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SkyChart III for Mac

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Quick Specs

  • Version:
  • Total Downloads:
  • Date Added:
    Feb. 16, 2004
  • Price:
    Free to try; $49.95 to buy
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews

5 stars

"Great \"mid-range\" astronomy program"

July 15, 2003  |  By dylan3--2008

2003-07-15 09:08:07  |  By dylan3--2008

 |  Version: SkyChart III 3.6.2


This review was originally posted on
I just got a telescope to augment my binocular skywatching, and was looking for a program to help me locate interesting objects in the sky. Ideally it would have a decent built-in database, provide for database extensions, have flexible viewing options (including red "night vision"), and allow observation-logging.

I narrowed my choices down to Starry Night and SkyChart. Starry Night Pro is definitely the hands-down winner at the "high-end," providing all the features I'm looking for and many more. At $180, Pro was out of my range. Presumably that's why they created Starry Night Backyard, a stripped down version of pro, it is still a little expensive at $80.

Starry Night has fancier viewing options, and an admittedly nicer interface (heck, it won an Apple Award at the WWDC!), and really fancy features like "ride a comet view mode. However, for actual "at-the-scope" assistance of finding cool things in the sky, SkyChart is better than Starry Night, and it's much less expensive. SkyChart has a night-vision viewing mode, but Starry Night's is only in the Pro version. SkyChart lets you enter objects you've observed, but logging is only possible in Starry Night Pro's upcoming version.

So, if you're looking for a very nice interface and fancy movies, but not so much help at a telescope, Starry Night Backyard might be better for you. But if you just bought a telescope and want a program to help you learn your way around the sky, SkyChart seems to me to be the winner.

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Full Specifications

What's new in version 3.6.4
  • This release brings the code base of the English-language version up to sync with the newly released Spanish-language version. A number of changes were made to support better internationalization/localization:
    * The decimal-point character is now locale-specific; decimals are displayed as "," in European locales, and "." in North America. (The computer's regional settings are used to determine the locale.) Decimal points in text import files and settings files are always assumed to be the US (".") decimal-point character, for consistency. [Note: this functionality is only present in the Windows version of SkyChart III; we're still trying to make it work on Mac OS X.]
    * All strings in data files, and settings descriptions in settings files, are converted to Windows Latin-1 encoding before being written to disk. This ensures that accented and other european-language characters will translate properly between Mac and Windows.
    * A case-sensitive search for an object name is now sensitive to both case and diacritics (e.g. accents, umlauts, etc). When case is ignored, diacritics are also ignored - e.g. a search for "Jupiter" will also find "J�?�ºpiter", and a search for "Saturn" will also find "S�?�¤turn".
  • In the chart legend, the full names of deep sky objects are being displayed, instead of abbreviations.
  • In the "Object Info" window, a number of text strings and buttons were rearranged. The object type for the Sun is now displayed as "Star"; for the major planets as "Planet"; for moons as "Moon". The star type for single stars is now simply listed as "Star".
  • For years outside 1600 - 2100 A.D., the program uses new expressions for the precession of the equinox provided by W. M. Owen of JPL. These new expressions should provide realistic results for a much wider interval of +/- 500,000 years from J2000. (The previous expressions "blew up" and displayed highly unrealistic results after roughly 10,000 years from J2000.) For the time period 1600 - 2100 A.D., the previous (IAU 1976) expressions for precession are still used.
  • Previous versions of the Windows installer for SkyChart III installed a 16-bit version of the uninstall application (UnWise.exe). This update replaces it with the 32-bit version.
  • Fixed a crash in the Mac OS X version that occurred when moving the mouse inside a progress-bar dialog.
  • Removed timing code in the Mac OS X version that was causing a performance-profiling dialog to appear sporadically.
  • The Mac OS X version of SkyChart III can now launch properly on Macs with 2.0 GB of RAM or more installed. The Mac OS X installer/updater application should no longer display a warning on Macs with more than 2.0 GB of RAM. (This warning can safely be ignored, however.)
  • The Mac OS X version now has the main window's "close" button enabled; clicking it quites the application. The "Quit" menu command has moved from the File menu to the "SkyChart III" menu, for better conformance with Apple's Mac OS X interface guidelines.
Publisher Southern Stars
Publisher web site
Release Date February 16, 2004
Date Added February 16, 2004
Version 3.6.4
Category Educational Software
Subcategory Math Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Mac OS Classic/X 10.2/X 10.3
Additional Requirements
  • Mac OS 8 - 9.2.2
  • or
  • Mac OS X 10.2 or higher
  • Download Information
    File Size Not Available
    File Name External File
    Total Downloads 401
    Downloads Last Week 1
    License Model Free to try
    Limitations Not available
    Price $49.95

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