Theskyx first light edition download mac


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It is a whopper, with a diameter of about million kilometers. The Sun, by comparison, is about 1. Apparent magnitude is how bright a star looks in the sky. Absolute magnitude refers to how bright a star would appear if it were located exactly 10 parsecs The apparent magnitude of Rigel is about 0. When you look up at the sky on a dark, clear night, the sheer number of stars can be overwhelming.

Our distant ancestors must have been in awe of those countless lights randomly scattered across the sky like diamonds. Because of our instinctive need to find order, cultures all across the globe have organized stars into distinctive patterns called constellations. These patterns are purely a product of the human imagination. Nature had nothing to do with creating them.

The constellations we recognize today have mostly come down to us from the ancient Greeks. Many of them represent mythological figures. Orion, for example, one of the most prominent constellations visible in northern wintertime, represents a heroic hunter who first appeared in one of the great epics of classical Greek literature, The Odyssey. Canis Major and Canis Minor, the big and little dogs, respectively. You can display line drawings, mythical figures, and constellation boundaries by checking the appropriate boxes.

You can also use the slider labeled Transparency to adjust how bright these renderings appear. For many other constellations, the connection between its array of stars and what it is supposed to represent is difficult to see, to say the least. When astronomers think about constellations at all, this is how they usually think of them.

The more fanciful mythological drawings of constellations became popular in the early 17th century, especially in the gorgeous star charts engraved by the great German celestial cartographer Johann Bayer Bayer is also credited with creating the system that designates stars with Greek letters and the genitive name of their constellations, as described previously. When the constellations we recognize today were originally created, a number of stars were left over — that is, not all stars fit into the established patterns.

Not unlike borders between countries, any star that falls within the borders of a given constellation is said to belong to it, whether it was included in the original depiction of that constellation or not. Astronomers call these patterns asterisms. In Japan, the Pleiades are called Subaru.

In particular, you need to know how to find true north. Printing a chart to take with you when you go outside is also very helpful. TheSkyX can print any chart it displays. Choose File from the Main Menu. Select Print. TheSkyX allows you to print to a file as well as directly to a printer. The Sky Chart as currently displayed on the screen will be printed. TheSkyX prints stars in black, leaving the sky white if you have a color printer, stars brighter than 6th magnitude are printed as yellow circles.

The size of the star is proportional to its magnitude. You can choose the orientation of the printout and other printing parameters by clicking the Page Setup button. You also want to be in an open space, a place where there are no tall buildings, trees, or annoying artificial lights to interfere with your viewing. Make sure in particular that you have a clear view to the north.

When you get to your observing site, give your eyes at least a few minutes to adapt to the darkness. These can be bought at most stores that sell telescopes, or you can simply tape a piece of transparent red film over a standard flashlight. Using only red light will help preserve your night vision. For centuries, astronomers have been charting the positions of other stars in our galaxy, and have accurately determined the distances to many thousands of them.

TheSkyX includes a utility for showing this to you. Choose Tools from the Main Menu. A view of our Sun and its neighbor stars from outside our solar system is displayed. Using the slider near the bottom left of the screen, you can move from up to light years away from the Sun.

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The Filter Stars by Distance from the Sun slider will increase or decrease the number of stars in the display. Atmospheric Phenomena As we mentioned earlier, some of the most interesting things we can see in the sky are happening right above our heads, in the upper atmosphere. Friction makes it glow white hot, turning it into a meteor. It may seem surprising that a speck of dust at the edge of space could create a streak of light visible from the ground, but even the brightest meteor is rarely bigger than a pea.

The flying dust grains that cause meteors mostly come from the tails of comets. Once in a while something much larger than a speck of dust falls to Earth and creates a spectacular fireball. Fireballs can blaze across the sky with such intensity that they literally light up the landscape. They can range in size from a few centimeters to several meters. Bits and pieces of them sometimes survive the fiery descent through our atmosphere and crash into the ground. These fragments are called meteorites.

Meteorites are chunks of asteroids and they fall into three main categories, based on chemical composition. Iron meteorites are the most commonly found because they are very distinctive, consisting of ninety percent iron with a bit of nickel mixed in. They are extremely dense, and have magnetic properties. Stony meteorites look more like common rocks. The third class is the stony irons, which, as the name suggests, are a mixture of the iron and stony types. A decent-sized specimen can be worth thousands of dollars to a museum or a private collector.

A really big meteorite with an unusual composition can be worth millions. Something to think about next time you see a fireball… Meteor Showers The dust trails left by comets that have visited the inner solar system follow predictable orbits around the Sun. Several times a year Earth passes near one of these cosmic debris trains, resulting in a meteor shower.

Have you ever looked at a set of railroad tracks and noticed, as they stretch into the distance, how they seem to converge to a single point? A similar effect can be seen during a meteor shower. This is called the radiant. TheSkyX plots the radiant for all annual meteor showers and estimates the date and time they are expected to peak. To display meteor shower radiants, select the Chart Elements tab from Display menu. Within the list of elements, there is an item called Reference Objects.

Check the box next to Meteor Shower Radiants. The radiants for all meteor showers will now be displayed on the Sky Chart. If you move the cursor to the center of any radiant, details on that shower, including when it is expected to peak, will be displayed. The Northern and Southern Lights The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, can be as stunning as any fireworks display. They appear as curtains of colorful, shifting light, suspended high up in the night sky. Unfortunately, they are generally only visible from far northern latitudes, and when they might occur is notoriously hard to predict.

The Solar System Our Sun is one of countless stars in the universe. The planets that circle the Sun are its family, figuratively speaking, and it would be hard to deny that Earth is its favorite child. Some of them may once have harbored some form of primitive life. These bodies are much, much closer than even the next nearest star, and so astronomers like to say they inhabit our celestial backyard.

Finding a planet in TheSkyX is simple. Simply go to the Edit menu and choose Find. Type the name of the planet in the Search For box. Information about the planet will be displayed. You can center the planet in the Sky Chart by clicking the Center button near the bottom of the screen. The Moon The most familiar object in the night sky is undoubtedly the Moon. Scientists believe that the Moon was formed shortly after the birth of the solar system, when a molten planet about the size of Mars smashed into the Earth. That planet is no longer around, but much of the fallout from its impact settled into orbit around us and aggregated into the Moon.

The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth. Our gravitational pull, over millions of years, slowly put the brakes on the rotation of our satellite. Today the Moon makes one complete rotation for every single orbit it makes around the Earth. Some people mistakenly call the far side of the Moon the dark side of the Moon. Over the course of a lunar day about As the Moon orbits the Earth, it goes through its familiar phases, from New to Full and back again. TheSkyX can tell you the phase the Moon on any date, at any time. It is automatically displayed on the star chart in its current phase and proper location whenever it is above the horizon.

The orbit of the Moon is not a perfect circle, but an ellipse, meaning it has an oval shape in fact, all orbits, from artificial satellites to planets to stars circling the centers of galaxies, are ellipses. TheSkyX will tell you the current distance between the Earth and Moon. The Moon is one of the most interesting things to look at in binoculars or a telescope. The Moon has no atmosphere, so liquid water cannot exist there.

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It has been known since ancient times that the planets slowly change position relative to the stars, which appear to be fixed, never moving with respect to each other from year to year. Their orbits lie more or less in the same plane, so as they circle the Sun, their paths are restricted to a narrow band in our sky, which is called the ecliptic. The constellations that lie in this plane received special attention from ancient astronomers. Collectively they are known as the Zodiac constellations.

The farther a planet is from the Sun, the longer it takes to complete a single orbit. Planets farther from the Sun therefore move more slowly through the Zodiac. TheSkyX can locate any planet wherever it happens to be on a given night. Below we describe some general features of the planets, starting from the closest in, then moving out to the edge of the solar system.

It takes only 88 days to travel around the Sun once. This is another way of saying that a year on Mercury is 88 days long. Pictures from that spacecraft revealed Mercury strongly resembles our Moon, with a heavily cratered surface. It is comparable to our Moon in size, but much more dense. Being so close to the Sun, the surface of Mercury is very hot, as you would expect. Its beautiful radiance has dazzled mankind throughout history. Venus is so bright that, from a very dark location, it can cast shadows.

When astronomers first eyed Venus through telescopes, they discovered that the planet is perpetually enveloped in clouds. They never part, keeping the surface of the planet forever shielded from direct view. Could Venus harbor steamy, tropical rainforests, inhabited by alien dinosaurs or even more exotic forms of life? Venus is a hellish, uninhabitable desert. The reason for this is a runaway greenhouse effect. The Venusian atmosphere is almost entirely carbon dioxide CO2 , a gas notorious for its effectiveness at trapping heat.

The fact that high concentrations of CO2 have raised the surface temperature of Venus so far above what we would otherwise expect is one reason some worry about rising CO2 levels on our planet. If Venus had the same mix of nitrogen and oxygen in its atmosphere as we have in ours, it would almost certainly be a lovely place to spend your vacation. When Galileo began to systematically observe Venus with his telescopes, he discovered it goes through phases like the Moon.

This helped convince him that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of motion in the solar system. This is why these planets are visible only in the early evening or pre- dawn skies — from our location in the solar system, they never appear to travel very far from the Sun. Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun. Our world is the only planet in the solar system that can support life as we know it.

A day is defined as the amount of time it takes for Earth to make one complete rotation on its axis. A year is defined as the time it takes Earth to make one complete orbit of the Sun. The length of a day and year are different on other planets because they rotate at different rates and have different orbits. The axis about which our planet turns is tilted relative to the plane of our orbit. This is why we have seasons.

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In the summer, our northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, so the days are longer, and sunlight strikes the Earth more directly, making the northern hemisphere warmer the opposite is true in the southern hemisphere than it is in winter. In the wintertime, our northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. The days are thus shorter and colder again, the opposite is true in the southern hemisphere. A solstice occurs when our axis is tilted directly toward or away from the Sun. There are two of these each year, one in spring the vernal equinox and one in fall the autumnal equinox.

Like all planets, the orbit of the Earth is not perfectly circular, but slightly elliptical. The Earth is about a million kilometers closer to the Sun in December than June. Mars The next planet out from the Sun is Mars. It is about half the size of our planet and takes a little more than two years to go around the Sun once.

Mars is very similar to Earth in two important ways. Its day is just over 24 hours long, and its axis of spin is tilted about 23 degrees, almost exactly the same tilt as Earth. This means that Mars has seasons, just like we do. Like Venus, the atmosphere of Mars is almost entirely CO2. A little more greenhouse effect on Mars would be a welcome thing.

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As it is, the air on Mars is too thin to support liquid water on its surface, another blow to all those science fiction writers who imagined alien beings and ancient civilizations on Mars. This gives scientists hope that Mars may have once harbored simple forms of life. The best time to look at Mars in a telescope is during an opposition. About every 26 months, Mars and Earth line up on the same side of the Sun.

This is when Mars is at its brightest and closest, and therefore appears at its best in a telescope. TheSkyX can calculate the dates of future oppositions and even tell you how large, in arc seconds, the disk of Mars will appear in an Earth-bound telescope. As Mars approaches opposition, it briefly exhibits retrograde motion. This is a fancy way of saying that Mars looks like it turns around and moves backward in the sky for several days.

This is simply a trick of perspective. As our two planets orbit the Sun, Earth catches up to and passes Mars. When we pass, Mars appears to move backward with respect to the far more distant stars. Looking at Mars through a telescope, the first thing an observer usually notices on the disk of the planet are the albedo features. These are bright and dark markings that mostly correspond to variations in the coarseness of Martian surface dust.

He mistakenly believed that the dark features were seas and lakes, and he used the Latin terms mare and lacus accordingly. Today we know there is no surface water on Mars, but like Earth, the Red Planet does have polar caps. During an opposition, you can usually glimpse either the northern or southern cap in a small telescope. There is a huge difference between seeing Mars in a telescope and looking at images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft. Beginning with the Mariner 4 fly-by in , American, Russian, and European spacecraft have revealed Mars to be a world of geological wonders.

Huge craters, towering volcanoes, and immense systems of canyons mark and etch its surface. Mars is orbited by two small moons, named Phobos and Deimos ancient Greek words for fear and terror, respectively. They are much smaller than our Moon, irregularly shaped, and difficult to see in most amateur telescopes. Some scientists believe these moons are actually wayward asteroids. These rocky fragments are thought to be remnants from the original disk of material that formed the planets. The gravity of Jupiter prevented these bodies from aggregating into a planet in their own right.

Jupiter Jupiter is the king of the planets. Ten times wider than Earth, it has more mass than all of the other planets in our solar system combined. Nearly a billion kilometers from the Sun, it takes twelve years to complete a single orbit. At last count, astronomers have charted over 60 moons orbiting this giant world. Many of these bodies are small as a typical asteroid some of them might even be asteroids that were captured by Jupiter, caught like flies in its gravitational web. Jupiter is attended by four large moons comparable in size to our own Moon.

Because they were discovered by Galileo when he first turned his telescope on Jupiter in , we call them the Galilean satellites. TheSkyX includes telescope and spacecraft images of Jupiter, and can plot the orbits of its Galilean satellites. This is a particularly useful feature if you have a telescope. The moons shift position night to night as they orbit Jupiter, and you can track these motions with a modest telescope, or even a good pair of binoculars.

Also, when a Galilean moon passes in front of Jupiter, it casts a shadow on the disk of the planet that can be observed in small telescopes. These shadow transits are fascinating to observe, and TheSkyX can tell you when they will occur. Interesting Historical Note: I was 11 years old. The telescope was small enough to fit in a lunchbox, but it was made by an extraordinary man named Max Bray, and was more than a match for Saturn.

In the eyepiece, I saw a small white disk nestled inside a perfect set of white rings. It took my breath away. Everyone I know who has ever seen Saturn in a telescope remembers it. The planet is best known of course for its extraordinary rings. Saturn takes nearly 30 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.

During this period, our view of the rings is slowly changing. Sometimes they are spread relatively wide and are easy to see, but about every 15 years they line up edge-on to our view. Like Jupiter, Saturn is attended by numerous moons of various shapes and sizes. The invention of the telescope revealed innumerable new worlds never before seen by human eyes, including previously unknown planets in our own solar system.

Uranus The seventh planet out from the Sun, Uranus is the first planet discovered by telescope. The astronomer William Herschel is credited with recognizing it as a planet over two hundred years ago, in other astronomers had seen it, but mistook it for a star — Herschel initially thought it was a comet. Like Jupiter and Saturn, it is a giant, much larger than Earth, and its atmosphere is mostly made of hydrogen and helium. But there are also significant amounts of water, ammonia, and methane ice in this frigid world, and so astronomers refer to it as an Ice Giant. At a distance of almost 3 billion kilometers, Uranus takes 84 years to make a complete trip around the Sun.

Its axis of rotation is tilted 98 degrees to the plane of its orbit, as if the planet had been flipped on its side. Like all of the giant planets, Uranus has an extensive family of moons, at least They are named after characters taken from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. On a dark, moonless night, Uranus is just barely visible to the naked eye — if you have very sharp vision and know exactly where to look.

Uranus is relatively easy to find in a good pair of binoculars. Neptune The next planet out, Neptune is similar in size and composition to Uranus. It is also considered an Ice Giant. The existence of Neptune was predicted by mathematical analysis of the orbit of Uranus. Deviations in the predicted orbit of Uranus led astronomers to believe that some other large body farther out in the solar system periodically tugs at Uranus.

This theory was confirmed when Neptune was discovered close to its predicted position. In a telescope, Neptune appears cool blue in color. It was first spotted by none other than Galileo, when it happened to be near Jupiter in the sky, but Galileo assumed that this faint blue object was a star, not a planet, and so he is not credited with its discovery.

It takes Neptune over years to make a single orbit of the Sun. Discovered in , it has yet to make a single orbit since it was first recognized as a planet.

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It lies some 4. The largest, Triton, is 2, kilometers in diameter, just a little smaller than our own Moon. Triton orbits Neptune in a retrograde orbit, which means that it travels backwards relative to the direction of rotation of Neptune itself. That is no longer the case. Pluto has been demoted. Today it is not considered a full-fledged planet, but an ice dwarf, one of perhaps hundreds of such objects that inhabit the outer reaches of the solar system.

Many people, including a lot of astronomers, are unhappy that Pluto has lost its status as a planet. Controversy is still raging over the decision to reclassify it. Founded in , the IAU has some 10, members, all professional astronomers. Its main purpose is to promote and protect the science of astronomy internationally, but it also has sole authority for classifying and naming astronomical objects.

Despite some groups that claim otherwise, you cannot have a star named after yourself or a loved one without going through the IAU. During their August, meeting, the IAU membership voted on a new, more rigorous definition of a planet that had been developed by one of its working groups. Unfortunately for Pluto fans, it perfectly fits the new category, hence the demotion.

Comets are refugees from the outer fringes of the solar system. Named for the astronomers who first theorized their existence, these regions of space, far beyond the orbit of Pluto, are thought to be repositories of matter left over from the formation of the solar system. A gravitational nudge from a nearby star or a passing cloud of interstellar dust can send an object from this region careening into the inner solar system. When a comet gets close to the Sun, its ice begins to sublimate. The escaping gas and dust form the coma and tail that give comets their distinctive appearance.

Most comets are unexpected strangers to our part of the solar system, but some have settled into predictable, short-term orbits. TheSkyX charts the orbits of several periodic comets. Our Home Galaxy Our Sun is but one member of a huge assemblage of hundreds of billions of stars that comprise our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Our galaxy is also peppered with vast, colorful clouds of gas and dust, called nebulae, and other exotic objects. The invention of the telescope revealed that there is much more in the night sky than stars and planets.

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The Messier Catalog is still in use today. It includes star clusters, and various kinds of nebulas and galaxies. There are literally millions of objects in the sky that astronomers want to keep track of. Various catalogs have been developed for this purpose. TheSkyX includes several of them in order to chart these objects on the Sky Chart. History failed to record whether anyone cried over it.

We now know that the stars of our particular galaxy form an immense pinwheel shape, with several spiral arms extending out from its center. An unfortunate fact of modern life is that the Milky Way is too faint to be seen from within cities and most of their suburbs. You need to be far from city lights and any other source of light pollution to appreciate how extraordinarily beautiful it is. TheSkyX can display the Milky Way at various levels of brightness, simulating what you might see from the outskirts of a small town or an isolated mountain peak.

Astronomers have come up with the very cool-sounding term isophote to describe regions of equal brightness in the Milky Way. The Great Big Universe Out There About a hundred years ago astronomers believed that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contained pretty much everything in the universe. Bisque has had a long relationship of this sort with Celestron, packing-in entry-level and sub-entry-level versions of their TheSky planetarium with Celestron gear.

If nothing else, Unk shore was curious. Software Bisque has been a big name in astronomy software, and especially planetarium programs, since TheSky first came out on 5. I was idly looking at that First Light DVD and began ruminating on the simple programs Software Bisque has published alongside their magnum opuses over the years. Sometimes under their name, sometimes under other names—like the fondly remembered Expert Astronomer. I searched for that one for a long time back in the mid 90s before finally turning it up in a cutout software bin in Phar-mor drugs.

Expert Astrologer was, naturally, fracking everywhere. Expert Astronomer was the stripped-down, barebones version of TheSky 4 I think , and I remembered it as being simple, easy, and even intuitive. Why not resurrect the old warhorse? I even knew where the CD was. No dice. Guessed I might as well try their take on the same idee since I had the DVD right there in my hot little hands. Slammed the First Light disk in the drive, loaded it up, and almost immediately went to the Software Bisque website hunting a fix.

The program looked right good initially—except. After trying to and finally remembering the password I needed to access the cotton-picking support area! The update loaded without incident, the version that came up featured a somewhat streamlined UI good , and those dadgum constellation labels were finally present.

What did I think now that it was running right? Start with pretty: Constellation lines are thicker, and labels and fonts a little more decipherable for my tired old eyes. How long does it take to get this goodness onscreen? Not long folks, not long. All there. How about the view controls? Just what I wanted: Right next to the computer clock button is a digital time display. Same is true for the date display right next to the clock. I love it.

Brighter objects like the Messiers are accompanied by substantial information, and sometimes even photos. Hell, First Light even has a mini-observing-planner built-in. Not quite, campers, not quite. According to a statement I finally found on the Software Bisque site, First Light is only available as a pack-in with Celestron scopes.

Oh, you can find it available for free download online, but not only is that illegal, visiting those sorts of sites can put your computer at great risk. So what do you do? Most of the time, they are only asking 10 — 15 bucks. If you are like me, muchachos, desperate for that good five-cent cigar of a planetarium program, it dang sure is. Next Time: Emma Peel Part II…. Went searching for the update as you did, but apparently the update is only for Windows. I couldn't find anything Mac-specific.

Guess I'll have to live without the constellations. Disappointing as it sounded like something I'd use too. I always liked Skyglobe myself, never has been any better electronic planisphere. First name Brian, last name lost in brain-fart. I knew him personally so that's how I know. We were both members of the Dallas club. I was not a SkyGlobe user, but it still can be ran and on recent computers too: As a SkyGlobe fan here in New Zealand for many, many years I, too, have long been searching for a replacement.

This one is ideal! Thanks Rod for bringing it to our attention I've had the CD on the shelf for about a year untried! BTW, my version had the constellation labels working right out of the box. Sorry, bit of an update The other great thing about the program is that you can customise the horizon to fit your local situation. Can anyone help a non-nerd like me? I just want something simple like my old SkyGlobe which I have on a hard floppy, but there's no slot for such disks in my new computer?

I'd like a free connection with something that tells me what planet or stars I'm looking at, on any given night. GSD [ ] juno. Two easy possibilities Google Sky, which is part of Google Earth. Microsoft Worldwide Telescope http: Fred replies: I tried both "Google Sky" and "Google Earth" also http: