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"TheSky" Astronomy Software by Software Bisque

is a full-featured graphical astronomy program that can show you "what's up" in the sky on any date, from any place on earth. Regarded as the premier program for learning about and enjoying the fascinating pasttime of astronomy, TheSky has features to benefit a wide range of interest levels from the beginning hobbyist to the seasoned professional.

TheSky: An Easy Learning Curve and Fun to Boot!
TheSky uses the Microsoft WindowsTM user interface so you can experience the power of the program instantly. The new TheSky Version 4.0 is fully 32 bit compatible! You can master TheSky with the aid of complete on-line help -- it puts the entire 150-page manual (included) at your fingertips. The on-line tutorial helps you learn terminology and understand sophisticated astronomical concepts. For an example, to learn the definition of "Precession", then simply type it in. The search function displays the definition instantly. The tutorial also comes with scores of illustrations.

Pilot the Heavens from Your Desktop
Dozens of commands make it easy to locate any area of the sky. To display the night sky as it appears from your location, choose the North, East, South, West or Zenith commands! To view an example of the screen display that presents a wide-angle view quickly identifying each constellation and bright object select: TheSky sample screen.

Four buttons on the Control Panel or keyboard adjust the sky display Up, Down, Left or Right in small increments. Press and hold the second mouse button and you can drag the screen in any direction.

Zoom in on any zone. Simply drag a small box around the desired area with the mouse. The new area automatically redraws on your screen with fainter objects now visible. It's like using a telescope to magnify a particular area of the sky. The Quick Move function provides an on-screen graphic for rapid selection of the desired "go to" coordinates in either horizon (altitude-azimuth) or equatorial (R.A. - Declination) coordinates.

Screen Labels and Reference Lines
To keep from getting lost in space, select any combination of object labels and reference lines. Choose which celestial objects show a corresponding label. For example, you can label stars and nonstellar objects with their common names. Extended Labeling lets you control selections on a per-catalog basis. You can also choose the font type and color for each label category. Available reference lines include constellation lines, constellation boundaries, equatorial coordinate grids, horizon coordinate grids, horizon line, and the ecliptic. You can even add a horizon that shows all of the sky obstructions from your site. The coordinate grids are auto-scaling at any magnification and labeled with coordinates. The color of each of the lines can be changed easily.

Celestial Data to Fit Any Budget
TheSky comes in different "Levels"; these include varying amounts of data. Many celestial objects including the major planets, the Sun, and the Moon come with every level. The CD-ROM versions pack significantly more data.

TheSky Astronomy Software Level Comparisons
Product Level II Floppy Level II CD-ROM Level III Floppy Level III CD Level IV CD-ROM only
Stellar Data 45,000 259,000 259,000 1,500,000 19,000,000
Double Stars 536 536 536 536 16,000
Variable Stars 611 2492 611 2,500 12,000
NGC Catalog 7,840 7,840 7,840 7,840 7,840
IC Catalog 874 5386 5,382 5,382 5,382
PGC Catalog N/A 6716 6,700 41,000 73,000
PK Planetary 54 54 1,455 1,455 1,500
Total 55,000 280,000 280,000 1,551,000 19,000,000

  • Level II and III list the object count for floppy and CD-ROM media.
  • You can upgrade to higher levels for only the difference in cost.
  • Level IV owners can purchase Level III disks (for use on notebook etc.) for a nominal cost.
  • With Level IV, 4,000,000 objects are classified as non-stellar in the GSC, most of which are actually stars.
Call us for information about educational discounts and site licenses.

Comets and Minor Planets
Over 1,000 comets and 5,000 minor planets are supplied. Up to 50 (any combination) can be included in time skip animations. All asteroids can be displayed and labeled with name, magnitude and position.

Beautiful Deep Sky and Planetary Images
The CD-ROM versions contain a total of over 700 images. Included are 400 NGC objects plus 250 other images of the solar system objects. Over 80 images from the spectacular David Malin collection at resolutions up to 900 x 600 are also included. Hungry for even more? We have support for image CDs from Astronomical Research Network.

User-Entered Data
Quickly and easily add hundreds of new objects -- of any type -- by knowing the right ascension and declination (stars, galaxies, other objects) and using the Auxiliary Objects section of the program.

You Have Celestial Control
You have total control over which objects to display. Select by any combination of object type, catalog or magnitude. For example, you can display only NGC and PGC galaxies that are brighter than magnitude 11.

The Brightness and Contrast option varies how you display star fields. Adjust these two parameters and perform image analysis on the stellar data or make the computer display simulate the actual sky.

Three plot-density levels are available. Low Density displays fewer objects on the screen for fast plotting, scrolling, and zooming. Medium Density displays upto 10,000 objects on screen at a time while still maintaining fast plotting with minimal disk access. High Density displays all objects that reside on-disk. The Milky Way becomes visible and in dense areas as many as 100,000 objects are plotted on the screen at once!

A Storehouse of Useful Tools

  • The Eclipse Finder searches for lunar and solar eclipses. Each eclipse can be animated to show its geometry.

  • The Conjunction Finder determines the dates when selected solar system objects close in on one another. A graphical overhead display helps you to visualize the conjunction events.

  • The Jovian Moon Display shows the positions of Jupiter's moons at any moment. The moons can then be set into motion. Both overhead and side (telescope) views of the moons are shown.

  • The Three Dimensional Solar System Simulator shows the relative positions of each of the planets in the solar system from any viewpoint. View the inner solar system, the outer solar system, and any combination of planets.

  • The Moon-phase calendar prints calendars for any month and shows the phase of the moon each day.

No Place to Hide: Finding and Identifying Objects
Find any object in the database by entering its name in the Object Find Dialog Box. Thousands of cross-references are available so, for example, you can find the whirlpool galaxy by typing "whirlpool", "M51",or "NGC 5194". Fuzzy searches work as well -- typing "casseeopia" finds Cassiopeia! Search for stars by their Bayer/Flamsteed numbers, common name or catalog designation (SAO or GSC). Click on any on-screen object to display a wealth of information about it including object ID, equatorial and horizon coordinates, rise-transit-set time. Non-stellar objects include other information such as size, position angle, Dreyer description.

Animated Celestial Motion Why Not? You're the Star of this Ballet
Select solar system objects (including comets & asteroids) for animation, which is performed in either equatorial or horizon coordinates. Watch the retrograde motion of Mars, the path of the Sun during the year (creating the analemma), and the Moon graze the solar disk during a partial eclipse. You can even adjust the sky display after the skip is performed to center the area of interest and print the event. Select Trails to show the path of each object as it moves. Forward and reverse modes make it easy to replay any event.

Select Sample Screen Shot to see how TheSky illustrates the retrograde motion of Mars through the constellation Gemini.

A special Event Recorder allows you to save interesting astronomical events for later playback.

Following are some of the many pre-recorded events that are included with TheSky;

  • The Suns daily motion for a year (Analemma)
  • Saturn Occulting SGR 28 July 1989
  • Total Solar Eclipse 1991
  • Hourly Motion of The Moon
  • The Moon Occults Saturn
Telescope/CCD Views? No Problem, Thanks to Easy Orientation
Experiencing a one-to-one correspondence between computer display and actual night sky (via observing or photographic techniques) is difficult. TheSky makes it much easier. The on-screen Eyepiece/Chip Area display overlays a variable-sized circle or rectangle (specified in arc-minutes) to show the relative field of view of any telescopic eyepiece or CCD chip area. The field of view indicators also print on star charts.

TheSky works well in concert with "SkyPro" CCD imaging software. To see how TheSky and SkyPro will work in tandem with seamless integration, then enter the Advanced Features section. Or to see a demonstration of how to use TheSky and Skypro for remote control access to telescopes view Remote Astronomy Software.


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