SkyMap 6.5

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 17:20:30 EST

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    Hi All,
    I believe it's been more than two years since the public release
    of SkyMap 6.4, so I think everyone is longer overdue for v6.5.
    This version has been beta-tested longer than any previous one,
    and rather than continue the process any longer, I thought it
    was high time for a new release.
    This version is not bug-free, but it is a vast improvement over
    6.4 in that regard.  (There are a few nagging bugs that come up in
    rare instances that I will continue trying to track down.)  Here
    are the principal changes that have been made since 6.4:
    1.   Bjoern Gimle discovered bug with star query for Tycho catalog.
         Starfile names longer than 20 characters (e.g. with a long
         pathname preceding the filename) will prevent HD star #
         searches from working.  Bug fixed 12/28/2001.
    2.   Added "X" and "ESC" options to satellite autolocate query.
         "X" skips to the next satellite in your index list; "ESC"
         skips all remaining satellites and returns to the editing menu
    3.   Cleaned up interpretation of lighting constraints when doing
         transit or conjunction searches.  For solar transit searches,
         ALL lighting constraints are ignored, no matter how they're set.
         For conjunction and lunar transit searches, the lunar lighting
         constraint is ignored but all other lighting constraints are
         in effect.
    4.   Changed satellite magnitude phase function to correctly model
         satellites as lambertian spheres/cylinders.  This has the effect
         of increasing satellite brightnesses by as much as 0.5 magnitudes
         at opposition (relative to the old equation), but decreasing them
         by as much as 1.5 magnitudes at really poor phase angles.
    5.   Round-off error could cause fatal 0/0 division when calculating
         phase of asteroids at opposition.  Bug fixed.
    6.   Support for asteroid transits of the sun added.  (Previously,
         SkyMap failed to occult asteroids blocked by the sun or moon).
         For asteroids close to transiting the sun (phase angle greater
         than 175 degrees), the visual magnitude label is replaced by
         the asteroid range in astronomical units.
    7.   Autolocate command was printing status messages on the wrong
         line following the first found satellite.  Cosmetic bug fixed.
    8.   ASTEROID.BIN expanded from 964 asteroids to 1536.  As before,
         this includes all asteroids that can become as bright as magnitude
         +12, as well as all 906 known Apollo/Aten (earth-orbit crossing)
         asteroids.  Registered users can receive ephemeredes for all
         150,000+ asteroids.
    Both Ed Cannon and Mike McCants have kindly offered to host this
    new version on their respective sites.  At Ed's site, the files can be
    found at:
    For Mike's site, use:
    There are a handful of asteroids in the database with erroneously high
    standard magnitudes.  These are in the process of being corrected in
    ASTORB.DAT (the source data for ASTEROID.BIN) by Ted Bowell.  Once
    the corrections are complete, I'll provide Ed and Mike with new
    versions of ASTEROID.ZIP.
    Any already registered users who would like updates to their
    registered executables, please email me and I'll send them your
    way.  Enjoy!  --Rob Matson
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