SkyMap Confusion

Rob Matson (
25 Mar 1996 12:22:31 U

                      Subject:                              Time:  11:35
  OFFICE MEMO         SkyMap Confusion                      Date:  96/03/25

Let me clear up a little confusion about this SkyMap business.  First of all,
unfortunately, there are at least 2 SkyMap programs.  Mine was first made
publicly available in 1991.  Some time later a second SkyMap came on the scene
out of the UK.  The biggest difference between the two is that mine is a
satellite tracking program for plotting trajectories against the celestial
background; the UK program is a planetarium program that runs under Windows. 
The UK SkyMap is NOT a satellite tracker.  Now, for all I know there may be a
third SkyMap program that DOES do satellite tracking, but I haven't seen it

Some of the confusion can be eliminated by referring to version numbers.  My
program has been at version 5.10 for some time.

Bjorn Gimle is undoubtedly THE most experienced user of my program; he's been
running it for years, and in fact he's probably run it more than I.  He's been
very instrumental in driving the evolution of the program features, and I'll
be the first to admit that the documentation has fallen far behind the
upgrades that have been made.  The .DOC file is still from version 4.0;
however, the README and SKY510.NEW files are up-to-date and provide all the
information anyone needs to run the program.

It really is not that hard to figure out.  My dad is neither a rocket
scientist nor a computer wiz, and yet without assistance from me he used the
program to locate passes of Mir and the Hubble Space Telescope from his
location and successfully observed both the very first evening he tried.

In a recent message, William Blair wrote:

> Well, to each his own, I guess.  I had no problem at all getting
> SkyMap set up.  As a matter of fact, I found it to be the easiest to
> set up of any tracking program that I've used.  If you have any
> questions about it, please ask via direct email.  BTW, version 2.0
> is in the works, according to the author.

William is talking about a different SkyMap than mine.  I'd be curious to know
if it actually does satellite tracking, or if it's the UK planetarium program
I mentioned earlier.  If it DOES do satellites, then it's a new program I'm
unfamiliar with.  Of course, that's the problem with a generic name like
"Skymap"...  --Rob