"Wow, what a beautiful screen display! Every time I launched it the beauty of the the displayed sky hit me right between the eyes. It was almost as if I was looking at an Akira Fuji photograph rather than a simple chart... The planets and moon are also beautifully rendered, further preserving the visual impression."
-- David Ratledge, Sky & Telescope, March 2003
"The price is good and the features are great. SkyChart III is one of the best astronomy products I have encountered."
-- Paul Trembly, Southern Skies: Journal of the Southeastern Planetarium Association, Winter 2002
"With its straightforward menus and screen display, SkyChart makes astronomical observation easy, allowing you to expand your knowledge of the solar system, galaxies, and deep space (rather than trying to master another computer program.)"
-- Duane Ingram, Erik Bodegom, & Sean P. Goe, Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe, 3rd Edition, 2001
"SkyChart III is a workhorse program, lean and efficient throughout."
-- Jeff Medkeff, Sky & Telescope, June 1999, p. 79
"One of the 25 top new products of 1998."
-- Sky & Telescope, December 1998
SkyChart III is an advanced planetarium program that accurately simulates and displays the sky as it appears in the present, or from thousands of years in the past or future. With SkyChart III you can view the sky from any place on Earth, from any object in the solar system, or even from thousands of light years beyond it.
SkyChart III is also a telescope control program, supporting all of the leading computer-controlled telescopes available on the market today. SkyChart III lets you enjoy the benefits of computer-aided observing: see where the telescope is pointing on your computer screen, or slew the telescope to any object in the sky with a single click of the mouse.
SkyChart III is provided on a single CD-ROM that contains versions for both Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP, and Mac OS 8/9/X; the Mac OS X version is a native Mac OS X "Carbon" application. The CD-ROM also contains high-resolution images of every major planet and moon in the solar system, plus data for thousands of star clusters and nebulae, nearly a million galaxies, and more than 19 million stars from the Hipparcos, Tycho-2, and Hubble Guide Star catalogs: all in all, nearly 20 million objects!
The following list of SkyChart III's major features should give you an idea of the many things you can do with it:
Accurately reproduces eclipses, transits, and occultations - as seen not only from Earth, but also from any place in the solar system. Watch the Moon orbit the Earth as seen from another planet, or witness the passage of a comet through the solar system as if you were riding on the comet!
Shows you the sky from beyond the solar system, and lets you watch the celestial scenery change as you move. View the constellations from hundreds or thousands of light years away!
Animates the sky forward or backward in time over thousands of years. Watch the celestial poles precess; see the constellations shift as the stars move over the millenia.
Supports leading computer-controlled telescopes from Meade, Celestron, and other manufacturers. See where the telescope is pointing on your computer screen; slew the telescope to any object in the sky with a single click of the mouse. SkyChart III even has a "red screen" mode to preserve your night vision when working at the telescope!
Includes two fully-customizable object databases. The Standard database is installed on your hard drive and contains 400,000 stars, plus tens of thousands of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. The Large database resides on the CD-ROM, and contains everything in the Standard database, plus over 19 million additional stars, and 1 million more galaxies. Import your own database files to add new comets, asteroids, stars, planets, or deep-sky objects. Any existing object in the database can be edited, even the constellations!
Renders star images and planet surfaces in 32-bit color with data derived from NASA spacecraft imagery. Print high-resolution finder charts in black and white or color; or export images in many different file formats like BMP, GIF, JPEG, PICT, TIFF. Save animations as GIF files viewable in any web browser!
Computes positions of the Sun, Moon, major planets, their moons, dozens of comets and asteroids to within milli-arcseconds of their values in the Astronomical Almanac. Investigate historical events like eclipses and conjunctions that happened centuries ago, and accurately reproduce what ancient peoples saw.
Computes and displays the positions of Earth satellites from standard NASA/NORAD two-line element satellite orbit files using the full-precision SGP4/SDP4 satellite orbit models. Follow the International Space Station across the sky, or predict a satellite passage in front of the Moon.
The Windows version of SkyChart III has the following computer system requirements:
There are two Macintosh versions of SkyChart III: one for "Classic" Mac OS, and a "Carbon" version for Mac OS X. The Macintosh versions have the following computer system requirements:
SkyChart III supports the following computer-controlled telescopes:
* The Meade ETX requires the optional Meade Autostar Computer Controller.
You will need a special cable to connect your computer with your telescope. Different telescopes require different cables; here are some dealers who can supply them:
PC users: ScopeTronix (phone: (941) 945-6763) sells quality cables for the Meade LX-200 and ETX, and the Celestron NexStar 5 & 8.
Macintosh users: Turner Instruments (phone: (510) 652-4746) manufactures custom Macintosh serial cables for the Meade LX-200 and ETX, and the Celestron Ultima 2000 and NexStar 5 & 8. Note that users of USB-only Macintosh computers (the iMac, the iBook, the blue-and-white G3 and G4 Power Macintosh, and the "Lombard" 400- and 500-MHz PowerBooks) will also need to purchase a USB to serial adapter. Such adapters can be purchased from Mac resellers like Outpost.com and MacWarehouse.
SkyChart III has been selected by textbook publisher Prentice-Hall as the companion software for its college astronomy textbooks Astronomy: a Beginner's Guide to the Universe, 4th edition, and Astronomy Today, 4th edition.
Written by professors Eric Chaisson of Tufts University and Steve McMillan of Drexel University, these books are an excellent college-level introduction to astronomy. Both are lavishly illustrated, and present a broad view of astronomy, straightforwardly descriptive, without complex mathematics. Both include multimedia resources on a CD-ROM that fully integrates with the text. From the back cover of Astronomy Today:
This best-selling astronomy book reflects the most current findings in astronomy using a clear, accurate exposition, market-leading art program, and the most innovative, integrated media program available. Updated and revised content throughout, e.g. Galileo probe; Mars Pathfinder mission; Hubble Deep Field, gamma ray bursts; and new estimates on the age of the universe and controversy. For anyone interested in Astronomy.
Southern Stars Systems does not sell these textbooks directly, but you can purchase them from Prentice-Hall's online catalog. You may also purchase them from Amazon.com by clicking on either of the following links:
Click to enlarge
Astronomy Today, 4th edition (hardcover, 693 pp.) is the more in-depth of these two books, suitable for both one-semester and two-semester courses.
Click to enlarge
Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe, 4th edition (paperback, 552 pp.) is intended primarily for use in a one-semester, non-technical astronomy course. Includes a workbook of SkyChart III student version projects.
Copyright ©1993-2002 Southern Stars Systems. All Rights Reserved.
All product names are trademarks of their respective owners.
This page was last updated on 20 July 2004.