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STARCALC 5.7 Astronomy planetarium and map program for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP I. INTRODUCTION.

II. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. III. PROGRAM INSTALLATION. IV. PROGRAM USAGE. 1. StarCalc start. 2. Working modes and short description of StarCalc possibilities. 3. Plugin's: installation and usage. 4. Full list of the program "hot" keys. I. INTRODUCTION. StarCalc is the fastest professional astronomy planetarium & star mapping program for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP. It illustrates star positions of any instance of the day observed from any geographic locations on the Earth. The sta r positions can be viewed and presented as images of semispherical whole sky or any of the user defined sub-areas. These images can be zoomed at different scales, rotated, screen-captured and printed. Best of all StarCalc is freeware. Main features of StarCalc: - Extensibility: Absolutely all of object types, which can be drawn by this program, work through common "Plugin StarCalc interface to catalogs and object groups". Any object or object group type (from Horizon to star catalogs) is implemented as independent module, which is used by program core for drawing it's objects and working with other functions of this interface (object search, etc.). With minimal configuration, program has a core + set of 12 standard interfaces, linked in one exe-file. Extension of StarCalc functions is made on the bases of Plugin files, including replacement of standard interfaces. Plugin files can be implemented by any program development instrument, which can create a dll-libraries, therefore I plan to prepare a SDK, in order that StarCalc extensions can be made by independent programmers - fast performance: In StarCalc, extra efficient algorithm of coordinates transformation was implemented, therefore in "Quick view" mode image calculation usually lasts a fraction of a second even on very old slow computers and, if co-processor is present, in "Detailed view" too. Besides, plugin interfaces allow optimal support to any catalogs. - User friendliness technology: StarCalc has a simple interface, most operations are implemented by mouse or "hot" keys (see item IV.4). The program follows WYSIWYG technology (What You

See Is What You Get), what helps you to print a detailed image of any enlarged sky area. II. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. The program doesn't call for great computer performance and works well on any computer with installed Windows 9x/ME or Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Of course, during work with Plugin interfaces to big astronomy catalogs, you must have enough disk space and RAM at least 16-32 Mb. III. PROGRAM INSTALLATION. To install StarCalc you must copy files from archive to a temporary folder and start file setup.exe, however this procedure isn't mandatory and after files are extracted you can start main program (starcalc.exe file) right away. If the installation program overwrite an old version of StarCalc, it save settings of this, selected previously. IV. PROGRAM USAGE. 1. StarCalc start. After the installation procedures, start of StarCalc is made from "Start" menu or by file "starcalc.exe". The program initializes available interfaces (standard and plugin) with an appropriate messages show, then sets the "Quick view" mode (zoom 100%) and current time. (If other settings were not saved as "default state" previously.) When these procedures are completed, StarCalc is ready to use. 2. Working modes and short description of StarCalc possibilities. StarCalc have a two working modes: "Quick view", during zoom between 50% and 600%, and "Detailed view" with zoom from 601% to 200000%. Each of available interfaces to object groups can support one of this modes or both. Change of mode is made automatically during zoom change. Set of object groups, which must be shown in each of modes, its draw order and parameters are set in dialog window (menu "Catalogs and object groups"). You may change draw order by buttons with arrows, pressing "Shift+Up"/"Shift+Down" keys or dragging by mouse over group list. Image of sky semi-sphere can be rotated under any angle along the azimuth. For this action you can press "Azimuth rotate" button, press down the left mouse button and drag mouse over sky image. Another variant is usage "hot" keys Ctrl+"Right"/Ctrl+"Left" or Ctrl+mouse "wheel". If you wish to turn the image around by a certain angle, click the mouse right button and choose a line of a popup menu accordingly or use "hot" keys (see item IV.4). For object selection press "Object selection" button and click left mouse button on the needed object. After double click you will see the window with a full data about this object. Also, you can select object from selection list in right mouse button context menu - in order to open information window or calculate ephemeris and path of the object. In the 5.5 Version of StarCalc new "Object locking" mode is added. After turning on this mode, if you change zoom or time, selected objects are centered in main program window. With the help of this mode, for example, you

can comfortably observe eclipses or star occultation processes. On the fast computer after the input of the required image rotation step (to be set at the special dialog window) press and hold down '+' or CTRL+F ('-' or CTRL+B), or turn "on" autorotation mode, and you will enjoy the effect of sky rotation even with constellation boundaries preserved. If the step of rotation is equal to mean solar day or sidereal day you can see how planets, the Sun, etc. move along the sky sphere. The program can rotate the sky automatically - forward, backward or in "real time mode". Duration of rotation step (excluding real time mode) for autorotatoin mode same as duration of rotation step for "time forward"/ "time back" functions. Other parameters of autorotation mode - image refresh rate, etc. - are implemeted in special dialog window. In the 5.6 version of StarCalc new "Save state"/"Restore state" functions are implemented. With help of these functions is possible not only go back to viewing the necessary events, as well as to set sky image parameters at the program start. For example, if you want to view required point on sky image, you must save program state with "Location on sky image" and "Restore at the program start" options. The image adjustment toolbar can be made "auto hide" in order to save screen space. For this purposes please select "Auto hide toolbar" in the menu. In this case the toolbar will appear, if you move the mouse cursor to the bottom of the main program window. "Output console". If you turn "on" console window, the program workspace is divided into two parts. Upper part is the console, lower contains sky image. The boundary between these parts can dragged by mouse, switching to console and back to sky image do by the "Tab" key. Output console assigned for accumulation information, which is generated by the program (ephemeris tables, etc.) and can be printed or saved to file. As for the rest of my program, I think, you will understand it yourself without problem. 3. Plugins: installation and usage. After StarCalc installation in it's folder a sub-folder with name "Plugins". is created. For usage of a plugin you must copy it's files into this sub-folder. Also, for each plugin, you can make a sub-folders within "Plugins" and place files into it. During StarCalc start, available plugins are recognized and initialized automatically. If program has found a new Plugin, it shows a window with checkboxes for selection modes ("quick" and "detailed"), in which objects of this plugin will be shown. Installed plugin can be setup as well as standard interfaces. 4. Full list of the program "hot" keys. a) Keys that are used to work in the main program window: '+' or Ctrl+F '-' or Ctrl+B Ctrl+N Ctrl+L - Time forward - Time back - Set the current time - Turn On/Off "Object locking" mode.

Ctrl+G F2 F3 F4 Ctrl+P Ctrl+S PageUp PageDown Home Keys 1..0

- Turn On/Off "Autorotation" mode. - Save program state - Restore program state - Show/hide the output console window - Print image - Save image as file Zoom In Zoom Out Set Zoom equal to 100% (All sky) Set fixed zoom values: (100%, 150%, 200%, 250%, 350%, 600%, 1000%, 3000%, 8000% and 50000%)

F8 Cursor keys

- Adjustment of object group parameters, which have support of this function - Shift sky image in quick and detailed view modes

Ctrl + Cursor keys - Azimuth rotation of sky image Ctrl+I Ctrl+H Ctrl+E F9 Ctrl+D Ctrl+R Ctrl+T Ctrl+A Ctrl+Z - Information about selected objects - Enable/Disable horizontal coordinate grid - Enable/Disable equatorial coordinate grid - Show "Catalogs and object groups" window - Set date and time - Set duration of rotation step - Set autorotation parameters - Set Azimuth rotation angle - Set Zoom

b) Keys that are used to work in dialog windows: For date/time, rotation step, azimuth rotation angle and zoom set windows pressing the "Enter" key confirms settings and "Esc" cancels them. For example, in order to set duration of rotation step equal to mean solar day, it is enough to press the following key combinations: "Ctrl+R", "Shift+5", "Enter". For duration of rotation step window: Shift+1 Shift+2 Shift+3 Shift+4 Shift+5 Shift+6 set set set set set set the the the the the the step step step step step step equal equal equal equal equal equal to to to to to to 1 second 1 minute 1 hour sidereal day mean solar day synodic month

For azimuth rotation angle set window:

Shift+1 Shift+2 Shift+3 Shift+4

North at the bottom of image East at the bottom of image South at the bottom of image West at the bottom of image

For autorotation parameters set window: Ctrl+F Ctrl+B Ctrl+R - set direction of rotation to "Forward" - set direction of rotation to "Backward" - turn On/Off the "Real time mode"

c) For most dialog windows: "Esc" - exit.

News, last versions of StarCalc and Plugins for it can be found on the StarCalc Home page mirrors: If you want to see new possibilities of StarCalc (may be in the form of Plugin) or you have other questions or requests, send me e-mail to following address: With best regards, Alexander E. Zavalishin Voronezh, Russia