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Date: 10-25-2001
Price: Free
Requirements: Almost any PC with Internet access.
Description: Modular star charting and mapping software.

Review

This program is an excellent program for astronomy. It is capable to draw charts on-screen and print them. However, beware that this software is pretty slow. Whenever you do something, it takes at lease a few seconds to do them. I once downloaded Distant Suns program, and did not figure out how to use it, but each operation is fast and clean, but this software, on the other hand, does it slowly. Beta* software is available, but download the 2.61 version first, just to get use to it. Note that the beta versions are more powerful, and maybe contain a few bugs, and 2.7F Beta version does not have the proper updated help file. The future Betas might.

Advantages

One major advantage of this software is that it covers the stars all the way to Magnitude 6 stars, which might not be enough for some people, but you can download the catalog files that contain the stars separately, which means you do not need to download the whole thing to magnitude 11 when you only need the stars to magnitude 9. The Beta version software, which is what I an using right now, it much more powerful than 2.61.

Drawbacks

As Iíve mentioned, the speed is the major problem. I suggest you to turn all unnecessary catalogs off when you donít need them, which could increase the speed. Also, if you have a slow internet connection, youíll have to download a lot of files. There is also a CD that contained the older version of the software, which you can upgrade by downloading the patch.

For more information and downloads, go to http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/index.html.

*Beta software is the kind that is currently being tested, in case if you are wondering.

Submitted by Frank Zhao - frankzhao47@hotmail.com - USA

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