Description of "The Earth Centered Universe Lite" V6.0
(Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 (32 and 64-bit)
The Earth Centered Universe (ECU) Lite V6.0 is a planetarium program for amateur astronomers, educators, and sky enthusiests capable of simulating most of the phenomenon of the Earth's sky. It is based on the more capable ECU Pro.
- Known for its ease of use, rich feature set, high-accuracy, and lightning fast speed.
- High quality printed star charts.
- Powerful animation mode.
- A large detailed User's Manual.
Included and Supported Databases:
- The Yale Bright Star Catalog (9,100 stars to magnitude 6.5) - included are many "common" names for the bright stars
- The SAO Star Catalog (about 250,000 stars to magnitude 8.5)
- The bright 2,088 objects in the Saguaro Astronomy Club deep sky database (V8.1) which contains objects of all types, including of course the Messier Catalog
- The Lowell Minor Planet Database (over 500,000 minor planets) can be downloaded can regularly updated from within ECU over the Internet.
- Enter the orbital elements for up to 5000 comets and minor planets (asteroids) (comets and asteroids can be automatically downloaded from within ECU from the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center)
- The nine planets, the Sun, and the Moon
- ECU is lightning fast compared to many other astronomy programs and runs very well on older computers that you might use in the field (e.g. older laptops).
- ECU is very easy to use. Most operations are performed with the mouse. A "toolbar" is provided for most common functions and for those who prefer to use the keyboard, there are many hot-keys.
- The sky can be drawn as either in Sky Atlas (north is up) mode, Local Horizon (up in the local sky is up) mode or with the sky rotated at any arbitrary angle.
- It exhibits a colorful display - the colors of all screen elements are controllable by user. Fonts can also be set.
- High quality star charts can be printed (in black and white and in full color) which are highly customizable by the user including titles, legend, fonts, and border dimensions. You can also print two charts per page at different zoom levels.
- ECU status displays include the local time, universal time, latitude and longitude, RA/DEC, AZ/ALT, field size, magnitude limits, sky darkness, sidereal time, and Julian date.
- Deep sky objects are drawn their correct size, shape, and orientation (when this information is included in the database).
- There is advanced control over magnitude limits for all types of objects.
- Clicking on an object causes an information box to pop up. All objects provide their RA, DEC, azimuth, altitude, rise and set times, magnitude (if known), air mass, extinction, galactic latitude, and galactic longitude. Other information provided is as follows:
- The Sun: distance in AU, kilometers, and light travel time; angular size; solar longitude
- The Moon: distance in kilometers; angular size; phase angle; phase age in days; its illuminated fraction in percent
- The planets: distance in AU, kilometers, and light travel time; angular size; phase; rates of motion
- Comets and asteroids: distance to the Sun and the Earth in AU, kilometers, and light travel time; solar elongation; phase (for asteroids); rates of motion
- Yale stars: Yale number; HD number; SAO number; Flamsteed/Bayer designation, color (B-V); spectral type; proper motion
- SAO stars: SAO number; spectral type
- SAC deep sky objects: a varying amount of information, but usually their name (and alternate name); Dreyer description, angular size; position angle; object class; notes
- The user can display up to 50 images of an object.
- The user can add observing notes about any object.
- The user can measure angular distances and position angles on the sky with the mouse. Several angular formats are provided.
- All user settings can be saved to named configuration files for later retrieval. Comet and asteroid elements can be saved to or loaded from separate ASCII files.
- The time can be set as local mean time, UTC, Julian Date, or from the computer's clock (local or UTC). Dates can be entered from 4713BC to 9999AD. For Canada, US and Europe Daylight Saving time can be automatically set.
- The observer's location is entered by latitude and longitude or from a list of cities (add your own, too).
- The sky can be displayed as white on black or black on white, or, of course, in full color. Special "night vision" modes protect your night vision.
- ECU displays the horizon line, custom horizon lines set to match your observing sites, ecliptic line, meridian line, RA/DEC grid (auto scaling), Local Horizon grid (auto scaling), constellation lines, boundary lines, galactic equator line, etc.
- Extensive text labels are provided for all types of objects. Text labels can be intelligently placed to avoid overlap.
- Several field "targets" of programmable angular size, including rotatable rectangles, can be drawn to represent the field of view of your main telescope and finder scope respectively. You can place up to 100 of these "targets" anywhere on the sky.
- The user can center the display at any RA/DEC, AZ/ALT, bright star, constellations, Messier object, named deep sky object, point on the horizon (north, south, etc.), or solar system object.
- The object databases can also be extensively searched.
- Powerful tools to search and filter comet and asteroid elements by brightness, sky position, visibility, Earth distance, etc.
- Create detailed reports (that you can import into a spreadsheet or database program such as Excel) of objects plotted on the screen or on printed charts.
- ECU's animation mode allows time increments from 1 minute to four years. The display can be "locked" to the Sun, Moon, a planet, an AZ/ALT or an RA/DEC. Trails of objects with time labels can be drawn.
- A dialog box to display the rise/set times of the Sun and Moon on the current day is provided. It also shows the times of civil, nautical, astronomical twilight, the phase of the Moon, the length of the day and night, and the length of nautical and astronomical darkness.
ECU has many powerful internet features including:
- Comet and Asteroid orbital elements can be updated from the Lowell Observatory and the IAU's Minor Planet Center directly from within ECU.
- System requirements:
- Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8 (32 and 64-bit versions).
- Linux using the free "Wine" windows emulator (some functions may not work). To ensure compatibility, test the demo version before purchasing.
- Mac OS/X under the free "Wine" windows emulator (some functions may not work). To ensure compatibility, test the demo version before purchasing.
- A comprehensive on-line User's Manual is included.
- Customer Support is provided by free e-mail.
ECU Lite V6.0 with all features, databases: $29.95CAD
(The Earth Centered Universe, The Earth Centered Universe Pro, The Earth Centered Universe Lite, ECU, and Micro-Guider are trademarks of Nova Astronomics. Other trademarks are owned by their respective owners.)
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Last Updated: March 2014.