Useful astronomy tool | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Useful astronomy tool

Learn more about the planets and stars with this helpful program.

AstroViewer provides users with a map to the skies over their home. This versatile tool provides a better view of celestial bodies through a simple layout that users of all skill levels will appreciate.

We got right down to business, thanks to an interface that provides a large, easy-to-read map of the sky. Its command icons provided all the direction we needed, which was fortunate because there is no Help file. We chose our city from a comprehensive list of choices and entered the time and date to get a recreation of the sky outside our home. The results were a planetarium-type view of stars, planets, and constellations. We got a better look at specific constellations and planets with the highlighting option, which labels and outlines specific celestial items on a list. The images looked accurate to us, though it is impossible to know since this trial only allows you to see what the sky looked like in 1959. In addition, the program provided us with two helpful features that helped deepen our education. One tab showed Planet Visibility with a month-by-month bar chart of their clarity. Another shows a basic solar system map and where each planet is located at that time.

With its simple navigation and highly readable maps, this is a great tool for reading the skies. Its only trial restriction is the above-mentioned year limit. We highly recommend this program.

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