Changes Between V5.0 and V6.0L of "The Earth Centered Universe Pro"
- ECU is one of the oldest planetarium and telescope control programs in existance - first out in March of 1992! However, this means the development environment was old too (Borland Pascal 6, also from 1992). It could only develop 16-bit code meaning ECU V5 would not run on 64-bit versions of Windows and the memory limitations of 16-bit code made to very difficult to implement new features in ECU. Therefore:
- ECU V6 was ported and converted to a brand new development environment called Delphi that will help ensure ECU has a long life.
- This upgrade is not about many new features, but there are some as can be seen below and a by-product is that its faster than ECU 5 (not that any version of ECU has even been slow!).
- It is about putting ECU back on the main sequence (to use an astronomy analogy), otherwise it would have quickly become a white dwarf!
- ECU is now compatible with:
- Windows 2000
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista (32 and 64-bit)
- Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit)
- Windows 8 (32 and 64-bit)
- Linux using the free "Wine" windows emulator (some functions such as scope control don't work).
- Mac OS/X under the free "Wine" windows emulator (some functions such as scope control don't work).
Sky Display/Print Features
- A new local horizon grid can now be shown on the sky display and on printed charts. This plots the lines of azimuth and altitude.
- Setting of the Custom Horizon feature is now accomplished by dragging the mouse to create the horizon shape, rather than having to adjust 36 scroll bars!
- Changed custom horizons so that alt/az is displayed as you move the mouse (V6.0F).
- Changed custom horizons so that the size of the image box is 1.5 times bigger (V6.0F)
- The number of objects that can be kept track of on screen at the same time is now 20,000 (was 4,600).
- You can now copy the Sky Display to the clipboard (Edit->Copy Chart to Clipboard) (V6.0C).
- Time Animation is much faster than with earlier versions - at movie like speeds on current hardware.
- The maximum number of animation trails is now 500 (was 200) and the first 1,000 orbits are trailed (was 500).
- The speed of animation can be more finely adjusted to any interval from 0 to 60 seconds (it used to be only settable in seconds to the nearest integer).
- You can now easily set a time step using a pop-up menu displayed by right-clicking on the "Step" Status Line item.(V6.0A).
- Animation time step resolution is now 1 second (instead of 1 minute). Fixed time steps of 15, 30, and 45 seconds have also been added. There is an explicit "Manual Time Step" check box to make it easier to switch back and forth between the fixed and manual time steps (V6.0A).
- A new special time step called "Same Sun Altitude" has been added. It steps to the next or previous day when the Sun is at the same altitude. This is handy for simulating events that take place near the time of sunrise/set (V6.0A).
Identify Object Box:
- Added the altitude at the transit time for non Solar System objects - hover over transit time is view (V6.0A).
- The Identify Object box now stays up until closed by the user (V6.0C).
- The name for USNO A2 stars is now 'USNOA2 ZZZZ SSSSS' (Z is zone, S is star number) (V6.0D).
- You can now change where the dialog box is displayed (See Edit->Identify Box in Opposing Corner setting), either in the opposite corner from the object clicked on was or initially in the screen center but thereafter wherever the user left it (V6.0D).
- The rates of motion of the moon, sun, and planets were added (V6.0H).
- The layout of the box has been changed (V6.0K).
- The text for the "Center Scope" button has changed to "Move Scope to Object" (V6.0K).
- Add heliocentric ecliptic coordinates for the planets and orbits (V6.0L).
- Add heliocentric ecliptic coordinates for the Earth (click on the Sun to get it) (V6.0L).
- A new Drag the Sky naviation feature was added. Just hold down the "shift" key (or left mouse button) and move the mouse and you can drag the sky around.
- You can swap the function of the shift key and left mouse button to your preference (V6.0C).
- A Faster Drags function improves the dragging speed by automatically disabling grids, most labels, and object animation trails.
- You can now zoom in and out using the Mouse scroller wheel (laptop users can usually slide your finger along the right side of the touch pad). The step size is 10% of the current field of view (V6.0A).
- If you right click on the Field Size display on the Status Line or the Field Size tool bar button, a popup menu allows you to easily zoom to several preset field sizes (V6.0A).
- If you right click on the delete field target tool bar button, it (after confirmationj) deletes all the field targets (V6.0A).
- Added a Clear Nearest Field Target feature that deletes the field target closest to the center of the chart (V6.0C).
- Changed the shortcut key for Edit->Undo to Control-Z (which is more commonly used) (V6.0C).
- You can now filter which planetary nebulae are shown by size (in the Deep Sky... dialog box) (V6.0D).
- If the time was set to "Use System Time" it now stays in that mode in the time dialog boxes until that setting is unchecked (V6.0D).
- There is now a setting that automatically sets Daylight Saving Time. This is designed to work for USA and Canada and Europe (the correct mode is set based on the longitude setting). If you are not observing from these locations or in a location that does not use daylight savings (eg. Saskatchewan, Canada), disable this mode (V6.0D).
- Added a select dialog box to make it easier to select the User Object files (V6.0K)
- Add drag and drop support for ECU config files (V6.0L).
- The General Catalog of Variable Stars database has been updated to the current (June 2013) version, and it now contains 47,968 stars.
- The Washington Visual Double Star database has been updated to the 2013Oct20 version, and it now contains 127,620 pairs of double stars.
- The Saguerro Astronomy Club deep sky database has been updated to V8.1 (March 2010 version).
- The maximum number of User Objects has been increased to 50,000 (from 10,000).
- The maximum amount of memory that can be used to cache Hubble Guide Star Catalog stars has been increased to 128 blocks - was 32 (will make plotting quicker).
- The maximum amount of memory that can be used to cache US Naval Observatory A2 stars has been increased to 255 blocks - was 128 (will make plotting quicker).
- The maximum number of Comets and Asteriods that can be handled at the same time is now 5,000 (used to be 1,000).
- Added Delete Disabled Orbits function which deletes and orbits that are currently disabled.
- Planets are now drawn such that if they pass in front of the Sun, that can be seen (V6.0C).
- Added the Convert Lowell File... menu item. It converts a raw file of orbits downloaded from Lowell to be converted to ECU format (V6.0F).
- Updated magnitude calculations for Venus and Mercury (V6.0H).
- Added observer's parallax calculation to comet and asteroid orbits (V6.0H).
- You can now control whether or not coordinates are sent and received to the telescope in the epoch of current date or J2000.0.
- Added ASCOM offset tracking rates support and dialog (for those scopes that support it) (V6.0H)
- Added second serial port module (set in telescope General Settings...) for better compatibility with the variety of serial port adapters out there (V6.0H).
- Increased the displayed resolution of some scope type's RA to tenths of seconds (V6.0H).
- Enable ASCOM tracking before initiating a goto (V6.0L).
- Add ASCOM slew abort button and slew/park status displays (V6.0L).
- Add azimuth and altitude coordinate display for ASCOM scopes (V6.0L).
- Add 'side of pier' status display (V6.0L).
New Miscellaneous Features:
- Configuration files from versions 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 4.0, and 5.0 of ECU are automatically read and converted to V6.0F format. This operation is totally transparent. Remember, however, that files written by V6.0C cannot be read by earlier versions.
- The Simple Cursors function (Edit menu) has been removed (no longer needed).
- The Continuous Drawing mode has been removed (no longer needed).
- Added Julian Date and Local Sidereal Time to the large Status Box and Julian Date to the small Status Box (V6.0A).
- The Julian Date/Sideral Time dialog box can now be left up and it updates automatically as the time changes (V6.0A). Also, if you click the left mouse button over the sidereal time display on Status Line, it now displays the JD/ST box (V6.0A).
- In the Custom Horizon dialog box, if you hold down the control key as you drag it draws a flat horizon (V6.0A).
- The time resolution (not necessarily accuracy!) is now 1 second throughout (instead of 1 minute) including all places where times are set or displayed (not including rise/set/transit times) (V6.0A).
- When you Center on North, South, etc., the horizon is now along the bottom of sky display instead of the center of the chart (6.0C).
- The day of the week is now displayed on the Status Line (V6.0D).
- The fractional UT date is displayed when the mouse is hovered over UTC in the large status box (V6.0D).
- All stars are now clickable even with the automatic star magnitude limit disabled (V6.0D).
- You can now filter which planetary nebulae are shown by size (in the Deep Sky... dialog box) (V6.0D).
- Changed so that ini file and all user modified files are now in userprofiles\ecu (V6.0F).
- Added dialog to Center on an Hour Angle and Declination (V6.0L).
- Added Hour Angle display to large status box (V6.0L).
- Fixed several minor bugs that were noticed when porting the code from Borland Pascal 6 to Delphi XE.
- Changed animation step for "1 year" to match that used for the manual time forward/reverse buttons (that is 365.25 years) (V6.0A).
- Fixed a bug that occasionally happened when animation stepped earlier than the 4712 BC limit V6.0A).
- Fix the problem that displayed a hint on the Status Line each time a Tool Bar button was pressed (V6.0A).
- Changed the serial port code to fix a problem where "real" serial ports did not work (V6.0A).
- Fixed a but where the solar system extended label check boxes in the Labels dialog box were mixed up (V6.0A).
- Fixed a bug where image filenames were truncated because the string was not large enough (V6.0A).
- Fixed a bug in the Time Step dialog box where the list box not cleared each time it was displayed (V6.0A).
- Fixed a bug whereby the fill colours for variable and double stars was wrong (V6.0B).
- Fixed a bug related to upgrading the time in config files from earlier versions (V6.0B).
- Fixed a bug whereby the logic of the "Search Only Enabled Databases" menu item was reversed (V6.0B).
- Fixed a bug that caused missing stars in USNO catalog. (V6.0C).
- Fixed a bug whereby the second telescope alignment star was showing the star 1 name instead of the star 2 name (V6.0C).
- Fixed a bug which caused a range check error when Orbit selection dialog box was closed without an orbit being selected (V6.0C).
- The default aspect ratio of the ECU window is better and error checking has been added on the ECU window's position, including a minimum window size of 300x300 pixels (V6.0D).
- Fixed the CheckViewer routine for Win 7 security (V6.0F)
- Fixed a bug where number 2, 3, 4 custom horizons could not be selected (V6.0F).
- Fixed bug where the image search url was being clobbered (V6.0F).
- Fixed a bug related to the loading of web ini items (V6.0F).
- Chart printing was broken in V6.0H, now fixed (V6.0I).
- Fix Precess button bug in IdentifyDialog (V6.0L)
- Fix overflow problem when zooming in and out (V6.0L)
- Fix bug wehre Orbit Search parameters were not being saved (V6.0L).
Back to the upgrade page.
Last Updated: 22 March 2014