Re: Software question, any use for 'theSky'

Dale Ireland (
Fri, 23 Apr 1999 20:24:35 -0700

I have The_Sky5 and also the satellite update to The_Sky4 that SB sent me
for evaluation. It is, as you noted, quite limited in it's use for satellite
tracking, mostly because it does not have ground tracks. The main use for
this option is it's ability to produce very high magnification star field
paths. If you have very fresh elements you can use it to predict transits of
the Moon and Sun, that's about all. It also shows the earth's shadow in
space but it's size is configured for the Moon's distance, so with a little
extrapolation you can graphically depict eclipses of geosynchronous
The_Sky is NOT a satellite tracking tool, it is the best planetarium program
I have even seen and I have used most of them. I am sure Chris Marriott is
going to smack me hard for that comment. :)
Since this is a review of such programs I would like to mention Dance Of The
Planets from ARC. This IS a valuable tool for satellite observers when it
comes to the "Earth swing-by" satellites like NEAR. I used it to accurately
predict the star track and nadir on the earth of the NEAR flyby, lots of
fun. Dance of The Planets is still the best and only (excluding the very
pedestrian RedShift) program that takes into account multiple gravitation
sources, I.e. the sun, moon and planets, so you can create orbit diagrams
and star field traces for satellites that are not in Earth orbit but make
swing-bys or loops around the moon. I haven't tried it for satellites going
to the "L" points but it probably works and it accepts vectors or sun
centered element sets.
Dale Ireland
Astronomy Page
Comets, Satellites, Eclipses, Photography, Fabrications
-----Original Message-----
From: terrypun <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, April 23, 1999 6:28 PM
Subject: Software question, any use for 'theSky'

>Having just received, theSky, I am wondering why.  The sales force
>elluded to the greatness of this program in satellite use... but...
>Rather than explaining my negative experiences, does anyone have any
>positive experience with this in regard to satellite observing. (other
>than robotic telescope use).
>Terry Pundiak
>Easton, PA