What’s new in CyberSky 5
CyberSky 5 introduces many new features, major improvements, and minor enhancements requested by users. There are far too many changes to the program to describe them all in detail. The new features and major improvements that will appeal to most users are briefly described below.
- Updated, highly-customizable user
CyberSky’s user interface has been updated and modernized, and now features menus and toolbars with new, high-color images. This new user interface is highly customizable. You can easily rearrange menu commands and toolbar buttons, create new toolbars, add commands to new or existing toolbars, and reassign keyboard shortcuts to your liking. You can customize the program’s appearance by selecting among six different themes: Office 2000, Office 2003, and Office 2007 in Aqua, Black, Blue, and Silver color schemes.
- Find objects quickly using the new
The new search box on the Search toolbar makes it easy to find the objects you’re interested in. Simply type an object’s name, abbreviation, or catalog number into the search box and then press Enter. The last 100 objects you searched for are remembered in the search box’s list, even between sessions of the program. This is true not only for text you type in the search box, but also for objects you search for using the search dialog boxes. For example, if you use the Star Search dialog box to search for Sirius, “Sirius” will be added to the search box’s list. If you want to find an object you recently searched for, there’s no need to type its name again; you can find it again simply by selecting it from the list.
- Updated star catalog with many more
CyberSky now uses information taken from the All-Sky Compiled Catalogue of 2.5 Million Stars (ASCC-2.5), which is the result of merging data from several high-precision sources, including the Hipparcos and Tycho catalogs. This catalog has a magnitude limit of 12 to 14, but some stars as faint as magnitude 15 are included. The number of stars that CyberSky can display has been increased more than eightfold, from 299,458 to 2,459,676. Note that the trial version of CyberSky includes only 80,158 stars to magnitude 8.5.
- More attractive star bitmaps, drawn
in more realistic colors
CyberSky now draws stars using much more attractive bitmaps. Previous versions of CyberSky drew stars in colors based on their spectral types. The program now draws stars using more realistic colors based on their surface temperatures. Each star’s surface temperature is calculated from its B-V color index, which is a much more accurate indicator of color than a star’s spectral type.
- Updated deep-sky object catalog
with many more objects
CyberSky now uses information taken from version 8.1 of the Saguaro Astronomy Club’s database of deep-sky objects. The catalog now includes quasars and dark nebulae. The number of deep-sky objects in the catalog has more than doubled, from 2,200 to 5,578—5,375 objects as faint as magnitude 13.5, plus 203 dark nebulae. Note that the trial version of CyberSky includes only 504 objects to magnitude 8.5, and no dark nebulae.
- Outlines of selected deep-sky objects
CyberSky now displays the outlines of the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud, as well as those of notable bright nebulae, dark nebulae, planetary nebulae, and supernova remnants.
- Planets are drawn like stars, with
sizes based on magnitudes
When planets are too small to see their disks, CyberSky now draws them just like stars, with the size of each filled circle or bitmap based on the planet’s current magnitude. You can still choose to have planets drawn as equal-sized filled circles, as they were in previous versions of CyberSky, with the phases of Mercury and Venus always visible. This is an educational feature, since it allows you to see the phases of these planets change as they circle the Sun. In either case, when you zoom in to a field of view of 1° or less, the disks of the planets are shown and are drawn to scale.
- Moons of Mars, Uranus, and Neptune
CyberSky now displays the positions of both moons of Mars (Phobos and Deimos), the five brightest moons of Uranus (Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, and Miranda), and Neptune’s brightest moon (Triton).
- Improved display and handling of
You can now quickly see a planet’s moons by right-clicking the planet and then clicking the new Zoom to Moons command. CyberSky now calculates the angular sizes of planetary moons and draws them with the correct diameters on the map. You can now right-click a moon and then use the Center, Lock, Measure, and Properties commands just like you can with other objects. When you hover the pointer over a moon, you’ll now see a tip that displays basic information about the moon. You’ll even see a tip when you hover the pointer over a moon’s shadow on Jupiter, identifying which moon is casting the shadow.
- Label objects with multiple pieces
In previous versions of CyberSky, you could label each type of object with just one piece of information. For example, stars could be labeled with their names, Bayer letters, Flamsteed numbers, magnitudes, or distances—just one piece of information at a time. You can now label objects with multiple pieces of information at the same time, in any combination. There are now additional pieces of information with which you can label objects, and additional options for labeling some types of objects. For example, you can now choose to display constellation and asterism labels in uppercase letters, as they are in some star atlases.
- Improved Orrery window
The Orrery window, which displays an overhead, oblique, or side view of the planets and their orbits around the Sun, has several major improvements. You can now add an asteroid and a comet to the view of the Solar System. You can now display the axes of the ecliptic coordinate system, which show the directions of the north and south ecliptic poles as well as the equinoxes and solstices. The two scrollbars have been removed from the window. To see the Solar System from a different perspective, you can now manipulate the view just like the map in the main window: simply click and drag to rotate and tilt the Solar System to whatever orientation you want.
- Quickly view the sky from three
In addition to specifying a home location, you can now specify three favorite locations from which you sometimes view the sky. These locations, named site 1, site 2, and site 3, can be favorite vacation spots, places where friends or relatives live, or any other locations you choose. You can quickly go to those locations using menu commands and keyboard shortcuts, and can later just as quickly return to your home location.
- Easily download catalogs from the
The new Download catalogs command on the menu allows you to easily update the program’s asteroid, comet, and meteor shower catalogs. There’s no need to exit CyberSky, download and save the catalogs manually, and then restart the program. CyberSky will download the latest versions of these catalogs, save them in the correct locations, and then will begin using them right away, automatically.
- Unicode character support
CyberSky is now a Unicode program. Unicode characters are used in the program’s user interface and data files whenever possible. If you choose to have Bayer letters displayed as symbols (α, β, γ) rather than as names (Alpha, Beta, Gamma), those symbols appear not only on the map but also when you search for stars and display their properties. Angles are now displayed using primes and double-primes (° ′ ″) instead of single- and double-quotation marks (° ' "). Quotation marks and apostrophes are now curved instead of straight. The program’s location database now also supports Unicode characters, so you can type location names in Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, or just about any other language.