Plane/Phi: Another set of heliocentric
co-ordinates, using angular measures
instead of X, Y, Z co-ordinates. Phi
specifies the angle along the ecliptic plane,
with the zero point being the position of
Earth on the autumnal equinox.
4
Hertzsprung-Russell:
Expand the Hertzsprung-Russell layer to
view a special kind of graph known as an
H-R (Hertzsprung-Russell) diagram.
An H-R diagram tells us about a star’s age
and its mass. Each dot on the diagram
represents a star. The diagram plots star
luminosity (amount of light & energy
emitted by the star) on the vertical axis
versus star temperature on the horizontal
The stars plotted in the H-R diagram are
the same stars shown onscreen in the main
window. You can click on any star in the
H-R diagram, and Starry Night will draw a
circle around this star on the main window,
allowing you to identify it. This makes it
easy to identify stellar oddballs, such as
white dwarfs, supergiants, and extremely
massive main sequence stars. Conversely,
you can point the cursor at any star in the
main window, and Starry Night will
highlight this star’s position (with a red
dot) on the H-R diagram.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Tip: The H-R diagram is fully dynamic. If
you scroll around the screen or change
your field of view, the stars shown
onscreen will change, and the H-R
diagram will update to plot these new
stars.
H-R Diagram Options:
Expand the H-R
Options layer
beneath the H-R
diagram to access
options that affect
the appearance of
the diagram.
Gridlines: Draws
gridlines from the
vertical and horizontal axes.
B-V: Uses a stars B-V colour as the field
along the horizontal axis. Hotter stars have
a lower B-V value.
Kelvin X 1000: Plots star temperature (in
thousands of degrees Kelvin) along the
horizontal axis. Degrees Kelvin are equal
to degrees Celsius + 273.
Spectral Class: Plots star spectral class
along the horizontal axis.
Main Sequence: Draws
a line representing
stars on the main sequence. Any star that
appears close to this line is probably a
main sequence star (a star that is still
burning hydrogen fuel).
Regions: Labels
Use Absolute Magnitudes: Unchecking
this option will plot apparent magnitude
instead of absolute magnitude on the
vertical axis.
Automatic ranges: Checking this option
will cause Starry Night to select the
smallest possible ranges for the X and Y
axes that still manages to include all stars
visible onscreen.
Image Brightness: This
slider controls
how bright the star dots in the H-R
diagram are drawn.
Distance Cut-Off: This
plots only those
stars with distances from Earth that lie
between the minimum and maximum
distances that you specify.
Labels: Unchecking
this option draws a
blank graph with no labels. Checking this
option allows you to turn on any of the
label options listed below.
the areas of red giants,
white dwarfs, and main sequence stars.
Note: White dwarfs are very dim and few
are in Starry Night’s star catalogues (the
Hipparcos/Tycho-2 catalogues), so few
will be found in Starry Night’s H-R
diagrams.
Dim Labels: Draws
the diagram labels
much dimmer than the stars.
Sky Data
Downloading Photographic
Images
Starry Night Pro shows over 2.5 million
objects and Starry Night Pro Plus shows
over 17 million celestial objects, but this is
only a tiny fraction of the stars and objects
that can be seen from Earth using
telescopes.
On the Internet, the Space Telescope
Science Institute (STScI) hosts a very
large database, called the Digitized Sky
Survey (DSS). This survey contains large,
high-resolution pictures of the entire night
sky. The database is so large that it is
distributed on a few hundred CD-ROMs.
Starry Night makes it easy to look at the
thousands of galaxies, nebulae, and other
astronomical phenomena that are
contained in this database.
The STScI offers an online form you can
fill out to request a picture of the sky.
Starry Night makes this process
considerably easier. Just zoom in on the
part of the sky that you want an image of,
and select
LiveSky->Show Photographic Image.
Getting a picture from the Digitized Sky
Survey to your browser can take up to a
few minutes, so you have to be patient.
The reason for the delay is that the
Digitized Sky Survey’s computer has to
assemble your request from its extensive
database.
Tip: You can only download Digitized Sky
Survey images when your field of view is
between about 1.5 arcminutes and 30
arcminutes. If your field of view is outside
this range, this menu item will appear
greyed out.
Example: Viewing the Horsehead
Nebula using the
Digitized Sky Survey.
1 Open the Find pane and type in
“horsehead”. Starry Night should list the
Horsehead Nebula.
2 Double-click on the Horsehead
Nebula’s entry in the list, to centre on this
object.
3 Now use the zoom buttons in the toolbar to zoom in to a field of view of about
20' (20 arcminutes), so that the Horsehead
Nebula almost fills the screen.
4 Choose
LiveSky->Show Photographic Image to
obtain an image of the Horsehead Nebula
from the Digitized Sky Survey. The new
image will open in your web browser.
In this example, we used the Digitized Sky
Survey to load an image of an object
which Starry Night already had an image
for. You would be more likely to use the
Digitized Sky Survey to download images
of areas of the sky for which Starry Night
does not have a detailed image. One way
to explore with the Digitized Sky Survey
is to turn on the NGC/IC database or the
Galaxies database and look for an
interesting cluster of galaxies. Zoom in on
a promising cluster and then request the
Digitized Sky Survey image for a detailed
view.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Tip: After you have loaded an image from
the Digitized Sky Survey, you can paste it
in Starry Night Pro, and it will remain
there every time you run the program. For
more information, refer to “Adding
Images from the Digitized Sky Survey” on
page 173.
Online Telescope Imaging
The Digitized Sky Survey allows you to
download images of any section of the sky
from an image database. These images are
several years old.
Another feature actually allows you to
capture live photographic images of the
sky, by directing a remote telescope and
camera over the Internet! Unlike any of
the other features in Starry Night, a small
fee is charged to capture images.
Selecting LiveSky->Online Telescope
Imaging from the main menu will open a
web page with instructions on requesting
photographic images.
Chapter 5
Object Databases
This chapter will show you how to learn more
about galaxies, meteor showers, planets, and all
of the other marvelous denizens of the night sky.
You will first learn about all of the different
object databases included in Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus. Next, you will learn
how to get more information about any of the
objects in these databases.
Note: Some of the features in this section require
an Internet connection. If you are not connected
to the Internet when you try to access these
features, Starry Night will try to connect you. If
you do not have Internet access, you will not be
able to make use of these features. All of the
features in the LiveSky menu require an Internet
connection. If you are using a feature that
requires downloading information from the
Internet, and the download is going too slow, you
can choose LiveSky->Stop Downloads to abort
the download.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Introduction to Databases
Starry Night includes literally millions of
celestial objects, from dozens of different
databases.
Accessing Databases: As you learned in
chapter 3, “Appearance of the Sky”, you
can use the Options side pane to turn
databases on/off, turn their labels on/off,
or modify the database display options. All
of these functions can also be accessed
from the main menu, by choosing View,
Labels, or Options, respectively.
We’ll now briefly describe each of the
databases included in Starry Night. The
databases in your version of Starry Night
may be slightly different from those listed
here, as we are continually updating and
adding new databases. As you learned in
“Options Pane” on page 34, databases are
organized in a layered framework, based
on their distance from Earth.
The three major database layers are:
1
Solar System
2
Stars
3
Deep Space
Databases 1 (Solar System)
These databases are for objects that are
inside our solar system.
Satellites: This
refers to any man-made
body orbiting our Earth. Most satellites
fall into two distinct types of orbits:
near-Earth orbits or geosynchronous
orbits. Satellites in near-Earth orbit move
much more rapidly than Earth rotates, so
they move over a large slice of the Earth’s
surface. Geosynchronous satellites are
much farther from Earth. They move at
exactly the same speed as Earth rotates, so
they stay directly above the same point on
Earth’s surface at all times. Starry Night
includes about 150 satellites. Satellite data
needs to be updated regularly. See
“Database Updates” on page 85 for
information on updating satellite data.
Meteor Showers: This
database marks the
positions of the major meteor shower
radiants. The radiant is the point in the sky
where all meteors from a given meteor
shower appear to be coming from. Meteor
showers are formed by comets that come
close to the Sun. Heat from the Sun causes
dust and rock to break off the comet and
gather into a collection of debris that
moves along the comet’s orbital path. If
Earth’s orbit crosses this path, there is a
meteor shower as the dust particles burn
up in Earth’s atmosphere. Each meteor
shower happens at about the same time
each year. This database uses data from the
International Meteor Organization and was
created by Stephen Hutson.
Asteroids: Small, rocky bodies that are too
small to be planets. Most asteroids lie in
the “asteroid belt”, a region of space
between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroid data needs to be updated
regularly. See “Database Updates” on
page 85 for information on updating
asteroid data.
Comets: These are the small balls of rock
and ice which revolve around the sun.
Comets have very elliptical orbits,
meaning their distance from the sun varies
greatly with time. Comets are usually far
away from the Sun, out beyond the orbit of
Object Databases
Pluto, too dim to see. Once in a long while,
they come close to Earth and the Sun,
picking up speed and getting brighter.
Starry Night includes about 150 comets,
including some great comets of yesteryear
such as Halley and Hale-Bopp. Comet data
needs to be updated regularly, so that any
bright new comets are added to Starry
Night’s database. See “Database Updates”
on page 85 for information on updating
comet data.
Planets/Moons: The Sun, the nine major
planets that orbit the Sun, and all of the
moons of these planets. In the past few
years, many new small moons have been
discovered around the outer planets. Starry
Night includes all of the moons that were
known at the time of release. If any new
moons are discovered in the future, data
for these moons will be available on our
website. Choose
View->Check For Program Updates to
see if any new data is available.
Space Missions: Interplanetary
spacecraft
and probes. Follow the path of Voyager,
Cassini, Pioneer and other space missions.
Databases 2 (Stars)
This includes not only stars, but all objects
that are outside of our solar system, but
still inside our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Milky Way: The
band of our Milky Way,
which stretches across the night sky. The
misty band of illumination that we see is
actually the combined light of millions of
stars. It is possible to adjust the brightness
of the Milky Way.
Pulsars: Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus
have a catalogue of more than 700 pulsars.
Pulsars are neutron stars, former
supergiants that have been compressed
into spheres with diameters of only a few
tens of kilometres. Created by Ulf Teras.
Stars: A star is any body which burns or
once burned hydrogen fuel. The energy
and light produced in stars comes from the
fusion of hydrogen atoms. As stars grow
older, they use up their supply of hydrogen
and have to find other sources of energy.
When they reach this point, they become
either red giants or supergiants, depending
on their size. As they continue to use up
energy, stars eventually become either
white dwarfs or, in the case of very
massive stars, neutron stars or black holes.
The star database in Starry Night is
actually a compilation of databases: Starry
Night Enthusiast uses the Hipparcos
catalogue, and the Tycho-2 catalogue, and
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus also include
the USNO-A2 catalogue.
The Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues
come from a European Space Agency
project to determine the distance to our
nearest stars. The Hipparcos catalogue has
about 100 000 stars and the Tycho-2
catalogue has about two million. Find out
more about these catalogues on their
official web page: http://astro.estec.esa.nl/
SA-general/Projects/Hipparcos/
hipparcos.html
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus use the
USNO-A2 star database for dim stars not
included in the Hipparcos or Tycho
catalogues. About 75 million stars as dim
as 15th magnitude can be accessed. These
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stars will only be visible if you chose the
“Full Install” or the “Custom Install”
options when you installed Starry Night.
The entire USNO-A2 star database
contains 500 million stars! This database
is far too large to fit on a CD or DVD, so
Starry Night allows you to download
portions of this database from the Internet.
See “Adding Objects 3 (Stars)” on
page 169 for more information.
Tip: Our Sun is an ordinary star. However,
in Starry Night, it is a member of the
“Planets/Moons” database, not the
“Stars” database.
Databases 3 (Deep Space)
This includes all objects outside of our
galaxy. It also includes databases that
include objects both within and outside of
our galaxy. For example, the Messier
catalogue includes globular clusters,
which are inside our galaxy, but it also
includes other galaxies, so it is classified
in the “Deep Space” category.
Messier Objects: This
category includes
the 110 Messier objects, originally
catalogued by French astronomer Charles
Messier and colleagues in the late 1700’s.
Messier was trying to identify all “fuzzy”
deep space objects that might be mistaken
for comets. The Messier objects are a
mixture of star clusters, nebulae, and
galaxies (plus a few objects that don’t fit
into any of these categories). Many of the
Messier objects are favourite targets for
amateur astronomers. For each object in
the Messier catalogue, Starry Night
includes a detailed image and a text
description with observing tips.
Bright NGC Objects: This
database is a
grab bag of famous deep space objects
(mostly star clusters, galaxies, and
nebulae) that were excluded from the
Messier catalogue for one reason or
another. Many of the objects were missed
by Messier because they are more easily
seen from the Southern Hemisphere, and
could only be seen low on the horizon (if
at all) from Messier’s base in Paris. For
each object in this catalogue, Starry Night
includes a detailed image and a text
description with observing tips.
NGC-IC: The NGC/IC (New General
catalogue/Index catalogue) is a more
extensive listing of star clusters, galaxies
and nebulae, It was originally compiled by
J.C. Dreyer from 1888-1908 and includes
about 13 000 objects. Starry Night uses an
updated version of this database, compiled
by Wolfgang Steinecke and converted into
Starry Night format by Peter Enzerink,
which fixes many errors in the original
catalogue. Find out more about the NGCIC catalogue on the web at
www.ngcic.com.
Tully 3-D Database: A collection of nearly
28 000 galaxies. The neat thing about this
database is that it contains 3-dimensional
positions of these galaxies. You can use
Starry Night’s controls to view the
3-dimensional arrangement of these
galaxies.Choose Favourites->Deep Space
from the main menu to view some sample
files that use this database to render some
3-dimensional extragalactic views of our
universe.
Object Databases
Hubble/Chandra/Spitzer Images: These
databases contain about 100 images taken
by space telescopes. A full description for
each image is provided in the Night Sky
Tours section of SkyGuide.
See“SkyGuide” on page 68 to learn more
about exploring SkyGuide.
Quasars: More than 18 000 quasars, BL
Lac objects, and active galaxies. All three
classes of objects are the extremely
luminous nuclei of very distant galaxies.
There is probably a supermassive black
hole at the center of each of these objects.
This database was created by Ulf Teras.
User Images: This
is a database of images
which you have added to Starry Night
yourself. Initially, this database will be
blank. See “User Images” on page 171 to
learn how to add your own images.
Galaxies: The PGC (Principal Galaxy
catalogue). This database contains 980 000
galaxies brighter than magnitude 18, far
more than the NGC-IC database.
Nebula: Some 2700 nebulae. This
database includes outlines for Dark,
Emission and Reflection nebulae.
Databases 4 (Other)
Certain databases are not included in any
of the above layers, and are listed
separately in the Other category of the
Options pane. Most databases fall into this
category because they overlap with one or
more of the databases described in the first
4 layers. For example, the Other category
includes a database of planetary nebulae.
However, many of these nebulae are
already included in the “Messier Objects”,
or the “Bright NGC Objects” databases, so
Starry Night would show duplicate
markings for these objects, if the
“planetary nebulae” database was also
turned on. By default, all of the databases
in the Other category are turned off, but
you can turn one or more of these
databases on if it suits your purpose.
Tip: Most of the databases in this category
were created by Starry Night users. See
“Adding Objects 4 (Databases)” on
page 170 for information on building your
own databases.
Note: The list of databases in your version
of Starry Night may not be exactly the
same as the following list, as we are
continually adding new databases and
updating existing ones. If you like to
include a database you see described here,
but it is not installed in your version of
Starry Night, please visit the Knowledge
Base area of our web site and do a search
for “databases”.
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Abell Cluster of Galaxies: The catalog was
originally prepared at the Bulgarian
Academy of Sciences. The Abell clusters
are rich, compact clusters of galaxies
identified by Abell (1958). These clusters
were identified on the red plates of the
Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS).
The magnitude, if known, refers to the
brightest member. There are 2712 clusters
in this catalog.
Arp Peculiar Galaxies: A
catalog of 338
peculiar galaxies gathered by Dr. Halton
C. Arp in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.
The catalog is a selection of unusual or
peculiar galaxies, interacting pairs or
larger groups. Arp compiled the list with
photographs from the Palomar 200-inch
telescope in 1966. Magnitude, if known,
refers to brightest member.
Caldwell: The
Caldwell catalogue consists
of 109 deep space objects not in the
Messier catalogue that can be viewed with
a small telescope. This catalogue was
originally compiled by Sir Patrick Moore,
and converted to Starry Night format by
Charles Gagne.
Celestron AAM Alignment Stars: The
28
alignment stars for Celestron's Advanced
Astro-Master, a digital setting circle
device. Created by Greg Miller.
Dark Nebula: 37 Dark Nebula taken from
the 2004 Observer's Handbook. Database
formatted into Starry Night format by
Terry Adrian.
Double Stars: The
Saguaro Astronomical
catalogue of over 11 000 double stars,
including almost all double stars with a
primary brighter than magnitude 9 and a
secondary brighter than magnitude 13,
created by Steve Coe and A.J. Crayon,
converted into Starry Night format by Bill
Arnett.
Finest NGC: A
subset of 110 of the best
deep space objects in the NGC catalogue,
none of which are in the Messier
catalogue. This list was originally
compiled by Alan Dyer and converted to
Starry Night format by Richard
Weatherston.
Herschel 400: A
subset of 18th century
astronomer William Herschel's catalogue
of deep space objects. It is designed as a
list of objects for amateurs to observe after
they have seen all the Messier objects. The
Herschel 400 was originally compiled by
Brenda Branchett and converted to Starry
Night format by Michael Desjarlais.
Local Group Galaxies: The 30 or so nearby
galaxies that form our "Local Group". All
of these galaxies are within about five
million light years of Earth. Created by
Bill Arnett.
LX200 Alignment Stars: All of the bright
stars used to align Meade's LX200
telescope. Created by Bill Arnett.
Meteor Showers (RASC): An alternate
meteor shower database with radiant data
from the Royal Astronomical Society
Observer's Handbook. Created by Stephen
Hutson.
Navigational Stars: The 57 bright stars
used for celestial navigation in the
Nautical Almanac.
Nexstar 5 Stars: All 10 000 stars in the
star catalogue built into Celestron's
Object Databases
Nexstar 5 and Nexstar 8 telescopes.
Created by Alan Touchberry.
(General Catalogue of Variable Stars)
databases, compiled by Mike Fikes.
The 40 bright
alignment stars for Celestron's Nexstar 5
and Nexstar 8 telescopes. Created by
Brandon Beretta.
Variable Stars (GCVS): All 31 000 stars in
the GCVS (General catalogue of Variable
Stars). Based on data from Kopolev et. al
(1988) and NASA/ADC (1997).
Converted to Starry Night format by
Marion Schmitz.
Nexstar Alignment Stars:
Planetary Nebulae: All planetary nebulae
from the Perek-Kohoutek catalogue.
Converted to Starry Night format by Bill
Arnett.
SAA 100: The
top 100 non-Messier deep
space objects, as voted on by the amateur
astronomy newsgroup "sci.astro.amateur".
Converted to Starry Night format by Peter
Enzerink.
The
alignment stars for the Sky Commander
telescope guiding device. Created by Allan
Keller.
Sky Commander Alignment Stars:
SS2K Alignment Stars: The
alignment
stars for the Vixen SkySensor 2000
telescope. Created by Bob Hillier.
Supernova Remnants: All
known
supernova remnants in the Milky Way.
This catalogue was created by Dr. David
Green and converted into Starry Night
format by Dr. Leigh Palmer. Visit Dr.
Green's website:
http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/surveys/snrs/
to learn more about this catalogue.
UGC: The
Uppsala General catalogue of
13 000 galaxies, converted into Starry
Night format by Bill Arnett.
Variable Stars (AAVSO): A
database of
almost 6000 variable stars built from the
AAVSO (American Association of
Variable Star Observers) and GCVS
Variable Stars (GCVS-Hipparcos): Over
8300 variable stars with information from
the GCVS (General catalogue of Variable
Stars) Vols. 4 and 5, and the Hipparcos
catalogues of Periodic and Unsolved
Variables, compiled by Ray Colley.
Zwicky Cluster of Galaxies: Database
contains 9134 galaxy clusters compiled by
Fritz Zwicky.
Database Updates
Our view of the universe will change over
the next ten years. New moons will be
discovered, bright new comets will streak
towards the Sun, and new satellites will be
launched into orbit. To ensure that Starry
Night’s library of data keeps up with these
changes, several update mechanisms are
built into the program.
The databases of comets, asteroids and
satellites change more frequently than
other databases, so Starry Night has a
special method of updating these
databases. Choose LiveSky->Update
Comets/Asteroids/Satellites and updated
satellite, comet and asteroid data files will
be downloaded from our website. We
update these files several times a week, so
you can expect that any new comets,
asteroids or satellites will be added as soon
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as possible. After you have downloaded
the new files, you will need to exit and
restart Starry Night before it will read in
the new data files.
You can set up Starry Night to
automatically update your comet, asteroid
& satellite files. The various preferences
are in the
LiveSky->Preferences for Auto Updates
menu.
weeks. This is particulary important for
satellites. The position of satellites in
Starry Night will become unreliable if
your data is more than a few weeks old,
due to the effects of atmospheric drag.
Ask Before Connecting to the Internet: If
you check this box, Starry Night will
always ask you before attempting to
connect and download files, otherwise the
connection will be made automatically.
Note: It is also possible to manually
modify the comet, asteroid & satellite
databases. See “Adding Objects 2
(Multiple Solar System Objects)” on
page 168 for more information.
Maximum number of objects read in at
startup: his field determines how much
Clicking this
button will
download the latest comet, satellite, and
asteroid data files from the Starry Night
website.
Automatically check for updates from
StarryNight.com every xx days: Checking
this option ensures that Starry Night will
automatically connect to our website on a
regular basis to update the comet, asteroid
& satellite files. The updates will be
performed when Starry Night is opened.
You can control how often Starry Night
will attempt to download the files from our
website. It is recommended that you
update the files at least once every two
comet, asteroid, and satellite data Starry
Night downloads from our website. The
more objects you choose to download, the
longer Starry Night will take to load when
you start the program. You would only
want to modify the default values for these
fields if you have manually created larger
comet, satellite, or asteroid databases. See
“Adding Objects 2 (Multiple Solar System
Objects)” on page 168 for information on
building these databases.
Clear Star Cache: Empties
the stars
downloaded from the Internet that were
cached on your local hard disk. See
“Adding Objects 3 (Stars)” on page 169
for information on downloading star data
from the Internet.
Object Databases
For objects other than comets, asteroids &
satellites, the data does not change as
frequently. However, there will still be
changes to existing databases, and
occasionally, new databases. You can
check to see if any new data is available by
choosing
LiveSky->Check For Program Updates
from the menu. This connects you to the
updates page on our website. If any new
databases are available, they will be posted
on this page, along with instructions for
adding them to your copy of Starry Night.
Now that you know all of the different
databases in Starry Night, we will look at
how to get more information on any of the
objects in these databases.
Find Pane Info
In “Finding Objects” on page 25, you
learned that typing in a search for an
object produced a list of items found. For
each item in this list, the Find pane
displays several pieces of information:
Select/Deselect: In Starry Night, checking
the box to the left of the object’s name in
the Find pane selects the object and labels
it onscreen. See “Labeling Select Objects”
on page 39 for more information on
selecting objects.
Text Description: A
text description of
the object. All well-known objects will
have unique text descriptions, with
historical information, observing tips, and
other cool facts about the object. For nondescript objects such as dim stars, the
description will be a generic description
for the object type (i.e. red giant star).
Log indicator (Pro and Pro Plus only):
This symbol indicates that you have
created a log entry for the object. Click to
view the log entry. See
“Adding Log Entries” on page 162 for
more information about adding log entries.
Altitude: The
object’s height above the
horizon. If the object has a negative
altitude, it is currently beneath the horizon.
If it has a positive altitude that is close to
0°, the object is just above the horizon. An
altitude close to 90° means that the object
is high above the horizon.
Kind: The type of object (e.g. comet,
satellite, etc.)
Database: The database that the object
comes from.
Objects in our solar system also have the
following options:
This opens the object’s contextual
menu. See “Object Contextual Menu”
on page 88 for information on the fields in
this menu.
Orbit: Checking
this box (to the right of
the object name) draws the orbital line of
the object. See “Orbits” on page 110 for
more information on solar system orbits.
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Semi-major axis: This
is the distance
between an object and its parent body, at
the point when the object is farthest away
from the parent body. For a circular orbit,
the semi-major axis is equal to the orbital
radius.
Tip: Click-hold and drag a columns name
towards the left or right to move the
column into a new position. You can also
add or remove a column by right-clicking
on its name. This will open a contextual
menu allowing you to check/uncheck the
columns you wish to display.
Object Contextual Menu
An object’s contextual menu provides a
list of actions in Starry Night that can be
performed on an object. You open an
object’s contextual menu by clicking the
right mouse button (Ctrl-clicking on the
Macintosh) while the cursor is pointing at
the object.
All of the items in the
menu relate to the
object that you clicked
on. If you were not
pointing the cursor at a
specific object, the
menu gives you
options for the
appearance of the sky
as a whole and the
constellation which
you are pointing at.
See “Sky Contextual Menu” on page 33
for information on that menu.
Tip: You can also open an object’s
contextual menu from the Find pane. Type
in a search for the object you are
interested in, then click the arrow to the
left of the object’s name in the list of found
items.
The various options in the contextual
menu are described below. Most of these
features are discussed in more detail in
other sections of the book, so only a brief
description of each feature is given in this
section. Don’t be overwhelmed! The
options are just listed here so that you have
a quick reference for all the contextual
menu options in one place.
Select/Deselect: This selects or deselects
the object. If an object is selected, its name
and an arrow pointing to the object will
appear onscreen. See
“Labeling Select Objects” on page 39 for
more information on selecting objects.
Centre: This
adjusts your view so that the
object is at the centre of the screen and
remains locked in the centre of the screen
as time passes. This is handy if you want
to watch a planet’s motion against the
background stars, for example.
Note: If you are centred on an object and
it falls beneath your horizon, your view of
it will be obscured by the horizon.
Magnify: This
zooms in on the object so
that you get a close-up view. Objects
within our solar system and deep space
objects in the Messier and Bright NGC
Objects databases all have detailed
images. Stars other than our Sun are just
shown as points of light, and many of the
objects from other databases will just have
position markers instead of images.
Go There: This changes your location to
the surface of the object in question (if the
object is a star, you will be placed nearby).
Object Databases
First your viewing direction will change,
then you will begin to lift off your current
body and fly in the direction of the
celestial body you have chosen. Your
distance from the Sun will appear along
the bottom of the screen as you fly to the
new location. The Heads-Up Display
(HUD) will identify any objects that you
pass by during your journey. The
“Go There” option is only available for
objects with accurate 3-dimensional
position information. There are many
other ways to change your location in
Starry Night. See
“Changing Your Viewing Location” on
page 103 for more information. However,
the contextual menu is the only way to
change your location so that you are
viewing from another star or galaxy.
Tip: If you zoom in for a close-up of a
planet and then right-click the mouse
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) and choose
Go There, your location on the new planet
will be the position on the surface where
you clicked the mouse. This can be helpful
if you want to watch eclipses on other
planets. You can zoom in on Jupiter (for
example) until you can see the shadow
caused by one of its moons passing in front
of the Sun. Right-clicking on the shadow
and choosing Go There will allow you to
watch a solar eclipse from Jupiter!
Correctly pronounces the
objects name. See “Pronunciation Guide”
on page 97 for more information.
Pronounce:
Print Chart: Prints
a star chart for the
object.
Google Map: When
hovering over the
Earth, right-click (Windows) or ctrl-click
(Mac) and select Google Map to open a
Google satellite map for that location.
Internet connection required.
Show Info: On all Starry Night programs,
this opens the Info pane, which displays
much more information on the object. All
the fields in the Info pane are explained in
“Info Pane” on page 91.
Add FOV Indicator: This adds a new field
of view (FOV) indicator, centred on the
object. See “Adding other indicators” on
page 59 for more information.
This will bring up a page on
LiveSky which has a listing of web
resources with more information about the
object.
Online Info:
Objects in our solar system have a few
additional entries in their contextual menu.
New Asteroid/New Comet/New Satellite/
Add Moon Orbiting... All of these options
allow you to add a new object using the
Orbit Editor. The type of object that you
can add depends on the type of object that
you open a contextual menu for. For
example, if you open a planet’s contextual
menu, the “Add Moon Orbiting...” option
appears. See “Adding Objects 1
(Individual Solar System Objects)” on
page 162 for more information on adding
objects with the Orbit Editor.
Edit Surface Image Model: An option only
for solar system bodies with surface
images, this allows you to modify the
surface image or replace the image
entirely. See “Modifying Images and
Models” on page 175 for more
information.
Mark On Surface: Places a marker or flag
on a planet or moon’s surface. Works on
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rocky solar system bodies where surface
data is available. This is handy if you want
to mark all the lunar landing sites on the
Moon or the rover sites on Mars for
example.See “Location Markers” on
page 93 for more information.
Markers and Outlines...: Opens the
Markers and Outlines dialog box. The
Markers tab contains options that allow
you to search for geological features on
the surface of a planet or moon and mark
their location with a flag. The Outlines tab
allows you to draw a contoured ouline
around selected surface features. See
“Location Markers and Surface Feature
Outlines” on page 47 for more
information.
small to see phase information when you
are viewing at a large field of view.
Halo Effects: The Sun’s halo is an
atmospheric effect that occurs when the
Sun’s light is scattered by our atmosphere.
You can turn the sun halo on all the time,
off all the time, or on in daylight only. You
can also simulate lens flare. If you’re
viewing a total eclipse of the Sun, you will
probably wish to leave the Sun’s halo on,
as this halo also serves as the Sun’s
corona.
Tip: To remove the Lens Flare from the
Sun, open the Sun’s contextual menu,
select Halo Effects and uncheck Lens
Flare.
Orbit: Draws the orbital line of the object.
See “Orbits” on page 110 for more
information on solar system orbits.
Edit Orbital Elements: An
option only for
objects that you have added with the Orbit
Editor, this allows you to edit the object’s
orbital elements. See “Adding Objects 1
(Individual Solar System Objects)” on
page 162 for more information on orbital
elements and the Orbit Editor.
Delete: An option only for objects that you
have added with the Orbit Editor, this
allows you to delete the object entirely
from Starry Night’s database.
Enlarge Moon Size: By default, the Moon’s
size is enlarged when you are viewing at a
large field of view, so that you are able to
easily see the Moon’s phase (the Moon is
drawn at its correct size when you are
zoomed in for a close-up view). By
unchecking this option in the Moon’s
contextual menu, the Moon will always be
drawn at its correct size, but it will be too
Start\Stop Graphing: This
plots the
object’s motion with Starry Night’s
graphing feature. See “Graph” on
page 123 for more information.
Generate Ephemerides: This allows you to
create a list of printable ephemeris tables
for any object in Starry Night. See
“Ephemeris Generator” on page 125 for
more information.
Add/Edit Image: This
allows you to add
an image of this object to Starry Night, or
edit the image, if the object already has an
image. See “User Images” on page 171
and “Modifying Images and Models” on
page 175 for more information.
Add To Planner: This adds the object to
your observation planner list. See
“Observation Planner” on page 120 for
more information on using the observation
planner.
Object Databases
Add Log Entry/Log Entries: Creates
a log
entry for you to add observing notes about
an object. See “Adding Log Entries” on
page 162 for more information on log
entries.
Note: If you have already added a log
entry for an object, the object’s contextual
menu will list these entries.
Graph Elongation of Moons: Only
an
option for planets with moons, this plots
the elongation of the planet’s moon(s)
using the graphing feature. See “Graph”
on page 123 for more information.
links to several Internet features which can
help you learn even more.
Note: The Info pane for an object differs
in function from the object’s contextual
menu. The Info pane provides
information, while the contextual menu
lists possible actions.
Some of the fields in the Info pane are
common for all objects, while some fields
are specific to certain object types.
• General Info
Local/Celestial Path: Turns
on the local or
celestial path of the object, which shows
how the object moves over time. See
“Local and Celestial Paths” on page 102
for more information.
Save As QuickTime VR: An option for solar
system objects. Allows you to create a 360
degree exposure of a solar system object.
Unlike exporting a 2D image, the QTVR
file is an interactive virtual reality scene.
Info Pane
You were introduced briefly to the Info
pane in “Learning More About Objects”
on page 30. Recall that you can doubleclick on any object onscreen to
automatically open the object’s Info pane.
You can also open an object’s Info pane by
typing in a search for the object in the
Find pane, then opening the object’s
contextual menu from the list of items
found. Choose Show Info from the
contextual menu to open the Info pane.
The Info pane provides a great deal of
information about any object, as well as
This button searches our
LiveSky Internet site for more
information about the object. See
“LiveSky.com Object Database” on
page 97 for more information.
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Name: The
name of the selected object.
Pronounce: Hear the correct
pronunciation of the objects name. See
“Pronunciation Guide” on page 97 for
more information.
Catalogue number: The object’s number in
the appropriate astronomical catalogue (if
applicable).
Object Type: The object’s celestial type
(star, galaxy, planet, etc.).
Bayer: For stars only, this field gives the
star’s Bayer catalogue letter, if any. The
Bayer letter is from the Greek alphabet.
The brightest star in a given constellation
is usually named Alpha (the first letter in
the Greek alphabet), the second brightest
is named Beta, and so on. Only relatively
bright stars have Bayer letters.
Extended Info: Takes
you to LiveSky and
provides a list of web resources containing
more information about this object.
Rise/Transit/Set: The
time at which the
object rises above the horizon, transits,
and sets below the horizon, as viewed on
the date and from the location of the active
Starry Night window. An object’s transit
time is the time at which it is highest in the
sky. At its transit time, an object will be
due south in the sky (if you are viewing
from the Northern Hemisphere), or due
north (if you are viewing from the
Southern Hemisphere).
Tip: Clicking on the rise/set/transit
buttons will change the time in Starry
Night to reflect the rise/set/transit times
for the object.
• Description
Flamsteed/Other: For stars only, this gives
the star’s Flamsteed number, if any. The
Flamsteed system orders stars not by
brightness, but by their position relative to
the western boundary of the constellation
they are in. The star closest to the western
edge is labelled 1. Only relatively bright
stars have Flamsteed numbers.
HIP Number/TYC Number: The
HIPPARCOS and Tycho project was a
study done by the European Space Agency
to determine the distances to nearby stars.
The Tycho-2 catalogue included about two
million stars and the HIPPARCOS
catalogue about 100 000. For stars only,
these fields give the catalogue numbers of
the star in question. Not every star has a
HIPPARCOS catalogue number.
More Options: Clicking this button will
bring up the objects contextual menu of
options.
A text description of the object. All wellknown objects will have unique text
descriptions, with historical information,
observing tips, and other cool facts about
the object. For non-descript objects such
as dim stars, the description will be a
generic description for the object type (i.e.
red giant star).
Object Databases
Tip: You can also open the text
description for any object by clicking
the icon that appears to the right of an
object’s name in the list of items found in
the Find pane.
Logs: Lists
all log entries (if any) that you
have created for this object. See “Adding
Log Entries” on page 162 for more
information on log entries.
Export: Creates
a text file with all the
information generated in the Info pane.
• Position in Sky
• Position in Space
This section has information on the
object’s 3-D position in space, if known.
Distance from observer: The object’s
distance from your current location.
Note: the distances to stars are only given
for those stars in the HIPPARCOS
catalogue. The distances to stars are
known only approximately and should be
treated with some caution. The closer a
star is, the more accurate its distance
measurement is likely to be. The distances
to stars within a few hundred light years
are relatively accurate, but distances are
much less accurate for stars farther away
than this.
Distance from Sun:
The object’s distance
from the Sun.
Proper Motion RA/Dec: Stars
This section lists the constellation that the
object is currently in, and the object’s
positional co-ordinates in many different
co-ordinate systems. The meanings of
each of these co-ordinates are described in
“Guides 1 (Co-ordinate Systems)” on
page 55.
are not fixed
in space, and most are in fact moving quite
rapidly. Because of their great distance
from us, however, their positions appear
constant. Only on a timescale of hundreds
or even thousands of years can we actually
see the shifting positions. These fields (for
stars only) describe how much the star’s
equatorial co-ordinates are shifting each
year due to the star’s motion.
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• Other Data
The fields that appear in this category
depend greatly on the database that the
object is from. Different databases will
have different information fields.
Star Information Fields: For stars, the
following fields are present:
Contemporary astronomers have refined
Hipparchus’ system, so that the system
now includes larger numbers for dimmer
stars, and negative numbers for very bright
objects. The faintest stars that can be seen
by the Hubble Space Telescope are in the
26 to 28th magnitude range — very dim
stars indeed!
Note: Many newcomers to astronomy get
confused by the fact that the greater an
object’s magnitude, the dimmer it is. An
object with magnitude -5 is much brighter
than an object with magnitude 0, which in
turn is much brighter than an object with
magnitude 5.
Variability: This
indicates whether a star’s
apparent magnitude (and, therefore, its
brightness) varies with time, and by how
much.
Radius: This measures the star’s radius, in
terms of the Sun’s radius. Red giant stars
can be hundreds of times larger than the
Sun.
Double/Multiple: This
field indicates
whether a star is part of a multiple star
system. About half of the stars in the sky
are part of a multiple star system.
Magnitude: This
shows a star’s apparent
a value which measures its
brightness in the sky. The idea for
assigning magnitudes originated with
Greek astronomer Hipparchus (190-120
BC). He catalogued all the visible stars he
could see and assigned them magnitudes
from 1 to 6, the brightest stars having a
value of 1.
magnitude,
The Sun has a magnitude of about -28,
while the brightest star in the night sky is
the dog star Sirius, which has a magnitude
of -1.47. The magnitudes of the planets
change, depending on how close they are
to Earth, but Venus, Mars and Jupiter can
all have lower magnitudes than Sirius. At
the other extreme, Pluto has a magnitude
of about 14, far too dim to be seen with the
naked eye, and even most small
telescopes.
The magnitude we
normally use when talking about objects is
the apparent magnitude, which compares
how bright they are as seen from Earth.
But this doesn’t tell us much about the
intrinsic brightness of an object, because
the bodies we see in the sky are spread out
over a wide range of distances. The Sun
produces the same amount of light as the
average star in the sky, but it is far, far
brighter than anything else simply because
it is so close to us. Absolute magnitude
tells us how bright objects would appear if
they were all at the same distance (the
Absolute Magnitude:
Object Databases
distance we use is arbitrary, but has been
chosen to be 10 parsecs). As with apparent
magnitude, a lower absolute magnitude
means a brighter body.
Spectral Class: Spectral
classes are groups
of stars that have similar characteristic
emission lines in their spectra.
Temperature: This
is the star’s surface
temperature, given in degrees Kelvin (to
get a star’s temperature in Celsius, just
subtract 273 from its temperature in
Kelvins). The Sun has a temperature of
about 5700 K.
B-V Colour: This
is a way of measuring a
star’s colour. An average star has a B-V
value of around 0. If a star has a negative
B-V value it is on the bluish side of the
spectrum. If it has a positive B-V value it
is on the reddish side of the spectrum. The
more negative or positive a star’s B-V, the
more blue or red it will appear. A star’s
colour is directly related to its
temperature: blue stars are hotter and red
stars are cooler.
Luminosity: Luminosity measures the total
light and energy output of a star. It is
different from apparent magnitude,
because it measures not only visible light,
but also the energy released as infra-red
waves, X-rays, and radio waves.
Extrasolar planet information fields:
If you use the
Options pane
to turn on
markers for
stars with
extrasolar planets, the Info pane for stars
with extrasolar planets will have
additional information fields. This
information will also appear in the HeadsUp Display (HUD) when you point the
cursor at a star with an extrasolar planet.
Extrasolar mass: The
mass of the
extrasolar planet, in relation to the mass of
Jupiter.
Extrasolar semi-major axis: A measure of
the planet’s distance from its central star,
in astronomical units (AU). 1 AU is the
average distance between Earth and the
Sun.
Extrasolar period: The time needed for the
planet to make 1 complete revolution
around its central star.
Extrasolar eccentricity: A
measure of the
shape of the extrasolar planet’s orbit. The
larger a planet’s eccentricity, the more that
its distance from its parent star (and also
its surface temperature) will vary
throughout its orbit.
Extrasolar inclination: The
tilt of the
planet’s orbit, relative to our viewing
position on Earth.
Note: This is a different definition of
inclination than is used for objects within
our solar system (e.g. comets, asteroids,
satellites, moons) because the tilt is
measured relative to our viewing position,
not to the central body’s equator. See
“Orbital Elements” on page 163 for the
definition of inclination for objects within
our solar system.
Extrasolar radius: The
extrasolar planet.
radius of the
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Solar System Object Information Fields:
For objects within our solar system, the
following information fields are present:
words, how much it deviates from a
perfect sphere. A perfect sphere would
have an oblateness of 0. The larger an
object’s oblateness, the more “squished” it
is.
Mass: The
object’s mass (if known).
Max. Mag. From Earth: The apparent
brightness of planets and other objects in
the solar system changes as the object
moves in its orbit, due to the object’s
changing distance from Earth and the
object’s disc illumination. This field gives
the apparent magnitude of the object when
it is at its brightest.
Radius:
The object’s radius (if known).
The object’s
a measure of its
brightness in the sky. See “Magnitude” on
page 94 for more information on apparent
magnitude.
Apparent magnitude:
apparent magnitude,
Age: Only
an option for the Moon, this
gives the Moon’s current phase, and the
number of days that have passed since the
Moon was last new.
Orbit Size: The
radius of the orbit that the
object makes around its parent body.
Angular Size: This
measures the angular
width of the object (the field of view that it
occupies in the sky).
Disc Illumination: This shows how much
of a planet’s face is illuminated by sunlight
(the rest is in shadow), as seen from your
current position. For example, when the
Moon is half full, its disc illumination is
about 50%.
Planet oblateness: This
measures how
much an object is “squished”, in other
Length of Sidereal/Solar Day: An
object’s
the time that it takes to
rotate once, relative to the fixed stars. An
object’s solar day is the time that it takes to
rotate once, relative to the Sun. This is also
the average time between sunrises on the
planet’s surface. These two time periods
differ by a large amount only when the
length of a planet’s sidereal day is a
significant fraction of the length of the
planet’s year. On Earth, the time periods
are almost identical, with the 24 hour solar
day being only four mintes longer than the
sidereal day.
sidereal day is
Length of Year: For objects that orbit the
Sun, a year is the amount of time that it
takes for the object to complete one full
orbit.
Other Object Information Fields:
The information fields for objects other
than stars and solar system objects will
vary. Often the only pieces of information
are the object’s magnitude and angular
size.
Object Databases
Pronunciation Guide
LiveSky.com Object Database
Some astronomical names can be a little
difficult to pronounce. For example, the
constellation Boötes is pronounced “booOH-tees” not “Boots” or “Booties”. In
some cases careful pronunciation may be
necessary to avoid embarrassment as in
the case of Uranus, which is pronounced
“Yoor-a-nus”, not “Your-anus”.
In “LiveSky Pane” on page 72, you
learned how to use Starry Night’s LiveSky
pane to access live, up-to-the-minute
images of celestial phenomena. You can
also use LiveSky to locate information on
the Internet for any object.
The pronunciation guide in Starry Night
will help you learn how to correctly
pronounce the names of hundreds of
celestial objects from different categories
such as stars, constellations and planets.
To listen to the proper pronunciation of an
object's name, right click (Ctrl-click on
the Mac) and select Pronounce from the
objects contextual menu. The Pronounce
menu item will only be visible if a
pronunciation file for the selected object
exists in Starry Night. An objects name
can also be pronounced in the "General
Layer" of the Info pane by selecting Show
Info from the objects contextual menu.
The Starry Night pronunciation guide is a
handy reference to help you win some
friendly arguments at your next
astronomical gathering.
Note: The correct pronunciation of names
(even those with historical and
mythological roots) can always be
debatable.
You can access the
LiveSky database for any
object in Starry Night by clicking the
LiveSky.com button in the object’s Info
pane. This will bring up a page on LiveSky
which has a listing of web resources with
more information about the object. It will
also give you the option of searching other
sites on the Internet, both general-purpose
search engines and astronomy-specific
pages, for information on your object.
Example: Finding Web Pages for the
Moon
1 Open the Find pane and type in
“moon”, then double-click on the Moon’s
name to centre on the Moon.
2 Open the Info pane.
3 Click the LiveSky.com button from the
Info pane. At this point your web browser
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should go to our LiveSky database and
open a page with several links to websites
with more information about the Moon.
Click on any of these links to read
interesting facts and trivia about the Moon,
and to see lots of pictures and figures.
Some of the links in our LiveSky database
will appear for all objects (these may be
changed if better sources become
available). These links are described
below.
Digitized Sky Survey: The
Digitized Sky
Survey (DSS) is a collection of images
obtained with two Schmidt telescopes and
converted into digital format by the Space
Telescope Science Institute. The digitized
data allows the user to generate an image
of any area in the sky. Clicking this link on
our webpage will automatically generate a
DSS image of the object you originally
clicked on in Starry Night. See
“Downloading Photographic Images” on
page 77 for more information on the
Digitized Sky Survey.
HEASARC Astrobrowse: Clicking
this link
will search dozens of astronomy databases
for information on your object. A new
window will open with each database
being searched listed on the left side.
When the search for that database has been
completed, a green “happy-face” icon will
appear beside the name of the database.
You can then click the name of the
database to retrieve the information.
Tip: It is also possible to visit the “front
page” of LiveSky by opening a web
browser and directing it to
www.livesky.com. This page has listings
and brief descriptions of
astronomy-related websites, sorted into
different categories, much like the site
Yahoo!, but devoted exclusively to
astronomy.
Chapter 6
Bending Space & Time
This chapter will show you how to take full
advantage of Starry Night’s planetarium
capabilities. You will learn how to start, stop,
speed up and slow down the flow of time, and
change your location to view from anywhere on
or off the surface of Earth - you’ll even fly a
spaceship! Several examples will help you master
the control of time & space in Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus.
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Time Flow
By default, time in Starry Night advances
at the same rate as real time. If you run
Starry Night for one hour, the time
onscreen will also advance by one hour.
As the time in Starry Night changes, the
screen continuously updates to reflect the
changing sky.
Note: This means that the rate of time flow
is the same as real time, but the time itself
may not be the same. For example, let’s
say you open Starry Night at 8 p.m. You
then change the time onscreen to 1 p.m.
and run the program for one hour. At the
end of the hour, the actual time will be 9
p.m, but the time that Starry Night shows
will be 2 p.m.
Changing Time Flow Rate: One of
the nice
things about Starry Night is that you can
change the rate at which time flows. Just
like nature programs use time-lapse
photography to show processes which take
place too slow to see in real time, you can
speed up or slow down time to get the best
possible views of an astronomical event.
The rate of time flow is
shown immediately to
the right of the date and
time in the toolbar.
Clicking the arrow opens
a pull-down menu that
displays a list of possible
time steps. The steps fall
into two categories:
multiples of real time,
and discrete time steps.
Time steps that are
multiples of real time
(i.e. 30x) simply
advance the time in Starry Night at a rate
equal to a multiple of the real rate of time
flow. For example, a time step of 30x
would cause the time in Starry Night Pro
to advance at 30 times the real rate of time
flow. Obviously, the larger the multiple,
the faster time would advance onscreen.
Discrete time steps update the time by a
specific increment. For example, a time
step of 3 minutes means that every time
the screen updates, the time in Starry
Night is advanced by 3 minutes. Discrete
time steps are often useful when
simulating astronomical events. For
example, assume you wanted to see how
Jupiter’s position in the sky changes over
the next few months. You could set the
time to sometime in the evening (for
example, 9 p.m.) and then set the time step
to 1 day. Starry Night would run time
forward, showing the sky at 9 p.m. each
night. If you had chosen a multiple of real
time instead of a discrete time step, you
would see an alternating cycle of day and
night, instead of seeing the sky at the same
time each night.
A few of the discrete time steps listed in
the pull-down menu may be unfamiliar to
you:
Sidereal day: This is the time it takes for
the Earth to rotate once on its axis. It is
four minutes shorter than the day we are
familiar with, which is called the solar day.
The days are not exactly the same length
due to the revolution of Earth around the
Sun.
Sidereal month: This is the time it takes
for the Moon to rotate once around Earth,
approximately 27.3 days. This is shorter
than the month we are familiar with (the
Bending Space & Time
lunar month), again due to the revolution
of Earth around the Sun.
Lunar month: This
is the time interval
between two full moons, as seen on Earth.
It is about 29 1/2 days.
Customizing Time Steps:
You are not limited to
the choice of time steps
that appear in the time
step pull-down menu. If
you click on the
numerical part of the current time step, it
will light up and you can type in a
numerical value. This will let you change
the time step from 1 day to 7 days, for
example.
In Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus, you can
also create entirely new discrete time
steps. To do this, choose Edit from the
bottom of the time flow pull-down menu.
This opens a new dialog box, which lists
the existing time steps and their values.
Double-click on any of the existing time
steps to change their values, or click the
“+” sign in the bottom left corner of this
dialog box to define a new time step. For
example, you could create a “Martian
day”, the average time between sunrise
and sunset as seen from Mars!
Time Flow Modes
In the above section, you learned how to
change the rate of time flow, but not the
mode of time flow. Time simply flowed
forward continuously, advancing every
time the screen updated. This is known as
the “Forward” mode and is one of 5
different time flow modes in Starry Night.
You change the time mode using the VCRlike controls in the toolbar.
Single Step Backward: Moves
the
time backwards by one time step and
then freezes time.
Backward: Runs time backwards
continuously. Each time the screen is
updated, the time moves backward one
time step.
Stop: Freezes time at the current
value.
Forward (Play): Runs
time forward
continuously. Each time the screen is
updated, time moves forward one time
step. This is the default time flow mode.
Single Step Forward: Moves the time
forward by one time step and then
freezes time.
Tip: If you want to view the sky at a
precise time, first press the “Stop” button,
and then type in the viewing time. If you
type in the viewing time first, the time
shown onscreen may update before you
can press the “Stop” button.
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Specifying Frame Rate: By default, when
the time mode is Forward or Backward,
the screen is updated continuously. The
number of updates performed per second
will depend on the speed of your processor
and graphics card. You can also specify the
number of updates per second. To do this,
choose Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh) and
choose Responsiveness from the dropbox
in the upper left corner of the Preferences
dialog box.
The “Requested Frame Rate” slider and
textbox allows you to set the frame rate,
which is the number of times Starry Night
will update per second. If you run Starry
Night on more than one computer, the
advantage of specifying a requested frame
rate is that any simulations you create
using Starry Night will run at the same
speed on both computers.
Local and Celestial Paths
Objects in our solar system move over
time, relative to the background stars and
galaxies. Several options in Starry Night
allow you to display this motion. Rightclick (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on any
object in the solar system to open the
object’s contextual menu. You will see
options named “Local Path” and “Celestial
Path”. Selecting one of these options
begins to plot the appropriate path for the
object in question. As time advances, this
path will grow. You can turn off the path
by opening the object’s contextual menu
and selecting the path option again.
Note: A path is the trail an object makes
over a period of time. Therefore, if time is
stopped in Starry Night, a path cannot be
displayed.
Local Path: A local path is the apparent
trail an object would make over time, as
seen from your location. The local path of
an object incorporates the object’s actual
motion and the effects of Earth’s rotation
(assuming you are located on Earth).
Celestial Path: A
celestial path is the
apparent path an object makes on the
celestial sphere — the trail an object
leaves over time, in relation to the fixed
stars. The celestial path incorporates only
the object’s actual motion and ignores the
effects of Earth’s rotation.
Note: There is no local or celestial path
for an object that you are located on, since
that object doesn’t move in relation to you.
Path Options: By choosing
Options->Path Options from the main
menu, you can customize the way Starry
Night displays local and celestial paths.
Bending Space & Time
Path Length: As Starry Night draws the
local or celestial path for an object, and
time runs forward, eventually Starry Night
starts to erase the oldest parts of the path
(if it did not do this, the entire screen
would eventually be covered with path
lines!). The “path length” slider lets you
control how long time runs forward before
Starry Night begins erasing the oldest part
of the path.
Other Path Options: You can choose
whether paths are marked with discrete
circular dots, connecting lines, or both.
You can choose how often the path should
be marked. You can also choose to show
date markers for each dot on the path.
Finally, you can set the colour for the path
lines.
Example: The Retrograde Motion of
Mars
In this example we’ll display the celestial
path of Mars over a few months as seen
from Earth. This path is famous because
Mars appears to move backward partway
through its cycle, a phenomenon known as
retrograde motion. This exercise will also
give you practice in switching time modes.
1 Open the Options pane, expand the
“Local View” layer, and uncheck the “Local
Horizon” and “Daylight” options.
2 Open the Find pane, type in a search
for Mars, and double-click on the entry for
Mars in the list of items found. This will
centre on Mars.
3 Press the “Stop” button in the time
mode controls in the toolbar.
4 Point the cursor at Mars, and right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) to open the
contextual menu for Mars. Select
Celestial Path from this menu.
5 In the time mode controls, set the time
step to a discrete step of 3 days.
6 Press the “Forward” button in the time
mode controls.
Mars should now begin to move against
the background stars. Partway through its
motion, it will slow down, appear to pause,
and briefly reverse direction, making a
short loop before starting to move again in
the direction of its original motion.
Changing Your Viewing Location
For every different location on earth, the
night sky reveals a unique face.
Australians never lay eyes on the North
Star, while stargazers in the northern
latitudes find the nearby galaxies known
as the Magellanic Clouds forever hidden
from view. Our place on Earth determines
when the sun rises and sets, where and
when the planets sweep across the sky, and
what constellations we can see. Or at least
it used to. With Starry Night, you can
travel around the Earth, the solar system,
and even out to the stars!
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The toolbar
displays
your current
viewing
location. To change this location in Starry
Night Pro and Pro Plus, click on it to open
a pull-down menu. Select the option
Other... from the menu. In Starry Night
Enthusiast choose Options->Viewing
Location from the main menu. This opens
the Viewing Location dialog box, which
looks similar to the window where you
entered your home location the first time
that you used Starry Night. The difference
this time is that you are just setting your
current viewing location, not your
permanent home location. The three tabs
offer different ways of choosing a new
location.
Latitude/Longitude: Manually
type in the
latitude, longitude and time zone of your
new location.Click the
Lookup Lat/Long On Internet button if
you don’t know the latitude and longitude
of your desired location.
If you have a
favourite observing location(s) that you
will be using frequently in Starry Night
(but is not your home location), and it is
not in the Viewing Location dialog box’s
list of cities, you can add it to the list. To
do this, click the Latitude/Longitude tab of
the Viewing Location dialog box, enter the
viewing co-ordinates, then press the Add
Location to List button, which will
prompt you to enter the city and country
names for the new location.
Adding/deleting locations:
Tip: You can also open the Viewing
Location dialog box by choosing
Options->Viewing Location from the
main menu.
Click on a location from the large list
of cities, then press Set Location.
List:
Map: Click
anywhere on the world map to
make this area your new viewing location.
To view from this location in the future,
just click on the List tab of the Viewing
Location dialog box, and select your
location from the list of cities. To delete a
location from this list, just click on the city
name, then press the Delete key
(Windows) or the Backspace key
(Macintosh).
Animating Location Changes: By default,
when you change your viewing location,
Starry Night will simulate a flight that
blasts you off from your current location,
and sets you down at your new location.
You can turn this feature off by choosing
Bending Space & Time
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), selecting Responsiveness
from the dropbox in this dialog box, and
unchecking the option “Animate changes
in location”. You can also change the
speed of animated location changes by
adjusting this slider. Finally, you can
choose to animate only location changes
where you move between planets. The
next section describes how to change your
viewing location to another planet.
Viewing From Other Planets: To
view
from another planet or moon, open the
Viewing Location window and click the
List tab. Near the top of this window is a
dropbox that reads “Earth”. You can open
this dropbox and select any of the other
celestial bodies in this list.
Latitude/Longitude tab will allow you to
type in a new latitude and longitude on the
surface of Mars.
Click Set Location when you are finished
selecting your new location. Starry Night
will fly you off the surface of Earth, travel
through the solar system, and set you
down gently on the surface of your chosen
planet.
Tip: The list of locations for the Moon
includes not only craters and other
prominent gelogical features, but also the
sites of all the Apollo landings!
Viewing From Stars or Galaxies: You
can
also view the sky from nearby stars with
Starry Night, but you can’t do this from
the Viewing Location window. See “Go
There” on page 88 for information on
visiting other stars and galaxies.
Returning Home: To return to your home
location at any time, press the “Home”
button on the tool bar, or choose Options
from the main menu and click on the name
of your home city in this menu.
Once you have selected a new body (for
example, Mars), the three tabs in the
Viewing Location window behave the
same as before, but in relation to your new
body. The List tab will have a list of
craters, volcanoes and other prominent
features on Mars, the Map tab will show a
surface map of Mars, and the
You will see
two options:
one with
“Reset” in the name, and one without.
Choosing the “Reset” option will also
restore all settings to their default values,
while choosing the other option will return
you to your home location but leave all
other settings unchanged.
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Changing Elevation
All of the options described in the last
section leave you on the surface of a
planet. You may also want to place
yourself at some distance above a planet’s
surface. You can change your elevation
above a planet’s surface in Starry Night
with the elevation buttons in the toolbar,
immediately to the left of your location
information.
This button decreases your elevation.
This button increases your elevation.
As you change
elevation, the
location
information in
the toolbar will update to show how high
above the planet’s surface you are.
Test out the Elevation buttons by shifting
your gaze down so that you are looking at
the horizon, and then pressing the Increase
Elevation button repeatedly to rise off
Earth. You will see the horizon drop away
beneath you and the planet’s outline will
begin to appear as you get high enough
above the surface. Your changing
elevation will be shown in the toolbar. To
return to and “land” at your original
location, hold down the Decrease
Elevation button.
You can use the Elevation buttons while
located on any object (the Sun, planets,
moons, etc.), thereby achieving some
extraordinary views of the solar system.
Note: When you change elevation, you are
still attached to your original location on
the planet’s surface by a long, invisible
pole. Over time, as Earth (or whichever
planet you are over) rotates, you also
rotate in space. You can tell that you are
rotating due to the apparent motion of the
sky and stars.
See
“Position Hovering Over” on page 108 to
learn how to hover over a planet, instead
of rotating with it.
Changing the Elevation Step: You
can
change the rate at which Starry Night
increases and decreases your elevation
when you use the Elevation buttons.
Choose Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and choose Responsiveness
from the dropbox in the upper left corner
of the Preferences dialog box. The
“Elevation Step” slider controls the
sensitivity of the Elevation buttons. By
moving this slider farther to the right, you
can change your elevation at a faster rate,
because each elevation step will be larger.
Preset Elevations: In Starry Night Pro and
Pro Plus, if you click on your location in
the toolbar, the pull-down menu opens.
This menu has several automatic elevation
options (“distance from surface”), specific
to the planet or moon that you are located
on. Selecting any of these options places
you at the new elevation.
Location Scroller: The Location
Scroller offers another way of
changing your location. Your cursor icon
will automatically change to the Location
Scroller once you are elevated high over
an object.
Bending Space & Time
See “Tool Selection Control” on page 30
for more information on choosing tools in
Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus.
Tip: Hold down the SHIFT key on the
keyboard to change to the Location
Scroller tool.
If you are using the Location Scroller tool
and you click and drag the cursor, your
latitude or longitude will change, instead
of your viewing direction. Dragging up or
down adjusts your latitude, while dragging
left or right adjusts your longitude.
Recall that when you use the Elevation
buttons to blast off a planet’s surface, you
are still attached to the planet by an
invisible pole. Imagine that this pole
originates at the planet’s centre. Using the
Location Scroller to change your location
is like changing the direction of this pole,
so that it now protrudes from the planet’s
surface in a different spot. You are still at
the same elevation, but looking down on a
different part of the planet’s surface. The
planet appears to turn beneath you. This
allows you to achieve fantastic views of
the planets and solar system. For instance,
you can hover a few thousand miles off the
surface of Saturn, then use the Location
Scroller tool to turn the planet and view
the rings from every angle. The Location
Scroller can help you gain a real sense of
the three-dimensional relationships
between the objects in our solar system.
Example: Viewing The Surface of
Earth
1 Use the Increase Elevation button to
blast off Earth’s surface until the entire
globe can be seen onscreen (an elevation
of between 6000 and 10 000 km).
2 Right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on
Earth and choose Centre from the
contextual menu that pops up.
3 Click and drag the cursor from the
centre of the screen to the left side. This
will move you eastward across Earth’s
surface.
4 Continue clicking and dragging the
cursor from the centre of the screen to the
left side. Eventually you will pass over the
entire surface of the planet. You can see
which parts of Earth are in sunlight, and
which parts are in shadow.
5 Now click and drag the cursor from the
centre of the screen to the top of the
screen. This will move you southward
across Earth’s surface, eventually allowing
you to see Antarctica. You can also click
and drag the cursor from the centre of the
screen to the bottom to eventually see the
Arctic.
6 Return home by presssing the Home
button on the tool bar, opening the
Options menu and clicking on the name of
your home city.
Location Mode
So far, you have learned how to view from
anywhere on a planet’s surface, and how to
view from any height above a planet’s
surface. In these situations, you are “tied”
to the planet, rotating in space as the planet
does. Starry Night also offers several
location modes where you are not tied to a
planet’s rotation. You can access these
modes by opening the Viewing Location
dialog box. The “View From” dropbox in
the top left corner of this dialog box offers
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five options. The first is the familiar
“Surface Of” option. The other four
options are described below. These options
are quite specialized and you may not ever
need to use them.
The Centre Of: This
puts you at the centre
of the planet or moon in question. It is
handy when you want to watch the motion
of a celestial object while ignoring the
rotation of the planet you are based on. For
example, assume you want to see how a
comet will move relative to the fixed stars
over a night. Placing yourself at Earth’s
centre allows you to watch the comet’s
actual motion and ignore the effects of
Earth’s rotation during the night.
Position Hovering Over: If
you are
positioned at a high enough elevation
above a planet’s surface, you can “hover”
at that location. Hovering allows you to
stay at a constant position above any
object and, as time passes, watch as it
rotates beneath your feet.
Note: Hovering is only useful if you are
relatively high above a planet’s surface.
Therefore, if you select “Position
Hovering Over” when you are on the
surface of a planet or at a low elevation,
Starry Night will automatically increase
your elevation to a height that is suitable
for hovering. This height will vary
depending on the size of the planet. For
moons and small planets, you can hover at
a lower elevation than you can for large
planets such as Saturn and Jupiter.
Position Moving With: This option allows
you to travel together with a planet as it
moves through its orbit, but at a fixed
distance from the planet (this fixed
distance is your elevation). The “Position
Moving With” option differs from
“Position Hovering Over” because it
always keeps you in the same orientation
with respect to Earth and the Sun, whereas
“Position Hovering Over” keeps you in the
same orientation with respect to the
background stars. Assume you choose
“Position Hovering Over” and set yourself
high above Earth looking at the bright
(sunlit) side of Earth. If you play time
forward for six months, you will end up
viewing the dark side of Earth, because
Earth has moved 180° around the Sun, but
you are still facing in the same direction,
relative to the background stars. If you
instead set your location choosing
“Position Moving With” and select the
“Beside (Sun Side)” option, you will
always view the bright side of Earth, no
matter how long you play time forward.
Stationary Location: This
option places
you at a fixed location in space, relative to
the Sun. Stationary locations can be
entered as heliocentric ecliptic Cartesian
co-ordinates or heliocentric ecliptic
spherical co-ordinates. For Cartesian
co-ordinates, the position on the ecliptic
Bending Space & Time
plane is given by X and Y coordinates.
The Z coordinate takes the location out of
the plane of the ecliptic. For spherical
co-ordinates, “radius” is the distance from
the Sun’s centre, “theta” is the position
angle from the ecliptic plane, and “phi” is
the position angle along the ecliptic plane.
Heliocentric means that the Sun is the
centre of the coordinate system, so the
point (0,0,0) is at the centre of the Sun,
using either Cartesian or spherical
co-ordinates.
Note: When you switch from a location on
Earth to a stationary location, the initial
co-ordinates listed are the current
heliocentric co-ordinates of your current
Earth location. If you select these
co-ordinates and advance time forward,
you’ll quickly be left behind as Earth
continues on in its orbit, while you remain
at the same position in space.
Planet Fly-bys: There are times when you
may want to watch a celestial event from a
fixed point in space. Using the elevation
controls, rise above a planet and then
switch to a fixed heliocentric location.
Increase the rate at which time flows and
you can watch a planet fly past in its orbit.
If you have elevated from the planet’s
surface in the direction that it is traveling,
you pass directly through the planet as it
moves forward in its orbit!
Tip: Noon or midnight is a good time to try
fly-bys, since you are lifting off in a
direction that is perpendicular to the
direction of the planet’s orbit.
Orientation
Now that you know
how to change your
viewing location, there
may be times when you
also wish to change
your orientation. Orientation refers to the
way you align yourself - which direction is
“up” and which direction is “down”. When
referring to a computer program, the
question becomes which direction in space
points to the top of the screen, and which
direction points to the bottom.
You can change your orientation in Starry
Night by choosing Options->Orientation
from the menu. The most familiar and
intuitive orientation is the local
orientation, which Starry Night uses by
default. Local orientation orients you
relative to the horizon, with the point
directly above you in the sky at the top of
the screen, and the point directly beneath
your feet at the bottom.
Now, imagine you are on the space shuttle.
Because you are floating freely in space,
your orientation is no longer obvious —
the points directly above and below you
are not fixed. You could mimic the local
orientation by pointing your feet at your
backyard on Earth, but you could just as
easily align yourself with the axis of
Earth’s rotation. Starry Night refers to that
alignment as the equatorial orientation.
In local orientation, Starry Night keeps
your feet pointed directly toward the
center of the Earth. In the equatorial
orientation, Starry Night keeps the North
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Celestial Pole directly overhead and the
South Celestial pole beneath your feet.
If you set your orientation to ecliptic,
Starry Night gives you a view as though
you were standing on the ecliptic plane, on
which all of the planets in our solar system
revolve. If you choose a galactic
orientation, your view of the sky is the one
you would see if you were standing on the
same plane as our galaxy, the Milky Way.
A supergalactic orientation aligns you with
the plane of the band of nearby galaxies
that surrounds the Milky Way.
In all orientation options except for local,
the horizon is automatically turned off.
Tip: There may be times when you want to
use a non-local orientation even though
your location is on Earth’s surface. Most
star charts that you will find in astronomy
books use an equatorial orientation. You
could switch to an equatorial orientation
in Starry Night to match your onscreen
view to these charts.
Orbits
For any body in the solar system, Starry
Night allows you to draw the orbit of this
body onscreen. This is of limited value
when your location is on the surface of
Earth. However, now that you know how
to change location, the ability to show
planet orbits can come in very handy.
Object orbits are most useful when you are
at an elevation high above the north pole
of the parent body of the orbiting object.
For example, to view the orbits of the
planets, an ideal viewing location would
be at an elevation high above the north
pole of the Sun. To view the orbit of the
Moon or the orbits of artificial satellites,
an ideal viewing location is high above
Earth’s north pole.
To display the
orbit of any object
in our solar
system, open the
Find pane, and
clear the text box.
This will display
the list of solar
system objects. The Orbit column is the
first column to the right of the object
name. Checking this box for a particular
object turns on the orbit for this object, and
unchecking the box turns the orbit off. You
can turn on orbits for more than one object
at the same time.
Tip: You can also turn on the orbit of a
solar system body by right-clicking
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the object and
choosing Orbit from its contextual menu.
This image shows the orbit of Jupiter. Key
points in the orbit are marked with special
indicators.
Bending Space & Time
Orbit Markers: The ascending node of the
orbit — the point at which the planet
crosses up through the ecliptic plane — is
marked with a solid wedge. The
descending node of the orbit — the point
at which the planet crosses down through
the ecliptic plane — is marked with a
hollow wedge. The point at which the orbit
comes closest to the parent body — the
pericentre — is marked with a bar. You
can turn off orbit markers by choosing
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), choosing General from the
dropbox in the upper left corner of the
Preferences dialog box, and unchecking
the box marked “Show node markers on
orbit lines”.
Orbit brightness: You
can adjust the
brightness of object orbits by choosing
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), and selecting Brightness/
Contrast from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box.
This dialog box has a slider which lets you
make orbits brighter or dimmer.
Orbit Colours: You
can choose the colour
in which you want to display the orbits of
comets, asteroids, and satellites. See
“Comet, Asteroid & Satellite Display
Options” on page 49 for more information.
You cannot modify the orbit colours for
planets.
Example: Viewing The Solar System
From Above
This example combines many of the
different techniques in Starry Night for
changing your viewing location.
1 Click on your current location in the
toolbar and choose Other... to open the
Viewing Location dialog box Change text
options to . Click the List tab.
2 From the dropboxes along the top of
the dialog box, select View From “The
Surface Of” “Sun”.
3 Click the Latitude/Longitude tab and
change your latitude to 90° N. Press the
Set Location button. This will change your
location to the north pole of the Sun.
4 Use the Increase Elevation button to
increase your elevation until you are 60 AU
above the north pole of the Sun. As you
move higher, you will see several of the
“stars” in the sky move away. These “stars”
are actually planets, as you will see in a
minute.
5 Right-click on the Sun (Ctrl-click on the
Mac) and choose Centre from the contextual menu.
6 Open the Options pane and expand
the Solar System layer. Check the box for
“Planets/Moons”. Click on the words “Planets/Moons” to open the
Planets/Moons Options dialog box. In this
dialog box, check the “Labels” box. You
should now be able to see labels for all the
planets.
7 Open the Find pane and check the
orbit column for all planets. You do not
need to turn on the orbits of moons, asteroids, or comets. You should now be able to
see a view of the entire solar system
onscreen.
8 Change your time step in the toolbar to
a discrete value of 20 days, then press the
Forward button to start time moving for-
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ward. You can see the planets moving
around the Sun.
9 The innermost planets will be too close
to the Sun to really see. Use the Decrease
Elevation button to reduce your elevation
to about 10 AU (so that the orbit of Saturn
approximately fills the screen). You can see
that the inner planets move much more
rapidly. Change the time step to a discrete
value of 3 days to slow down the motion of
the planets.
10 Press the Stop button in the time
controls to stop the motion of the planets.
Click and drag the mouse (while holding
down the Shift-key) to shift your view of
the solar system. You should be able to
adjust your view so that all of the planet
orbits (with the exception of Pluto) fall into
a straight line. You are now viewing along
the plane of the ecliptic.
Spaceship Mode
Plug-in your joystick—
or use your keyboard
controls—to fly an intergalactic spaceship
anywhere within a virtual cube of real
space objects, 700 million light-years on a
side!
Spaceship mode lets you change your
location in a completely different way than
using the Go There option. It lets you
interactively drive through the universe.
Pressing the Spaceship button lifts you
above the Earth’s surface and calls a
heads-up display similar to the ones
fighter pilots use. The area inside the blue
rectangle is called the viewport, and the
motion of the spaceship is always towards
the area of sky at the center of the viewport. To turn off spaceship mode, press
Spaceship again.
Two gauges beneath the main display measure the motion of your spaceship. The top gauge measures your
velocity or speed. In order of increasing
speed, the markers are green, yellow,
orange and red. If you are in the green
range, you are traveling beneath the speed
of light, while yellow, orange and red are
all-greater than the speed of light. Your
speed is also shown in a numerical format
beneath the two gauges. It is given in km/s
for sublight speeds or units of 'c', which is
the speed of light. Values greater than 1c
are greater than the speed of light. The
lower gauge indicates how fast you are
accelerating or decelerating (i.e. changing
your speed). If your speed is increasing,
this gauge will be green, while if your
speed is decreasing, the gauge will be red.
Speed:
Closest Object: The
position of the closest
object inside the viewport is marked by
cross-hairs on the display screen. The
name and distance to the object are shown
just to the right of the display. You may
also see a second object marked by crosshairs, which is outside the viewport. If so,
then this object is even closer than the
object marked inside the viewport. If no
second object is marked by cross-hairs,
Bending Space & Time
then the object inside the viewport is the
absolute closest object.
The numbers
along the top and left sides of the viewport
indicate your direction relative to the sun.
If you use the pitch and yaw keys so that
these numbers are both equal to 0, then
your spaceship will be travelling directly
towards the sun. If the number along the
left side is 0 but the number along the top
is 180, then you are moving directly away
from the sun.
Direction of Spaceship:
Piloting the
Spaceship: Hook
up your joystick
and give spaceship mode a try,
or you can control the spaceship
using keyboard
commands. These
keys and their functions are listed in the
legend at the top left corner of the screen.
Once you become familiar with the keys,
you can hide the legend by pressing the F1
key.
If your keyboard does not have a numeric
keypad, you can use the following alternative commands:
Yaw right: Right arrow
Pause/restart: P
Accelerate/Decelerate:
down the spaceship.
Instantly stop the spaceship. You might need to do this if you are
flying towards an interesting object and
are moving so fast that the object will disappear from view before you can slow
down using the deceleration key. If the
spaceship is already paused, pressing this
key again will unpause the spaceship.
Pause/Restart:
All of these keys change
the direction of your spaceship. Roll
rotates the spaceship, pitch shifts the
spaceship up or down, and yaw shifts the
spaceship left or right.
Roll, Pitch, Yaw:
Joystick: Lets
Spaceship tips for the rookie pilot:
1
Practice your flying skills in the
vicinity of Earth first. Once you feel
comfortable with the controls, venture
out to other space objects.
2
If you want to fly towards a specific
space object, first use the Find pane to
centre on that object. You can then turn
spaceship mode on and fly directly
towards the object.
3
Slow down! As soon as an interesting
object comes into view, begin
decelerating. Otherwise, it’ll quickly
pass you by.
4
When flying outside the Milky Way
galaxy, point your spaceship towards
Decelerate: Z
Roll right: W
Pitch up: Up arrow
Pitch down: Down arrow
Yaw left: Left arrow
you know if a joystick is
plugged in.
Accelerate: A
Roll left: Q
Speed up/slow
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areas that are densely populated. Soon
you’ll be moving through a crowded
region of space, one of the galaxy
clusters the universe seems to enjoy
building. As you move even closer,
each of these points will resolve into a
separate galaxy.
Example: Viewing the Tully Collection
1 Press the Home button.
2 Use the Increase Elevation button to
blast off until you are about 100 000 light
year from the Sun. The Milky Way galaxy
will be in view at this distance.
3 Use the Location Scroller tool (hold
down the Shift-key and drag the mouse
cursor) to rotate your view of the Milky
Way galaxy.
4 Use the Increase Elevation button to
go way out to 800 MLY from the sun. You
should see the dataset begin to collapse
into a box-like shape. This is the edge of
the Tully collection
5 Use the Location Scroller tool to rotate
your view of the Tully collection. You
should see a slice through the middle of
the box-like shape that contains very few
galaxies. This is the plane of the Milky Way,
where we have been unable to identify
many galaxies due to obscuration of the
distant galaxies by dust.
6 Press the Spaceship button and freely
navigate through the galaxies in the Tully
Collection. There are 28 000 of them to
explore!.
7 Press the Spaceship button followed
by the Home button to return to Earth.
Chapter 7
Observation Tools
This chapter covers the many observational tools
and features in Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus that
go beyond the planetarium aspects of the
program. These features are designed to help you
plan, view and log your astronomical
observations. You will learn about the following
features:
1
Event Finder.
2
Graph Tool.
3
Ephemeris Generator.
4
Observation Lists
5
Log Book.
6
Telescope Control.
7
Focuser Control.
8
Imaging Plug-in
9
Satellite Tracking.
10
Wireless Telescope Control.
11
Field of View Indicators/Equipment List.
12
Flip.
13
Printing.
14
White Sky Mode.
15
Night Vision Mode.
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Event Finder
The Event Finder is a powerful search
engine that finds astronomical events
visible tonight and far into the future. The
finder dynamically generates a listing of
moon phases, eclipses, Jupiter satellite
events, meteor showers and planetary
phenomenon such as conjunctions,
elongations and oppositions to name but a
few of the events that can be displayed. It
even creates a handy monthly calendar of
events.
You open the Event Finder by
clicking the Events side pane.
The pane is divided into three layers Events Browser, Event Info and Event
Filters.
Searching Events: The Start Date and
End Date controls in the “Events
Browser” layer allow you to enter a start
and end search date for astronomical
events. When the desired date range is
selected, press the Find Events button to
dynamically generate a list of events.
Note: By default the “Events Browser”
layer shows a list of events for one month
from the current date.
The “Show” dropbox allows you to filter
events. All Events is selected by default
and lists all events, including those not
visible from your current location. Visible
Above Horizon displays only those events
that are visible from your current location.
Visible During Darkness lists events
visible from your current location and
suppresses events that are only visible
during daylight.
Note: Creating a list of events for a long
date range requires a greater amount of
time to calculate. For faster searches limit
the date range to a few months. Knowing
what specific objects you are interested in
will also speed up searches. See “Filtering
Observation Tools
Events” on page 117 for more information
on limiting your search with event filters.
Viewing Events: If you right-click (Ctrlclick on the Mac) on any of the events in
your list, a contextual menu appears.
Choose View Event from the contextual
menu to simulate the event in Starry Night.
To place the event target in the centre of
the screen without changing the current
time choose Centre Event Target. To set
the time in Starry Night to the time of the
event choose Set to Event Time.
Each event contains the following
information fields in the “Event Info”
layer.
Event Name: The
name of the event.
Start/Finish: Lists the start and finish
times of an event in Universal Time (UT)
and Local time at the observer’s location.
Alternate View: Displays an alternate view
for an event if available.
Home View: Places you at the event time
looking in the proper direction, as seen
from your home location. If the event is
not visible at all from your location at this
time, this option is greyed out.
Printing the Events List: Pressing
the
Export button will open a dialog window
allowing you to save the list of events to a
text file. You can then open and print this
file with a standard text editing program
such as WordPad or TextEdit.
Calendar: Pressing
the Calendar button
will open a dialog window showing a
handy monthly calendar populated with
astronomical events. See “SkyCalendar”
on page 69 for more information on the
Calendar.
Filtering Events: The
“Event Filters” layer
allows you to select what class of
astronomical events to search for and
display. Use the checkbox to the left of an
event class name such as “Lunar Phases
Events” to include that class of events in
your search.
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Most of the event classes listed in the
“Event Filters” layer of the Events pane
have special options associated with them.
Clicking on the event class name in the
pane will open a dialog box with options
for that event class. For example, clicking
on the word “Lunar Phase Events” will
open a dialog box with options for
selecting the type of lunar phases to
include in your search.
Shadow transits are a favourite event
among planetary observers.
Some of the event types might not be
familiar to you.
Lunar Phase Events: New Moon is the
Moon as it appears on Earth when it is
positioned between Earth and the Sun at
the beginning of a cycle of lunar phases.
The new moon rises and sets with the Sun.
A Transit is the passage of a moon over
the face of Jupiter.
An Occultation is the disappearance eclipse - of one moon behind Jupiter.
An Eclipse occurs when a moon passes
through the shadow of Jupiter.
During First Quarter Moon and Last
Quarter Moon half of the Moon’s disc is
illuminated.
Full Moon is the Moon’s appearance from
Earth when it is positioned directly
opposite the Sun. The Moon is full two
weeks after new moon. The full moon
rises at sunset and sets at sunrise when
Earth is between the Moon and the Sun.
Jovian Moon Events: A
Shadow Transit is
the passage of the shadow of one of
Jupiter’s moons across the face of Jupiter.
Observation Tools
Lunar and Solar Eclipse Events: A
Total
Lunar Eclipse is an eclipse of the Moon
where Earth crosses between the Sun and
Moon, blocking sunlight from reaching
any of the Moon's surface. During a total
eclipse, the Moon darkens slightly and
takes on a reddish colour.
the Sun. The sky does not darken
noticeably during a partial eclipse.
A Total Solar Eclipse is an eclipse of the
Sun where the Moon completely covers
the Sun.
An Annular Solar Eclipse is an eclipse of
the Sun where the Moon passes directly in
front of the Sun, but does not completely
cover it. At the eclipse's peak, a ring of
sunlight still shines around the Moon's
edges.
A Hybrid Solar Eclipse is an eclipse that
starts as an annular solar eclipse, then
becomes a total solar eclipse and at the end
returns to an annular solar eclipse. The
total eclipse phase of a hybrid eclipse
tends to be short in duration.
Meteor Shower Events: When
A Partial Lunar Eclipse is an eclipse of
the Moon where Earth crosses between the
Sun and Moon, blocking sunlight from
reaching only part of the Moon's surface.
This part will appear darker than the rest
of the Moon.
A Penumbral Solar Eclipse is an eclipse of
the Moon where Earth crosses between the
Sun and Moon, but only partially blocks
the Sun's light. Because some light still
reaches all parts of the Moon, the Moon
does not darken noticeably during a
penumbral eclipse.
A Partial Solar Eclipse is an eclipse of the
Sun where the Moon covers only part of
the Earth’s
orbit crosses the path of debris left behind
by a comet, there is a meteor shower as the
dust particles burn up in Earth’s
atmosphere. You can select to display all
meteor showers or only the major meteor
shower that average more than 10 meteors
per hour.
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Planetary Events: A
Solar Transit is the
passage of one planet across the face of the
Sun. These rare events require the use of a
safe solar filter designed specifically for
viewing the Sun.
Sun. The outer planets cannot pass
between Earth and the Sun and therefore
cannot come to inferior conjunction. A
Superior Conjunction is the position of a
planet when it is on the far side of the Sun
(and in conjunction with the Sun).
A Quadrature occurs when the angle
between the Sun and a planet is 90 degrees
or a quarter of a circle. Eastern Quadrature
is defined when a the planet is 90 degrees
to the east of the Sun, and Western
Quadrature when a planet is 90 degrees to
the west of the Sun.
Solar Opposition is the position of a planet
when it is opposite the Sun in the sky.
Graph Tool
The Graph offers a way of examining
changes in an object’s qualities over time.
The horizontal axis of the Graph always
plots time, while the vertical axis can plot
one of several different qualities
(magnitude, altitude in sky, distance, etc.).
It is possible to plot more than one object
on the Graph at one time.
Greatest Elongation is the greatest angular
distance to the east or west of the Sun
reached by a planet, usually Mercury and
Venus. When a planet is at its eastern
elongation, it sets after the Sun and is at its
best visibility in the evening sky. When a
planet is at its western elongation, it sets
before the Sun and is at its best visibility in
the morning sky.
There are two types of Solar Conjunctions.
An Inferior Conjunction is the passage of
Mercury or Venus between Earth and the
Opening the Graph: You open the Graph
by clicking and dragging down the area on
the Starry Night window between the the
toolbar and the sky view. As you drag
down, a graph is revealed. By default, the
Moon and Sun are plotted when you open
the Graph.
Tip: You can also open/close the graph by
pressing Ctrl-G (Windows) or Cmd-G
(Macintosh).
Observation Tools
these planets come closest together in the
sky.
Altitude: This
Adding Objects to the Graph: Right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on any object and
choose Start Graphing from its
contextual menu to plot this object on the
Graph.
Changing Time On the Graph: The
horizontal axis plots time, with the current
time at the Graph’s centre. If you click in
the graph and drag an area of the Graph
onto the centre line, time in the main
Starry Night window adjusts so that this
time becomes the current time.
Graph Menu:
Right-clicking
anywhere in the Graph
opens the Graph
contextual menu.
Listed are several
preset options for
objects that you may
wish to graph (e.g.
“Inner Planets” and
several time ranges.
Also listed are the six
variables which you can plot on the
vertical axis of the graph.
Separations: This
plots the angular
separation between two objects, therefore
it is only valid when you have two objects
plotted on the graph. You could use this
feature to find planetary conjunctions, for
example. By plotting Mars and Jupiter on
the Graph, you could quickly see when
plots the height of one or
more objects in relation to the horizon, so
you can quickly see when these objects are
visible. For example, if you wanted to
view 5 planets over the course of a night,
you could plot the altitude of these planets
to see when each planet will be highest in
the sky.
Magnitude: Plots the apparent magnitude
(brightness) of an object(s) over time. For
stars and deep space objects, apparent
magnitude is approximately constant.
However, the apparent magnitude of
objects in our solar system varies
considerably, due to their changing
distance from Earth. You could plot the
magnitude of an asteroid or comet to
determine when it will be at its brightest.
Distance: Plots the object’s distance from
you current position.
Elongation: Elongation plots the apparent
separation in the sky between an object in
our solar system and its parent body. It is
similar to angular separation, except
elongation has positive and negative
values, depending on which side of the
parent body the object is on. A small
elongation value means that the object’s
apparent position in the sky is very close
to its parent body, while a large elongation
value indicates that the two objects are far
apart. Planets are best viewed when they
are at fairly large elongations. In fact, this
is the only time when Mercury can be
viewed. You could also use elongation to
find the apparent position of a planet’s
moons.
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Tip: You can automatically graph the
elongation of a planet’s moons, by
choosing Graph Elongation Of Moons
from the planet’s contextual menu.
easier to find the best time to view an
object. You can also choose to turn off the
grid that marks the vertical divisions on
the Graph.
Angular Size: Plots
Removing Objects: The list of objects
being graphed are shown to the right of the
Graph. To remove an object from the
graph, right click on the object’s name in
this list (Ctrl-Click on the Mac) and select
Stop Graphing.
the angular size of the
object in the sky. This will vary
considerably for objects in our solar
system. For example, Venus appears much
larger when it is on the same side of the
Sun as Earth is.
Time Range: You can change the
horizontal time scale of the Graph
by selecting any of the time range options
in the Graph’s contextual menu or by
using the time increment buttons in the
upper left corner of the Graph. A scale of
24 hours is helpful when planning a night
of observing, while a larger time scale is
useful to see phenomena such as the
change in an object’s apparent magnitude.
Clicking this option in the
Graph contextual menu opens a dialog box
with several more options.
Graph Options:
You can shade the area underneath an
object’s line on the Graph by checking
“Fill in”. You can turn daylight on/off on
the Graph. Turning daylight on makes it
Ephemeris Generator
You’ll always know where and when to
look with Starry Night’s built-in ephemeris
generator. It’s a handy observational aid
that creates a table of positional data for
any object over a specified time span and
interval. You can then export the generated
values to a text file and print them out.
To generate an ephemeris table for any
object, right-click on it (Ctrl-click on a
Macintosh) and select Generate Ephemerides from the objects contextual
menu.
Observation Tools
Ephemeris values are handy for knowing
where an object will be in the sky at a
particular time. If you are using manual or
digital setting circles, for instance, you can
dial in the generated positional data to
locate an object quickly. For example, if
you are tracking the path of a fast-moving
asteroid as it makes its closest approach to
Earth, your ephemeris table will let you
know exactly where the asteroid will be
during the time period you’ll be observing
it.
The ephemeris generator window has the
following set of controls.
Start/End Time: This allows you to enter a
start and stop date/time for the ephemeris
table.
Time Step: Allows
you to specify the time
interval between ephemeride values.
Suppress daytime results: By checking
this box, ephemeris data will only be
generated when the Sun is below the
horizon.
Suppress results if below horizon: By
checking this box, ephemeris data will
only be generated when the target object is
above the horizon.
Show: This
list allows you to select the
information to include in your ephemeris
table. By default, Local Time, Azimuth/
Altitude, RA/Dec, Object type and
Constellation are selected.
Exporting values: Pressing
the Export
button, will open a dialog window which
will allow you to save the ephemeris table
to a text file.
Note: The ephemeris generator outputs
values specific to your current home
location. If you wish to generate an
ephemeris table for an object at a different
location, you first have to change your
viewing location in Starry Night.
Example: Generating an ephemeris
for Saturn.
First find Saturn.
1 Open the Find side pane.
2 Click in the text box at the top of this
pane and type in Saturn.
3 Double-click on Saturn’s name in the list
to center on Saturn. If a dialog box shows
that Saturn is beneath the horizon, choose
View->Hide Horizon.
Then generate the ephemeris
4 To generate a new ephemeris for Saturn, right-click on it (Control-click on a
Macintosh) and select Generate Ephemerides from the contextual menu.
5 The Ephemeris Generator window will
open. Enter a start time and end time (a
range of one week will provide a good
example) and select a time step of one
day.
6 Uncheck the boxes Suppress Daytime
Results and Suppress Results if Below
Horizon.
7 Press the Generate Values button at
the bottom of the window.
To export your data to a text file, press the
Export button.
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Observation Lists
The Observation List is a tool that you can
use to help create a list of astronomical
objects that you wish to observe. You can
make a list of targets for a particular night
or create a list of targets that you want to
observe over a period of time. For
example, you can create a list of open
clusters that are visible tonight in your 8inch telescope from your backyard
between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Or you may
want to observe all galaxies brighter than
9th magnitude over the course of a year.
On any given night, Starry Night will let
you know what galaxies are visible. Starry
Night will even let you know what
galaxies you have already observed and
which ones you still need to hunt down.
After you have created the list, you have
the option of saving the observing list, or
printing it to take outside with you. It is
possible to create and save observing lists
not only for you but also for sharing with
other Starry Night users! See “Observing
Lists” on page 180 for more information.
You open the Observation
Lists by clicking the Lists side
pane. The “Observing Lists”
layer displays the observing lists that are
available. Click on an observing list name
and expand the “List Viewer” layer to
view the objects that make up that list.
Tip: If you wish to create an observing list
for a different location, first change the
location in Starry Night, then open the
Lists pane.
Observation Tools
Click the Add button in the “Observing
Lists” layer to open a new window which
lets you add objects to an observing list.
By default, Starry Night gives your
observing list a generic name but you can
enter a custom “Observing List Name” in
the text box at the top of the dialog
window.
Before adding objects to your observing
list, decide on whether you wish to create
an observing list for a specifc night or a
list of objects that are visible from your
location but not tied to a particular date.
Date specific observing list: To create a list
of objects for a specific night choose On
specific date... from the “Visible On”
dropbox. This will allow you to enter the
date you plan to observe. The “Visible
Between” and “Minimum Altitude for
Visibility” dropboxes will become active,
allowing you to search only for those
objects that are visible during a particular
time window and above a specific height
above the horizon.
Date independent observing list: Choose
No Date Preference from the “Visible
On” dropbox to create a date independent
observing list.
Adding a specific object to a list: If you
are interested in viewing a specific object,
type in the object’s name (or the first few
letters in the name) in the “Target Name”
text box, then press the Find button. Starry
Night will display a list of objects that
match this name. For each object, some
additional information is listed, such as the
object’s rise, set and transit times.
To add an object to your list, just
click on the object to highlight it
and then press the “>” arrow
button. The object will be added
to your current observing list.
Highlighting an object in your
current list and pressing “<“ arrow button
removes the object.
An object can also be added to your
current observing list by right-clicking
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on its name and
choosing Add to Observing List from the
contextual menu. To add all the objects
shown, choose Add All.
To remove an object from your current
observing list right-click (Ctrl-click on the
Mac) on its name and choose Remove
from Observing List from the contextual
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menu. To remove all the objects shown,
choose Remove All.
You can repeat these steps as many times
as you want to build up your list of objects.
Browsing for interesting objects:
Another way to build an observation list is
to use Starry Night to help you find
interesting objects. The fields named
(“Database”, “Type”, “Constellation”,
“Magnitude”) are filters that you can use
to build a list of interesting objects.
1
All of the planets (set the “Type” filter
to “Planets”).
2
All Messier objects within the
constellation Scorpius (set the
“Database” filter to “Messier objects”
and the “Constellation” filter to
“Scorpius”).
3
All planetary nebulae in the Messier
catalogue (set the “Database” filter to
“Messier objects” and the “Type” filter
to “Planetary nebula”).
Tip: If you have created an Equipment
List, you can use the Magnitude filter so
that only objects bright enough to be seen
through your telescope are listed. See
“Field of View Indicators 1 (Creating an
Equipment List)” on page 135 for
information on creating an equipment list.
Once Starry Night has generated a list of
all the objects that meet your criteria, press
the “>” arrow button for each of the
objects you are interested in adding to
your observation list or right-click (Ctrlclick on the Mac) on any object and
choose Add All from the contextual menu.
Using your completed list:
Once your observation list is complete,
you can press the Ok button to close this
window and display your completed
observation list in the “Observing Lists”
layer.
Modify these filters, leave the “Target
Name” field blank, and press the Find
button to generate a list of objects. Here
are a few examples:
If you right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac)
on any of the objects in your list, a
contextual menu appears. See “Object
Contextual Menu” on page 88 for
information on object contextual menus.
Observation Tools
Tip: Targets in your observing list that are
below the horizon will be greyed out in the
“List Viewer” layer.
This contextual menu can be quite handy,
especially if you have a laptop to take
outside during your observing session. For
example, as you work through observing
each of the objects on your list, you could
choose Centre from each object’s
contextual menu to show you a sky view
that will help you find the object, and then
choose Add Log Entry to add your
observing notes. See
“Adding Log Entries” on page 162 for
more information on the observing log
feature.
To find out the best time to view a specific
object, right click (Ctrl-click on the Mac)
on the object, and choose Start Graphing
from the contextual menu. The object is
added to the graph that runs along the top
of the window.
This graph plots the altitude of the sun (in
red), the moon (in green), and your
selected object (in blue), over the course of
the night. See “Graph Tool” on page 120
for more information on using the graph.
Determining if an object will be visible:
Once you have built up an observation list
of objects, you can select to list All
Targets or only those objects Visible
Tonight from the “Show” dropbox in the
“List Viewer” layer. If you made an
observing list for a specific night, selecting
Visible Tonight should give you the same
list as All Targets.
You can use the graph’s plot to help you
find the best time to view your object.
Ideally, you will be able to find a time
when your object has a high altitude, while
the sun and moon are beneath the horizon
(have altitudes less than 0). Sometimes,
this is not possible. If you find that
conditions are not suitable for viewing an
object in your list, you can try to observe
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the object on a different day or remove it
from your list.
Determining which objects have been
observed: Select With Log Entries from
the “Show” dropbox in the “List Viewer”
layer to display targets that have already
been observed. Select Without Log
Entries to display a list of targets you
have not yet observed or recorded.
Printing the Observing List: If you do not
have a laptop that lets you run Starry Night
while you are outside observing, you may
wish to print out the observing list. To do
this, press the Export button in the “List
Viewer” layer of the Lists pane. This
creates a plain text file with all of the
information in the observing list and saves
this file on your hard drive. You can then
open this file with a standard text editing
program such as Wordpad, Microsoft
Word, or BBEdit, and print the list.
Whenever you
create an observing list it is automatically
saved. Lists are saved in the “Prefs/
Sessions” folder. You can share the
lists in this folder with other users or move
them to a different computer. The shared
lists can then be viewed in the“Observing
Lists” layer of the Lists pane. See
“Observing Lists” on page 180 for more
information.
Sharing observing lists:
Editing an observing list: To
edit an
observing list, press the Edit button in the
“List Viewer” layer of the Lists pane.
Deleting an observing list: To
delete an
observing list, click on the list name to
highlight it and then press the Delete
button in the “List Viewer” layer of the
Lists pane.
Log Book
Many astronomers like to keep a record of
their observations of celestial objects. You
might wish to keep records for several
reasons:
1
to compare how celestial objects appear
through different telescopes and
eyepieces, or from different observing
sites
2
to keep track of your progress in
observing a set of objects (for example,
the 110 Messier objects)
3
to record how the appearance of an
object (such as a planet or comet)
changes over time
Starry Night has a built-in logging feature
which makes it easy to record your
observations and review your notes at a
later date.
Creating a new log entry: To add a new
log entry for an object, use Starry Night to
bring the object onscreen, then right-click
on it
(Ctrl-click on the Mac), and choose Add
Log Entry from the object’s contextual
menu. The Log window will open, with
space for you to add your new log entry.
Observation Tools
ensure that your log entries are filed
correctly.
The Notes tab has space for you to enter
your observation notes, and to record the
duration of the observation and the sky
conditions (seeing and transparency).
The Equipment tab lets you record the
observing equipment that you used, by
selecting the appropriate items from your
equipment list. See “Field of View
Indicators” on page 60 for information on
creating an equipment list.
The Picture tab lets you add images from
your hard drive to the log entry for an
object. You may have taken these images
during your observing session with a film
or CCD camera.
To add an image, click the “+”
button at the bottom. This allows
you to select the appropriate image file
from your hard drive. It is possible to add
more than one image to a log entry.
Note: Log entries are referenced by the
date and time of your observation. Starry
Night assumes that you will be adding
these log entries while you are observing,
so the log entry’s date, time, and viewing
location are automatically set to the date,
time and location in the active Starry
Night window. If you will be adding log
entries sometime after your observing
session, first set the date, time and
location in Starry Night to the date, time
and location of your observation. This will
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Viewing old log entries: To
view
previously created log entries for an
object, right-click on the object (Ctrl-click
on the Mac) and choose Log Entries. This
will display a list of all previous entries for
this object. Click on the entry that you
wish to look at.
slightly different on Macintosh and
Windows:
On Windows computers, Starry
Night controls telescopes with the aid of
the ASCOM telescope driver.
Windows:
ASCOM is an open source
programming initiative designed
“to provide software technology
that will help bring about a rebirth of
science in amateur astronomy”. You can
learn more about ASCOM by visiting the
ASCOM website:
http://ascom-standards.org.
Macintosh: On
Tip: To quickly see which objects have log
entries associated with them, choose
View->Show Log Markers from the main
menu.
A special symbol will be displayed on
screen for all objects that have log
entries.
Deleting log entries: To delete a log entry
for an object, click on the log entry in the
object’s Log window, then press the
Backspace key (Windows) or the Delete
key (Macintosh) on your keyboard. You
can also use the “-” button.
Exporting log entries: Click the Export
Logs button to export the log entries of the
selected object to a text file.
Telescope Control
If you have an automated “go-to”
telescope, you can probably use Starry
Night to control your telescope. The list of
telescopes supported by Starry Night is
the Macintosh, Starry
Night controls telescopes with its own
telescope plug-in.
Telescopes Supported: The list of
telescopes that can be controlled with
Starry Night is constantly changing, and
new telescope models are added on a
regular basis. Drivers are also updated
occasionally for supported telescopes, to
account for any changes in the telescope
software. See
“Telescope Configuration” on page 131 to
determine which telescopes can be
controlled with Starry Night. If your
telescope model does not appear to be
supported, check our website:
www.starrynight.com to see if support for
your telescope model has been added.
Installing Telescope Control: To control
your telescope on a Windows computer,
you need to install the ASCOM driver by
selecting to install telescope support
during the installation of Starry Night.
Macintosh users do not need to install a
separate driver, as telescope control is
Observation Tools
packaged into the main Starry Night
installer.
Setup layer. You will see a list of all
supported telescopes.
Telescope Controls: All of the telescope
controls in Starry Night can be accessed by
opening the Telescope side pane.
Choose your telescope model from the list,
press the Properties button, and select the
serial port that your telescope is connected
to.
Note: If you have any Meade telescope
with an Autostar controller that is not
specifically listed (e.g. an ETX), choose
the “Meade LX200 and Autostar” option.
Press the OK button to close the
Configure dialog box.
Connecting Your Telescope: The
Telescope Configuration: To configure
your telescope, open the Telescope pane
and press the Configure button in the
first step
in controlling your telescope with Starry
Night is turning your telescope on and
aligning it properly. Your telescope needs
to be aligned before you begin using it
with Starry Night! Once your telescope is
aligned, plug it into your computer. You
will need an RS-232 cable that connects
the telescope (or the telescope handbox,
depending on the telescope model) to the
serial port on your computer. Different
models of telescopes require different
cables. If your computer does not have a
serial port, you may also need an adapter
that converts your computer’s serial port to
a USB port.
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Connect/Disconnect: Once your telescope
is aligned and plugged in to your
computer, press the Connect button in the
Setup layer of the Telescope pane. This
begins communication between your
telescope and Starry Night. To end
communication, press the Disconnect
button.
Telescope Setup: Once you have pressed
the Connect button and your telescope is
connected to Starry Night, an onscreen
marker will indicate where your telescope
is pointing. Your telescope’s right
ascension and declination will also be
shown in the Status layer of the Telescope
pane. At first, these values may not be
accurate. One possible reason for this is
that the time and location in Starry Night
are not the same as the time and location
that your telescope is using. Check the
electronic controller for your telesecope
and make sure that the time and location
that your telescope is using match the
values in Starry Night. If the view through
your telescope still does not match what
Starry Night is showing onscreen, use
Starry Night to slew to an object that is
easy to recognize, such as a bright star (see
the next section for information on
slewing your telescope to objects using
Starry Night). Next, guide the telescope
using its built-in control devices (a
handbox or controls on the telescope
itself), so that the bright star is at the centre
of your view when you look through the
telescope eyepiece (i.e. the view in Starry
Night will now match what you see
through the eyepiece). Finally, press the
Sync Gaze button.
Telescope Control: Once your telescope is
pointing in the right direction, you can
click the Slew Scope to Screen Centre
button in the Control layer of the
Telescope pane and your telescope will
slew to the co-ordinates of Starry Night’s
screen centre. You can also right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on any object and
choose Slew To from the object’s
contextual menu. Your telescope will then
slew to and centre on the object you
selected. If you check the box marked
“Follow scope” in the Telescope pane,
Starry Night will keep the sky view
centred in the direction that your telescope
is pointing. Press the Centre Indicator
button to immediately center the Starry
Night view on the onscreen telescope
position marker.
Handbox simulator:
simulates your telescope handbox by
allowing you to push the direction arrows
in the Starry Nightt interface to move your
telescope.
For an altazimuth mounted telescope, the
direction keys move the telescope in
Altitude and Azimuth. In an equatorial
configuration, the direction keys move the
telescope in Right Ascension and
Declination.
Observation Tools
perform a star alignment again or
recalibrating. This feature is more
commonly used for telescopes at
permanent locations or when attending a
star party for several days.
Set Park Position button allows you to
configure where you want your telescope
to park when the Park button is pressed.
Tip: Holding down a direction key will
continuously slew the telescope. The Stop
button will stop any slew that is in
progress.
The Nudge Telescope options, allow you
to set the slew increment for each nudge.
Enhanced telescope control: These
controls can be found in the “Setup layer”
of the Telescope pane. The Home Scope
button moves your telescope to its home
position. This allows for easier computer
to star alignment. The home position for
altazimuth mounted telescopes usually
involves setting the telescope tube facing
north and horizontally leveled. For
equatorial mounted telescopes, the
telescope must be set to the polar
configuration. Your telescope manual will
provide instructions on these options.
The Park button parks your telescope in
the pre-configured position when you’re
not using it. For example, if you have a
wedge you can park at the polar position at
the end of the day. Next time you can
simply unpark the telescope and start
observing immediately without having to
The Slew Limits check boxes prevent the
telescope from slewing outside a userdefined horizon in both altazimuth and
equatorial configurations. This feature is
handy to prevent damage to imaging
equipment that would otherwise hit the
mount or tripod of the telescope.
You can display your slew ‘horizon’ in the
sky by checking the “Show slew limits on
sky” box.
Tip: Not all telescopes support the
enhanced telescope controls. Features
that are not supported by your telescope
will be disabled automatically.
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Focuser control
Imaging Plug-in (Windows only)
Control your robotic focuser through
Starry Night. Allows for incremental and
absolute positioning for applications
where precise focusing is required. Not all
focusers support all the features available
in the “Focuser” layer of the Telescope
pane. If a selected focuser model does not
support a feature, that option will not be
available.
Capture images using the plug-in to
MaxIm DL imaging software (sold
separately). This innovative integration
lets you find your target, take and process
pictures with MaxIm DL and then import
these pictures back into Starry Night.
The MaxIm DL plug-in is included with
Starry Night Astrophoto Suite and Starry
Night Pro Plus. If you own Starry Night
Pro you can purchase the MaximDL plugin separately from http://
www.starrynight.com.
Note: Starry Night Astrophoto Suite
includes the MaxIm DL plug-in and a copy
of MaxIm DL Lite imaging software as
part of the package.
Capturing an image: Press the Aquire
Image button to tell MaximDL to take an
image of the area currently centered on the
main Starry Night window. Then press the
Import Image button to bring the image
taken by MaximDL into Starry Night.
Supported focusers include:
AstroOptik telescopes
Astrophysics GTO mount
Finger Lakes focusers
Gemini equipped mount
JMI Smart Focus
Meade LX200 and Autostar
Optec TCF-S
PCFocus
See “MaxIm DL Plug-In (Windows only)”
on page 186 for more information on
Maxim DL and its integration with Starry
Night.
Observation Tools
Satellite Tracking
Track the International Space Station, the
Space Shuttle and hundreds of other
satellites with your robotic telescope.
Satellite tracking: Right-click (Ctrl-click
on the Mac) on any satellite in the main
window and choose Track from the
satellite’s contextual menu. Your telescope
will then slew to, centre on and track the
satellite you selected. The satellite will
only be tracked if your telescope is
capable of slewing at the rate the satellite
is traveling.
Note: Satellite tracking is currently only
available for Macintosh users using the
Meade LX200/RCX400 series of
telescopes. If your telescope type or
operating system is not currently
supported, please visit http://
www.starrynight.com for update
announcements.
Wireless Telescope Control
The Starry Night BlueStar Telescope
Adapter allows you to command your
computerized telescope from your
computer wirelessly. The device uses
integrated Bluetooth® wireless technology
to give you enhanced range and freedom
of movement in the field.
Starry Night BlueStar works with most
major brands of computerized telescopes,
allowing complete wireless control while
using your favourite astronomy
planetarium software.
For added convenience, the BlueStar
Telescope Adapter doubles as a USB
adapter in wired configurations,
eliminating the need for a USB to serial
port adapter.
Visit http://www.starrynight.com to learn
more about Starry Night BlueStar and the
freedom of wireless telescope control.
Field of View Indicators 1
(Creating an Equipment List)
If you own binoculars or a telescope, you
may wonder how the views that you see
onscreen in Starry Night match up with
what you would see outdoors using your
astronomical instrument. Starry Night lets
you display an outline onscreen that shows
the shape and field of view (FOV) of any
of your astronomical instruments. We call
these outlines field of view (FOV)
indicators. Field of view indicators are
useful because they show the exact size of
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the patch of sky that you will be able to see
through a given astronomical instrument.
Therefore, the area shown inside the
indicator by Starry Night should
correspond very well to what you actually
see outdoors when you are observing.
In this section, you will learn how to create
an equipment list which has information
on all of your astronomical instruments. In
the next section, “Field of View Indicators
2 (Displaying Indicators)” on page 138,
you will learn how to display FOV
indicators onscreen for any of these
instruments.
Opening the Equipment List: Choose
Edit->Equipment List from the main
menu to open your equipment list.
Initially, this list will be blank.
Types of Equipment:
The pull-down menu in the
upper left corner of the
equipment list displays the
different types of
astronomical equipment.
Some of these pieces of equipment may be
unfamiliar to you.
• Eyepiece. For any given telescope, you
may have several eyepieces. When
viewing the same object through the
same telescope, the image that you see
will vary, depending on the eyepiece
properties. The most important
property of an eyepiece is its focal
length, which affects the image
magnification. Eyepieces with large
focal lengths (low magnification) are
good for viewing faint deep-space
objects. Eyepieces with small focal
lengths (high magnification) are good
for viewing details on bright objects,
such as the Moon or planets.
• Barlow. A Barlow lens is a device that
sits between your telescope’s focuser
and eyepiece. It is used to increase the
magnification of an eyepiece.
• Focal Reducer. A focal reducer is
essentially the opposite of a Barlow
lens. It reduces the focal length of your
telescope, decreasing the magnification
of an eyepiece.
• Finderscope. A finderscope is a
secondary telescope that attaches onto
your main telescope. It has a lower
magnification and a larger field of view
than the main scope, and is used to
locate objects in the sky, which you
will then view using the main scope.
Observation Tools
• CCD. A CCD is a camera that is
attached to your telescope and used to
take digital astronomical photographs.
Adding items to the equipment list: To
add your pieces of observing equipment to
the equipment list, choose the appropriate
equipment category (e.g. “telescopes”)
from the pull-down menu in the upper left
corner of the Equipment List dialog box,
then press the From Database button on
the lower right corner. A dialog box will
open with a list of equipment available
under that category. If your equipment is
not listed, press the New button in the
lower left corner. A dialog box will open,
which allows you to name your piece of
equipment, and enter its relevant
information. You can also assign a unique
colour for your indicator by clicking on
the colourbar to open a colour palette.
Once you have entered all of the necessary
information, press the OK button to save
this piece of equipment in your equipment
list.
The information that can be entered
depends on the type of observing
equipment. All of the necessary
information should be available in the
documentation that came with your
equipment. Some of this information is
used by Starry Night when it calculates
how the field of view indicator will look
when drawn onscreen.
The following information fields need to
be correct:
Telescope: aperture, f/stop
Eyepiece: focal length, apparent field of
view
Barlow: magnification factor
Focal reducer: reduction factor
CCD: imaging area, camera roll angle
Binoculars: measure of width or angular
field of view
Editing the equipment list: To modify the
details of any piece of equipment, open the
Equipment List, click on the appropriate
piece of equipment, then click the Edit
button. A dialog box will open, allowing
you to modify any details.
Deleting an item from the equipment list:
To remove an item from your equipment
list, open the equipment list, click on the
appropriate piece of equipment, then click
the Delete button.
Shop Online: Pressing this button will
connect you to a website with options to
purchase astronomical equipment.
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Field of View Indicators 2
(Displaying Indicators)
The FOV side pane allows
you to display an outline
onscreen that shows the shape
and field of view (FOV) of any of your
astronomical instruments. You can also
create special indicators that highlight
specific objects or areas of the sky.
Indicator List: To see the list of FOV
Indicators, open the FOV pane. You will
see a list of indicators, divided into
telescopes, finderscopes and binoculars.
The list will include all of the telescope
eyepieces, CCD cameras, finderscopes
and binoculars that you added when you
created your equipment list (see “Field of
View Indicators 1 (Creating an Equipment
List)” on page 135 for information on
creating an equipment list). If you have not
yet created an equipment list, the list of
FOV indicators will also be blank.
finderscopes), you need to check a specific
eyepiece or CCD, not the telescope itself.
After you have turned an
indicator on, you should see
the indicator in the main
Starry Night sky view at the
centre of the screen.
Rotating a FOV: FOV’s can be rotated
directly onscreen. Click-hold and drag the
rotation (+) icon above the Position Angle
information.
The name of each indicator and its field of
view are shown. The colour of the
indicator is displayed to the right of its
name.
Multiple Indicators:
Turning indicators on/off: Checking/
Tip: To change the colour of an FOV
indicator, just click on the colourbar to the
right of the indicator name in the FOV
pane.
unchecking the box to the left of the
indicator name turns on/off the outline for
that indicator. For telescopes (except
You can turn on more
than one FOV indicator at a time. You may
wish to make each indicator a different
colour to make them easier to distinguish.
One situation where you might wish to
display indicators is if you are using a
primary telescope and a finderscope.
Adding a Barlow/Focal Reducer: For your
telescope eyepieces or CCD cameras, the
size of the field of view indicator will
Observation Tools
change if you are using a Barlow lens or a
focal reducer.
indicators after you have created the
image.
To turn on/off a Barlow lens or focal
reducer for given eyepiece or CCD
camera, click the area to the right of the
indicator’s name in the FOV pane. Any
Barlow lenses or focal reducers that you
added to your equipment list will appear in
a pull-down menu. Select the appropriate
option from the menu.
Once you press the Add button, a dialog
box opens that allows you to specify the
properties for your new indicator. You can
choose a name, colour, and field of view
for the indicator. Unlike FOV indicators
that are associated with an item from your
Equipment List (which are automatically
centred onscreen), you can also specify the
indicator position.
You should see the size of the onscreen
indicator change when you turn on or off a
Barlow lens or focal reducer.
Adding other indicators: It is possible to
display FOV indicators that do not
correspond to any of the items in your
equipment list. You may wish to do this to
highlight specific objects on your screen
view or printed charts.
To add one of these indicators, click the
Add button in the Other (All Charts) or
Other (This Chart) layer in the FOV
pane. The difference between these two
layers is that indicators added to Other
(This Chart) will automatically disappear
from your list of indicators when you
adjust the sky view in Starry Night. This is
handy if you want to add indicators only to
create a specific image, as you will not
need to go to the trouble of deleting these
There are three ways to enter an indicator
position:
• Relative to screen centre: Your
indicator will be at a certain offset from
the screen centre. The offset is
determined by the values that you enter
for “Delta H” and “Delta V”. “Delta H”
is the horizontal offset and Delta V is
the vertical offset (both in pixels). An
indicator with an offset of (0,0) would
be directly at the centre of the screen.
• RA/Dec: This keeps your indicator
centred on a specific right ascension
and declination on the celestial sphere.
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• Alt/Az: This keeps your indicator
centred on a specific altitude and
azimuth, relative to your local horizon
and direction.
Tip: If you want to centre your indicator
on a specific object or area of sky, rightclick (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the object
or area of sky and choose Add FOV
Indicator from the contextual menu that
pops up. Choose an RA/Dec position or
Alt/Az position. The default co-ordinates
for this indicator will be centred on the
object or area of sky in question.
There are several cases where adding
specially positioned indicators might come
in handy. For example, assume you want
to create a star chart that shows you how to
“star-hop” from a bright deep space object
to a more obscure object. You could add
multiple indicators to your Starry Night
view (and printed chart), tracing out the
path that you would need to follow.
Deleting indicators: You
can delete any of
your Field of View indicators by doubleclicking on the indicator’s name in the
FOV pane, then clicking the Delete button
in the dialog box that opens.
Flip
Another way of
modifying Starry
Night’s screen
appearance to match
your telescope is to
flip your view. You can flip your view
horizontally, vertically, or in both
directions, to match what you see through
your telescope. You flip your view by
choosing Options->Flip from the menu.
You can then print out charts that match
the telescope’s view and use those charts
during observing sessions. If you observe
the sky with binoculars or the naked eye,
you will not need to use this option.
Printing
Starry Night allows you to create finder
charts in a variety of layouts. From naked
eye charts that help you become familiar
with the pattern of the constellations to
finder charts that accurately simulate what
you can see in your telescope, finderscope
or binoculars. The finder charts are
designed for use in the field and will help
guide you to the most challenging of
objects.
Centre on the area of sky you are
interested in and use the Field of View
buttons in the Zoom control of the Toolbar
to set the correct field of view for your
printed chart. For example, if you want a
chart that shows the northern part of the
sky, press the N button in the Toolbar to
face north and set your field of view to 100
degrees.
Remember that the appearance of the sky
is time-sensitive; so make sure to set the
time in Starry Night to the time you plan to
go outside to observe!
Once you have set the time, viewing
direction and field of view, select
File->Print from the menu. Alternatively,
if you wish to print a chart centered on a
specific object, right-click (Ctrl-click on
the Mac) on the object and select Print
Chart from the contextual menu.
Observation Tools
Tip: If you are interested in viewing a dim
object, and it is not labeled on the printed
chart you make, select it on the screen by
pointing the cursor at the object and
clicking on it. Its name should then appear
on screen with an arrow pointing to the
object. This is known as “selecting” an
object. See “Labeling Select Objects” on
page 39 for more information on selecting
objects. If you print a new chart, the
selected object will now be labeled.
horizon to horizon. These charts are
centered on the zenith and show you what
the sky looks like above the horizon in all
directions. Full sky charts are handy for
identifying the constellations or locating
the brighter stars and planets visible with
the naked eye.
Selecting Print will open a dialog box
with options for controlling the
appearance of your printed chart.
One pane star charts: Produces a full-page
printout of the area shown onscreen.
When checked, the “Fill page when
printing” box prints a star chart that covers
a larger area than shown onscreen.
Full sky star charts: Checking
the “Full
Sky Chart” box will print a circular star
chart that covers the entire sky from
Tip: To use a full sky star chart hold it in
front of you and turn it around so the label
for the cardinal direction you’re facing
(such as north (N) or southwest (SW)) is
right-side up. For example, if you are
looking north, the bottom of your full sky
printout should be labeled north. The
circle around the full sky map is the
horizon. The centre of the map is the
zenith, the point in the sky directly above
the observer.
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Three pane star charts: Prints a three-view
starhopping chart customized to the field
of view and orientation of your telescope,
finder or binoculars. A three pane star
chart effortlessly guides novices to
challenging objects and allows experts to
manage their time more efficiently.
Print Legend: Prints the time and date,
limiting magnitude, location plus a symbol
key for object types such as double stars,
galaxies and nebulae. Without the legend,
the star chart might cover a larger area.
The following options control the
appearance of your printed chart.
Use current settings: Prints star charts
using the same settings (how many stars
are shown, what objects are labeled, etc.)
that you currently have onscreen.
Use one of the following preset settings:
Prints star charts using Starry Night’s
special print setting files. Preset files
include:
Each pane can be tailored to fit your needs.
For example, you might set the larger pane
to 90 degrees to help you locate the
constellation the object is in. The smaller
panes can then be set to display the field of
view of your finderscope and eyepiece.
Each pane is centered on the selected
object and is designed to progressively
guide you closer to your target.
The field of view drop down menu in each
pane can be set to the field of view of the
equipment you’ve entered in your
equipment database. See “Field of View
Indicators 1 (Creating an Equipment List)”
on page 135 for more information.
Use the “Flip Vertical” and “Flip
Horizontal” checkboxes in each pane to
match the view seen through your
telescope, finderscope or binoculars.
Classic Star Atlas labels bright stars by
name and dimmer stars with Flamsteed
numbers. Displays the outlines of deep
sky objects and overlays the equatorial
grid lines. Variable and binary stars are
marked.
Constellation displays the constellation
stick figures and labels.
Solar System labels the planets and the
brighter asteroids and comets. The ecliptic
line is also drawn.
Tip: Preset settings can be viewed before
printing by selecting Options->Presets
from the menu.
See “Adding Print Presets” on page 65 for
more information on adding your own
preset print settings.
Observation Tools
White Sky Mode
You learned how to print star charts in
“Printing Star Charts” on page 30. Starry
Night also allows you to simulate printed
starcharts on your screen, by choosing
Options->White Sky from the menu. This
displays a negative image of your Starry
Night view, reversing the colours of
objects and labels. Stars are represented by
dark circles on a white background.
Because of the control Night Vision must
exert over your computer display, not all
computers will support it.
Adjusting brightness: You
can adjust the
brightness of night vision mode by
choosing Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), selecting
Brightness/Contrast from the dropbox in
the upper left corner of the Preferences
dialog box, and adjusting the Night Vision
slider in this dialog box.
Turning night vision off: If
you are in
Night Vision mode, choose
Options->Night Vision from the menu to
turn
Note: Options->White Sky differs from
Options->Presets->Print Settings
because it does not use Starry Night’s
special print settings, it just displays a
negative image using your existing
settings.
Night Vision Mode
Selecting Night Vision from the Options
menu instructs your monitor to dim its
display red. Night Vision mode is suitable
for outdoor, night-time viewing, as it helps
to preserve dark adaptation when you look
into your computer’s display.
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Chapter 8
Working With Files
In this chapter you will learn about the different
types of files you can create with Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus. We’ll look at
several types of files:
Starry Night files: Dynamic files that you open
with Starry Night to recreate a particular view or
celestial event.
Image files: Static
colour images of a particular
view in Starry Night.
Movie files: Animation sequences showing an
astronomical event such as an eclipse.
QTVR files: Interactive
panoramas and 3D virtual
reality object movies.
Exported text files: Plain
text documents with
information about every celestial object shown
onscreen in a particular Starry Night window.
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What is a Starry Night File?
A Starry Night file allows you to recreate
all the conditions which you used in the
program to see a particular celestial event.
When you open a file again, it will restore
you to the same time, viewing location and
viewing direction as when you saved the
file. It will also restore the time mode you
were using when you saved the file. For
example, if you had time playing
continuously forward in discrete time
steps of one day when you saved the file,
time will again move forward one day at a
time when you reopen it. Finally, all of
your label, guide and sky settings will be
restored.
Note: Starry Night files are saved with the
file extension “.snf” at the end of their
name.
Some events for which you may wish to
make a Starry Night file include an
eclipse, a planetary alignment, or a
closeup of a galaxy or star cluster.
Pre-made files are also very useful for
teaching situations.See
“The Favourites Menu” on page 147 to see
a sample of pre-made files.
What is a Starry Night file not? It is not a
pre-made animation sequence which
shows you blasting off from Earth, for
example. All a Starry Night file does is
establish the inital screen conditions from then on you have complete control
over how the screen view will evolve. If
you want to make replayable animation
sequences, read the section on
“Making Movies” on page 151.
File Features
Most of the features
for working with
files are in the File
menu. These
features work
similarly to those
found in most filebased applications.
Note: The File menu on the Macintosh
looks slightly different, as some of the
menu items are in the Starry Night menu.
New: This opens a new Starry Night
window with the default settings. The
original Starry Night window is not
closed, so this feature allows you to open
as many different windows as you want.
Open: This allows you to open a
previously saved Starry Night file. A
dialog box will open that prompts you to
select a file from your hard drive.
Close: This closes the window which is
currently active. On Windows computers,
this will also exit the application, if you
only have one Starry Night window open.
Save: Saves
your current view as a Starry
Night file (“.snf”). A dialog box will open
that allows you to choose where on your
hard drive to save the file. Make sure you
save these files to a location that you will
easily remember.
Working With Files
Save As: If
you are already running a file
that was previously saved, this saves the
file under a different name and changes the
active window to this file.
Save a Copy As: This
also saves the file
under a different name, but doesn’t change
the active window to this file.
Revert: This command reverts the window
to the last saved version of the active
document. If you are not using a file which
has previously been saved, this option is
not available.
Tip: If you have changed a saved file and
resaved it, but find you want to go back to
the original, you cannot use the Revert
command, as it can only go back to the
latest saved version. However, if you select
Edit->Undo from the main menu, you can
reverse up to the last 50 actions you have
performed using Starry Night. Choosing
Edit->Redo from the menu performs the
actions again. You can change the number
of actions that can be undone by choosing
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), choosing General from the
dropbox in the upper left corner of the
Preferences dialog box, and entering a
new value in the “levels of undo” field.
Exit: Exits
Starry Night, shutting down all
open windows (on the Mac, this command
is Quit Starry Night, and it is in the Starry
Night menu). If you have not saved
changes made to any open documents, you
are asked whether you want to save to a
file. Usually, when you exit Starry Night,
you will not want to save a file, but
occasionally you will. You can eliminate
the document save warnings by choosing
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), choosing General from the
dropbox in the upper left corner of the
Preferences dialog box, and unchecking
the “Show document save warnings”
checkbox.
The Favourites Menu
The Favourites
option in the main
menu provides a
nice sample of what
can be done with
Starry Night files.
The bottom half of
this menu is
subdivided into layers that match the
layers in the Options pane. Selecting any
entry opens a pre-made Starry Night file
that shows off some aspect of astronomy.
Tip: Take some time to look at the entries
in the Favourites menu. Remember that
the entries are not static images, they are
regular Starry Night files which you can
then modify using any of Starry Night’s
controls.
Favourites Side Pane: You can also open
any of the Favourites files by opening the
Favourites side pane and double-clicking
on the file that you are interested in.
You can open the
Favourites side
pane by clicking on it or by choosing
Favourites->Show Favourites Panel
from the main menu.
Customizing the Favourites Menu: It
is
possible to customize the Favourites
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Starry Night User’s Guide
menu by adding your own files or
modifying the existing files. See
“Customizing the Favourites Menu” on
page 177 for instructions.
Adding notes to Starry Night Files
See “Adding notes to files” on page 177
for more information on adding
descriptive notes to your Starry Night
files.
Creating Files - An Example
This example teaches you how to use the
File menu to save, open and modify files.
You will create a file of the August 11,
1999 solar eclipse.
1 Restore Starry Night’s default
settings by choosing
Options->Presets->Default.
2 Open the Viewing Location dialog box
by choosing Options->Viewing Location
from the menu
3 Click the List tab and select Munich,
Germany, from the list of cities.Click the
Set Location button to close the Viewing
Location dialog box. The toolbar should
now list Munich as your current location.
4 Set the time to 12:32:00 PM, and the
date to August 11, 1999, then stop time
flow. Ensure that Daylight Saving Time is
on.
5 Open the Find pane and clear the textbox to reveal the list of solar system
objects.
6 Double-click on the Sun’s name in the
Find pane to centre and lock on it. The
Sun should now be in the centre of your
view, with the Moon almost directly in front
of it, but not quite. The sky should still be
bright (if you had previously turned daylight off, turn it back on now).
7 Set your time step to a discrete value of
3 seconds in the toolbar.
You now have Starry Night set up
perfectly to watch the solar eclipse.
8 To save your work, select File->Save.
Name the file
“Eclipse from Munich” and save it
in the directory of your choice. Once you
have saved the file, the main Starry Night
window should now be called “Starry
Night-Eclipse from Munich”, not
“Starry Night-Untitled”.
You will now watch the eclipse.
9 Press the “Forward” button in the time
mode controls in the toolbar. As time flows
forward, the sky will gradually begin to get
darker. The first object which you will see
is Venus, to the bottom left of the Sun. At
about 12:38, the sky will go completely
dark and all the stars will come out. This
lasts only a few minutes before the sky
gradually becomes light again. At about
12:42, stop the flow of time by pressing
the “Stop” button on the toolbar.
10 Close the file by selecting File->Close.
Select Don’t Save in the window which
asks if you want to save changes. On
Windows, this will also exit Starry Night.
11 Restart Starry Night. After it opens, you
should be at your home location at the current time.
12 Select File->Open and choose
“Eclipse from Munich” from the
dialog box that opens and prompts you to
select a file. Again you are in Munich,
Germany at 12:32, looking at the Sun, in
the best spot to watch the eclipse. You can
press the “Forward” button on the toolbar
to watch it again, if you like.
Working With Files
Multiple Windows
opened this file, don’t start time moving
forward, but leave it at 12:32.
2 Open a new window by choosing
File->New, then choose File->Save and
name the file “Eclipse from Moon”.
One of the most useful features of Starry
Night is its ability to have multiple
functional windows open at the same time.
This opens up many exciting possibilities
for the user. For example, you can view an
event from several different locations at
the same time, or view the same object at
several different times. Choose
File->New from the menu to open a new
window.
Synching Time in Multiple Windows: You
can synchronize the time and the rate of
time flow between multiple windows, by
clicking the arrow to the right of the date
and time in the toolbar, and choosing
Synchronize Times In All Windows
from the dropbox. The next example will
show you the power of this feature.
3 Adjust this window’s size and position
onscreen so that you can see it and the
“Eclipse from Munich” window
that you previously created.
4 In the “Eclipse from Moon”
window, open the Find pane, and type in a
search for the Moon. Open the contextual
menu for the Moon and select Go There.
You should now be hovering above the
Moon. Open the contextual menu for the
Moon by right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the
Mac) on it and select Go There (Surface
latitude...). Your viewing location is now
the surface of the Moon.
5 Open the Find pane and do a search
for Earth, then double-click on the entry for
Earth to centre on it.
6 Choose File->New to open a new
window. Choose File->Save to save this
file as “Eclipse from Sun”.
Example: Simultaneously viewing a
solar eclipse from Earth, the Moon,
and the Sun
7 Adjust this window’s size and position
so that you can see all three Starry Night
windows.
Multiple windows are an excellent way to
view the geometry of our solar system that
is responsible for eclipses. In this exercise,
we will examine a total solar eclipse
simultaneously from three viewpoints:
Earth, the Moon, and the Sun.
8 In the “Eclipse From Sun”
window, open the Find pane, and type in a
search for the Sun. Open the contextual
menu for the Sun and select Go There.
Open the contextual menu for the Sun by
right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on it
and select Go There (Surface
latitude...).Your viewing location is now
the surface of the Sun.
1 Open the file you made earlier called
“Eclipse from Munich” using the
File->Open command. After you have
9 Still in this window, open the Find pane
and do a search for Earth, then
double-click on the entry for Earth to
centre on it.
10 Now return to the “Eclipse From
Munich” window and synchronize time in
all three windows by choosing
Synchronize Times In All Windows from
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the dropbox to the right of the date and
time in the toolbar. All three windows are
now showing the sky at exactly the same
time.
11 In the window
“Eclipse From Moon”, you should
see the Moon’s shadow projected on
Earth’s surface. Use the zoom buttons in
the toolbar to zoom in to a field of view of
about 1°. Adjust your view so that Europe
is near the centre of the screen. You
should see a tiny black spot in the
centre of the shadow. This is the umbra,
marking the area on Earth which is
experiencing a total solar eclipse. The
umbra should be close to Munich.
Starry Night AppleScripting (Mac
only)
Starry Night is Applescript-able.
AppleScript is an English-like language
that can be used to write script files that
automate the actions of Starry Night. For
example, you can create a self running
solar system tour or a simple slideshow
script that runs through a list of Starry
Night files in sequence. The possibilities
are endless and you are limited only by
your imagination and knowledge of
Applescript.
12 In the “Eclipse From Sun”
window, use the zoom buttons to zoom in
on Earth until you reach a field of view of
about 17". This should give you a nice view
of the Moon in front of Earth.
13 Start time running forward by pressing
the Forward button in the time mode
controls in any window. Time moves at the
same rate in all three windows, and you
can watch this eclipse simultaneously from
all three locations.
Several sample scripts are available for
download from http://
www.starrynight.com/support by placing
"Applescript" in the Knowledge Base
search box. Don’t forget to submit any
Applescripts you create to us so we may
share them with other users.
Working With Files
Exporting Images
negative images - black stars on a white
background. If you want to print a colour
image, you can do this by using the
File->Export as Image command to save
your colour image. Then open this image
with a program such as Internet Explorer
and print the image using the File->Print
(Print Star Chart” in CSAP )command in
the Internet Explorer menu.
Making Movies
You may wish to capture a static image
from Starry Night, for example, one of the
spectacular eclipse images you viewed in
the exercise in the previous section. To
save a view from Starry Night as an image,
use Starry Night to set up the view you
want, then select
File->Export as Image from the menu.
This will bring up a familiar Save dialog
box. A dropbox near the bottom of this
dialog box allows you to choose the
format for your new image. You can
choose from jpeg, bitmap, pict, and many
other popular image formats.
The picture which is saved is an exact
duplicate of what you see on your screen
inside the main Starry Night window.
Tip: If this feature does not work properly,
you may not have installed QuickTime
correctly. Reinstall QuickTime from the
CD, and be sure to choose the
“Recommended Install” option.
Printing Colour Images: Recall
that the
File->Print option in Starry Night prints
You can make spectacular movies using
Starry Night. You can record a graphically
intensive event (such as a planet flyby)
and play it back as a smooth animated
sequence. Movies are played back using
the QuickTime viewer, so you can send
them to your friends and colleagues. They
need not have Starry Night to view the
movies.
To make a movie, choose File->Make
Movie. A dialog box will open that allows
you to name your movie file and choose
where to save it. The first time that you
make a movie, the Compression Settings
dialog box will also open. See
“Movie Compression Settings” on
page 153 to learn the meaning of the
options in this dialog box.
After you have named your file, a
rectangle appears on the centre of the
screen, which we call the Movie Box.
Tip (Pro and Pro Plus only): You can
change the size of the movie box (height or
width) by choosing Preferences from the
File menu (Windows) or the Starry Night
menu (Macintosh). and selecting
QuickTime from the dropbox on the upper
left of the Preferences dialog box.
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The Pause button pauses the recording
of the movie. This enables you to adjust
your view “offscreen” between frames.
The Stop button completes the
recording process, and closes the
QuickTime window.
The Record button resumes the
recording of a movie after it has been
paused.
Note (Pro and Pro Plus only): The
minimum size for a Movie Box is 101
pixels by 81 pixels.
Movie Controls: There
are three Movie
controls: the Pause button, the Stop button,
and the Record button. The Movie window
will automatically be in Record mode
when it opens.
The number of frames in your movie and
the total running time are shown in the
bottom right corner. A new frame is added
to the movie every time the screen is
redrawn. Most changes you make in Starry
Night cause the screen to be redrawn.
Switching daylight on or off, changing the
labels, and zooming in or out are just a few
changes which will cause a new frame to
be recorded.
Tip: Use the Pause button in the movie
controls to make changes to your view
“offscreen” without adding frames to your
movie.
The screen is also redrawn whenever the
time in Starry Night changes, causing new
frames to be added to your movie.
Therefore, if you have time running
forward continuously before you begin
making a movie, new frames will be added
continuously every time the time changes.
For this reason, it is often best to stop time
flow before you make a movie. Once your
view is set up properly, you can turn the
flow of time back on.
When you are finished recording your
movie, hit the Stop button along the
bottom of the movie window.
Working With Files
Note: The Movie Box doesn’t record
cursors, so you don’t have to worry about
getting a “hand” in the shot.
Playing Back QuickTime Movies
You can use the QuickTime movie player
to play back your movies. If you have
QuickTime Pro, you can also use it to edit
your movies. To play back a movie,
double-click the file in the folder where
you saved it. Starry Night does not need to
be open when you play back the movie.
Movie Compression Settings
If you have ever tried to download a video
file from the Internet, you know how large
these files can be. The same thing can
happen with QuickTime movies because
they are also composed of a series of still
images. If you are using 30 frames per
second (the standard rate for television
images), this means 900 images for a 30
second video! It is easy to understand how
even a short movie can easily be a few
megabytes in size. The compression
settings dialog box offers different ways to
keep your movie files down to a
manageable size. This window will open
automatically the first time you make a
movie.
• Compressor: This popup lets you
choose from several different
compression formats. “Sorenson Video
3” is a good all-purpose compression
format. Depending on the compression
format chosen, a second popup menu
may allow you to choose from several
colour options.
• Quality: The slider lets you adjust the
quality of the recording. The better the
quality, the larger the file size.
• Motion: Within this box you can adjust
how many frames per second are
displayed when the movie is played
back and how often to draw a key
frame, and limit the amount of data
stored per second to a maximum value.
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Tip: After you have set your compression
settings once, the Compression Settings
window will not open automatically when
you make subsequent movies. To change
your movie preferences, you can select
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and press the QuickTime
Movie Preferences button in the
QuickTime section.
Making QuickTime Virtual Reality
Files
You can make amazing interactive scenes
using Starry Night. Unlike a flat 2D
image, QuickTime VR (QTVR)
transforms your view into an immervise
experience. For example, you can save a
QTVR panorama of how the constellations
appear from your location. You can then
share this file with your friends. And
unlike receiving a 2-dimensional flat
image that only shows a static portion of
the sky, your friends will be able to move
all around the horizon and zoom in with
the interactive controls. You can even save
360 degree views of solar system objects!
Making panoramas: To
make a panorama
of your horizon view, select File->Export
As QuickTime VR. Starry Night will
prompt you to name your VR file and will
then take a series of exposures to create
the panorama. After the exposures are
completed, a QuickTime movie window
will appear showing your new panorama.
To move around the panorama, click-anddrag your mouse cursor inside the window.
Tip: You can make panoramas from the
surface of any solar system object.
Making object movies: You can also create
interactive 360 degree QuickTime VR
files for objects in our solar system. These
files allow you to rotate and view an object
from every angle.
Example: Creating a QuickTime VR
object movie for Saturn
1 Open the Find pane and clear the textbox to reveal the list of solar system
objects.
2 Type in a search for Saturn. Open the
contextual menu for Saturn and select Go
There. You should now be hovering above
Saturn.
3 Open the contextual menu for Saturn
again by right-clicking (Ctrl-click on the
Mac) on it and then select Save As
QuickTime VR.
Working With Files
4 Name the file (default name is the
name of the object you selected) and then
press the Save QuickTime VR Movie
button to create the VR file for Saturn.
5 The QuickTime Movie Player window
will then open. Hold down your mouse button and drag it around inside the window
to view Saturn from every angle.
Panorama/Object movie export size:
Controls how large the QuickTime VR
movie window will be and hence the size
of your file.
Other settings: To keep your QuickTime
VR movie files small, check the Always
use JPEG compression for object
movies box. You can also adjust the
minimum and maximun angle tilts when
creating your object movies.
Copyright and Images
Quicktime VR Movie Settings
As with non-VR QuickTime movie files,
QuickTime VR files can get quite large in
size. You can adjust the QuickTime VR
settings to keep your files down to a
manageable size.
To change your QuickTime VR settings,
select Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and choose QuickTime from
the dropbox on the upper left of the
Preferences dialog box.
Screenshots: You have permission to use
screenshots from Starry Night for noncommercial purposes, as long as you
include the following credit:
Graphics courtesy of Starry Night®
(Product Name) (Version Number) /
Imaginova® Corp.
It is preferrable to have the permissions
credit included either in the image itself or
in close proximity to it.
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Quicktime movies: You have permission to
use QuickTime movies you have made
with the Starry Night software for noncommercial purposes. This does not apply
to the multimedia video content that exists
in SkyGuide or DVD’s. Some of the
multimedia video content has been
licensed from other sources and
Imaginova does not have the right to sublicense such content. Include the following
credit:
Exporting Sky Data
Starry Night images are used with
permission from Imaginova Corp. Starry
Night is a registered trademark of
Imaginova Corp.
The new text file only contains data for
those objects displayed on screen, so you
can use Starry Night’s database controls
and filters to create datasets for almost
anything you can think of. A few
examples:
Publishing Star Charts Generated by
Starry Night: Individuals may use star
charts generated by Starry Night in
publications (books, periodicals,
newsletters, etc.) provided a suitable
copyright statement accompanies the
chart(s).
Star charts generated by Starry Night
(Title of Program and Version Number) ©
copyright Imaginova Corp. All rights
reserved. www.StarryNight.com
Note: Some of the photographs supplied
with Starry Night are copyrighted and are
redistributed by Imaginova with
permission from the author or publisher.
Selecting File->Export Data from the
main menu creates a text file which
contains data for all of the objects visible
on the screen in Starry Night. You will be
asked to name the file and choose a
directory to save the file in.
1
All stars within 100 light years of
Earth.
2
All satellites above the horizon from
your current location.
3
All open clusters in the NGC/IC
catalogue.
The key to creating any dataset is first to
use the database controls to ensure that
only the objects you are interested in
appear onscreen (for example, if you want
to create a dataset of bright stars, turn off
all other databases).
of Starry Night
Pro Plus should be aware that the AllSky
CCD Image and Associated Data is ©
2005 Main Sequence Software Inc. All
rights reserved.
In the text file that is exported, each type
of object has different data fields.
1
Tycho-2 catalogue number
Imaginova cannot grant permission to use
this material.
2
Hipparcos catalogue number
AllSky CCD Image: User’s
For stars:
Working With Files
3
Star name (may be a proper name,
Bayer letter, Flamsteed number, or just
the HIP or TYC number again)
7
Percentage illumination
8
X co-ordinate in the heliocentric
ecliptic co-ordinate system
(astronomical units)
9
Y co-ordinate in the heliocentric
ecliptic co-ordinate system
(astronomical units)
10
Z co-ordinate in the heliocentric
ecliptic co-ordinate system
(astronomical units)
4
Right ascension, in degrees (J2000
co-ordinates)
5
Declination, in degrees (J2000
co-ordinates)
6
Apparent Magnitude
7
Parallax (milliarcseconds)
8
B-V colour
9
Proper motion in the declination
direction (milliarcesconds/year)
For objects in the “Messier” database,
“Bright NGC Objects” database, or
custom images:
10
Proper motion in the right ascension
direction (milliarcseconds/year)
1
Catalogue number
11
Star variability (0 means the star is not
variable, 1 means that the star varies by
less than 0.06 magnitudes, 2 means that
the star varies by between 0.06 and 0.6
magnitudes, and 3 means that the star
varies by more than 0.6 magnitudes)
2
Name
3
Right ascension (J2000 co-ordinates)
4
Declination (J2000 co-ordinates)
5
Type of object
6
Apparent magnitude
7
Diameter (arcminutes)
8
First alternate name or catalogue
number
9
Second alternate name or catalogue
number
12
Proximity Flag (0 means that no other
object in the Hipparcos/Tycho
catalogue is within 10 arcseconds of the
object, while 1 means that there is at
least one other object in the catalogue
within 10 arcseconds).
For planets, moons, comets, asteroids and
artificial satellites:
1
Name
2
Right ascension (J2000 co-ordinates)
3
Declination (J2000 co-ordinates)
4
Distance (astronomical units)
5
Apparent magnitude
6
Angular size (arcminutes)
For other objects:
1
Catalogue ID (not the number of the
object in the catalogue, but the number
of the catalogue in Starry Night’s list of
catalogues!)
2
Catalogue number (number of the
object in the catalogue)
3
Type of object
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4
Name
5
Right ascension (J2000 co-ordinates)
6
Declination (J2000 co-ordinates)
7
Apparent Magnitude
8
Diameter (arcminutes)
9
Minor Axis (arcminutes)
10
Position Angle (radians)
Chapter 9
Adding Your Own Data
This chapter describes how you can expand the
vast library of data that is built into Starry Night
Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus, by adding your own
data, or data from other sources, such as the
Internet.
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Adding Calendar Events
Calendar name and description. To add
your calendar press the Ok button. Your
calendar should now be listed in the
calendar list.
Astronomical calendars are a great way to
keep track of celestial events you don’t
want to miss. Starry Night provides you a
number of default event calendars and
allows you to add or import your own. For
example, you can create an event calendar
for your local club or view a calendar
made by another member.
Adding an event to a calendar:
Note: You can open the
SkyCalendar on a separate and
larger window by pressing the
calendar icon.
Creating a Calendar:
To add a new
calendar, expand the
Browser layer and
press the “+” calendar button on the
bottom left of the calendar list.
The Add Calendar dialog box will open
with several fields to describe your
calendar.
Select Create from the dropbox on the
upper left of the dialog and fill in the
To add an event to a
calendar, click on the
calendar name you
want to add an event to. This will highlight
the calendar name. Press the “+” event
button to open the Add Event dialog box.
The dialog box allows you to name the
event, specify the duration of the event and
add a description. You can also insert a
web site (URL) link to the event and add
your current view settings as a Starry
Night file to the event. To save the event
and add it to the calendar, click the Ok
button.
If a web site and Starry Night file was
added to an event, expand the Info layer
and press the Web button to visit the site
and the View Event button to recreate the
view settings of the event in the main
window.
Adding Your Own Data
Tip: A good source for calendars in the
vCalendar format is http://icalshare.com..
Tip: You can also save a Starry Night file
as an event to any calendar by selecting
Save As Event from the File menu.
Importing a calendar: You
can import any
calendar into Starry Night from a file or
from a URL (internet link). The calendars
you can import must be in the vCalendar
format and end with a .ics file extension.
Type in or paste the internet link and press
the Get button to start the download
process. When the download is completed,
click the Ok button to save the calendar
and add it to the calendar window.
Tip: You can update any calendar added
from a url by righ-clicking on it and
selecting Refresh URL.
To import a calendar from your hard drive,
select From File from the dialog box on
the upper left of the Add Calendar dialog
box.
To import a calendar from an internet link,
select From URL from the dialog box on
the upper left of the Add Calendar dialog
box.
Click the Select File button to open a
dialog box where you can choose the
location of the file you want to import.
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After you have selected the calendar file,
click the Ok button to save the calendar
and add it to your list.
Editing calendars and events: To
edit a
calendar or an event, double click on its
name. This will open the Edit Calendar or
Edit Event dialog boxes. Make your
changes and click the Ok button.
Deleting calendars and event: To
delete a
whole calendar or an event listed under the
calendar, click on its name to highlight it
and then press the calendar or event “-”
button.
Adding Log Entries
See“Log Book” on page 128 for more
information on adding log entries to
objects.
Adding Objects 1 (Individual
Solar System Objects)
Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro and Pro Plus
make it easy to add new objects within our
solar system. You can add new comets,
asteroids, satellites, planetary moons, and
even imaginary new planets! You can also
add surface maps and 3D modules to your
new objects.
Tip: Any major new objects (comets,
asteroids, satellites, planetary moons) will
be automatically added to Starry Night via
our automatic data update feature. You
only need to add your own objects if they
are not automatically added (or if you
wish to create imaginary objects). See
“Database Updates” on page 85 for more
information about automatic data updates.
Adding your own objects to the solar
system is a great way to learn about
celestial mechanics. You can view the
shape, size, and orientation of your new
object’s orbit, and use sliders to adjust all
aspects of the orbit. This feature makes it
clear what each particular orbital element
means, and how the orbit is affected when
adjustments are made.
To add a new object, first locate the parent
body of your new object, either onscreen
or using the Find pane. The parent body is
the celestial object which your new object
will revolve around. If you are adding a
new planet, comet or asteroid, the parent
body is the Sun. If you are adding a new
moon, the parent body is the planet that
this moon will revolve around. If you are
adding an artificial satellite, Earth is the
parent body. Once you have located the
parent body, right-click on it (Ctrl-click
on the Mac) to open its contextual menu.
This menu will have options for adding
new objects (New Asteroid and New
Comet in the Sun’s contextual menu, New
Satellite in Earth’s contextual menu, and
Add Moon Orbiting... in the contextual
menu of each planet). Clicking any of
these options opens the Orbit Editor dialog
box.
Tip: There are also options for adding new
comets, asteroids and satellites in the File
menu.
Adding Your Own Data
Orbital Elements: The
Orbital Elements
tab controls the attributes of your new
object’s orbit.
Tip: Not every option for adding new
objects appears in an object’s contextual
menu. For example, the Sun’s contextual
menu has no option to add a new planet.
However, the Orbit Editor lets you change
the type of object being added, so just
choose New Asteroid from the contextual
menu, and then change the type of object
being added by using the Orbit Editor.
Orbit Editor: The
Orbit Editor dialog box
opens with a default view of your new
object’s orbit. Along the top of the dialog
box is a dropbox that allows you to choose
the type of object (planet, comet, moon,
artificial satellite, asteroid or planetoid)
and a box where you can type in the new
object’s name.
Beneath these boxes is an image of your
new object’s orbit. This is actually not a
static image, but a functional and
resizeable Starry Night window. By
clicking and dragging the bottom right
corner of this dialog box, you can enlarge
the Orbit Editor dialog box, making your
object’s orbit easier to see. You can use the
elevation buttons in this dialog box to
move closer or farther from your object,
and use the Location Scroller to rotate
your view of the object’s orbit. As you
change your object’s orbit by adjusting its
orbital elements (described in the
following section), these changes will be
reflected in the image.
A set of orbital elements provides enough
information to specify an object’s exact
orbit about its parent body, and places the
object at a specific point on this orbit at
one moment in time. Kepler’s laws of
motion allow Starry Night to calculate the
new object’s position in its orbit at any
other time. There are several different
ways to specify a complete set of orbital
elements. You can select one of these
using the “Style” dropbox in the Orbit
Editor dialog box.
Tip: The next few sections explain the
meaning of each orbital element. However,
another way to learn what each element
means is to play around with the orbital
element sliders. You’ll quickly see how
these changes affect the orbit of your new
object.
Element Style (Pericentric): The
pericentric style is usually used to specify
the orbital elements of comets.
• Eccentricity (e): Eccentricity describes
the shape of an object’s orbit. The
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eccentricity of an object in a fixed orbit
has a value between 0 and 1. The larger
an object’s eccentricity, the more its
distance from its parent body varies
throughout its orbit. Pluto has the
largest eccentricity of any planet in our
solar system. Objects in relatively
circular orbits have eccentricities near
0, while objects in extremely elliptical
orbits (such as many comets), have
eccentricities close to 1.
• Pericentre distance (q): The distance
between the object and its parent body
at the point in the object’s orbit where it
is closest to the parent. Taken together,
pericentre distance and eccentricity
specify the distance between an object
and its parent body at any point in the
object’s orbit. Pericentre distance is
given in units of AU (astronomical
units). For objects in orbit about the
Sun, such as comets, pericentre
distance is also called perihelion
distance.
• Ascending Node: This angular
measurement specifies the point at
which the orbit crosses northward
through the orbit’s reference plane
(references planes are described in
“Reference Plane” on page 166),
relative to the Prime Meridian of the
parent body.
• Argument of Pericentre: Recall that the
pericentre is the point in an object’s
orbit when the object is closest to the
parent body. The Argument of
Pericentre specifies the angular
location of the pericentre, measured in
degrees.
This value is determined by measuring
the angle between the ascending node
and the pericentre, as measured from
the centre of the parent body. For
example, when the Argument of
Pericentre is 0°, the pericentre occurs
at the same place in an object’s orbit as
the ascending node. That means that
the object would be closest to its parent
body just as it rises up through the
reference plane. Likewise, when the
Argument of Pericentre is 180°, the
object, as it rises up through the
reference plane, is at its farthest from
its parent.
• Inclination (i): The orbit’s elliptical
shape lies in a plane known as the
orbital plane. Inclination is the angle
between the orbital plane and the
reference plane, measured between 0°
and 180°. Assume the reference plane
is the parent body’s equatorial plane. In
this case, if the object’s orbit lies in this
plane, the inclination is 0°, and the
object circles the parent body’s equator.
At an inclination of 90°, the orbit is
perpendicular to the parent body’s
equator, and the object passes over the
parent body’s north and south poles. An
inclination of greater than 90°
describes a retrograde orbit.
Cool fact: Spy satellites often have orbits
with inclinations close to 90°. From this
inclination, they can examine all parts of
Earth as it rotates beneath them.
• Pericentre Time: The preceding five
orbital elements are sufficient to
describe the orbit of a new object.
However, a value for pericentre time is
needed to determine an object’s place
on this orbital path at any time. The
pericentre time is the time (expressed
as a Julian day) when the object is at
Adding Your Own Data
pericentre. Recall that Kepler’s laws of
motion then allow Starry Night to
calculate the new object’s position in
its orbit at any other time.
• Elements Epoch: The date (expressed
as a Julian day) for which this set of
orbital elements will be most accurate.
As you move farther away from this
date, the accuracy of the object’s
position will decline, although the
change in position is often too small to
be noticeable. Nevertheless, for precise
work, it is advisable to use a set of
orbital elements with an epoch
relatively close to the date you are
interested in.
Element Style (Near-Circular): The nearcircular style is usually used to specify the
orbital elements of planets, asteroids, and
planetoids. Only those fields different
from the pericentric style are described
below.
• Mean Distance: Objects in circular
orbits would travel at a constant
distance from their parent body, but
since most planetary orbits are slightly
elliptical, the distance between an
object and its parent is constantly
changing. The common practice is to
average this distance, and record it as
Mean Distance. It is usually measured
in AU’s.
• Mean Anomaly (M) and Epoch:
Together, these fields describe exactly
where in its orbit a new object is
located at the specified time. The
“specified time” is the epoch (given as
a Julian Day) and the position is the
mean anomaly, the angle between the
object’s position and the pericentre of
the object’s orbit, as measured from the
centre of the parent body.
Tip: Notice that “epoch” has a different
meaning in the pericentric and nearcircular formats. In the pericentric format,
changing the epoch will not change an
object’s position, but in the near-circular
format, it will.
Element Style (NASA Two Line): NASA
Two Line Elements (TLE’s) are often used
to describe the orbit of Earth-orbiting
artificial satellites. Describing the TLE
format is beyond the scope of this User’s
Guide. However, you do not need to
understand TLE’s to use them! If you find
the TLE for a satellite, simply copy the
element to your clipboard, then press the
Paste TLE From Clipboard button.
Starry Night will paste in the new
elements. Not all of the fields in a TLE are
used by Starry Night. Fields that are not
used will be marked with ‘xxx’. See
“Where can I get orbital elements for new
objects I want to add using the Orbit
Editor?” on page 197 for information on
finding satellite TLE’s on the Internet.
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Element Style (AMSAT): This is another
style used to describe the orbit of
Earth-orbiting artificial satellites. Again,
describing this format is beyond the scope
of this User’s Guide.
Reference Plane: A
set of orbital elements
is not enough to describe an object’s orbit
without a reference plane. You can select a
reference plane using the dropbox in the
Orbit Editor dialog box.
For objects orbiting the Sun (asteroids,
comets, planets), the most useful reference
plane is the ecliptic plane. For objects
orbiting other planets (such as moons and
artificial satellites), the most useful
reference plane is the equatorial plane of
the object’s parent body. An astronomical
reference plane is dependent upon the time
of the observations. Starry Night allows
you to choose any of the following
reference planes:
Earth’s equatorial plane in the year
2000
• Planet Equatorial: A reference plane
based on the equatorial plane of the
object’s parent body and the time of
your current Starry Night window.
Surface/Model Tab: On this tab, you can
import a 3D model (supports .3ds models
only) or create a surface for your new
object by importing an image file. Click
Add Model to select a .3ds model from
your hard drive or Download to visit a
website that contains additional .3ds
models. Click the Add Image button to
select an image file from your hard drive.
The Delete buttons remove your custom
model or image. This button will be
greyed out if you have not yet added a
custom model or image.
• Ecliptic: An ecliptic reference plane
based on the time of your current Starry
Night window.
• Ecliptic 1950: An ecliptic reference
plane based on the position of the
ecliptic plane in the year 1950.
• Ecliptic 2000: An ecliptic reference
plane based on the position of the
ecliptic plane in the year 2000.
• Equatorial: An Earth equatorial
reference plane based on the time of
your current Starry Night window.
• Equatorial 1950: An Earth equatorial
reference plane based on the position of
Earth’s equatorial plane in the year
1950.
• Equatorial 2000: An Earth equatorial
reference plane based on the position of
There is
some restriction on image size. The
maximum size is 1500 by 1500 pixels,
while the minimum is 25 by 25 pixels. If
the picture is too big or too small, your
computer will beep twice and not allow
the paste. We recommend using images
Image size and appearance:
Adding Your Own Data
that are about 600 pixels long by 300
pixels high.
Whatever picture you do use, its width is
wrapped around the planet, and the height
of it will go from pole to pole. Because
Starry Night maps the image on a sphere,
your image will be distorted in the
northern and southern latitudes. Keep the
important parts of your image near the
“equator”. For examples, look at the
default images of the planets. These
images can give you an idea of how an
object’s map relates to the appearance of
the planet.
If you have an imageediting program, such as Adobe
Photoshop, you can adjust your images so
that the seam (where the end of the
pictures meet when wrapped on a planet)
is minimized or invisible. Select one end
of the picture (for example, the right third
of the image), and cut it. Then slide the
remaining two-thirds of the image all the
way over to the right. Paste in the first
piece, and position it so that it is now the
left side of the image. You should now
have an obvious seam where the two
pieces are joined. At this point, you can
use the image-editing program to clean up
the seam, blending the two sides together
so that the join is less obvious. Now select
the entire picture and copy it. Then, using
the Orbit Editor, paste it into your Starry
Night object. The place on the object
where the two sides of the image meet
should now be seamless.
Seams on objects:
Other Settings: Using
the sliders and data
boxes in this tab, you can enter
information about your new planet’s
rotation rate, pole positions, diameter and
absolute magnitude.
Meridian Position: Sets the position of the
object’s prime meridian, in J2000
equatorial co-ordinates.
Sets the rate at which the
new object spins on its axis.
Rotation Rate:
Tidal Lock With Parent: Over
time, many
objects in the solar system become
gravitationally locked, that is, they keep
the same face towards their parent at all
times. Our Moon is a good example of this
phenomenon. Clicking this button
automatically locks your object by setting
its rotation to match its orbital period.
Pole RA: Sets the right ascension of the
object’s north pole, in reference to the
Equatorial co-ordinate system.
Pole Dec: Sets the declination of the
object’s north pole, in reference to the
Equatorial co-ordinate system.
Sets the diameter of your new
object, measured in kilometres.
Diameter:
Note: Comet tail lengths are determined
as a result of both absolute magnitude and
size of the comet nucleus (diameter).
Absolute Magnitude: Sets
the inherent
brightness of your object.
Saving Changes: Once you have entered
all of the data for your new object, close
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the Orbit Editor. A dialog box will appear,
warning you that changes have been made
to this database.
1 Choose File->New Asteroid Orbiting
Sun from the main menu to open the Orbit
Editor dialog box.
2 Change the object type to “Planet” and
name the new object “Planet X”.
Any new objects or changes you have
made using the Orbit Editor are not
permanently saved until you press the
Save button in this dialog box!
If you now open the Find pane and clear
the text box, you will see your new object
listed in its appropriate place among the
other solar system objects. You can now
centre on the object, turn on its orbit, or
perform any of the other functions you can
do with solar system objects in Starry
Night.
Updating Data: To change any of the
information for any new objects you have
added with the Orbit Editor, open the
object’s contextual menu and choose
Edit Orbital Elements. This reopens the
Orbit Editor and allows you to make any
necessary changes.
Example: Adding a new planet
This example shows you how to use the
Orbit Editor to add an imaginary new
planet to our solar system.
3 The orbit of your new object is shown in
red. Use the Increase Elevation button in
the Orbit Editor dialog box to rocket out to
an elevation of about 25 AU’s. The
outermost brown orbit which you can see
is the orbit of Jupiter.
4 Use the Mean Distance slider in the
orbital elements section of the Orbit Editor
to increase your planet’s mean distance to
about 20 AU’s. As you do this, the red orbit
that marks your planet will get larger,
eventually encompassing the orbit of
Jupiter.
5 Close the Orbit Editor window by
pressing Save.
6 Open the Find pane and clear the text
box. You should see “Planet X” listed just
underneath Jupiter. You can now centre on
Planet X, turn on its orbit, or perform any
of the other functions you can do with
planets in Starry Night.
Adding Objects 2 (Multiple Solar
System Objects)
The Orbit Editor is handy when you want
to add one or two new objects. However, it
is cumbersome to add large numbers of
objects (for example, a set of dim
asteroids). To add multiple comets,
satellites or asteroids, the best approach is
to manually edit the comet, asteroid and
satellite files. The data for these objects is
stored in the files “asteroids.txt”,
“comets.txt” and
“satellites.txt”, which are all
located in the “Starry Night\Sky
Data” folder (on the Macintosh, you will
need to Ctrl-click on the Starry Night
application icon and choose Show
Adding Your Own Data
Package Contents, then open the
“Resources” folder to view the “Sky
Data” folder).
You can open these files with a text editor
and copy and paste orbital elements for
new objects. This would be of use if you
wanted a larger satellite database (for
example) then the version in Starry Night’s
“satellites.txt” file. Our Orbital
Elements page: http://
www.starrynight.com/helpPro/
orbitalelements.shtml may have links to
larger database files. If you do plan to edit
text files directly, make sure you have the
“Automatically check for updates” option
in the
LiveSky->Auto Update Preferences
dialog box unchecked, because the
automatic update will wipe out any data
you have added to these files. Editing
these data files is only recommended if
you want to add a large number of objects.
If you only want to add one or two objects,
consider using the Orbit Editor instead.
Adding Objects 3 (Stars)
would occupy about 15 compact discs, so
Starry Night allows you to download data
for only the region of sky that you are
interested in.
Downloading stars from the online star
database works in this manner:
1
Centre on the area of sky you are
interested in and zoom in. You need to
select a relatively small section of the
sky (i.e. a small field of view).
Otherwise, the star file would be too
large to easily download.
2
Choose LiveSky->Download Stars
Now from the main menu. Starry Night
will begin downloading the appropriate
star file. Each file will vary in size from
about 100 kilobytes to 1.5 megabytes.
Once the file is downloaded, you will
see the new stars on your screen. The
downloaded star files are now a
permanent part of your database, and
will be present every time you run
Starry Night in the future.
Automatic Star Downloads: If
More than 16 million stars are included in
Starry Night. However, for some
observers, this will not be enough! If you
are using a CCD camera to capture images
of the night sky, you will be able to take
images with stars that are dimmer than the
dimmest stars in Starry Night (the
dimmest stars are about magnitude 14.5).
For this reason, Starry Night includes
online access to the USNO star catalogue,
a database of 500 million stars, as dim as
21th magnitude. The entire database
you choose
LiveSky->Automatic Star Downloads
from the main menu, Starry Night will
automatically download the appropriate
star data files from the Internet whenever
you zoom in to a small enough field of
view. Only select this option if you have a
fast connection to the Internet while you
are running Starry Night!
Deleting Downloaded Star Data: Starry
Night saves all star data that you have
downloaded from the Internet on your
hard drive, so the stars will be present
every time you run the program (you do
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not need to download the files again). If
you wish to delete these downloaded star
data to free up space on your hard drive,
choose
LiveSky->Preferences for Auto Updates
from the main menu and press the
Clear Star Cache button.
complete, Starry Night will prompt you
to name the new data file and save it to
your hard drive. By default, the new
data file will be saved in the same
folder as your original text file. Change
this so that the new data file is saved to
your "Starry Night\Sky Data" folder
(on the Macintosh, you will need to
Ctrl-click on the Starry Night
application icon and choose Show
Package Contents, then open the
“Resources” folder to view the
“Sky Data” folder).
Adding Objects 4 (Databases)
You can do more than add individual
objects to Starry Night, you can add entire
databases! In fact, many of the databases
described in
“Databases 4 (Other)” on page 83 were
originally created by Starry Night owners.
The recipe for creating a custom database
is simple:
1
Create a plain text file in the approved
format (see below for format
examples).
2
Run Starry Night and choose
File->Build Data File from the menu.
A dialog box will open that prompts
you to choose a file. Select the original
text file from your hard drive. Starry
Night will build a new data file based
on your text file. This data file will be
optimized for the rapid access the
program needs to quickly plot out the
thousands of objects displayed
onscreen. If your original text file was
not in the correct format, Starry Night
will display an error message at this
stage.
3
Once the data conversion process is
4
Exit and restart Starry Night. Open the
Options pane. Your database will be
listed, in the “Other” layer.
Once you have created a database, all of
the regular database options can be used to
control the display of your database. In
addition, you can use the Find pane to
locate any object in your database, and
open the Info pane for any object to get
more information.
Database Format Examples: The "Extra
Databases" folder on the Starry Night
DVD contains several sample text files.
Each file is in the proper format for Starry
Night's Build Data File command to build
a database. The file "Simple.txt"
shows a very basic database, while the file
"NGC-IC.txt" shows the actual text file
which was used to create an older version
of our NGC-IC database. This file is
extensively commented, to help you
understand exactly what each section of
the file is used for. You should look at the
"NGC-IC.txt" file before attempting to
build your own database. A few highlights
of building databases are described below.
Adding Your Own Data
Basic Fields: For every object in your
database, you can enter the following
information fields: catalogue number,
catalogue kind, magnitude, kind, right
ascension, declination, and name. See the
"NGC-IC.txt" file to learn the meanings
of each of these fields. The magnitude and
name fields are optional - if an object does
not have a known value for one or both of
these fields, just leave the field blank. The
other fields are mandatory.
Optional Fields: You
can add up to 8
additional information fields for your
database. These fields will then appear in
Starry Night’s Info pane for every object
in your database. Different databases will
have different information fields. Certain
optional field labels have specific
meanings, and are actually used by Starry
Night when it draws your object onscreen.
For example, Starry Night can use the
optional field "Diameter" to draw your
object a specific size. See the "NGCIC.txt" file for more details.
Object Symbols: For each type of object in
your database, Starry Night can show a
different symbol onscreen, in the colour of
your choice. For example, a database of
galaxies might be represented onscreen
with yellow symbols to mark spiral
galaxies, and red symbols to mark
elliptical galaxies. Yellow triangles might
mark barred spiral galaxies, while yellow
circles mark unbarred spiral galaxies. You
can use Starry Night's built-in symbols, or
you can create your own symbols.
User Images
Starry Night lets you add images of any
area of the night sky. You can use your
own images, or download them from the
Digitized Sky Survey or any other Internet
site.
Note: This section covers adding images
for objects that do not already have an
image in Starry Night. To modify the
images of objects that already have images
(planets, moons, Messier objects, etc.), see
“Modifying Images and Models” on
page 175.
Adding Your Own Images: You
can add
any image on your computer’s hard drive
to Starry Night. If you want to add an
image from an Internet site, first save this
image to your hard drive. Once the image
that you want to add to Starry Night is on
your hard drive, follow these steps:
1
Right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on
the object or area of the sky where you
want to add your image. For example,
assume you want to add an image of
the globular cluster NGC 5466. You
would first find NGC 5466 onscreen,
and then right-click (Ctrl-click on the
Mac) on it.
Tip: It is also possible to add images that
cover more than one object, for example, a
wide-field image that includes several
galaxies and nebulae. Just right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on any of the
objects that appear in the image, and
choose Add Image from the object’s
contextual menu. You can then use the
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Image Editor controls (described in the
next section) to line up your image
correctly.
2
3
4
5
Once your image is aligned, press the
Details button in the upper left corner
of the window. This opens a dialog box
which lets you name your image and
add other optional information, such as
picture source, notes, object kind,
magnitude, and distance.
6
The Image Editor window also has a
Background Reduction box (the box
only becomes visible after you have
pasted in an image).
Choose Add Image from the object’s
contextual menu. This opens the Image
Editor dialog box.
Click the From File button or the Paste
button. The From File button allows
you to select an image from your hard
drive, while the Paste button will paste
an image that you have copied to your
clipboard. Once you have selected the
image, press OK and your image will
be pasted into the Image Editor
window.
Align the image using the controls
available in the Image Editor. There are
controls for sizing, shifting, flipping,
and rotating the image as needed. All of
these controls are described in
“Image Editor Controls” on page 174.
All nearby stars from Starry Night’s
databases appear in green, making it
easier to visually align your image with
any stars that might be in it.
This box allows you to reduce the
brightness of an image. If you have an
overexposed image, placing it into
Starry Night will often result in an
unattractive, “boxy” look where the
edges of your image contrast greatly
with the black background sky.
Reducing the image brightness using
this box can eliminate this problem.
Once you have adjusted your image
brightness and entered all relevant
information, press Save to exit the
Image Editor.
Adding Your Own Data
Adding Images from the Digitized Sky
Survey: You can use Starry Night’s web
link to the Digitized Sky Survey to
download and paste in images of galaxies,
nebula, or any other object. See
“Downloading Photographic Images” on
page 77 for more about the Digitized Sky
Survey.
To add an image using the Digitized Sky
Survey:
1
Right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on
the object of which you would like to
download an image.
2
Choose Add Image from the object’s
contextual menu to open the Image
Editor. Starry Night will have
automatically guessed at the area of the
sky for which you wish to download an
image, based on the size of the original
object you selected. This area will be
marked with a yellow square. In most
cases you will not need to change this,
but you can enlarge, shrink or shift the
image bounds if you wish, using the
Image Editor controls, described in
“Image Editor Controls” on page 174.
3
Click the From DSS button. Starry
Night will begin downloading the DSS
image. This may take a few minutes,
depending on the server load. Once the
image is downloaded, it will appear in
the Image Editor dialog box.
Tip: If you wish, you can also download
the DSS image into your Internet browser,
by pressing the Web button. If you then
copy this image to your clipboard, you can
paste it into the Image Editor by pressing
the Paste button. The Paste button can be
used to paste in any images that are on
your clipboard.
4
The image should automatically be
aligned with the background stars. If
for some reason, it is not perfectly
aligned, you can align the image using
the Image Editor controls.
5
When you are satisfied that your image
is correctly aligned, press the Details
button in the upper left corner of the
window, to add an image name, add
other information, and use the
Background Reduction box (if
necessary). Then press Save twice to
exit the Image Editor.
Note: Downloading images from the
Digitized Sky Survey is not the same as
downloading star data from the Internet
(discussed in “Adding Objects 3 (Stars)”
on page 169). When you download star
data, each star can be selected as an
individual object in Starry Night. When
you download a DSS image, the individual
stars in this image cannot be selected, and
no information can be obtained about
them from the program.
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Image Editor Controls: The celestial
sphere is an imaginary globe that encloses
Earth. We can imagine that all the stars,
planets, and other celestial objects are
painted onto the inner surface of this
sphere. Adding an image to Starry Night
means painting a new image onto the inner
surface of this sphere. The following
Image Editor controls affect the placement
of your image on the celestial sphere:
Increases or decreases the
area that your image occupies on
the celestial sphere.
need to use these zoom buttons to see the
full extent of your image.
Accessing Your Images: All
images that
you add go into a new database called
“User Images”. You control this database
by using the “User Images” options in the
Deep Space layer of the Options pane. As
with all other databases, you can turn the
database on/off, or search for specific
objects in the database.
Size:
Height: Increases or decreases the
vertical extent of your image on
the celestial sphere, while leaving
the horizontal extent unchanged.
Width: Increases or decreases the
horizontal extent of your image
on the celestial sphere, while
leaving the vertical extent unchanged.
Rotate: Rotates
the position of
your image on the celestial
sphere in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
Flip: Flips
your image
horizontally or vertically relative
to the background stars.
Slide: Slides
the position of
your image on the celestial
sphere horizontally or
vertically.
This control does not
affect the placement of your
image on the celestial sphere, it
simply zooms your view in or out. If you
used the Image Editor to increase or
decrease the area of your image, you may
Zoom:
Note: Images that you have added are
mapped onto a section of the celestial
sphere, not to a particular object. For
example, assume you have added a new
image that shows an NGC object. You
would turn this image on/off by using the
“User Images” options in the
Options pane, not the “NGC-IC” options.
You can modify any
of your custom images at any time. Locate
the image onscreen and right-click
(Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the image to
open its contextual menu. Choose
Edit Image to open the Image Editor. You
can adjust the existing image, or press the
Clear Image button to add a completely
new image.
Editing Your Images:
Tip: It is easier to open an image’s
contextual menu if you turn off every
database in the Options pane except
“User Images”. Otherwise, you may find
Starry Night opening the contextual menu
for an object, instead of the menu for its
image.
Adding Your Own Data
Modifying Images and Models
It is possible to replace any of the built-in
images and models in Starry Night with
images or models of your own. The
images you can replace fall into two
categories: objects in our solar system, and
deep space objects in the “Messier” and
“Bright Objects” databases. The models
you can replace fall only into the solar
system category.
Solar System Objects: To modify the
image or model of any object in our solar
system, right-click on the object (Ctrlclick on the Mac) to open its contextual
menu. Choose Edit Surface Image/
Model... from the menu.
The dialog box that opens has exactly the
same controls as the Surface Image/Model
tab in the Orbit Editor, which you use to
add surface images and models for new
solar system objects. See “Surface/Model
Tab” on page 166 for information on these
controls.
For some objects in our solar system, such
as the Moon, Earth and Mars, you have an
option of planetary textures. To select a
default texture for an object, use the
dropbox above the Add Image button.
Messier and Bright NGC Objects: You can
modify any of the images in Starry Night’s
“Messier” and “Bright NGC Objects”
database of deep space objects by
performing the following steps (see
“Messier Objects” on page 82 and
“Bright NGC Objects” on page 82 if you
have forgotten which objects are included
in these databases):
1
Right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on
the object whose image you want to
replace.
2
Choose Edit Image from the object’s
contextual menu.
3
Press the Clear Image button to clear
the existing image.
4
Press the From File button to select an
image from your hard drive, or the
From DSS button to download an
image from the Digitized Sky Survey.
5
Position and size your image correctly
using the Image Editor’s controls.
6
Click Save.
Note: Use caution when replacing these
images. Once you replace an image, you
cannot return to the original image
without reinstalling Starry Night.
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Custom Horizons
and drag them. This will change their
size and /or position.
5
To make your viewing experience even
more realistic, you can modify your
surroundings in Starry Night to more
closely resemble the area in which you
live.
To modify the scenery set:
1
Open the Options pane, expand the
Local View layer and open the Local
Horizon Options dialog box.
2
Check the box marked “Custom” and
then close the dialog box.
3
Choose Edit->Edit Custom Horizon
from the main menu.
When you are finished editing the
horizon, select
Edit->Edit Custom Horizon again. A
dialog box will appear, telling you that
changes have been made to the horizon
and asking if you want to save these
changes. If you are satisfied with the
changes, select Save.
Caution! This alters the default
horizon file “Earth.txt”. Once you
have saved your changes, the only way
to revert to the original horizon is to
copy the original file from the Starry
Night DVD.
Photorealistic Horizons
One of the exciting features of Starry
Night is the ability to simulate your local
landscape by adding 360 degree photos of
your own backyard and favorite observing
sites. By default Starry Night comes with
several photorealistic horizons that you
can use when viewing from the Earth.
Visit http://www.starrynight.com/help/
photorealisticHorizons/ for instructions on
how to add your own custom horizons!
4
A series of yellow squares, or nodes,
appear on the far and near horizons. If
you click and drag a node, you can
adjust the topography of the landscape
in the current view. You can also click
on any of the trees along the horizon,
Not only can you make your own
photorealistic horizons for Earth, but also
for any planet and many moons in the
solar system.
If you’d like to share your own
photorealistic landscape with other Starry
Night users, you can submit your final
work to http://www.starrynight.com/
support/customer_question.html.
Adding Your Own Data
Note: Photorealistic horizons require an
OpenGL capable graphics card.
Customizing the Favourites Menu
You were introduced to the Favourites
menu in “The Favourites Menu” on
page 147. Recall that this menu is a quick
shortcut to a selection of pre-made Starry
Night files. The options at the top of this
menu allow you to customize this menu
and add your own files. This can be
particularly effective if you are giving a
lecture or presentation and need to open a
lot of files in a short period of time.
add a new
file to the Favourites menu, set up a scene
in Starry Night, exactly as if you were
creating a new file (see
“Creating Files - An Example” on
page 148 if you are not familiar with
creating Starry Night files). Then choose
Favourites->Add Favourite from the
main menu. The Favourites side pane will
open and prompt you to name your file.
From now on, your file will be listed at the
bottom of both the Favourites menu and
the Favourites side pane, and can be
opened in the same fashion as any other
file in these menus.
Modifying files: You can modify any of the
files listed in the Favourites menu. To
modify a file, first open the file, from the
Favourites menu, or the Favourites side
pane. Next, modify the file in any fashion
using the Starry Night controls. Finally,
choose Favourites->Save Favourite from
the main menu. A dialog box will appear,
asking you if you wish to overwrite the
existing file. Choose Replace Favourite
to overwrite the existing file.
Adding new files or folders: To
Adding notes to files: You
can add
personal text notes to any file in the
Favourites side pane. Open the Favourite
file you want to add a note to and select
File->Edit Document Notes.
If you plan to add a lot of files to the
Favourites menu, you may wish to create
folders within this menu to subdivide your
files and make them easier to retrieve. To
do this, choose Favourites->Add
Favourite Folder from the main menu.
Files and folders in the Favourites side
pane are “drag and drop”, so it is easy to
move them around and arrange them in the
order you prefer.
Use the text box to enter any additional
information about the file. Then click the
Ok button. To attach and save your note to
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the file, you must resave the file from the
Favourites->Save Favourite menu.
A small info icon will then appear to
the left of the file name in the
Favourites pane. Click this icon to read
your notes. If you wish to edit the note you
added, select File->Edit Document Notes
and resave the file to make the changes
permanent.
Custom Asterisms
Different cultures see the stars in different
ways, joining them together to form
recognizable patterns. Each one of these
patterns is called an asterism. While today,
the stick figures for the 88 "official"
constellations are the best-known set of
asterisms, many other sets exist. Even for
the 88 "official" constellations, there is
more than one way to draw the stick
figures. Starry Night makes it possible for
you to create your own set of custom
asterisms. To create a new set of asterisms,
you need to create a plain text file in the
proper format, and save this file in your
“Starry Night\Sky
Data\Asterisms” folder (on the
Macintosh, you will need to
Ctrl-click on the Starry Night application
icon and choose
Show Package Contents, then open the
“Resources” folder to view the “Sky
Data” folder). The next time you run
Starry Night, open the Options pane and
expand the Constellations layer. Open the
Constellation Options dialog box. Your
new set of asterisms will be listed
alongside the other sets of stick figures.
To see the format for an asterism file, open
the text file "Oriental Moon
Stations.txt" in your “Starry
Night\Sky Data\Asterisms”
folder . This is the exact file which Starry
Night uses to render the Oriental moon
station set of stick figures onscreen. The
format is quite straightforward. You need
to specify a name for your new set of
asterisms (for example, "Oriental Moon
Stations"). For each asterism in this set,
you need to enter the asterism's name, the
approximate position in the sky of the
asterism's centre, and each of the lines
between stars that define the shape and
size of this asterism.
Note: If you create a new set of asterims
and would like to share it with other users,
please contact us at http://
www.starrynight.com/supportl. We would
love to have a reference set of files that
depicts the figures of many cultures!
Backing Up Custom Data
You may wish to back up your custom data
in case of a computer problem. If you ever
change computers, you will also need to
move this custom data. This section
outlines where each piece of custom
information is stored, so you will know
which files you need to back up
Windows/Mac File Structure Differences:
Most custom data is stored inside the
“Sky Data” folder or the “Prefs”
folder. On Windows, the “Prefs” folder
is inside the “C:\Documents and
Settings\<user name here>\Local
Settings\Application Data\Imaginova
Canada” folder. On the Mac, the “Prefs”
Adding Your Own Data
folder is inside the “User/Library/
Preferences/Imaginova Canada” folder.
Settings Files: If
you have customized
your settings, using the menu option
Options->Save Current Options as
Default, these changes will be saved in the
file “Default Settings.sno” in the
“Prefs\<product name>” folder. If
you have used the Options->Save
Preset... command to create additional
settings files, these files (including your
print settings) will be saved in the “Sky
Data\View Options” folder.
Objects Added With the Orbit Editor: The
“UserPlanets.ssd” file in the “Sky
Data” folder contains all information for
objects added with the Orbit Editor. If you
have pasted in surface images for these
objects, they will be stored in the folder
“Sky Data\Planet Images”.
Objects Added By Modifying Text Files
(Satellites, Comets, Asteroids): These
objects are stored in the files
“Satellites.txt”, “Comets.txt”,
and “Asteroids.txt”, all in the “Sky
Data” folder.
Databases: Any databases you have added
will be stored in the “Sky Data” folder.
For example, a database named
“Spacecraft” would be saved as the file
“Spacecraft.ssd”.
Modified Images: If
you have modified
any images of solar system objects by
pasting in new images, these images will
be saved in the “Prefs\Planet
Images” folder under the object’s name.
For example, a modified image of the Sun
will be saved as “Sun.pct”. If you have
modified images in the “Messier” or
“Bright Objects” database, the text files
named “Messier Objects.txt” and
“Bright NGC Objects.txt” in the
“Sky Data” folder contain information
on the size, name and position of all
images you have modified. The folders
“Sky Data\Messier Objects
Images” and “Sky Data\Bright
NGC Objects Images” contain the
actual image files.
Custom “Favourites” Files: These files are
stored in the “Sky Data\Go” folder.
Custom Asterisms: New
asterism sets are
stored in the “Sky Data\Asterisms”
folder.
FOV Indicators and Equipment List: If you
have added any new field of view
indicators or created an equipment list (see
“Field of View Indicators” on page 60 for
more information), these indicators will be
saved in the “Prefs\Equipment”
folder.
Stars: Stars downloaded from the online
star database will be saved in the “Sky
Data\USNO” folder.
User Images: The
text file named
“User Images.txt” in the folder
“Sky Data” contains information on the
size, name and position of all new images
you have added. The folder “Sky
Data\User Images Images”
contains the actual image files.
Custom Horizons: Changes to the custom
horizon profile are saved in the file
“Earth.txt” in the “Sky
Data\Horizons” folder. New
photorealistic horizon panoramas are
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saved in the “Sky Data\Horizon
Panoramas” folder.
Object Log Entries: Log
entries are stored
in the “Prefs\Logs” folder.
Observing Lists: Lists created in the Lists
pane are saved in the
“Prefs\Sessions” folder. Observing
lists can be used with other users by
sharing the files in the “Sessions”
folder.
Chapter 10
Starry Night Pro Plus
This chapter describes exclusive features
available only in Starry Night Pro Plus. These
exclusive features include:
1
AllSky CCD Mosaic
2
AllSky Options
3
AllSky Frequently Asked Questions
4
Nebula Outlines
5
High Resolution Images
6
MaxIm DL Plug-In (Windows only)
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AllSky CCD Mosaic
Have you ever wondered what it would be
like to have an interactive, full-color
photographic star atlas fused with a
powerful desktop planetarium? Starry
Night now offers you the most realistic
rendition of the night sky by presenting
you with the AllSky CCD mosaic of the
sky that can be viewed from any location
on Earth. The full-color AllSky image is
precisely aligned to the Starry Night
computer generated stars and databases.
We have named this image ‘AllSky’
because it provides uniform coverage from
pole to pole — the whole sky is a single
picture. See the entire Milky Way in
exquisite detail and then zoom in to
explore dust lanes and nebulae. Why have
dots and circles if you can see an actual
photo of a star or deep sky object!
Exploring the night sky has never been
this much fun.
Turning on the AllSky image: Open
the
Options pane and expand the Stars layer.
Click on the “AllSky Image” checkbox to
turn it on.
Note: Turning on the AllSky image will
turn off all other image databases by
default.The AllSky image is overlaid on
top of the computer generated stars. This
allows you to see an actual photographic
image of the stars while still being able to
place your cursor on top of any star and
identify it.
Tip: The AllSky image presents the entire
sky as a full-color, seamless mosaic, and at
several resolution levels (5 in all). As you
zoom in, a message appears on the upper
right corner of the main window informing
you that a new image is being loaded in.
As you scroll to adjacent areas in the sky,
new images are loaded at a resolution
level dependent on your zoom (field of
view).
AllSky Options
Click on the “AllSky Image” name in the
pane to open a dialog box with options for
the AllSky image.
Starry Night Pro Plus
Precision: At
wide fields of view, Starry
Night uses a grid system to line up the
AllSky image with the computer generated
stars. Moving the Precision slider towards
“More Precise” provides a better match
between the photographic stars in the
AllSky image and the computer generated
stars.This takes more processing power. If
you find Starry Night slow while scrolling
the sky, move the slider towards “Faster
Scrolling”.
Quality: The
AllSky image is a seameless
mosaic of many large image files that are
loaded in on demand when you zoom in or
scroll around the sky. To help minimize
delays incurred while loading, you can
selet a lower resolution image set. Each
step up in quality doubles the pixel
resolution of the image. The High quality
option, will only be available if your video
card has 96 MB of VRAM and higher.
Display options: Allows you to turn off
other images when the AllSky image is on.
This will eliminate a ‘double image’
effect. You can also select to not display
the AllSky image at fields of view of less
than one degree.
Tip: More information about the AllSky
image and how it was created, is available
in the SkyGuide pane. In SkyGuide, click
on the Exclusive to Starry Night Pro Plus
link to learn more about this feature.
Note: The AllSky is a static image. We do
take into account precession so that the
AllSky photographic stars match the
computer generated stars. Unfortunately,
the AllSky image can not show the proper
motion of the stars. For dates far into the
distant past or future, the stars in the
AllSky image might not match the
computer generated stars which do take
into account proper motion.
AllSky CCD Mosaic Frequently
Asked Questions
Other planetarium programs present
images of certain deep-sky objects, or
allow you to click on an object to see a
picture. Is Starry Night the same?
The AllSky image in Starry Night presents
the ENTIRE sky as a full-color, seamless
mosaic, and at several resolution levels
dependent upon your zoom setting. An
important advantage of this is the
consistent resolution, color and depth of
coverage, eliminating the uncertainties of
comparing images from many and varied
sources. And navigating your way around,
or zooming in or out, is only a mouse click
away.
Starry Night is the world's only available
fully interactive, image-based digital sky
atlas/planetarium software.
What is the AllSky image quality like?
It is very good! Of course there are
unavoidable limitations, which become
apparent mainly when zooming in to near
0.5 degrees, the smallest field-of-view
setting. In order to make the image
database manageable it had to be
compressed. We developed a proprietary
compression scheme which preserves
much of the original image quality, but
when zoomed in enough the compression
artifacts do start to show up. Remember,
you have the entire sky at your disposal,
and it's fitted on one DVD.
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How faint can I see?
How far can I zoom in and out?
The stellar limiting magnitude is
approximately 14. Although we have seen
fainter stars — almost 15th magnitude —
we have chosen to be conservative in our
claims. Since Starry Night is comprised of
real images taken under varying
conditions, the actual stellar limiting
magnitude can vary somewhat. However,
in the process of equalizing the imagery
for the mosaic, limiting magnitude
differences have been reduced to less than
those apparent in many published
photographic atlases.
The widest view possible is 180 degrees,
which is imposed by the projection
currently used. This is equivalent to the
amount of sky visible above an
obstruction-free horizon, or one-half of the
entire celestial sphere. The closest you can
zoom in to is a 0.5 degree high field of
view — at typical monitor screen sizes,
this is equivalent to viewing a globe of the
sky about 240 feet (75 meters) in
diameter!
How well do small objects like galaxies
appear inStarry Night?
The native resolution of the original
images is 12 arc seconds per pixel. This
sampling rate allowed us to fit all the sky
image data on one DVD, while still
showing a tremendous amount of detail in
deep sky objects. For example, there is
enough resolution to show structure in the
larger showpiece galaxies. Indeed, the
recorded detail in most "fuzzies" such as
galaxies and nebulae requires 6 to 10-inch
(15 to 25 cm) apertures to see visually.
Starry Night Pro Plus, as it is, is pushing
the limits of modern computer technology
commonly found at home. Had a finer
resolution setting been used, the volume of
data would have ballooned to
unmanageable levels. That would have
made scanning around the sky, currently
so easy with Starry Night, frustratingly
slow.
How well does the imagery show double
stars?
At the imaged resolution of 12 arcseconds
per pixel, two faint stars separated by this
amount would appear as an elongated
blob. In actuality, star images occupy at
least a few square pixels in area, so the
closest resolvable pair would be nearer to
20 arcseconds.
Can I adjust the view in order to
simulate what I might expect to see in
my telescope?
You can adjust the brightness of the
AllSky image to to quite closely mimic a
telescopic view. And when you take Starry
Night Pro Plus outside with your
telescope, switch to night vision (red)
mode to preserve your dark adaption.
Can I capture images of the sky display
for use elsewhere?
You can export areas of interest as an
image by selecting Export as Image from
the File menu..You can save the image in a
number of popular image formats.
Starry Night Pro Plus
Tip: To make photo-based printouts for
field use, simply invert the captured image,
convert it to grey scale and send it to your
printer.
Nebula outline options: Open the Options
pane and expand the “Deep Space layer”.
Then expand the “Nebula” sub-layer for a
list of all available nebula types.
Does the AllSky image take into account
precession and proper motion?
The AllSky is a static image. We do
however take into account precession so
that the AllSky photographic stars match
the computer generated stars.
Unfortunately, the AllSky image can not
show the proper motion of the stars. For
dates far into the distant past or future, the
stars in the AllSky image might not match
the computer generated stars which do
take into account proper motion.
Nebula Outlines
Starry Night Pro Plus contains the outlines
and positional data for 1400 dark, emission, planetary and reflection nebulae.
High Resolution Images
Zoom in and explore the surface of Mars
and Earth in unprecedented detail with
higher resolution surface maps.
Mars: The Mars shaded color map in
Starry Night Pro Plus is a 24-bit color map
representing the Mars land mass
topography above the sea.
Earth: Hover above Earth and take a quick
dive into the atmosphere for a detailed
surface map of 1 km (.6 miles) resolution.
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MaxIm DL Plug-In (Windows
only)
to take a picture of the current camera
field (where the telescope is pointing).
For years, the software program MaxIm
DL from Diffraction Limited has been the
premiere package for astronomical CCD
imaging and image processing.
6 Control is passed to MaxIm DL, which
now takes a picture.
Now you can target and capture an image
in Starry Night with a plug-in to MaxIm
DL. This innovative integration lets you
find your target, take and process images
with MaxIm DL and then import these
pictures back into Starry Night. Take your
passion for the night sky to new heights
with the ability to create your own
stunning astrophotography.
Note: MaxIm DL Advanced CCD Imaging
Sotware is available only for Windows and
is sold separately.
7 After MaxIm DL captures the image,
press the Import Image button in the
Imaging layer of the Telescope pane of
Starry Night to import the image from
MaxIm DL into the Starry Night Image Editor window.
8 In the Image Editor window, you can
adjust the size, rotation, name, notes and
other parameters of the image, to match it
to the background sky (this will be done
automatically if you have MaxIm DL perform a ‘PinPoint’ astrometry function on
the image before import).
It is that easy. Your image is now stored in
Starry Night and can be viewed at any
time by checking the User Images box in
the Deep Space layer of the Options pane.
Tip: Images are saved in the User Images
folder and User Images.txt file located by
default under C:\Program Files\Starry
Night Pro Plus 5\Sky Data. We suggest you
backup this folder and file from time to
time.
Example: Capturing images with
Starry Night and MaxIm DL
1 Open Starry Night. The plug-in is
installed by default.
Plug-in settings: Pressing the Settings
button allow you to specify the exposure
time and binning for the image. Binning
shrinks the image by combining adjacent
pixels together into a single "super-pixel".
2 Open MaxIm DL and have your telescope and camera ready for imaging.
Note: Plug-in requires MaxIm DL version
4.0.7 and higher.
3 Using Starry Night, find a target you are
interested in imaging.
About MaxIm DL:
4 Open the Telescope pane in Starry
Night.
5 Expand the Imaging layer to reveal a
set of imaging controls. Press the
Acquire Image button to tell MaxIm DL
MaxIm DL is the fastest
and easiest way to image the night sky.
Whether you want to produce stunning
portraits, collect science data, or hunt for
new objects, MaxIm DL has the tools you
need.
Starry Night Pro Plus
Key Benefits:
1
Complete observatory integration —
control your CCD camera, filter wheel,
autoguider, telescope, focuser, and
dome. Includes auto-center, auto-focus,
and link to planetarium program.
2
Supports your equipment — works
with more equipment models than any
other package.
3
Comprehensive image processing tools
— dozens of filter and processing
options, full image preview, filter by
brightness level.
4
Image analysis tools — includes
photometric analysis, astrometric
reduction, supernova hunting, line/area
profile, statistics, and more.
Maxim DL from Diffraction Limited
http://www.cyanogen.com/
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Appendix A
Frequently Asked Questions
This section answers the most common questions
about Starry Night. The most up to date version
of this FAQ is available online by choosing Help>Online Help from the Starry Night menu.
The web version of the FAQ is especially useful
for websites mentioned on this page. Their links
may have changed since this PDF manual was
made, in which case the new links will be in the
online FAQ.
If your question still isn’t answered, contact us at
http://www.starrynight.com/support.
QuickTime
What is QuickTime and why do I need it?
QuickTime is a tool for manipulating graphics
files and constructing and viewing animation
sequences. Starry Night uses it to allow you to
make movies of Starry Night sequences and to
save screen images from Starry Night as graphics
files. Starry Night will not run at all unless you
have version 7.0 or later of QuickTime.
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Registration Number
How do I register my copy of Starry
Night?
We encourage you to register by visiting
our online registration page:
http://www.starrynight.com/register. This
allows us to notify you of any bug fixes,
updates or new plugins for Starry Night.
I want to move my copy of Starry Night
to a new computer. How do I retrieve
my registration number?
Choose Registration from the Help menu
(Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh).
Installation
I already have a version of Starry Night
on my computer. Do I need to remove
them before I install ?
No. Starry Night will be installed as a
completely new program, and you can
choose to keep the other version of Starry
Night on your computer or remove it.
If you have an older version of Starry
Night, you may have customized your
older version in some ways (for example,
by adding images, creating custom settings
or using the Orbit Editor). To transfer this
information to Starry Night, first create a
new folder on your hard drive. Then save
all of the customized files in this folder.
See “Backing Up Custom Data” on
page 178 for information on the location
of all customized files.
Once Starry Night is successfully
installed, you can then place your saved
custom files in the appropriate folders,
overwriting Starry Night’s default files
when necessary.
Support
My questions aren't answered in the
manual or this FAQ. Who can I
contact?
You can contact us at http://
www.starrynight.com/support. for help
with your problems.
Are there any other support resources?
Yes, there is a Starry Night Discussion List
for owners of Starry Night to share
program information and ask other owners
questions. Sign up for this list at http://
www.starrynight.com/support/
discussion_lists.html. The Usenet
newsgroup "sci.astro.amateur" is also a
good resource for general questions about
astronomy and observing.
Updates/Upgrades
How do I find out if I have the latest
version of Starry Night?
First, retrieve your current version number
by choosing About Starry Night from the
Help menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh). The first
three numbers in the code shown in the
bottom left corner are your version
number. Then select
LiveSky->Check for Program Updates
from the menu. This will connect you to
Frequently Asked Questions
the updates page on our website, which
lists the latest updates. If a newer version
is available, click the appropriate link to
download the updater file.
Will future updates be free?
Bug fixes and minor feature updates to
Starry Night will be available as free
Internet downloads to existing owners.
Major feature updates will be available for
an upgrade price.
OpenGL
horizons. Finally, stars will look more
realistic and orbit and path lines will not
look as jagged.
I have an OpenGL card but things are
still choppy. How do I improve
performance?
Upgrading to a 64 MB (or greater) Video
Card will significantly enhance OpenGL
performance. Switching from millions of
colors (32 bit) to thousands of colors (16
bit) can improve performance, but will
reduce image quality.
Do I need an OpenGL graphics card to
run Starry Night?
I'm getting an error message when I
turn OpenGL on. What should I do?
No. Upon startup, Starry Night will check
your hardware to see if you have an
OpenGL compatible graphics card. If you
do not have such a card, Starry Night will
automatically run the non-OpenGL
version. If for some reason, you have an
OpenGL graphics card but do not wish to
run the OpenGL version of Starry Night,
choose Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh), choose OpenGL from the
dropbox in the upper left corner of the
Preferences dialog box, and uncheck the
option “Use OpenGL”.
This can happen if you are using an older
video driver. You should visit the web site
of your video cards manufacturer and
download the latest driver available for the
make and model of your card. Drivers are
usually available in the Support or
Download areas of the web site.
What differences will I see if I run
Starry Night on an OpenGL compatible
graphics card?
Starry Night will run much faster because
it takes advantage of OpenGL’s graphics
rendering technology. In addition,
OpenGL users will see much higherresolution solar system object surface
maps, and photorealistic panoramic
Time & Date
Starry Night doesn’t display the correct
time when I start up. How do I fix this?
Starry Night reads the time from your
computer clock. Make sure it is set
correctly there. On Windows, you can
access the clock by clicking the Start
button on your desktop and choosing
Settings->Control Panel, then doubleclicking on “Date/Time” in the list which
appears. On the Mac, click on the System
Preferences icon on the dock, and then
select Date & Time.
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The correct time is shown in the toolbar
when I start Starry Night, but the sun
rises and sets at the wrong time. How do
I fix this?
Most likely you have entered the wrong
time zone for your home location. Choose
Set Home Location from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) to see what the time zone is
set at, and change the time zone in this
window if necessary. If you do not know
your time zone, see the next question.
How do I find my time zone?
Time zones are in relation to London,
England. People on Eastern Time are 5
hours behind London time, so they should
put "-5h" for their time zone. Those on
Central Time would enter "-6h" and so on.
Visit the World Time Zone Map at http://
aa.usno.navy.mil/AA/faq/docs/
world_tzones.html if you do not know the
time zone of your home location.
Do the sunrise/sunset times account for
the refraction of light due to the earth's
atmosphere?
Yes. The bending of light due to the
Earth’s atmosphere is accounted for by
simply lowering the horizon about 1/2
degree. This gives the correct rise and set
times for the sun and moon but doesn’t
affect the relative positions of the stars.
How does Daylight Saving Time work in
Starry Night?
When you start up Starry Night, the
program checks your computer's date/time
settings to find out if Daylight Saving
Time is in effect for the current date, and if
so, automatically adjusts the sky to
account for this. If Daylight Saving Time
is "on" in Starry Night, the little icon of the
sun immediately to the left of the time in
the toolbar will be coloured yellow. Click
on this icon to turn off Daylight Saving
Time (if Daylight Savings Time is already
on, clicking this icon will turn it off). Note
that Starry Night only checks to see if
Daylight Saving Time is in effect when
you open the program. This means that
you may have to turn on or off Daylight
Saving Time if you change the date from
within the program. For example, let's say
you open the program in June. Starry
Night checks with the operating system
and determines that Daylight Saving Time
is in effect, so the icon of the sun in the
toolbar is lit up. However, you are
interested in viewing a solar eclipse in
December, so you change the date in
Starry Night to sometime in December.
Starry Night will not automatically turn
Daylight Saving Time off. You need to
click on the icon of the sun to manually
turn Daylight Saving Time off.
Can I get Starry Night to show the time
using the 24-hour clock?
Yes. On Windows, Starry Night looks to
the Windows registry to determine the
time format. If it can't find a registry entry
for regional date settings then it defaults to
the 12 hour clock. Unfortunately UK
Windows does not automatically place the
date format in the registry where Starry
Night expects to see it. To work around
this, you should open the "Regional
Settings" control panel, switch the time
format to something other than the current
setting, click OK, then reopen the
Frequently Asked Questions
"Regional Settings" control panel and
switch to the 24-hour clock. After
restarting Starry Night it should be using
the new time format. On the Macintosh
you can reset the time format from the
Date and Time System Preferences. After
restarting Starry Night it should be using
the new time format.
Can I get Starry Night to show dates in
the European format?
Yes. On Windows, Starry Night looks to
the Windows registry to determine the
order in which to show dates. If it can't
find a registry entry for regional date
settings then it defaults to the US month,
day, year. Unfortunately UK Windows
does not automatically place the date
format in the registry where Starry Night
expects to see it. To work around this you
should open the "Regional Settings"
control panel, switch the date format to
something other than the current setting,
click OK, then reopen the "Regional
Settings" control panel and switch to the
UK day-month-year order. After restarting
Starry Night it should be using the new
date format. On the Macintosh you can
reset the date format from the Date and
Time System Preferences. After restarting
Starry Night it should be using the new
date format.
When I view from off the Earth, the
time reads "UT". What does this mean?
UT is short for "Universal Time". This is
the same thing as Greenwich Mean Time,
and is the time in London, England (not
accounting for daylight saving time).
Universal Time is used as a standard
reference time for astronomical events by
astronomers around the world. When you
are viewing from a location off the Earth,
your old "time zone" does not really apply,
so Starry Night uses Universal Time.
Does Starry Night use the Gregorian or
Julian calendar for old dates?
Starry Night uses the old Julian calendar
for all dates before Oct. 15, 1582, and the
Gregorian calendar for all dates more
recent than this. The dates Oct. 5-Oct. 14,
1582 do not exist in Starry Night, to
account for the ten days which were
skipped when the new calendar was
introduced.
Viewing Location
I’ve tried changing my home location,
but everytime I restart the program, it
reverts to the old location. How do I
change my home location?
You have to change your home location by
selecting Set Home Location from the
File menu (Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh) and
changing your location from this window.
Any location changes that you make
elsewhere in Starry Night only affect your
current viewing location, not your home
location.
My city isn’t in the list of cities in Starry
Night’s Viewing Location dialog box,
and I don’t know my latitude and
longitude. Where can I find this
information?
Just click the Lookup Lat/Long On
Internet button in the Latitude/
Longitude tab of the Viewing Location
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dialog box to visit a website with
information on finding your latitude and
longitude.
See “How do I find my time zone?” on
page 192 if you do not know your time
zone.
How do I go to Mars or another planet?
Open the Find pane to see a list of planets.
Double-click on the name of the planet
you wish to visit, to centre on this planet.
Then right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac)
on the planet and choose Go There from
the planet’s contextual menu.
How do I go to a star or galaxy?
Right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on the
star you wish to go to. Choose Go There
from the menu which appears. This will
take you to the star or galaxy, from which
you can look back at the Sun.
Internet Database & Digitized Sky
Survey
When I choose Online Info for an object
in Starry Night, it opens using Internet
Explorer. How do I get it to use
Netscape?
Starry Night uses your "default Internet
browser" to access our Internet database.
If you want to use Netscape, you must
make it your default browser. Learn how
to do this for Macintosh: http://
home.netscape.com/download/
mac_instructions.html or Windows: http://
help.netscape.com/kb/consumer/
19971009-21.html.
Sometimes the Show Photographic
Image option in the menu is greyed out.
Why?
This option (which downloads an image
from the Digitized Sky Survey) is only
available when you have a field of view
between about 1.5 arcminutes and 45
arcminutes. At larger or smaller fields of
view, it will be greyed out.
Printing & Making Movies
Printing star charts and making
QuickTime animation sequences.
How do I print star charts?
Adjust your window to the view you want,
then choose File->Print.
Can I print images in colour?
You cannot print images in colour by using
the File->Print command. However, there
is a way around this. Set up the screen so
that it shows the image you wish to print
out. Choose File->Export as Image. This
opens a window which allows you to save
the screen as a graphical image. The
bottom left corner of this window has a
dropbox which allows you to save the
image in several popular formats, such as a
"jpeg" or a "pict". Once you have saved
this image, you can open it a program such
as Internet Explorer and choose File>Print to print out a colour image.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I print star charts showing the
whole sky?
Yes, in Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus.
Choose Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the
Starry Night menu (Macintosh), choose
General from the dropbox in the upper
left corner of the Preferences dialog box,
and check the box marked “Allow
Maximum Zoom Out”. Then continue
zooming out using the left zoom button
until you have a circular field of view of
180°, which is the entire hemisphere of
sky that is above the horizon at any one
time. Then choose File->Print to print this
image.
Why do the movies I made with Starry
Night have distorted colours when I
play them back?
This is a result of the compression method
which you used when saving the movie.
From within Starry Night Pro and Pro
Plus, choose
Preferences from the File menu
(Windows) or the Starry Night menu
(Macintosh) and then choose QuickTime
from the dropbox in the upper left corner
of the Preferences dialog box, and click
the QuickTime Movie Preferences
button. The "Compression Settings"
window which opens allows you to
modify the compression settings. The top
dropbox in this window is the compression
method. If you saw distorted colors in the
movies you made, try changing the
compression method. "Sorenson Video 3"
is a good compressor which usually
doesn't distort the original images
noticeably. Also make sure that the
"Quality" slider in the "Compression
Settings" window is all the way to the
right.
Telescopes
What telescopes can I control with
Starry Night?
In Starry Night Pro or Pro Plus, choose
Configure from the Telescope pane to see
a pull-down list of currently supported
telescopes. The list of telescopes that can
be controlled with Starry Night is
constantly changing, and new telescope
models are added on a regular basis.
Constellations & The Zodiac
How do I follow the Sun's path through
the Zodiac over the course of a year?
Set the time to a time of day where the Sun
will be above the horizon all year, for
example 12 Noon. Select View->Hide
Daylight to turn off sunlight, so that you
can see the background stars. Turn on the
Zodiac constellations by choosing the
Zodiac stick figures from the Constellation
Options dialog box in the Constellations
layer of the Options pane. Change the
time step in the toolbar to a discrete step of
1 day and press the Forward button in the
time mode controls to run time forward
and watch the Sun move through the
Zodiac.
The Sun appears to be in the wrong
Zodiac constellation on a given date.
Astrology uses the constellation
boundaries as they existed several
thousand years ago. Since that time, the
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stars have shifted in the sky, due to the
precession of Earth, and the astronomical
constellation boundaries no longer match
the astrological constellation boundaries.
Starry Night shows the astronomical
constellation boundaries. With Starry
Night, you can set the time back to about
600 BC (when the astrological boundaries
were set), and you will find that the dates
when the sun was in each constellation
back then match the astrological dates.
How do I find my birth sign?
Adjust the date and time to your birthdate
in the toolbar. If you were born during the
day, choose View->Hide Daylight to turn
off daylight so that you can see the stars as
they appeared at the moment of your birth.
Turn on the Zodiac constellations by
choosing the Zodiac stick figures from the
Constellation Options dialog box in the
Constellations layer of the Options pane
and label the Zodiac constellations by
checking the Labels option in the
Constellations layer. The constellation
which the Sun is located in is your
astronomical birth sign. This may not
agree with your astrological sign, for the
reasons given in the previous question.
Solar System Bodies
How do I see the phases of the Moon?
Open the Find pane and double-click on
the Moon’s name. If you get a message
saying that the moon is beneath the
horizon, click the Best Time button. Zoom
in on the Moon if you want a closer look.
Now change the time step in the toolbar to
a discrete value of 1 day. Use the Single
Step Forward button in the time mode
controls to watch the Moon's phase change
day-by-day. You may have to hide the
horizon by choosing View->Hide
Horizon to keep the Moon in view. This
option is available in Starry Night Pro and
Pro Plus.
How accurate are the positions of the
planets and moons in Starry Night?
The position of the eight major planets
should be accurate to within 5 arcseconds
for times within 3000 years of the present.
The theory used to predict Pluto’s position
is less accurate: between the years 1885
and 2099, its position is accurate to within
1 arcsecond, but the accuracy will decline
significantly outside these dates. The
position of our moon should be accurate to
within 10 arcseconds for several thousand
years in either direction. The theories used
to predict the positions of other moons are
simpler and therefore potentially less
accurate.
Why can't I find Halley's Comet at the
Battle of Hastings?
Unfortunately, predicting comet positions
on past trips around the sun is one area of
astronomy where simulation programs like
Starry Night are not very effective. As a
comet goes around sun, its orbit is altered
by the gravitational influence of the sun
and planets in ways that can't be predicted
by Starry Night. The gas and dust released
by the comet as it gets closer to the Sun
also causes the orbit of the comet you are
interested in to change. For example, the
orbital period of Halley's comet has varied
from 76 years to 79 years over the last
thousand years. The bottom line is that the
orbital elements for a comet in Starry
Frequently Asked Questions
Night are valid only for its most recent trip
around the sun and can't be used to predict
its appearance in the more distant past.
Comets, Asteroids, Satellites to update
these files.
How do I add my own objects?
Stars
With Starry Night, you can add solar
system objects such as asteroids, satellites
and newly discovered comets using the
Orbit Editor. See “Adding Objects 1
(Individual Solar System Objects)” on
page 162 for more information.
Where does the star data in Starry
Night come from?
I get an error message when I try to
update comet, asteroid, & satellite data
If our automatic update is not working for
you, you can manually download the latest
comet, asteroid, & satellite data files.
Links to these files are on our Orbital
Elements page: http://
www.starrynight.com/helpPro/
orbitalelements.shtml. This page has
instructions for downloading these files
and placing them in the correct folder on
your hard drive.
Where can I get orbital elements for
new objects I want to add using the
Orbit Editor?
See our Orbital Elements page at http://
www.starrynight.com/helpPro/
orbitalelements.shtml for this information.
Why doesn't the location of the
International Space Station match what
I see in the sky?
The orbital elements of artificial satellites
(including the ISS) are constantly being
adjusted slightly. You should update your
comet, asteroid & satellite files from our
website. Choose LiveSky->Update
The star data for the nearest two million or
so stars comes from the Hipparcos/Tycho2 catalogue, which is the result of a recent
mission by the European Space Agency.
Find out more about this catalogue at the
Hipparcos Project home page: http://
astro.estec.esa.nl/SA-general/Projects/
Hipparcos/hipparcos.html.
How do I search for stars in the various
star catalogues?
Open the Find pane. For stars in the
Hipparcos catalogue, type "HIPxxxxx",
where "xxxxx" is the star's Hipparcos
catalogue number. For stars in the Tycho-2
catalogue, type "TYCxxxx-xxxx-x",
where "xxxx-xxxx-x" is the star's Tycho
catalogue number.
When I blast off far away from Earth,
the stars all appear to group together in
a ball around the Sun. Is this the Miky
Way?
No, this is a limitation of our star
catalogue. Starry Night has distances to
about 100 000 stars from the Hipparcos
catalogue. Most of the stars in this
catalogue are within a few hundred light
years of the sun, so as you zoom out
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Starry Night User’s Guide
farther than this, they appear to cluster
around the Sun.
Can I add recently discovered planets
around stars other than our Sun?
An updated database of extrasolar planets
will be available from time to time on our
website. Choose
LiveSky->Check For Program Updates
to see if a new version of this database
exists. This database only marks stars that
have extrasolar planets - it does not allow
you to actually see the orbits of these
planets. A future version of Starry Night
may add this feature.
Appendix B
Keyboard Shortcuts
Use these keyboard shortcuts to quickly access features you use frequently.
Keyboard Function
Windows
Macintosh
Note: Shortcuts marked with an * asterisk are only available in Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus.
File Menu (some commands are in the Starry Night menu on the Mac).
New
Open
Close
Save
Print
Preferences
Exit/Quit
Hide Starry Night
Edit Menu
Undo
Redo
Cut
Copy
Paste
Find
Centre on
Select None
Show/Hide Info
View Menu
Show/Hide Toolbar
Show/Hide Daylight
Show/Hide All Controls*
Fullscreen*
Show/Hide Graph*
Show/Hide Horizon*
Options Menu
Viewing Location
Go Home
Show/Hide Options Panel
White Sky*
Labels Menu
Show/Hide Labels
Favourites Menu
Show/Hide Favourites Panel
Save Favourite
Add Favourite Folder
Ctrl-N
Ctrl-O
Alt-F4
Ctrl-Shift-S
Ctrl-P
Ctrl-Shift-P
Ctrl-Q
Cmd-N
Cmd-O
Cmd-W
Cmd-Shift-S
Cmd-P
Cmd-Shift-P
Cmd-Q
Cmd-H
Ctrl-Z
Ctrl-Shift-Z
Ctrl-X
Ctrl-C
Ctrl-V
Ctrl-F
Ctrl-U
Ctrl-Y
Ctrl-I
Cmd-Z
Cmd-Shift-Z
Cmd-X
Cmd-C
Cmd-V
Cmd-F
Cmd-U
Cmd-Y
Cmd-I
Ctrl-B
Ctrl-D
F8
F7
Ctrl-G
Ctrl-H
Cmd-B
Cmd-D
F8
F7
Cmd-G
B
Ctrl-L
Ctrl-Shift-H
Ctrl-J
Ctrl-Shift-W
Cmd-L
Cmd-Shift-H
Cmd-J
Cmd-Shift-W
Ctrl-Shift-D
Cmd-Shift-D
Ctrl-Shift-B
Ctrl-S
Ctrl-Shift-N
Cmd-Shift-B
Cmd-S
Cmd-Shift-N
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Starry Night User’s Guide
Keyboard Function
Direction Changes
Face North
Face East
Face South
Face West
Face Zenith
Zoom in and out
Move left, right, up or down
Time Controls
Windows and Macintosh
N
E
S
W
Z
+/Arrow keys
Minute forward
Minute back
Hour forward
Hour back
Day forward
Day back
Month forward
Month back
Year forward
Year back
T
Shift-T
H
Shift-H
D
Shift-D
M
Shift-M
Y
Shift-Y
Step forward one time unit
Step back one time unit
Increase time step
Decrease time step
Reset to now with realtime flow
Reset to realtime flow
U
Shift-U
P
Shift-P
R
Shift-R
Next sunrise/sunset
Previous sunrise/sunset
Next moonrise/moonset
Previous moonrise/moonset
TAB
Shift-TAB
O
Shift-O
View Controls
NGC-IC on/off
Celestial grid on/off
Ecliptic on/off
Ecliptic grid on/off
Local grid on/off
Constellations on/off
Labels on/off
HUD on/off
Mark variable stars*
Mark binary stars*
Miscellaneous
Navigate through cursor tools*
Spaceship Mode
Accelerate
Decelerate
Roll left
Roll right
Pitch up
Pitch down
Yaw left
Yaw right
Pause/restart
C
G
F
Shift-F
Shift-G
K
L
I
V
Shift-V
F10
A
Z
Q
W
Up arrow
Down arrow
Left arrow
Right arrow
P
Index
A
Adaptive hand tool 31
Adding
databases 170
images 171
objects 162
AllSky CCD Mosaic 182
frequently asked 183
options 182
Altitude 55
Ambient Sounds 37
Angular separation 29
Animating location changes 104
Apparent magnitude 94
Argument of pericentre 164
Ascending node 111, 164
ASCOM 130
Asterisms 53
creating 178
Asteroids 80
adding multiple 168
updating data 85
Azimuth 55
B
Backing up data 178
Bayer letter 92
Binary stars, marking 42
Birth sign, finding 196
Bright NGC objects 82
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Starry Night User’s Guide
display options 49
Button Bar 21
C
Calendar
Gregorian, Julian 193
Celestial equator 56
Celestial paths 102
Celestron
AAM alignment stars 84
Nexstar database 84
Comets 80
adding multiple 168
Halley’s 196
tail brightness 49
updating data 85
Compass points, turning off 38
Compression settings 153
Constellation tool 31
Constellations 53
asterisms 53
auto identify 53
boundaries 54
changing stick figure sets 55
creating custom sets 178
selecting 31
Contextual menu
objects 88
sky 33
Controls 20
Co-ordinate systems 55, 57
display options 57
ecliptic 56
equatorial 56
extra-galactic 57
galactic 57
heliocentric 75, 108
local 55
Copyright and image use 155
Custom files, backing up 178
Custom images 171
modifying 174
D
Databases
building your own 170
descriptions 80
display options 40
formats for building 170
limiting by magnitude 40
other 83
turning labels on/off 39
turning on/off 38
updating 85
Date, changing 23
Daylight saving time 23, 192
Daylight, turning on/off 35
Declination 56
Delta T 74
Descending node 111
Diameter 167
Digitized Sky Survey 77, 98
Discussion List 16
Double stars 84
DSS see Digitized Sky Survey 77
DVD movies 71
E
Eccentricity 163
Eclipses
viewing from Sun or Moon 149
Ecliptic line 56, 58
Editing horizons 176
Elevation
changing 106
displaying 106
menu 106
Enlarging Moon 90
Ephemeris generator 122
Epoch, of orbital elements 165
Equinoxes, displaying 59
Equipment list 135
adding items 137
deleting items 137
203
editing 137
opening 136
recording in log entries 129
types of equipment 136
Event Finder 116
filtering 117
printing 117
searching 116
viewing 117
Exporting sky data 156
Extrasolar planets
information fields 95
marking stars with 42
F
Favourites
adding new files or folders 177
customizing menu 177
menu 147
modifying 177
Field of view
changing 27
magnification tool 31
maximum 28
Field of view indicators
associating with specific objects 62,
140
changing colour 60, 138
definition 60, 135
deleting 62, 140
displaying multiple 61, 138
positioning 61, 139
turning on/off 61, 138
viewing list 61, 138
File menu 146
Files
adding notes 177
creating 146, 148
eliminating document save warnings
147
examples 147
saving 148
Find pane information 87
Finding objects 25
Flamsteed number 92
Fonts in user’s guide 10
FOV pane 60, 138
Frequently asked questions 189
Full screen mode 65
G
Galaxies 83
local group 84
UGC 85
viewing from 88
Galaxy Filaments 51
Galaxy Groups 51
Graph 120
adding objects 121
deleting objects 122
menu options 121
H
Halley’s comet 196
Heads-up display 24
options 62
HEASARC Astrobrowse 98
Heliocentric co-ordinates 75
Help features 16
Help, online 16
Herschel 400 84
Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams 75
options 76
Hipparcos catalogue 81
Home location
changing 15
finding lat/long 193
returning to 105
setting 14
Horizon
customizing 176
options for changing 37
photorealistic 176
204
Starry Night User’s Guide
Hover 108
I
Identifying objects 24
Image editor controls 174
Images
adding 171
adding from DSS 173
adding to log entries 129
adjusting brightness 49
creating 151
importing 171
Importing images 171
Inclination 164
Info pane 91
Installing
QuickTime 10
problems 189
Starry Night 10
options 10, 12
questions 190
telescope control 12
International Space Station 197
J
Julian day
determining 74
setting 74
K
Keyboard Shortcuts 199
L
Labels
all bright objects 24
changing colour 52
changing number of 53
options 52
select objects 39
turning on/off 39
Light Pollution
distant light pollution 36
Light pollution
options 37
turning on/off 35
Limit by magnitude 40
Limiting magnitude, determining 73
Lists
adding/deleting objects 125
determining if objects will be visible
127
pane 124
printing observation list 128
LiveSky
accessing live images 72
downloading updated images 72
object database 97
pane 72
types of images 72
LiveSky.com 97
Local meridian 56, 57
Local paths 102
Location
animating changes 104
changing 103
changing home location 15
changing mode 107
changing to other planets 105
changing to stars or galaxies 88
finding your home location 193
hovering 108
returning home 105
setting your home location 14
viewing from heliocentric 108
Location scroller 31, 106
Log entries
adding 162
adding images 129
backing up 180
exporting 130
viewing old 130
Lunar month 101
205
M
Magnification tool see Field of view
Magnifying objects 27
Magnitude 94
absolute 94
MaxIm DL Plug-in 186
Meade LX200 alignment stars 84
Mean anomaly 165
Mean distance 165
Meridian 167
Meridian, local 57
Messier objects 82
display options 49
Meteor showers 80, 84
Milky Way
adjusting brightness 50
Moon
age 96
cast shadows 45
enlarging 90
phases 96, 196
Moons
graphing elongation of 121
other planets 81
Movies
compressing 153
controls for making 152
making 151
playing back your own 153
Multiple windows
opening 149
synchronizing time between 149
N
Nadir 22
Nebula Outlines 185
Netscape 194
NGC-IC catalogue 82
bright objects 82
display options 49
finest objects 84
Night vision mode 143
Number format preferences 64
O
Objects
adding 162
adding log entries 162
contextual menu 88
displaying paths 102
finding 25
identifying 24
locking on 88
magnifying 27, 88
modfiying images 175
panning to 25
rise/transit/set times 92
selecting 88
text descriptions 92
turning labels on/off 39
turning on/off 38
Observation lists 124
OpenGL
compatibility issues 191
options 63
Options pane, layers 34
Orbit Editor 162
adding surface images 166
Orbital elements 163
NASA two-line 165
near-circular 165
pericentric 163
reference plane 166
Orbits
adjusting brightness 111
changing colours 111
displaying 110
markers 111
Orientation, changing 109
P
Pane 20
206
Starry Night User’s Guide
find 25
FOV 60, 138
info 91
lists 124
LiveSky 72
options 34
status 73
telescope 131
Panning to objects 25
Paths
celestial 102
local 102
options 102
Pericentre distance 164
PGC catalogue 83
Planetary nebulae 85
Planets
adding markers and feature outlines 47
angular size 96
disc illumination 96
display options 45
displaying atmosphere 46
displaying orbits 110
extrasolar 95
fly-bys 109
going to 105
hovering over 108
length of year 96
mass 96
maximum brightness 96
modifying images 175
positional accuracy 196
surface guides 46
viewing from centre 108
Pole Dec 167
Pole RA 167
Poles, celestial 57
Precession 56
Preferences
global 66
HUD 62
movies 154
number formats 64
restoring defaults 66
Printing
colour images 151
observation list 128
star charts 30
Proper motion 93
Proper motion vectors 42
Pulsars 81
Q
Quasars 83
Quick Start User Card 10
QuickTime
installation problems 189
installing 10
QuickTime VR 154
making object movies 154
making panoramas 154
settings 155
R
Registering Starry Night 13
Registration number
Starry Night 13
Retrograde motion 103
Right ascension 56
Rotation rate 167
Running Starry Night 13
S
Satellites 80
adding multiple 168
orbital elements 165
updating data 85
Saving settings 65
Screen view, flipping 140
Scroll bars 22
selecting 21
Selecting objects 39
207
Selection tool 31
Setting home location 14
Settings, saving 65
Shortcuts, keyboard 199
Sidereal day 96, 100
Sidereal month 100
Sidereal time 74
Sky Commander, alignment stars 85
SkyCalendar 69
adding an event 160
creating a calendar 160
deleting 162
editing 162
importing 161
Moon phase calendar 71
opening 69
searching 71
viewing 70
SkyGuide 68
astronomy news 68
opening 68
Solstices, displaying 59
Spaceship 112
controls 113
flying tips 113
Specular reflection 64
Star charts, printing 30
Starry Night
controls 20
Discussion List 16
files, creating 146
installation questions 190
installing 10
options 10, 12
registering 13
running 13
updates 17
website 17
Starry Night Companion 9
Stars
automatic Internet downloads 169
Bayer letter 92
B-V 95
changing brightness and color 44
databases 81
deleting downloaded files 169
display options 41
distances 93
double 84, 94
downloading from Internet 169
Flamsteed number 92
going to 88
information 94
label options 53
luminosity 95
magnitude 94
marking binaries, variables and extrasolar planets 42
navigational 84
proper motion 42, 93
searching for 197
temperature 95
variable 85, 94
viewing from 88
Starting Starry Night 13
Status pane 73
Summer/Winter solstice, displaying 59
Sun halo 90
Supernova remnants 85
System time, setting correctly 191
T
Telescope pane 131
Telescopes
ASCOM driver 130
controlling over Internet 78
installing control plug-in 130
slewing to objects onscreen 132
types that can be controlled 130
Themes 21
Time
adjusting flow rate 100
changing 23
controls 101
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Starry Night User’s Guide
customizing steps 101
delta T 74
discrete steps 100
modes 101
returning to present 23
sidereal 74
system, setting correctly 191
universal 74
using 24-hour clock 192
Time zone, finding 192
Toolbar 20
Tully 3-D database 82
display options 50
filaments and groups 51
Two-line elements 165
U
Universal time, determining 74
Updates
databases 85
program 17
User images
adding 171
display options 49
User’s guide, outline 8
V
Variable stars 85
marking 42
Vernal/Autumnal equinox, displaying 59
Viewing direction
changing default 22
Viewing direction, changing 22
Vixen SkySensor alignment stars 85
W
Website, Starry Night 17
White sky mode 143
Z
Zenith 22, 58
Zodiac, following Sun’s path through 195
Zoom buttons 27
Zooming in/out 27
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