Changes Between V6.0L and V6.1 of "The Earth Centered Universe Pro"
Updated User Interface
ECU is one of the oldest planetarium and telescope control programs still in active development - first out in March of 1992!
- The former (pdf) User's Manual has been replaced with context-aware on-line help (a pdf version is available on the website for those who want to print it)
- The User's Manual has also been expanded in several areas and improved.
- This release simplifies the user interface greatly by reducing the number of menu items and dialog boxes (no significant functionality is lost!)
- Most dialog boxes are now "tabbed", keeping similar settings and functionality together (eg. all time and settings are now in one dialog)
- These changes are numerous, so are not individually listed below
- All dialog boxes are now re-styled with a more modern look and feel
- Some important dialog boxes - Object Search and Animation - are no longer "modal" so can be left open while doing other things
- Many dialog boxes now have "Apply" buttons so changes to settings can be made without closing them
- The entire application can be set to one of 36 new "styles" in addition to the default "Windows" styles. These styles affect the appearance, fonts and colors.
ECU is compatible with:
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista (32 and 64-bit)
- Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit)
- Windows 8 and 8.1 (32 and 64-bit)
- Windows 10
Sky Chart/Print Features
- The map projection used to draw the sky has been completely revamped. It how uses the much better Stereographic Projection. It now better represents object shapes in large chart sizes, but distorts the scale (everything is a compromise!)
- Added the anti-zenth point (Nadir)
- When showing the magnitude of User Objects, the decimal point is now included
- The Sun symbol is more distinctive
- The General Catalog of Variable Stars database has been updated to the current (September 2015) version, and it now contains 52,011 stars. It's stored resolution has also been increased
- The Washington Visual Double Star database has been updated to the 2016Mar25 version, and it now contains 135,098 pairs of double stars
- User Objects are now stored and plotted at higher resolution
- The number of comet/asteroid orbits that can be active at any given time has been increased to 10,000
- Object searching and the Object List functions are now unified into a single tabbed dialog box
- You can now search for common object names such as "Ring Nebula"
- Searching for asteroids and comets is easier - you can now find minor planets by name, by number (eg. "(xxxx)") and comets by designation (eg. "C/2005B1" or "194P")
ECU now includes a Windows COM object interface (similar to the way ASCOM drivers work) that allows access to and control of ECU by external programs. This functionality is limited at present and was developed mainly to provide access to ECU's built in object databases and some of its astronomical calculations by external programs. It presently has about 30 properties and methods available - see the manual for details.
New Miscellaneous Features
- Configuration files from versions 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0 of ECU are automatically read and converted to V6.1 format. This operation is totally transparent
- Settings for Atmospheric Pressure and Temperature have been added - they affect the refraction calculation
- The Geographic Location dialog box can
- show the current location on a Google Map
- allow entering of latitude and longitude by either decimal degrees or degrees and minutes
- Some repetitive calculations have been parallelized so will take advantage of multiple or multi-core processors
- The system colours (used for the night vision mode) can no longer be changed - newer versions of windows do not allow it
- The colours of the lines and text on the Status Line can now be set
- The day of the week is now displayed in the Sun and Moon Data dialog box
- The Directory/File/Web Setup dialog box:
- Browse buttons were added to make the setting of files and directories much easier
- now has buttons to show ECU's Documents and AppData directories (where it stores files)
- User object files are now separated by a semi-colon and are easily selected using a file browser
- In the Identify Object dialog box, the object's Hour Angle is now displayed
- The Field menu is now called the Chart menu
- Field Targets are now called Chart Targets
- Changes have been made to some of the keyboard short-cuts
- Left clicking on the Status Line now enables/disables the scroll bars (instead of showing/hiding the Status box)
- Loading a new configuration file (for ASCOM type telescopes) no longer disables the telescope interface
- Features related to loading/removing the Hubble Guide Star catalog are removed - now handled by the program installer
- The Hubble constant, used to estimate galaxy distances, has been reduced to 70.
- In the Enter Time dialog box the Sun and Moon rise and set buttons now use the date specified rather than only the current date.
- SEC planetary nebulae were drawn when "Only Messiers" was enabled
- Fixed a bug related to saving orbit files
- It now does more database checks on start up and if problems are detected more useful error messages are displayed
- fix Hipparcos star searching - the last star in each block was missed
- fix formatting of variable star data in Identify Dialog and Object Reports
- Correct messaging for maximum and minimum brightness of variable star predictions (previously it reported maximum when eclipsing binaries were actually minimums)
- fix Track Telescope bug
- fix/improve telescope field-of-view plotting
- fix the missing default Chart Target rectangles
Back to the upgrade page.
Last Updated: 11 Apr 2016