Buying TheSkyX Student Edition
is a little like paying for compact economy car and having the dealer roll out a Ferrari for the same price. There are so many features and so much performance built into this inexpensive program that it’s hard to know where to start describing them.
Consider the planetarium functions of TheSkyX. You can quickly specify any viewing site (not just your backyard) by selecting it from a list of over 1,200 locations, or by clicking on a World Map, or by manually entering your coordinates (for example, obtained from a road map or GPS). You can input any date (from 4,712 B.C. to 10,000 A.D.) and any time to show you a graphical representation of what the sky looked like (or will look like) from that location at that moment. TheSkyX generates the most realistic and attractive graphical rendition of the night sky ever. With almost photographic realism it shows you the shimmering haze of the Milky Way, with horizon glow behind photographic horizons, and with haloed stars that look so real you’ll think you’re under the stars themselves.
You can choose from several supplied custom panoramic horizons, including: a Cayman Island scene; a desert scene; a forest scene; the view from Grand Mesa, Colorado; a view from Ice Lake, Michigan; a mountain scene; the view from Mt. Wilson Institute Observatory; from New Mexico Skies; from the Software Bisque Observatory; the view from the Very Large Radio Telescope Array; and the view from the Winter Star Party in Florida.
Switch to the chart mode and TheSkyX can show the positions of all of the planets, the Moon, comets, asteroids, satellites, over a million stars and thousands of deep-space objects (galaxies, clusters, nebulas, double stars, variable stars, etc.) taken from the Hipparcos/Tycho Stellar Catalog, with 1,200,000 stars to the 12th magnitude, the New General Catalog (NGC) of deep space objects, and the Index Catalog (IC) of deep space objects. There are enough deep space wonders plotted in TheSkyX to keep you busy observing for the rest of your life.
You can filter the chart display by specifying the upper and lower magnitude or angular size; turning on or off elements on the sky chart, including non-stellar objects (Type C, elliptical, lenticular, spiral, irregular galaxies and clusters of galaxies; bright, dark and planetary nebulas; open and globular clusters and clusters plus nebulosity; probable NGC stars, other NGC objects); solar system objects (the Moon, planets, small solar system objects including Pluto, comets and asteroids, the Sun, and planets' moons) and satellites; and stellar objects (stars, double stars, suspected variables and variables).
You can turn on and off the names of objects, including asterisms, asteroids, comets, common non-stellar objects, direction markers (NSEW), Messier objects, meteor shower radiants, planets, dwarf planets, the moon, planets' moons, and the sun, and stars (including the Bayer designation, Flamsteed designation, and common names).
In addition, TheSkyX is packed with thousands of detailed images. You get over 13,000 images from the NGC and IC Catalogs; photos of every object in the Messier catalog; photos of solar system objects, including images from the Mars Rover and other space missions; plus over 1000 high-resolution photographs of the moon.
You get detailed descriptions of the planets; the Sun; the Moon; the moons of Mars; Jupiter and Saturn's major moons; and up to 1000 comets, up to 1000 asteroids, and up to 10,000 Earth satellite (using ephemeris information you can download fro the internet).
You can show what’s in the sky for observing any evening. You can specify the viewing time, your optical aid (naked eye, binocular, or small telescope) and which objects you're interested in seeing. The program’s What Up? command automatically generates an observing list for you, complete with detailed descriptions about many deep-space objects, photographs, and Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagrams for stars. You can scroll through the report, and watch the star chart update to show you exactly where to look for the object.
TheSkyX has a powerful Find command so you can locate any object.
You can find stars by their common name; Bayer designation; Flamsteed designation; General Catalog of Variable Star (GCVS) designation; non-stellar variable star (NSV) designation; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Catalog number; Struve designation; or Washington Catalog of Double Star designation.
You can find non-stellar objects by their common name; Caldwell number; Herschel number; Index Catalog (IC) number; Lorenzin Catalog number; New General Catalog (NGC) number; Principle Galaxy Catalog number (PGC); Principle Galaxy Catalog cross-reference number; Zwicky number; Arakelian Catalog of Galaxies number; Catalog of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies (CGCG) number; David Dunlop Observatory Catalog of Galaxies number; Fairall Catalog of Galaxies number; Karachentseva Catalog of Galaxies number; Kazaryan UV Galaxies number; Kiso UV Galaxies number; Second Byurakay Survey number; Tololo Galaxies number; Uppsala General Catalog of Galaxies (UGC) number; University of Michigan Catalog of Galaxies number; Virgo Cluster Catalog of Galaxies number; Weinberger Catalog of Galaxies number; Planetary Nebula designation (PLN); or Saguaro Astronomy Club Deep-Space Object catalog (SAC) listing.
You can find solar system objects like comets, planets, the Sun and Moon by name.
You can find constellations and asterisms by their common name.
Click on any object, or use the Find command to show extensive information on celestial objects, including: the common name; catalog number (including cross references to other catalogs), for example M42 or NGC1976; a description of the object; its magnitude; distance information; rise, transit, set times; the constellation to which the object belongs; its equatorial and horizon-based coordinates; other object and catalog specific data, such as spectral data for stars, Dreyer descriptions for deep space objects, and apparent equatorial and polar diameters for planets; its position angle (as measured from the Celestial Pole) from the previously identified object; and its phase or percent illumination (where applicable).
TheSkyX can adjust the area of the sky displayed on your computer screen to virtually any degree of detail you desire. You can see a naked eye view, a telescope view, or one through a finder scope or binocular or more. You can adjust the field size from a sweeping 235° panorama to a tiny 30 arc seconds across. TheSkyX can display reference lines that show coordinates, help you visualize your orientation, or indicate what part of the sky you’re looking. They include: the ecliptic; galactic Equator; Milky Way (picture) or Milky Way (solid); constellation lines, boundaries, or drawings of the mythological characters in the sky that the constellations were named for; equatorial grid lines with customizable spacing; horiizon-based grid lines; a customizable local horizon, a refracted horizon; or a customizable panoramic horizon. You can show stars with their spectral color, change the contrast, gradient fill, density, halos on bright stars, red color in Night Vision Mode and more!
TheSkyX can show the name and labels for asterisms, asteroids, comets, common non-stellar objects, constellations, direction Markers (NSEW), Messier Objects, meteor shower radiants, planets, dwarf planets, moons, the Sun, Earth satellites, stars (with their Bayer designation, common star names, and Flamsteed designation.
The handy Move To command lets you center the display on any equatorial or horizon-based coordinate, from any Epoch. The Eclipse Finder allows you to search for and animate solar and lunar eclipses, and view their geometry. TheSkyX even displays a solar eclipse's path of totality on a map of the Earth.
The program shows the positions of Jupiter's Galilean major moons and Saturn's major moons at any given time, allowing you to set the moons into motion. It lets you locate conjunctions between any three planets, or the Moon. TheSkyX shows you over 1000 detailed high resolution photographs of the Moon's surface. The Moon Viewer can label common features, landing sites, and shows historical references about feature names.
You can view the planets, comets, and minor planets from anywhere in the solar system. Watch comets race around the sun. Plot comet and minor planet's paths through the solar system. Lock On and/or View From any object during a time skip animation in the 3D solar system mode.
You can simulate the daytime sky to view sunrises, sunsets, or solar eclipses, in real time or accelerated time. You can watch the motion of the stars over hundreds, or thousands of years. Proper motion "vectors" show the path that the stars will follow over time.
And star hopping was never easier! You can print a hard copy of any portion of the night sky, and use it in the field to help identify objects with your telescope, binoculars, or unaided eye.
An installed Astronomy Tutorial will bring depth and breadth to your astronomy experience, helping you explore and actively develop your understanding of astronomical science. It comes with animated tutorial tours that let you learn basic concepts about astronomy. The tours include: the Sun's analemma; the angular size of Mars; both equatorial and horizon coordinates; Mercury’s evening and morning visibility; the lunar cycle, both size and phase; the motion of Barnard's Star; the 24-Hour motion of Saturn's moons; the rotation and phase of Mercury and Venus; a 10-year view of Saturn from Earth; the annual paths of Venus and Mercury Annual; the Winter constellations; and “What was that?” an Iridium flare sample.
A very full instruction manual is included on the program’s CD-ROM in a PDF format that you can print out or refer to on-line.
TheSkyX Student Edition places most of the known universe at your fingertips with breathtaking graphical beauty, gigabytes of data that plot nearly instantaneously, and a depth of features to fulfill a professional’s wish list and still perform so easily that even the newest astronomers find navigating the night sky to be as simple as point and click. It is quite simply an exceptional buy.
A word of caution . . . TheSkyX Student Edition does not include telescope control functions, although it can be upgraded later to include telescope control. Should you want to control your go-to telescope remotely or from a laptop immediately, use TheSkyX Serious Astronomer or TheSkyX Professional Astronomer rather than this version.
Computer system requirements . . . 1.5 GHz or faster processor (Intel Pentium 4, Pentium M, Pentium D processor or better, or AMD K-8 (Athlon) or better); 512 MB internal RAM; OpenGL 1.5 and later; a 1024 x 768 display resolution monitor with true color and 128 MB (minimum) video RAM; 520 MB free disc space; a CD-ROM drive; keyboard; and a mouse or other pointing device. Required operating systems include Windows Vista (including Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Business, or Enterprise) or Windows XP (including Professional, XP Home Edition, XP Tablet PC Edition, or Media Center Edition).