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Recommending Skyglobe

Paul Cella had a post here about stargazing.

For stargazing I highly recommend the shareware program Skyglobe. It is truly shareware. If you try to send a check to the address, it comes back to you in the mail. I got my copy before there was a Web, so I didn't download it off the Web. I hope the download from here works. You can Google other sites that let you download it as well. I hear it doesn't work with Windows Vista, which is just another reason not to get Vista. We've had to create a generic icon for it on our desktop, which makes it easier to get to (without having to go to the DOS prompt).

It's hard to believe something so useful is absolutely free. Skyglobe works chiefly by keystrokes. It will come up showing the sky at the time on your computer. Hit L and choose a location near you for the most accurate picture of the sky. Hit C repeatedly to add more and more constellation lines (and eventually to make them go away). Arrow keys allow you to look around your sky. If you point your mouse at a star directly, you will see the name or number displayed in the corner of the screen.

Where I am, the bitterest cold of winter is over, and we are even occasionally having clear nights. It isn't yet light into the night, as it will be in the summer. So around about 8:30 we can sometimes see some neat things. Orion, westering a bit, still dominates the southern sky, hunting Taurus the bull. Canis Major, with Sirius brightly visible in it, lopes at his heels. Just above Canis Major, Procyon wags the tail of Canis Minor, who refuses to be left out of the hunt. And over to the east, Leo now rises, ramping straight up the sky.

I also recommend the books on the stars by H. A. Rey, best known as the creator of Curious George. The books are geared to kids, but grownups will find them useful too.

Comments (9)

I use Stellarium, an amazing application for looking around, and learning about, the night sky. It is graphically driven, allowing you to pan around with your mouse, and you can choose to display (or not) stars, planets, constellations, and even nebulae. Like the program you describe, it shows you the sky as it looks from your location and time. It is also free.

I got skyglobe working in Vista in about 3 minutes. DosBox ( http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1 ) allows backward compatibility that vista doesn't support natively.

It's definitely not ideal, but it does work.

Cool. Obviously the guy at Sidewalk Astronomy (who I believe is the one who said that about Vista) doesn't know how to do that. (Neither do I, but I don't have to, because I don't have Vista.) But it's good to know, because the program shd. be widely usable. It's a lot of fun.

Microsoft's World Wide Telescope is also a great free program, as it includes access to lots of photographic images from various sky surveys. On my laptop, I use WWT and Stellarium.

But generally I do my stargazing, and planning thereof, with AstroInfo on my Palm TX (disclosure: I'm one of the authors of AstroInfo), which is also free.

I'm lucky to live in an area where we don't suffer from bitter cold.

Here's the moon from a couple of days ago.

" got skyglobe working in Vista in about 3 minutes. DosBox ( http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1 ) allows backward compatibility that vista doesn't support natively.

It's definitely not ideal, but it does work.

Posted by Todd | March 25, 2009 9:20 PM "

How'd he do that?

I need to run the skyglobe in a Xo computer, (Nigroponte's OLPC).
The dosbox slows the machine until it freeze and the skyglobe becomes a photo.
Any ideas, any help??
There is a skyglobe for Xo out there?

I posted a huge series of links to free astronomy software when this post first came up (might have been Paul's original post) that never showed up in the combox. You do know that Xo is a Linux-based operating system, right? There are probably compatibility issues. It is reported that Skyglobe does not work on Windows Vista and the DOS emulator you have may have been inherited from that. I don't know. I would need to know more about your system. What I recommend, if you have DOS mode, are several good DOS astronomy programs that are available. There are many good Linux programs available (much of astronomy is done in Linux - few scientists use Windows), so emulation would not be necessary. I could post some links if the moderators would let them pass.

The Chicken

anyway to get skyglobe or any other planitaruim software to set a specific time for greenwich and then jump to another city while the time stays referenced to greenwich as aposed to jumping to a new city and the time set is always the time in that city. I want to use it to practice Celestial navigation so the time of day set is always in Greenwich. That way i can see what the stars are positioned from other locations on the globe but at a certain greenwich time.
thanks please email me bellora@aol.com

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy Skyglobe software. Also I have a few question about the software.
Is there anyway to set a specific time at a certain city ( Greenwich to be precise )and that way I can travel your globe and see what the stars and planets positions are without the program updating the time to the city you chose secondly. The reason why is I am very much into learning Celestial Navigation and I would like a to know how to do this or if you can make the simple mod. I am sure it is only a few lines of cod. I want to use this for practicing celestial navigation so I can't know the time. I will only know Greenwich time and I will use the position of the sun and stars to try to determine where I am at anywhere in the world. Your program can be re-spun as a Navigation software for practice and actual navigation for onboard computers. I would gladly pay for the small modification to allow me to set Greenwich time so I can blindly choose any city or let one of my friends select a city without me watching and use tables angles to determine where I am at just like I am lost as sea. I am not a sailor but I am fascinated with the art. Your program is the key to learn. I will never have to step foot on a ship.

please email me

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