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Atari Planetarium

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#1 Place Logo Here OFFLINE  

Place Logo Here

    Chopper Commander

  • 220 posts

Posted Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:10 PM

Thanks to my SIO2SD, I am discovering all kinds of 8-bit software I never got to try out back in the day, even things I would not have appreciated back when I first owned an Atari 8-bit (800, then 130xe) in my middle-school years.  


For example: Atari Planetarium.  I have always been fascinated by space, but I would have had zero interest in this back then.


So I was amazed to find that, although there is doubtlessly far more sophisticated software nowadays to explore the night sky, I found this program to be endlessly fascinating.


I even decided to buy a boxed copy just to get the great manual for it.  This thing redefines "manual": it is a small paperback volume with not only instructions but also historical context and additional facts.  I actually read it cover-to-cover.  An example: I was quite stunned to learn the Earth's axis moves from one extreme to another over a period of 26,000 years.  This means our "north star" (Polaris) has not always been, or will always be the north star.  And with the easily-adjustable settings, you can even see that change over the course of millennia.


But I am writing this because I decided to watch a preview of the upcoming full solar eclipse on August 21.  Using info from nasa.gov, I chose ideal coordinates for viewing, set the clock back a couple of hours from the event, set tracking on the sun, set the viewing angle to 18 degrees and the progression of time to 64x.  Although the screen does not refresh anywhere near as quickly as I would like it to, I was glued to the presentation.  The sky actually got darker as the eclipse started, became dark grey at full concealment and then lightened gradually again afterward.  Really, the sky doesn't need to change color--it's just cool they incorporated this into the software.


That's my thoughts on it.  Anybody else have any feelings about this software? 

#2 Allan OFFLINE  



  • 6,188 posts
  • Location:Wallingford, CT

Posted Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:48 AM

The manual is here if anyone wants to read it.





#3 Stefan Both OFFLINE  

Stefan Both


  • 385 posts
  • Location:Germany / Lower Saxony

Posted Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:03 AM

Thank you for the link!

#4 Atari Nut OFFLINE  

Atari Nut

    Chopper Commander

  • 186 posts

Posted Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:54 PM

Interesting.  I tried this but I must have done something wrong.  I thought I set things correctly.  I "found" the sun and started the progression.  The sky didn't get darker and I didn't see the moon.  When I "found" the moon, it was below the horizon.  Could you elaborate a little on how you did this? 

#5 Atari Nut OFFLINE  

Atari Nut

    Chopper Commander

  • 186 posts

Posted Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:23 PM

Disregard, I finally got it.  Very interesting.

#6 Place Logo Here OFFLINE  

Place Logo Here

    Chopper Commander

  • Topic Starter
  • 220 posts

Posted Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:31 PM

For those yet to try it, a good location to use is St. Louis, starting at about 11:45 a.m.


I also highly recommend trying out the exercises in the manual, such as viewing the freaky alignment of the planets in the 1500's, and the changing "north star" in 10,000 b.c. and 10,000 a.d.

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