SkyMap Pro 4
Service Packs and Bug Fixes
The following updated program files for SkyMap Pro 4 are available for download:
This service pack "patches" SkyMap Pro 4 to the latest version 4.0.21. Click the link below to download the service pack.
To apply the service pack, simply run the downloaded program and follow the prompts on screen to locate the SkyMap Pro installation directory. The service pack will "patch" any older version of the program to create the latest version. Note that each service pack includes all the changes made in previous packs.
If you have not installed it previously, from Service Pack 4 onwards you will also need to download and install the Planetary Series (1996) data file described below. Unless this data file is installed, SkyMap Pro will not run!
Bug fix: When driving a telescope capable of slewing under computer control, slewing to an object in an external data catalog often selected the wrong object from the catalog.
Bug fix: Date labels on object tracks were labelled in TDT, sometimes leading to the wrong date being shown. Object tracks are now labelled in LMT.
Bug fix: In the printer font dialog, the map title and map key entries were switched - ie editing the map title font actually changed the map key font and vice versa.
Bug fix: When connected to a telescope capable of "slewing" (ie moving under computer control), the program would crash if you attempted to slew the telescope to an object in an external data catalog. Now fixed.
Bug fix: If the Search/List/Deep Sky Objects menu item was used to display a list of all the deep sky objects currently visible on the map, and information for an object was then displayed using this list, the "Picture" button on the information dialog was always disabled, even if a picture was available for the object. Now fixed.
Bug fix: If a new asteroid catalog was selected in the Asteroid Configuration dialog the program did not store the name of the new catalog, but continued using the previous catalog. ie, there was no way to use a different catalog. Now fixed.
Minor enhancement: When a selection rectangle is "dragged" on the map, the resulting confirmation dialog has a check box allowing you to specify whether the view of the current map should be changed, or whether a new map window should be created. Previously, this check box was always initially blank, and had to be explicitly "checked" to create a new window. The program now "remembers" the previous state of the check box, and will use, by default, whatever the previous selected was.
SkyMap Pro computes the positions of planets using a subset of a method called the "VSOP87 Planetary Theory". This is sufficiently accurate for most purposes, giving planetary positions with mean errors typically in the range 0.5 to 1 arc second for the present time (for comparison, the apparent diameter of Jupiter is typically 35", whilst that of Neptune is 2").
There are a few situations for which higher accuracy is needed, so the program has been modified to compute planetary positions using Chapront and Francou's "Planetary Series (1996)". This gives extremely accurate positions (with maximum errors, compared with the JPL DE403 ephemeris, of about 0.005" for Pluto, and 0.001" for the other planets) for the period 1900 to 2100 AD; outside this period, we still use the VSOP87 subset theory as before.
The "Day and Night" and "Daily Events" dialogs display a day of the week and date at the top. This date was always shown for the current time in UT, rather than for the observer's local time. For example, if an observer on the east coast of the USA (5 hours behind UT) displayed the daily events dialog at 8pm local time, the date shown would be one day later than the "local" date, although the data was correct for the local date. The dialogs now correctly show the "local" date.
The feature added in Service Pack 1 (being able to store the initial field of view) only worked correctly if the map was in alt/az orientation at the time it was saved. This has been fixed.
In previous versions of SkyMap, saving default settings for the program also saved the current map centre and field of view as the default view to be used for all subsequent maps. That capability was inadvertently removed from the initial release of SkyMap Pro 4; it is restored by this service pack. If, for example, you set up a view of the northern sky and then select File/Save Defaults, then you will get that same view as the initial view whenever you run the program.
If you download SkyMap Pro service pack 4 or later, which computes planetary positions using Chapront and Francou's "Planetary Series (1996)", you must install a new data file, or the program will not run correctly. To install this new data file, proceed as follows:
This file need only be installed once - it does not need to be reinstalled if you install a later service pack.
This new version of the telescope control DLL replaces the one supplied with SkyMap Pro 4, and provides enhanced capabilities for telescope drivers. You need only install this file if you download a SkyMap Pro telescope driver which requires it.
After downloading the file, unzip it, and copy the resulting "scope.dll" file into the "System" subdirectory of your SkyMap Pro installation directory, overwriting the existing file of the same name.
This new version of the SAC database has improved positions for galaxies and globular clusters, many of which were considerably in error in the version of the database distributed with SkyMap Pro. To install the new file, proceed as follows:
SkyMap Pro's main catalog for the display of bright stars is the PPM catalog. The version of the catalog shipped with the program is incorrectly sorted; if a map is drawn with a low limiting magnitude (ie a map only showing bright stars), this can cause some bright stars not to appear on the map.
The PPM catalog is large - 23MB in size - so it's not feasible to distribute corrected data files. What we've therefore done is written a program called PPMFix which will "re-sort" the catalog into the correct order on your own machine. To use this fix, proceed as follows:
SkyMap Pro's constellation figure database depends on the ordering of the stars in the PPM catalog, so changing the order of the stars means that a new constellation figure database is also required. The "ppmfix.zip" file contains a new constellation figure database file "configr.dat" which replaces the version supplied with the program.