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SkyMap Pro 6
Service Packs and Bug Fixes

The following updated program files for SkyMap Pro 6 are available for download:


SkyMap Pro 6 Service Pack

This service pack "patches" SkyMap Pro 6 to the latest version 6.0.22. Click the link below to download the service pack.

Download Service Pack 7 (smp6sp7.exe, 761kb)

To apply the service pack, simply run the downloaded program and follow the prompts on screen to locate the SkyMap Pro 6 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 all previous service packs.

What's New?

Service Pack 7 (July 6, 2000)

Bug fixes

The format of the external MPCORB asteroid database has slightly changed, resulting in "garbage" being displayed at the end of asteroid names when using an MPCORB database. The program now correctly reads asteroid names from the current MPCORB database.

In the "Planning/Search for Objects" search dialog, when entering a declination range for the search, the end-points of the declination range can now be entered in either order. Previously the first end-point had to be the southerly limit of declination, and the second end-point the northerly limit; this order is natural for northern-hemisphere observers, but not at all natural for observers in the southern hemisphere.

This one isn't really a bug, but it caused people annoyance so I suppose it should be classified as one! If you had objects in a target list whose type was set to "double star" or "variable star", and then did a database query or an "update from log" from the target list dialog, you wouldn't get any "matches" on observations logged from the star information dialogs. That's because the observations are logged with the object type set to "star", so the types didn't match. When searching the database for observations of objects with type "double star" or "variable star", we now do a search on object type "star" instead.

Service Pack 6 (May 6, 2000)

Bug fixes

One of the new features added in SkyMap Pro 6 was the ability to have external data catalogs containing different types of object, rather than every object in the catalog having to be of the same type, as was previously the case. Unfortunately, this new information had not been passed on to the database log, query, and "user notes" functions, with the result that all such database records were stored with an object type of "unknown". The result of this was that if you had anexternal data catalog containing the same objects as the internal catalogs, observing log entries made via the internal catalog info dialog wouldn't be visible from the external catalog info dialog, and vice versa. Now fixed.

The satellite ground track display would sometimes display orbits with no time labels. Modified the labelling algorithm so it now (hopefully!) works correctly in all situations.

Service Pack 5 (Apr 11, 2000)

New features

The target list "Update from Log" dialog now allows you to select whether the most recent or the oldest observation of each object in the list should be selected.

Bug fixes

When getting the UT time back from the map, round it to the nearest second before displaying it. This prevents a local time of (for example) "21:00:00" being displayed as a UT of "01:59:59".

When information dialogs were displayed under Windows 2000, the dialog was initially shown with the information scrolled to the bottom of the text rather than the top. This appears to be a bug in Windows 2000. We now use a different method of scrolling the text which works OK under Windows 2000.

Service Pack 4 (Mar 1, 2000)

New features

The Hubble Guide Star catalog often contains multiple records for the same star in the regions of "overlap" of the photographic plates from which it was created. When you zoom in to a very small field of view, this can result in two (or more) star images in slightly different locations. When plotting GSC stars for which multiple records exist, we now only display the first star record on the star chart.

Added two new buttons to the "Observation Time" dialog to move the date one day forward and back respectively.

Bug fixes

In the last service pack we introduced a fix for the problem of high proper-motion stars disappearing from the map when a map was drawn for the distant past or future; this basically involved widening the range of coordinates searched in the star catalog as time passes from the catalog's 2000AD "origin". Unfortunately, in cases where the map's RA range passes through zero in J2000 coordinates we had the logic back-to-front, and were narrowing the search range instead of widening it! This led to blank areas appearing at the sides of the map when the J2000 RA range passes through zero.

When an external data catalog contains stars, the "About <Object>" menu item was incorrectly appearing on the right-click menu even when the object was currently not being displayed due to the star magnitude limit of the current map.

A target list report would never successfully locate objects classified as "stars" in an external data catalog.

When the type of an object in a target list was set to "Unknown", it would never be included in a target list report.

When we fixed the database problems relating to objects with apostrophes in their name in v6.0.17 we overlooked the target list "Update from Log" operation. Now fixed.

When loading background images from the "RealSky" CD-ROMs, the program would crash if the RealSky CD-ROM location was set to "The same drive as the SkyMap Pro CD-ROM" and SkyMap was run without the SkyMap Pro CD in the drive.

Cross-referencing between the star catalogs is not perfect, and sometimes a double star in the WDS catalog has a DM catalog number which should "link" it to a star in the Tycho catalog, but which actually isn't present, or is present in a slightly different form, in the Tycho catalog. In such a situation, searching for the star by its double star reference number would result in garbage in the object information dialog. In this situation, if the star cannot be located in the Tycho catalog, we now fill in its basic information from its WDS catalog entry.

When we load a new set of satellite TLE orbital elements, we need to discard any stored pass predictions.

The code to set up the default font for text annotations was buggy. This didn't cause any known problems, but needed fixing.

Service Pack 3 (Jan 17, 2000)

New features

Some variable stars have names consisting of a single upper or lower-case letter NOT in the usual variable star range "R-Z". Examples of such stars are "B Cas", and "L Pup". The "Star Search" dialog will now locate such stars, which it previously wasn't able to. One consequence of this change is that a search for a variable star designation is now "case sensitive" - searching for "rs Cas" will NOT find "RS Cas".When a new map is created by dragging a selection rectangle on an existing map and checking the "Create a new map" box, the new map now gets a new default title, rather than a copy of the title of the old map. The previous behaviour was not a bug - it happened "by design" - but I've been convinced that this is probably undesirable.

If the level range for a catalog (either a star, deep sky, or "external" catalog) is set to "0 to 0", the catalog's on/off status will not be changed by SkyMap as the map's view level changes. This allows you to control catalog selection manually should you wish to do so.

When a map is saved, the map title is now changed to the filename used to save the file.

The Hipparcos catalog information for a star is now retrieved by a rather more efficient method than before. This slightly speeds up report generation for target lists containing many stars.

Bugs fixed

When displaying a map with a narrow field of view for the distant past or far future, stars with a high proper motion would sometimes not be displayed on the map. This was due to the original "J2000" coordinates of the star being too far away from the map centre to be considered for display on the map, even though proper motion would move the star "onto" the map over the intervening time period. This problem has now been corrected.

If an external data catalog contains objects whose type is set to "Star", those objects should use the map's star magnitude limit rather than the deep sky object magnitude limit. This was not being done.

When an object transits the observer's meridian just after midnight, a second transit can occur on the same day. This caused SkyMap to report a "negative" transit time for the object, and also caused the object's transit time to be reported incorrectly on the observation planning "Best Visibility" report.

Generating a target list report including a "constellation" field for a target list containing stars could crash the program, due to the fact that the wrong data value was being read for the star's constellation.

Service Pack 2 (Dec 18, 1999)

New features

By popular request, the "priority" given to the various different names of a star has been changed. When you right-click on a star on the map, the map will now only show the star's "proper name" if proper name labels are currently switched on for that map. When a star's information dialog is displayed, the dialog title will show the star's Bayer letter or Flamsteed number designation in preference to the proper name.

When selecting fonts, we previously only allowed "TrueType" fonts to be selected. Now, for the screen, we allow the selection of any available font. The standard Windows "bitmapped" fonts are convenient for use in the report dialogs, for example.

Bugs fixed

For stars with a Bayer letter plus a numeric suffix (eg "theta1 Orionis") there was an inconsistency between the star name which had to be used when searching for the star, and the star name stored by the observing log; this meant that such stars couldn't be added to target lists and linked with the observing log. The program always now displays and stores such star names without a space between the Bayer letter and its suffix.

Adding or retrieving user-defined notes, or logging or querying the observing log for any object with an apostrophe in its name (eg "Barnard's Star") would result in a database error. This has been corrected.

When manually adding an item to a target list, we now remove any existing selection from the list before selecting the newly-added item; this allows you, for example, to immediately display the information dialog for the newly-added object.

If the artificial satellite list included geosynchronous satellites, the program would hang up when asked to predict all satellite passes for the next 24h.

Object information dialogs gave the wrong chart number in the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas for objects south of declination 49S.

An error in the computational procedure used to compute solar eclipse maps led to incorrect maps being displayed for some eclipses when the eclipse parameters were changed. This has been corrected.

Service Pack 1 (Nov 28, 1999)

New features: Holding down the "Ctrl" key while pressing "PgUp" or "PgDn" (or pressing the equivalent toolbar buttons) now rotates the map in steps of 10, rather than the normal 1.

Bug fixes: All the minor bugs reported since the program release have been fixed.