Theskyx first light edition download mac
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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. 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. 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. 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.
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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.
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.
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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. 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. But as telescopes became larger and more powerful, it became clear that there are other galaxies beyond the Milky Way — lots of them, in fact.
According to the latest estimates, there are some fifty to one hundred billion galaxies in our universe comparable in size to the Milky Way. Our galaxy is also surrounded by a halo of some hundred and fifty star clusters. These clusters contain hundreds of thousands to millions of stars arranged in relatively compact, spherical shapes. The Milky Way has at least two. They were originally described by Persian astronomers, but today we call them the Magellanic Clouds in honor of Ferdinand Magellan, a 16th century European explorer who observed and charted them on one of his epic voyages into the Southern Hemisphere.
Our galactic companions are most easily seen from that hemisphere, although at certain times of year they can be glimpsed from very low Northern latitudes. They are beautiful objects, and to the naked eye look like small shreds of the Milky Way.
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Even though they lie only 20 degrees apart in the sky, they are separated by 75, light years in space. With a telescope you can resolve some of their stars, and also see nebulae and star clusters that reside within them. 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: