Frequently Asked Questions
Although we obviously aren't claiming that SkyMap Pro is bug free (no program as complex as SkyMap Pro ever can be), virtually all reported crashes or other apparent "bugs" are caused by buggy video drivers or (less commonly) buggy printer drivers. If you find an apparent "bug" in the program, the first thing to do is always to try temporarily switching your machine to standard VGA mode (640x480 in 16 colours), and try to reproduce the problem in that video mode. If the problem goes away (as it very likely will do), the only solution is to attempt to obtain a more up-to-date video driver for the card in your machine; video driver bugs are obviously completely outside our control!
We are often asked questions like "can I use a SkyMap Pro map on my web site?" or "can I publish SkyMap Pro maps in my astronomical society's newsletter?". The "rules" are very simple; you are welcome to use output from SkyMap Pro for any non-commercial use - ie any use for which no money is changing hands. If you want to use output from the program for a commercial project - eg printing a book of star charts - a royalty payment is required; contact us for details. We make a specific exception for astronomical societies; a society can sell SkyMap Pro output for any use which is 100% dedicated to raising funds for the society.
Many of the map features in SkyMap Pro have an "on/off" check box on their respective configuration dialog. For example, the "Lighting" dialog has a "Vary background with time of day" check box which can be used to switch the map background lighting on or off for that map. If, however, you switch the feature off (ie clear the check box), and then do something which makes the map redraw itself (eg press "S" to redisplay a standard southern view), it switches itself back on again. Why is this?
The key concept to understand in SkyMap Pro is that of "view levels". Just about all features of the program are controlled by levels, and it is those level settings which determine what is switched on or off when the map is redrawn. The "on/off" checkboxes (such as the lighting checkbox) are simply there to allow you to temporarily "override" the level settings for that particular map; they do not apply when a new map is drawn.
If you want to make a "permanent" change in SkyMap Pro - one which "sticks" when you change the map - you need to change the level information. For example, in the case of the map lighting, there is a field at the bottom of the lighting dialog - "Vary map background between level X and level Y" - which determines whether or not lighting is switched on when a new map is drawn. This range of levels is what must be changed in order to make a "real" change to the program settings. If you want the new settings to be remembered for all future runs of the program, select "File/Save Defaults" after changing the level information.
Deep sky object visibility in SkyMap Pro is controlled by two factors:
The Deep Sky Object configuration dialog is used to control the second of these - it allows you to set up magnitude limits, size limits, filter objects by name, and so on, but you won't see any objects on the map unless at least one deep sky object catalog is currently "active"! To switch catalogs on or off, use the Catalog configuration dialog - the "books on a shelf" button immediately below the deep sky objects button.
Windows Vista does not ship with the "help engine" needed to display "old style" help files such as the one that SkyMap uses. In order to display the help pages when running under Windows Vista, you need to download and install the "WinHlp32" help engine from Microsoft's download centre. The link below takes you to the download page for this download.
The comet download URL has changed since the program was released. Select the "File/Preferences/Downloaded Data" menu item and set the comet download URL to:
Comet data should now download successfully.
Older versions of SkyMap Pro cannot be installed under 64-bit Windows, because the installation program is a 16-bit program, and 16-bit programs aren't supported by 64-bit Windows. To install SkyMap Pro manually under 64-bit Windows, proceed as follows:
Now, double click the desktop shortcut, and SkyMap should run successfully. The first time you run it, it will ask for the location of the SkyMap CD-ROM. Enter, in response, the full path name of the folder in which you've installed the program (eg "C:\SkyMap Pro 11").
Note that this procedure can only be used to install the program from the full installation CD. If you have an upgrade CD, please e-mail our support e-mail address for guidance.