Starry Night -The World's Most Realistic Astronomy Software
View The Sky From Anywhere
Starry Night can show you the sky from your own backyard or from any other location on Earth. But that’s only the beginning . You can lift off and travel to many thousands of places within our galaxy, or instantly jump to any one of them. And you can travel in time, thousands of years into the past or future. Plan your skywatching for your next travel destination or see what the ancients saw. Visit hard-to-reach spots like the North Pole. Or cruise the solar system on the lookout for fascinating vantage points. It’s easy to change your location. Start by selecting from a list of over 8000 real places in the universe. If your chosen spot is not on the list, you can always add a new one.
Travel In Time
See how the sky will look tonight or tomorrow, or even far into the past or future. Perhaps that’s what the locals were trying to do at Stonehenge. You can also journey thousands of years into the future and sneak a peak at solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, and other celestial events long before they happen. Open the SkyCalendar pane for a listing of some of these events. Starry Night not only places you somewhere in time, it also lets you control the flow of events. You can speed up the rotation of the Earth, change the pace of planetary motion through the constellations, or rewind history and watch a solar eclipse as often as you’d like, perhaps changing your viewpoint a little each time. With Starry Night, you are not stuck in the here and now.
Find Objects Easily
Starry Night makes it easy to locate the position of the Sun, and over two million other space objects—including all the planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, satellites, Messier objects, the complete NGC-IC catalog, and more. Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus include more than 500 million objects and phenomena! If you are interested in a specific target such as a planet, a constellation, or a bright new comet, all you have to do is type in its name. If you’re connected to the Internet, Starry Night will update its database as new objects are discovered and their orbits refined. Everything in the universe is in orbit around something else. It’s easy to get a sense of where something has been (and where it’s going) by showing that object’s orbital path through space. Starry Night can display orbital paths of single distinct objects like planets, moons, and so on.
The sky holds something new and exciting every night, and even sometimes during the day. The secret is in knowing what to look for and when. The builders of Stonehenge were among the first to try to predict that celestial events that were important to them, but all you need is SkyCalendar to make sure you never miss an important event like a meteor shower, an eclipse, or any number of things that might only happen once in your lifetime. The SkyCalendar is compatible with Apple’s iCal, meaning you can drop any iCal calendar into Starry Night! For a list of available calendars, visit: http://www.icalshare.com
Blast Off And Visit Any 3D Object
Perhaps the prehistoric astronomers at Stonehenge dreamed of visiting the stars, but with Starry Night you actually can lift off from Earth and go and see any known space object within a box 700 million light-years on a side! Or you can experience what it’d be like to view the Earth from high above, and return home with a new perspective on our planet and its place in the cosmos. Why not go visit the landing sites of the rovers on Mars? Or orbit the strange double-world of Pluto? Or view our Sun from the star Alpha Centauri? Or fly much faster than the speed of light out to the Andromeda galaxy, 2.2 million light-years away? . . . places humans can still only dream of visiting.
Fly A Spaceship
Here’s something the congregants at Stonehenge probably never dreamed of. 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 calls a heads-up display similar to the ones fighter pilots use. The area inside the blue rectangle is called the view-port, and the motion of the spaceship is always towards the area of sky at the center of the view-port.
Take An Interactive Tour
Stonehenge was an impressive, “immersive” environment for its time, but it had nothing on Starry Night and the dozens of interactive multimedia tours that await you in SkyGuide. These in-depth 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. 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.
We know that both the universe and our understanding of it will change in the future. New moons will be discovered. Bright new comets will streak around the Sun (and many won’t survive). New satellites will be launched into orbit. New planets will be found around other stars. Life may even be discovered somewhere beyond Earth. And to ensure that you always have the most current view, we’ve designed Starry Night so that it can automatically update its vast library of information over the Internet. But since the databases of comets, asteroids, and satellites can change more frequently than other databases, Starry Night also lets you manually download the latest versions.
High Resolution Graphics
Out there—some close, some faraway—the universe offers many incredible sights! To give you the very best views, Starry Night supports high-end 3D OpenGL graphics. The images are realistic; your motion is smooth. Try zooming in on the Moon, Mars, and the other planets and moons of the solar system. Starry Night’s high-resolution image maps can take you from high orbit all the way to the surfaces of these worlds. Explore the band of the Milky Way galaxy as it stretches from horizon to horizon.
The ancients of Stonehenge made careful observations of the sky to help them predict significant events on their prehistoric calendar. Careful planning makes for good observing, and you can do a lot of observing—both virtual and real—with the help of Starry Night’s observation list planner. Using the observation list planner, you define the criteria for the objects you want to observe, Starry Night matches these criteria against the objects in its databases, and you choose the objects to add to your list. After you’ve created your list, you can save it or print it and take it outside with you.
Imagine standing at the center of Stonehenge, surrounded by a circle of stones. The date is June 21st—the summer solstice. For much of the year, sunrise can’t even be seen inside the great circle, but on this special date the sun rises behind one of the main stones, creating the illusion that it’s balancing on top. This special stone is known as the Heel Stone. Memorable experiences such as these should be recorded—and remembered—and you can do both in Starry Night’s log book. By keeping a record of your observations, you can compare how certain objects appear through different telescopes, keep track of your progress in observing the set of objects you created with the planner, or record how the appearance of objects such as a planets or comets changes over time. Starry Night’s built-in logging feature makes it easy to record your observations and review your notes at a later date.
The Graph Tool
The builders of Stonehenge would have appreciated Starry Night’s graph, and once you master it, you’ll be using it often to find your own interesting celestial phenomena. The graph tool offers a way of examining changes in objects over time. It allows you to find planetary conjunctions, eclipses, the position of moons relative to their planet, and the altitude of an object for a particular night. It can determine when an object is at its brightest in the sky and even plot the changing angular size of a planet as it moves closer and further away from us.
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 the time span and at the interval you specify. You can then export the generated values to a text file and print it out. 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.
All your observing equipment, such as telescopes, binoculars, eyepieces, barlows, focal reducers, CCDs, and other accessories—all your stuff can be stored in Starry Night’s equipment list. Starry Night can then use this information to calculate your onscreen field-of-view indicator. In other words, Starry Night automatically creates outlines that correspond to the field of view of your various equipment combinations, such as a particular telescope and eyepiece. These outlines help you know how much of the sky you are seeing when looking through your telescope, binoculars, or CCD camera. You can also create Telrad, Rigel, and finderscope outlines to help you hop around the sky from star to star. And the items on the equipment list can also be added to your logbook entries, providing you with a record of what equipment works best for particular objects.
If you have an automated “go-to” telescope, you can probably use Starry Night Pro to control it. Once your telescope is connected to Starry Night, you simply right-click (Control-click on a Macintosh) on any object onscreen and select Slew To from the objects contextual menu to move your telescope to that target. Starry Night offers you a friendly and easy to use graphical interface between your telescope and the stars. No hand paddle or awkward button combinations to memorize. The list of telescopes that can be controlled with Starry Night Pro is constantly changing, and new telescope models are added on a regular basis. The following is a list of the telescopes supported by Starry Night running under the Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
An H-R diagram tells you about a star’s age and its mass. Each dot on the diagram represents a star. The diagram plots star luminosity (the amount of light and energy emitted by the star) on the vertical axis against star temperature on the horizontal axis. The stars plotted in the H-R diagram are the same stars currently onscreen. You can click on any star in the H-R diagram, and Starry Night will identify this star on the screen. 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 the star’s position with a red dot on the H-R diagram. 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.
Add Your Own Deep Sky Images
Starry Night can show you millions of stars, but even this is only a tiny fraction of the stars and objects that can be seen through our powerful modern 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, but Starry Night makes it easy to look at the thousands of galaxies, nebulae, and other astronomical phenomena it contains.