Release notes: Eye&Telescope 3.2.1

Running E&T on Windows Vista and Windows 7


E&T 3.2.1 can be used with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Due to the security features of Vista or 7, please note the following to make sure that E&T will runs smoothly:

  • Please run the setup program from the DVD or an update (SETUP.EXE) with administrator rights. Otherwise E&T might not work properly.

  • When you launch E&T without adminstrator rights, Vista prompts you to enter an administrators password.

  • Vista asks whether the application is trusted to be safe. You can agree without hesitation here.

  • If you'd like to use the "remote control" feature for other planetarium type software, please make sure to deactivate the User Access Control.
    Background: Vista only allows an application to send Windows messages to other software, if it's signed with an expensive digital certificate (that had to be re-issued every year). To keep the retail price of E&T low, we do without code signing.

 

Changes in Version 3.2.1

Note: for a version of this document containing hyperlinks and images, see the "Release notes" section in E&T's updated help file et_en.chm.

New functions:

In the ephemeris, the following information has been added:

  • altitude and azimuth of the object
  • constellation the object is in
  • lunar age.

In the star map, there is a new tool for measuring distance and PA between two points on the map. It can be launched with the "View.Measure distance and PA" command (shortcut: R like ruler) or with a click on the "ruler" icon in the star chart's toolbar.

Usability improvements:

Looking up object information and adding objects to an observing project or a star map was not handled in a consistent way. The names of the functions involved and the keyboard shortcuts are unified now.

  • Lookup object... (F3) opens the search dialog and in case of success the object data is displayed.
  • Search and insert... (Alt+F3) opens the search dialog and, in case of success, inserts the object into a planning document of the requested type (observing project or star map).

Adding an object to an observing plan remains unchanged (use the name edit field and "Insert" button).

The "Search and insert..." function has new icons in the toolbars of the observing project and the star map.

If you paste or drop object names to a planning document (think of an Excel sheet or a web page displayed in the browser), E&T will now strip leading zeros in catalog numbers. Now something like "NGC 0023" will be recognized als "NGC23".

In the simulated eyepiece view, open clusters are no longer rendered as ellipses (with a shade of grey according to the Contrast Above Threshold). Now a contour line is rendered.

Printed lists of objects now have separator lines to improve readability.

Printer settings are persistent now

Searching for images of objects has been accelerated.

Bug fixes:

Calculation of the visibility of circumpolar objects has been fixed.  

In an observing plan, the "Tolerate moonlight" setting is now correctly evaluated in the display of the period of darkness, displayed on the "Visibility" tab. 

In the eyepiece view of an observing plan, tooltips showing the names of planetary satellites occasionally appeared in wrong positions. This has been fixed. 

When saving an enlarged eyepiece view of the observing plan, the graphics file has no unneccessaryly large borders any longer.

The Guide 9 export function to feed the "User Object Menu..." overlay is available now.

A bug in the printing of object lists has been fixed.

To correct known catalog errors, please open a new observing project and import the file "ET321 catalog corrections.xml". You can either use the "File.Import..." command or simply drag the file onto the empty project window. Objects affected: NGC 4153 (identical to NGC 4147) and Palomar 4 (wrong declination was given).

 

Changes in Version 3.2

New functions:

General

With the "Magnifying glass" icon, you can now look up object information from any planning document or the logbook. 

Clicking this icon will always bring up the "Lookup object" dialog. The edit field for the object name now has a drop down field with the Sun, the Moon and the planets to look up these objects quickly. If an object for the given name is found, a new object info window is presented. 
To add objects to planning documents, please proceed as usual (in the project or map, use <F3> or "Edit.Search...", in an observing plan, type the name and click "Insert"). 

Individual horizon

You might create a horizon profile for all your observing sites now. E&T takes account for the horizon when calculating the visibility of objects. There is a comfortable editor to create and modify horizon profiles, built into the new "Visible Sky" display (see below).

The "preferred azimuth" therefore is a deprecated concept and has vanished from E&T.

 

All sky view for an observing site

The "Visible Sky" window displays the sky above a selected site in the style of a planisphere. This is handy for a quick overview and for orientation in the sky, but it offers some more advanced features:

  • Editor for the horizon profile
  • Shows the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planets
  • Detailled visibility analysis for objects
  • Animation to manually look for conjunctions or other interesting events
  • Animation to visualize astronomical phenomena

The "Visible Sky" is accessible out of the context menus of planning documents. The settings for site and time are taken along.

Out of planning documents or the logbook, the "Visible Sky" window can be launched by clicking an icon in the toolbar.

 

Ephemeris

For the Sun, the Moon and the planets, there now is the "Ephemeris" window. Here the positions in various coordinates systems, the physical ephemerides and a realistic view of the body (including major planetary satellites) is presented. You might use animation as a simple tool to look for astronomical phenomena (maximum brightness, minimum distance, Galilean satellite events etc.).

Out of planning documents or the logbook, the "Ephemeris" window can be launched by clicking an icon in the toolbar.

 

Enhanced or improved functions

General

For an observing plan, the status bar displays some object and visibility data.

For a map, the status bar displays the date and site (used to display planetary positions).

For the "Visible Sky", the status bar displays the site, time and the altitudes of the Sun and the Moon for this settings.

E&T supports the latest version 2.1 of the log exchange format <OpenAstronomyLog>.

E&T does not require a standard printer any longer. When launched without a printer, the printing functions are not available.

In the user data for optics, the offset for the limiting magnitudes of deep sky objects has been removed. To fine tune the CAT results for your personal visual acuity, please use the observer's Faintest star offset.

Object lists from planning documents can be exported as custom object lists for the SkySafari 3.0.5 iOS app (versions "plus" and "pro" only).

Guide 9 is now supported as a planetarium program.

 

Object filter

The "Best time" is now calculated using the site's horizon profile. For speed reasons, this is optional.

For major solar system objects (the Sun, the Moon and major planets) the positions, apparent diameter and magnitude are displayed if the "Time and site" filter category is active. Via the context menu, ephemeris data can be displayed immediately.

For all objects with known position, the context menu now offers to launch the "Visible Sky" window. The current setting for time and site are taken along.

For the solar system objects, the context menu now offers to launch the "Ephemeris" window.

The "Visible Sky" and "Ephemeris" windows can be opened by clicking new icons in the toolbar.

The minimum size given on the "Objects" tab now compares against the large object diameter (previously the small diameter was considered).

The functions "File.Create observing project..." and "File.Create observing plan..." now can be launched by clicking the new icons in the toolbar.

Object list column layout (order, width) is persistent now. To change the width of a column, drag the vertical in the column header. To rearrange column order, drag the entire column header to the new position.

 

Observing project

The "Best time" is now calculated using the site's horizon profile. For speed reasons, this is optional.

For all objects with known position, the context menu now offers to launch the "Visible Sky" window. The current setting for time and site are taken along.

For the solar system objects, the context menu now offers to launch the "Ephemeris" window.

The new "Visible Sky" and "Ephemeris" windows can be opened by clicking icons in the toolbar.

The "File.Create observing plan..." function now can be launched by clicking a new icon in the toolbar.

Object list column layout (order, width) is persistent now. To change the width of a column, drag the vertical in the column header. To rearrange column order, drag the entire column header to the new position.

 

Observing plan

The edit field for the object name now has a drop down field with the Sun, the Moon and the planets to look up these objects quickly.

The simulated eyepiece view show a realistic display of the Sun, the Moon and the planets. Major satellites of the planets are rendered, too. In the enlarge eyepiece view window, you might identify big lunar craters by pointing with the mouse.

In the "Catalog data" tab, a button to open the "Ephemeris" window is available for objects of the solar system.

For all objects with known position, the context menu now offers to launch the "Visible Sky" window. The current settings for time and site are taken along.

For the solar system objects, the context menu now offers to launch the "Ephemeris" window. The current settings for time and site are taken along.

The new "Visible Sky" and "Ephemeris" windows can be opened by clicking icons in the toolbar.

In the Night vision mode, an improved color scheme makes it easy to distinguish objects already observed and objects not yet observed. The selected object is highlighted with a bold and italic font.

The status bar displays information on the selected object: name, type, magnitude, diameter and perceptibility. When the window is wide enough, the current alt/az coordinates (using the system time) are displayed if the date of the observing plan is set to the current night.

The planned observing time for an object is explicitly indicated with date and time below the tabs. This makes it more obvious whether the object shall be observed before or after midnight. This moment in time will be used when another window is opened that needs time data ("Visible Sky", "Ephemeris)". After midnight, it might cause confusion that the dates displayed in the observing plan and the other window differ by one day! The new display of the planned observing date/time should make this more clear than before.

Object list column layout (order, width) is persistent now. To change the width of a column, drag the vertical in the column header. To rearrange column order, drag the entire column header to the new position.

 

Star map

The map now "knows" of site and time and displays the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planets. Animation is possible. Lunar occultations, solar and lunar eclipses and transits are rendered with sufficient accuracy. Optionally, the ecliptic can be displayed.

The map can be centered onto a solar system object. The setting for this is to be found in the "Solar System" menu of the star map.

The status bar shows site and the moment in time for the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planets.

For objects already observed, a brief log summary is (optionally) displayed when you point onto them. You can turn this feature on or off using the "Logbook.Tooltips with most recent own observation" command in the map menu.

For all objects with known position, the context menu now offers to launch the "Visible Sky" window. The current settings for time and site are taken along.

For the solar system objects, the context menu now offers to launch the "Ephemeris" window. The current settings for time and site are taken along.

 

Logbook

For all objects with known position, the context menu now offers to launch the "Visible Sky" window. With this, the situation at the observation's moment in time can be reproduced.

For the solar system objects, the context menu now offers to launch the "Ephemeris" window. The observation's time and site are taken along.

Observation list column layout (order, width) is persistent now. To change the width of a column, drag the vertical in the column header. To rearrange column order, drag the entire column header to the new position.

Sessions now can have Links to files (just like observations).

In the sessions list, you can open the "Visible Sky" for the beginning or end of a session via the context menu.

Session list column layout (order, width) is persistent now. To change the width of a column, drag the vertical in the column header. To rearrange column order, drag the entire column header to the new position.

 

Darkness

From the diagram (launched with "Tools.Darkness..."), the "Visible Sky" window can be opened via the context menu. The settings for site and time are taken along (the time corresponds to the point in the diagram when the right mouse button was clicked).

 

Usability improvements:

In the session edit dialog, the descriptive texts and the new link section are now presented on four separate tabs. This gives more room the edit or read the text.

A new option allows for dialog boxes to be opened close to the mouse position (instead of at the center of the screen).

In objects lists, E&T highlights every 5th row to improve readability. Now this behaviour can be disabled with a new option.

Some users found it inconvenient that E&T prompts for saving modified documents before closing a window. A new option allows to turn this prompt off. Use it at your own risk ;-)

 

Bug fixes:

General

A bug in the "User data.Restore userdata" function has been fixed. The bug could cause new, self registered objects (like comtes, for example) to be unretrievable by name.

Observing project

The order of the objects in the list could be wrong when the project was opened.

Star map

The "Edit.Find best objects..." function now takes the given minimum size into account for the object types to render without the perceptibility check.