History of the HNSKY planetarium program.

hnsky movie
          hns_move.gif History:

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2017-2-25, HNSKY version 3.3.0f, added the ASCOM telescope driver park,/unpark, setpark, home and tracking functions

2017-2-23, HNSKY version 3.3.0e/3.340, included comets in the min size: auto mode of the OBJECT menu.

2017-2-22, HNSKY version 3.3.0d, added a help link for Jet Propulsion Laboratory Development Ephemeris

2017-2-21, HNSKY version 3.3.0c/3.339, Changed open cluster contour to dotted line to follow the convention.  

2017-2-20, HNSKY version 3.3.0b/3.338, Added comet and minor planet velocity to statusbar message. Unit is arcsec/hour sky motion. Could be used in PHD2 for comet guiding.

2017-2-18,  Overhauled the  deep sky database. Added some objects from the old SAC72. Replaced all published brightness values by calculated values.  Now more consistent brightness values. 

2017-2-16, HNSKY version 3.0.0/3.337, added  α,  δ  symbols for RA and DEC  If you don;t like this select English languge in settings menu. Updated non English ini files. Updated the help file.

2017-2-15, HNSKY version 3.3.0, (3.337 Linux), Added support for Jet Propulsion Laboratory Development Ephemeris (like DE430, DE431). Covering years 13,000 to +16,999 . The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Development Ephemeris  will bring high accuracy for occultations. Overhauled planet unit. Added apparent position.  Updated time menu and added Julian day input.

2017-2-1, HNSKY version 3.2.7f/3.336, fixed a problem in IAU designation. Fixed some initialization problems after  closing polar view window.

2017-1-18, Very minor update in the Deepsky database 3.

2016-12-17, HNSKY version 3.2.7d/3.334, improvement in star_index.  Removed some PGC and vdB doubles in the deepsky database. The current deepsky database is one of the finest error free compilations available.

2016-12-15, HNSKY version 3.2.7c, fixed set time menu alignment for higher DPI settings.

2016-12-11, HNSKY version 3.2.7b /3.334 , added tool bar buttons to the "set_time" menu. Fixed a small problem in the drawing mode. Updated Deepsky level 3.hnd.. Added VDB supplement.

2016-11-24, HNSKY version 3.2.7a /3.333 , changed the north/south line in dotted line for meridian flip and other reasons.

2016-11-22, HNSKY version 3.2.7 /3.332 , all numbers on the altitude grid and horizon have now orientation zenith. This to assist you with orientation and it looks nicer.

2016-10-30, HNSKY version 3.2.6.e, made all extensions in editor down case. Added a Kepler K2 campaign supplement as demonstrator of the supplement possibilities. Moon occultations in Kepler field:

2016-10-15,  HNSKY version 3.2.6.d & Linux 3.331d, overhauled the bright star (text) find routine.

2016-10-12,  HNSKY version 3.2.6b & Linux 3.331b, introduced the 290-9 and 290-5 star database format. Reduced file size again with 10%  and 17%. Each star in the Gaia or U16 databases takes around 5 bytes disk space. These database versions are compacter but there is no gain in speed. You could keep the older databases for time being. For technical details see the help file. Made the star plotting routine a little faster. Disabled the mouse find function for disabled deep sky database.

2016-10-4/6,  HNSKY version 3.2.5a & Linux 3.330 and new compacter format for the star databases without quality loss. TYC and TUC record size goes from 11 to 10 byte saving  9% space. U16 and G17 go from 7 to 6 bytes saving 14% space. Works only with very latest HNSKY versions 3.2.5a en  3.330. These database versions are compacter but there is no gain in speed. You could keep the old databases. For technical details see help file.

2016-10-2, GAIA native HNSKY database up to magnitude 17 contains 164 million Gaia stars. Note that Gaia DR1 is missing some stars so is less suitable  for star maps. HNSKY version 3.2.4b or Linux 3.328 required, just released today. Unpack in the program directory, typically c:\program files\hnsky

2016-10-2, HNSKY version 3.2.4b & Linux 3.328. For above Gaia 290 star database.

2016-9-26, issued a new version of the TUC star database up to magnitude 15. Contains 7 % more stars due to other magnitude selection.

2016-9-25, HNSKY version 3.2.4a & Linux 3.326.  Fixed a problem in reading U16 star database type 290 with 7 byte record size. 

2016-9-24, New, native HNSKY database up to magnitude 16 contains 113 million stars. A compilation of UCAC4 and Tycho-2. (RAR file of 437 mbytes). HNSKY version or Linux 3.325 required.  No Tycho-2 or UCAC4 indentifiers are available due to 7 byte record size. Instead an IAU style designation based on the position is used.

2016-9-22, HNSKY version 3.2.4 & Linux 3.325.    Introduced 7 byte record size in 290 database. 

2016-9-14, HNSKY version 3.2.3b, Gaia DR1 support using Vizier online database up to magnitude 20. Gaia proper motion implemented.

2016-9-5 HNSKY version 3.2.3a, fixed an stream error if switching off the online database. Adapted plotting range of the TUC database to magnitude 15.

2016-9-2 Native HNSKY database up to magnitude 15 containing 36 million stars made form TYCHO-2 and UCAC4. Compressed in a RAR archive the size is 192 mbytes. It will only work with the latest version 3.2.3. of HNSKY since it is in the "290" format. Abbreviation in the program as TUC

2016-8-8 HNSKY for LINUX,  version 3.323, 7z  archive. (70 mbytes) or executable only for Linux and MS Windows ), 4 mbytes.  Just extract somewhere in your home folder. Executable is the file "hnsky" Remove the .d32 files manually. They are replaced by .290 files.

2016-08-08, update in star database .290 files. Now complete Tycho+UCAC4 up to magn 12.5. (290 files date 2016-8-8-23:58, 23:59)
2016-08-06, HNSKY version 3.2.3 with new .290 star file format. Installer will replace the d32 files with .290 files!  This star database format will be faster and allow larger star databases
290 fields

2016-8-2,  Update in deepsky databases. Improved several minor things including Rosetta nebula.

2016-8-1,  Minor corrections in version HNSKY 3.2.2g.  Added new supplement with official IAU star names, version 20-7-2016, source 

2016-7-20, 3.318a Linux version, changed constellation Bayer letters to unicode.

2016-7-15  Updated the program ORB_DEB, executables for win32 and win64 and Linux!. Simple windows program which calculates the orbital elements of a minor planet based on three observations/positions using the Gauss method: Download ORB_DET.ZIP version 1.02.  

2016-7-13,  HyperLeda_2.440.000_galaxies database (type hnd) Dated 2016-7-135 (26 MB) Unpacked is this file 103 mbytes, so huge.  Place this huge deepsky database in the HNSKY PROGRAM directory. You have to select either this one or one of the three deepsky databases.

2016-7-12, Very minor update in the MS-Windows version v3.2.2.f. Adaption is font size handeling for Calibre, Night vision menu check mark was working.

2016-5-14 version 3.2.2.d Added an image on/off button to the object menu. Fixed color change option of main menu in menu color settings

2016-4-27 version 3.2.2.c Fixed an exception error only occuring under Wine (Linux). Better adaption of the stars density to the window size. 

Printing. The printing routine will rebuild and adapt the screen view to the printer resolution.  Laser printers will produce sharp and good quality prints. The size of the window and monitor resolution are irrelevant.  From version 3.2.2b the size of the printed stars is no longer adapted to the DPI resolution of the printer.  A low resolution of  of 72 or 144 DPI will give the correct star size (a few pixels) for printing on paper.  If you select 1200 DPI you will get much smaller stars (still a few pixels), more intended for zoomable digital maps. You could use this for printing to PDF

2016-4-19, Removed twelve Sharpless2 duplications in deep sky database.

2016-4-18, small update of the help file, added describtion of the deep sky observations file.

2016-4-17, version 3.2.2b, small update in printing routine. 

2016-3-28, update for the Catalan and Esperanto module added. Webpage cleanup. Release specialised tool:  SKY_TOASTER, program for conversion to the TOAST projection,with Delphi source.  v0.0

2016-3-20, update for the Spanish module added.

2016-3-13,version 3.2.2a. Added missing Milky Way toast projection to the installer.

2016-3-11,version 3.2.2a. Improved azimuth in degrees indication.

2016-3-10,version 3.2.2a 

- Milky way panorama based on an ESO full sky panorama.It is slow, so use it optionally.
- Introduced galactic coordinates.
- Added 150 Sharpless-2 objects to deepsky database 3
- Auto size filter in object menu.
- Filter function now also works for supplements
- Added the unicode planet symbols  "☿♀♁♂♃♄♅♆♇", sun "☉", moon "☾", comets "☄" to new language files english_symbolic_win10.ini  and english_symbolic_win7.ini. Win10 allows some more unicode symbol like the floppy symbol "💾"
- Better protection against bad FITS files.
- Many small improvements.


1) All non-english.ini language files are now converted to unicode encoding (UTF-8) rather then ANSI encoding. If your native speaker of one of the languages, please check if they display properly.

2) The Milky Way in a "TOAST" projection is stored in a single PNG image and kept in memory for speed. It is made from the ESO0932a full sky panorama in equirectangular projection. This panorama had some distortion up to one degree, but I managed to warp it such that it match pretty well. The specialist tool (sky_toaster) for making a TOAST projection including code will be released to public domain the next days.

Milky Way panorama in HNSKY program

2016-2-14, Version 3.2.1a, improved protection against bad FITS files.

2016-2-4, Version 3.2.1  Allowing access to Axel Mellinger low resolution sky survey. From the pop-up menu select "Get DSS image from internet",  "Skyview" for downloading wide field FITS files.  If you select a field larger the 3.5 degrees height it will select the Mellinger survey. Default is the MELL-R (red) of the survey.

2016-1-31, Version 3.2.14. More improvements. Yo can also try halpha survey by modifying  download link. Maximum field is limited at around 140 degrees by Skyview. Minimum  pixel  size is 350x350 unless you pull a box large then 350x350 pixels. For better quality add &sampler=Lanczos to the Skyview instruction in settings.

2016-1-30, Version 3.2.13. Allowing access to Axel Mellinger low resolution sky survey. From the pop-up menu select "Get DSS image from internet",  "Skyview" for downloading wide field FITS files.  If you select a field larger the 3.5 degrees height it will select the Mellinger survey. Default is the MELL-R (red) of the survey.

Alex Mellinger survey in HNSKY

2016-1-25, Version 3.2.0b   Dropdown of comboboxes has now variable width. Fixed statusbar message flickering during animation. Fixed minor problem with trying to pull a mouse rectangle during animation. Added a half second in the routine for UTC hint to fix a rare problem in julian date to string routine.

2016-1-24,  version 3.2.0a  with new powerful animation menu.  if you have v3.2.0 with a date 2016-1-23, then download an update.

2016-1-23  Version 3.2.013/14   Minor adjustments

2016-1-21  Version 3.2.012   Fixed an animation problem for units larger then 1, e.g. step size of 10 days.

2016-1-21  Version 3.2.011a   Improved control of animation. Stop/pause/continue all possible. Progress bar added.

2016-1-18  Version 3.2.010a   Fixed asteroid/magnitude filter problem of version 10

2016-1-17  Version 3.2.010   Major modifications.  Animation window will allow you to follow Hale Bopp comet and it's return in 2500 years. (search for bopp*).  All planetary objects can now be followed rigidly. Furthermore have a look to proper motion of stars of M4 using UCAC4 (zoom in) with an interval of 10 years over the next 5000 years or so. Allowing now  running with secondary stardatabase only. Make primary in object menu blank.

2016-1-16  Version 3.2.09b   Minor improvements. Active window more automated.

2016-1-14  Version 3.2.08b   Minor improvements.
2016-1-12  Version 3.2.08   Minor improvements. Smoother moon orbit lines.

2016-1-10  Version 3.2.07c   Mouse button routines updated. Added dates&time to tracks, Fixed reset for Wine under Linux, some internal cleanup

2016-1-9  Version 3.2.05   Beta version, executable only. Minor corrections.

2016-1-8  Version 3.2.04   Beta version, executable only. Improved locking of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. NEO's distance to 0.05 a.u. including comets. Improved displaying distance of NEO's at very short distances.

2016-1-7  Version 3.1.2f    Fixed a small problem for supplement 3,4,5 when loading events. Added two new supplement for meteors and constellations
2016-1-7  Version 3.2.03   Beta version, executable only. Fixed a major problem in cycling animation causing the application hang/freeze itself.

2016-1-6  Version 3.2.02    Preliminary version, several small adjustments.

2016-1-5  Version 3.2.01    Preliminary version with new animation menu. Simple NEO filter checkbox. Copy/paste import of  JPL orbital elements comets. Send your remarks and comments

2015-12-29  Version 3.1.2e    Modified abbreviations conversion to unicode.

2015-12-28  Version 3.1.2c, d    More updates in deep sky database. Fixed saving menu font size.

2015-12-27  Version 3.1.2b  Significant update deep sky database. In program improvement abbreviation translation, fixed problem brightness calculation.

2015-12-23  Version 3.1.2a Internal code optimisation,  updated the deepsky.chm file.

2015-12-22  Version 3.1.2, Replaced deepsky observations file format from HTML to HTMLHELP (CHM) format.

2015-12-19  Version 3.1.1a,  Fixed initial directory of save as dialog.

2015-12-13  Version 3.1.1,  Introduced the new deepsky observations file in HTML. This replaces the old HNS_DEEP.HLP file Fixed the HTML help for Firefox. Fixed wildcard search.

2015-12-11  Version 3.1.0h  Fixed asteroid positions. Where wrong due to unicode support.

2015-12-9  Version 3.1.0g  Fixed save command supplement 3 and higher.

2015-12-9  Version 3.1.0f  Fixed ASCOM sync command.

2015-12-5  Version 3.1.0e Fixed comet update from settings menu.

2015-12-4  Version 3.1.0d, Fixed a small problem with rise and set times. Fixed a freeze of the program if Skyview reports with an error file rather then a FITS file. Delete all downloaded FITS files if you phase this problem..

2015-12-3  Version 3.1.0c  Minor corrections and fixed the updating of the asteroid and comet database from the settings menu.

2015-12-2  Version 3.1.0b, setup or  version 3.1.0b executables only  Minor tweaks for rise/set times. If the set time is before the rise time then is reported as Set:... Rise:.... else  Rise:... Set:.... to prevent confusion.

2015-11-30 Final release of  version 3.1.0a setup or  version 3.1.0a executables only Allows now 5 supplements. Introduced a new entry line for goto menu. Works with unicode and will display the greek alphabet correctly and many other alphabets contained in unicode.. Improved processing speed of deep sky and supplement routine again and reached same speed as the classic version. Streamlined string operations.

2015-11-16 Added supplements:  Constellations IAU & named stars.sup,   Asterisms.sup  

2015-11-15  Added new supplements for double/multiply stars fully based on "SAGUARO ASTRONOMY CLUB DOUBLE STAR DATABASE VERSION 4.0", called  "SAC_double_star_v4.sup"  to version 3.0.3b  and update package  Version 3.0.3b executable only

2015-11-12  Release of version 3.0.3b  Fixed a problem with statusbar indication.

2015-11-5  Release of version 3.0.3 

- Introduced basic earth view or horizon. In the settings menu you can select transparent or not.
- Internal simple Milky Way boundaries.
- Adjustable magnitude setpoint for the three deep sky colors.
- More powerful editing mode for the line drawing mode. Modify or add any line.
- Added JPL Horizons orbital elements import via clipboard. For this select in the JPL webpage "orbital elements", generate ephemeris and select all and then copy it to the clipboard. Then use the special paste shift-V function in the HNSKY editor to paste the converted elements into the asteroid editor. Please select in JPL Horizons the orbital element output,  not observer.
- Split the save menu in the editor to "save" and "save to".

HNSKY Earth view

2015-10-7  Release of version 3.0.2f4

2015-10-3  Release of version 3.0.2f  Minor changes. Updated deepsky database 3, North_arrow is clickable, Skyview FITS images with higher background level such as in Cygnus are better displayed.. Added constellations supplement files. Added  simplified chinese language file.

2015-9-23  Release of version 3.0.2e  Fixed statusbar position.

2015-9-20  Release of version 3.0.2d  Added options to hide icons or text of the mainmenu. Fixed naming of deepsky object in "draw solar tracks."  Fixed font width problem for unsual wide fonts.

2015-9-19  Release of version 3.0.2  Fixed path problems after saving and correction in supplement handling. Editor search menu extend.

2015-9-18  Release of version 3.0.212  Fixed path problems after saving and correction in supplement handling. Editor search menu extend.

2015-9-17  Release of version 3.0.211  Move hide menu to popupmenu mainmenu, hide mainmenu text option added.

2015-9-16  Release of version 3.0.210b  

2015-8-31  Release of version 3.0.210a  Fixed sluggish behaviour. Introduced internal database search for an area.

2015-8-23  Release of version 3.0.28  Hide main menu introduced.

2015-8-23  Release of version 3.0.1e  Fixed label indication supplements.

2015-8-21  Release of version 3.0.27  Cylindrical projection introduced:

2015-8-18  Release of version 3.0.26

2015-8-17  Release of version 3.0.25  Menu buttons can be removed with pop-up menu. In later version, default will off.

2015-8-16  Release of version 3.0.22 Aero implemented and adjustable menu top color.

2015-8-15  Release of version 3.0.2 Significant menu change.

2015-8-11  DSS viewer HNS_REAL 2.0.0c. Updated getdss.dll for win64 load problem.

2015-8-6  Release of version 3.0.1d Fixed star names for local copy of UCAC4 and GSC.

2015-8-6  Release of version 3.0.1c Fixed ASCOM for 64 bit windows and some path issue with saving settings.

2015-8-6  Release of version 3.0.1b Minor corrections in saving/loading protocols. Added in "About" 32 or 64 bit appliation version indication.

2015-8-4  Release of version 3.0.1a Important file location change. Editable files are now in documents folder. Please copy your settings file Default.hns file to the new location documents\hnsky

Located in: C:\Program Files\hnsky

HNSKY.EXE Main program
SAO_HSKY.DAT Star database,SAO stars to magnitude 9.5
PPM_HSKY.DAT The PPM star database and supplements to magnitude 10.0 (468861 stars)
TYC_H0**.D32 Tycho-2 star database containing 2.5 million stars. D32 file format. (32 files).
Deepsky level 1.hnd
Deepsky level 2.hnd
Deepsky level 3.hnd
- Small deep sky databases with 267 selected objects. Good start for beginners.
- Large deep sky database with 2600 objects. Up to magnitude 12. GX>=1 arcmin.
- Very large deep sky database with 26000 objects. Up to magnitude 15.5. GX>=1 arcmin.
HNS_DEEP.HLP Deepsky help file containing about 1000 A4 pages of deep sky describtions by
Tom Lorenzin and Steve Coe and other authors.
Non english translation files

Located in: Documents\hnsky
The comet database.
HNS_AST1.AST The asteroid database.
HNS_****.SUP Several deep sky and star supplements  files, in ASCII format. (Milky Way, Yale catalog,
 binary and variable stars, messier objects, worldmap.
Setting and event files in ASCII can load/save. During startup 'default.hns is loaded'

Located in: Documents\hnsky\fits
 Several deep sky and planetary images in FITS format.

Located in: Documents\hnsky\cache
*.txt             Cache of online downloaded star catalogues UCAC4, NOMAD.                   

The above files locations are for v3.0.1 and higher
The Windows hidden "Application Data" directory is not used by purpose.

2015-8-3  Release of version 3.0.0n2 Small fix in 64 bit version for application error message.and small initialisation problem when starting

2015-8-2 Updated the installer to set file/directory permssions correct.

2015-8-1  Release of version 3.0.0n  release of both 32 and 64 bit versions in one installation package

2015-7-31 Release of version 3.0.0m1  and experimental 64 bit version (executable only). Tiny update in deepsky database..

2015-7-18 Release of version 3.0.0m  Added width and height indication for mouse pulled square. Added redo view menu option (shift-ctrl-z) to existing undoview option (ctrl-z). Very minor update deepsky databases.

2015-6-22 Release of version 3.0.0L  Switches automatically between native star databases and external star catalogue depending on zoom factor. See

2015-6-17 Release of version 3.0.0k  Move SIDEREAL popup option to main menu SCREEN.

2015-6-14 Release of version 3.0.0j2  Adapted the help links for the Chrome browser. Context sensitive help (HTML with anchors) works now for both Firefox and Chrome and newest versions of Internet Explorer.

2015-6-7 Release of version 3.0.0j  Added online URAT1 catalogue. New epoch 2016 version of SAO and PPM star database. So star positions are for 2016-1-1 calculated using proper motions. Tycho-2++ updated, total 4.504.823 stars up to magnitude 12.5 from wich 2.050.961 UCAC2 stars

2015-6-2 Release of version 3.0.0i2  Fixed a problem with online star catalogs resulting in streaks and faulty magnitudes. ADDED SOME MISSING STARS IN TYCHO-2 

2015-5-31 Release of version 3.0.0i  Overhault completely the function behind de star density and star boldness sliders. Some background info to get a unoform density: star_count.

2015-5-29 Release of version 3.0.0h  Tycho-2+ database has been replaced by Tycho-2++. About 2 million UCAC4 stars where added to tycho-2 and it is complete up to magnitude 12.5 containing 4.4 million stars. Epoch is set to year 2016.

2015-5-17 Release of version 3.0.0g  Communication to telescope selects now equinox for communication automatically from ASCOM. Settings menu updated accordingly.

2015-5-13 Release of version 3.0.0f  Changed menu "dark nights next days" back to orginal setup. Moon did not display correctly for higher altitudes >50degrees

2015-5-9 Release of version 3.0.0e2 Modified completely the line drawing menu in popup menu. Drawing deep sky outlines is now much easier using the mouse. See first demo included, Deepsky outline.SUP

2015-5-3 Release of version 3.0.0d

Automatic update download link asteroids. Was still downloading the 2013 file rather then the 2015 file. Fixe the plot solar object message.

2015-5-2 Release of version 3.0.0c

Fixed a problem plottings the planets at wide field with FITS images on.  Map_mercury .fit  updated with new Mercury overview of Messenger spaceship.

2015-4-11 Release of version 3.0.0a

Added moon shadow on planets. Have a look to Jupiter at 2015-1-24, 6:30 UTC.

2015-4-5 Release of version 3.0.0

2014-7-14  Release of version 2.4.1 No changes compared with version 3

2014-6-29  Release of version 2.4.13 Total overhaul of the bold and density function of star plotting. Start with  the bold/density gliders in the middle. Note that faint stars are displayed as a single pixel with grey level so they are not so explicit vissible. Secondly improved simulation of conjuction of jovian moons. e.g. In case of conjuction of Callisto with Ganymede, Callisto can be both in the front or behind Ganymede.

NEXT :  History part 2

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