SkyMap Lite 2005 Product Information

Introduction

SkyMap Lite 2005 is a sophisticated star charting and planetarium program for Microsoft Windows 98 or later. It can display the sky as seen from any location on earth for any date between 4000BC and 8000AD, showing fields of view ranging from the entire visible sky down to a detailed telescopic "finder chart" for a faint galaxy.

SkyMap Lite 2005 has been designed to appeal to the novice, or the more casual astronomer. For those with more demanding requirements, we also offer the more sophisticated SkyMap Pro product.


System Requirements

We recommend the following as the minimum system requirement for running SkyMap Lite 2005:

  • Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Vista, or Windows 7, both 32bit and 64bit versions. Please note that, if running under Windows NT4, service pack 6a or later is required. Note also that SkyMap Lite 2005 will not run under Windows 95.
  • Pentium 233 or faster.
  • Memory: 64MB or more.
  • Hard disk space: 240MB.
  • Screen resolution: 800x600 or higher.
  • CD-ROM drive required for installation.

Basic Features

Amongst the basic facilities of SkyMap Lite are the following:

  • Easily move the map around the sky, zoom in and out, and rotate the map with a single key press or click of the mouse button.
  • Display more than 2.5 million stars as faint as magnitude 11.5. Stars are displayed with (approximately) their true colours.
  • Display more than 15,000 deep sky objects - star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and so on. Virtually every object which can be observed in a small amateur telescope (and many that can't be!) is included in SkyMap Lite's extensive databases.
  • Display the positions of the Sun, Moon, and major planets. Positions have an accuracy of a small fraction of an arc second.
  • Display the names, official boundary lines, and "stick figures" of all 88 constellations.
  • Display the positions of all known asteroids and comets. Updated asteroid and comet data can be downloaded free of charge from this web site, or automatically updated from the internet from within the program.
  • Display a wide range of different coordinate grids and scale lines showing altitude/azimuth, RA/dec, ecliptic and galactic coordinates.
  • Display pictures from a large collection of photographs and CCD images supplied on the SkyMap Lite CD-ROM. If the computer is connected to the Internet, a picture of any object can automatically be downloaded and displayed, or you can add your own photographs and CCD images to create your own custom picture library.
  • Add your own "annotations" to a map, including text labels, lines or arrows, eyepiece field of view circles, camera and CCD field of view rectangles.
  • Print high-quality star charts on any printer supported by Windows.

Advanced Features

SkyMap Lite has many powerful features primarily targeted at the more "advanced" user. These include:

  • A powerful search facility allows any of the millions of objects in SkyMap Lite's databases to be easily located.
  • Detailed information can be displayed about any object known to SkyMap Lite, either by clicking the object on the map with the mouse, or locating it using the search facility. Complete information from many different professional data catalogs is available; this can be copied to the Windows clipboard from where it can be pasted into any other application, such as a word processor. You can add your own notes to the supplied information for any object.
  • A large library of telescope and eyepiece data is supplied. "Field of view" circles showing any combination of eyepiece and telescope can be drawn on the map - ideal for finder charts intended for "star hopping".
  • The path of any moving object such as a planet, asteroid, or comet can be drawn on the map as a line labelled with the date and magnitude at specified intervals - ideal for comet or asteroid finder charts.
  • A tabular "ephemeris" can be created for any planet, comet, or asteroid. Choose any (or all!) of more than 30 different items of information to display. This allows you, for example, to display a table showing the times of sunrise and sunset every day for a year, or to show the coordinates and magnitude of a comet for a period of several weeks.
  • Accurate positions of major planetary satellites can be displayed on the map. The four "Galilean" satellites of Jupiter, the eight largest satellites of Saturn, and the five largest satellites of Uranus are shown. For Jupiter, the planet's belts and zones, the position of the "Great Red Spot", and and transits, shadow transits, occultations, and eclipses of the Galilean satellites are all accurately depicted.
  • Asteroid positions can optionally be computed using either the Lowell ASTORB database or the Minor Planet Center's MPCORB orbit database, both of which can be downloaded free of charge from the Internet. Both databases are updated daily and contain the latest orbital elements for all known asteroids.

Artificial Satellites

SkyMap Lite can predict the passes of, and display the tracks of, artificial Earth satellites, using standard "TLE" (two-line element) orbital elements.

The program can either predict the passes of a specified satellite over a range of dates, or the passes of all satellites in its database for a single night. You can display either all passes, or only visible passes (ie passes during which the satellite is in sunlight and the observer in darkness).

Pass predictions are initially displayed in a "tabular" form, making it easy to see the results at a glance. You can then select one or more passes from this table and display them as "tracks" on the star chart, allowing you to see the path of the satellite amongst the stars.

The program can also display the "ground track" of a satellite, showing its path over the Earth's surface in either a tabular form, or graphically on a world map.

The program uses the standard NORAD "SGP4" and "SDP4" mathematical models for predicting satellite positions, thus ensuring highly accurate results.


Solar and Lunar Eclipses

SkyMap Lite can predict local circumstances for any eclipse of the Sun or Moon occuring between 2000 BC and 3000 AD. For solar eclipses, the program can also display the track of the eclipse on a highly-detailed world map; just like a star chart window, the map window can be scrolled, zoomed in and out, printed, etc.


Supplied Data Catalogs

SkyMap Lite is supplied with many complete data catalogs, including:

  • European Space Agency Tycho 2 catalog, containing very accurate position, magnitude and colour index information for 2.5 million stars. This is the primary catalog used by SkyMap Lite for creating star maps, and is complete down to roughly magnitude 11.5, with a limiting magnitude of about 12.5. SkyMap displays stars from the Tycho catalog in (approximately) their true colours.
  • European Space Agency Hipparcos catalog, containing extremely accurate position, magnitude, and distance information for 118,218 stars.
  • Yale Bright Star Catalog, containing extensive information and notes for 9,100 stars brighter than magnitude 6.5.
  • General Catalog of Variable Stars (GCVS) containing information on all known variable stars in our galaxy.
  • Washington Visual Double Star Catalog (WDS) containing information on all known double or multiple stars.
  • Wolfgang Steinicke's Revised NGC and IC Catalogs. These are new revisions of the NGC and IC catalogs and together contain over 13,000 objects. Each object has been individually checked on photographic images of the sky, and its basic type, position, magnitude, size, and position angle corrected. These catalogs form are SkyMap's primary "deep sky" catalogs.
  • Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) catalog, containing detailed information, descriptions, and notes on over 10,000 assorted deep sky objects easily seen in amateur telescopes. This is SkyMap's main deep sky catalog for objects not contained in the NGC or IC catalogs.

 


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