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Digital Universe V2.40


November 20, 2001



Syzygy Research & Technology, creators of the widely acclaimed “Digital
Universe” astronomy software for Macintosh computers, is pleased to
announce that the latest update (V2.40) is now available.

The changes in this update include:

– Full support for the control of LX200 and Autostar-based computerized
telescopes is now available. You can now use “The Digital Universe” to
direct a compatible telescope to point directly at any of the approximately
20 million objects that can be shown on the screen, or to any arbitrary
region of the sky. The current pointing direction of your telescope is
updated dynamically on the screen so that you can always directly compare
what is visible in the eyepiece against what is shown by the software. The
interface is bidirectional in that you can either have “The Digital
Universe” tell the telescope what to point towards, or manually move the
telescope around the sky and have “The Digital Universe” follow along.

– A special red “night palette” has now been implemented, enabling you to
use the software outdoors without significantly impacting your eyes’ dark

– A new “Functions” control panel has been added. You can use this panel to
easily switch “modes” from using the mouse to obtain information about
objects or zoom in on a region, measure the angular distance and position
angle between two objects, recenter the screen at a new position, or point
an attached telescope to a new location in the sky. The keyboard/mouse
shortcuts previously used to access these features are still available, but
the new control panel provides an alternate method of accessing these
capabilities that may be a bit more intuitive.

– When the user measures the angular separation between two locations in
the sky (through Control-dragging the mouse, or by selecting the
appropriate option in the “Functions” control panel), the position angle
between the two objects (angular direction measured eastward from due
north) is also provided.

– Three new tooltips for telescope control and the “Functions” control
panel were added.

– The appearance of the hypertext information window was changed to make
the buttons on it a bit more obvious.

– Now, the epoch being used (specified in the “Time Settings” window) will
default to the epoch of “DATE” instead of “J2000”. This makes accurate
views of the sky in the far past and future more intuitive to generate.

– Since some people didn’t realize that popup help was available, the time
delay for it to automatically appear was reduced to 1 second from 2
seconds. If this is too quick, it can be disabled and brought up on a “case
by case” basis by pressing and holding down the Control key while the mouse
is over a button or object on one of the user interface windows.

– Fixed a possible, though rare, infinite loop situation that could arise
when displaying positions of galaxies a few thousand years into the past or

– As the Earth is gradually (and erratically) slowing down in its rotation,
approximately 0.4 seconds have accumulated since the start of the year 2000
(measured as the difference between the time kept by atomic clocks and that
coordinated with the Earth’s rotation). “The Digital Universe” incorporates
an internal table of the historical differences between the two time
scales, with an entry for every two years. This update adds the September,
2001 observed value of Delta T = 64.2 seconds as an approximation to the
January 2002 value. This modification is important for those using the
software in very high accuracy simulations.

– Updated the asteroids, comets, and Earth-orbiting satellite databases to
include all currently known objects.

– The user’s manual was updated to reflect all of the modifications

For a full description of the capabilities of the Macintosh version of “The
Digital Universe”, we invite you to our web site at There you will find a complete list of the
powerful features that set the software apart from other programs in its
class, as well as screen snapshots and sample animations generated by the
package. The entire user manual is also available to download, to provide
an in-depth look at the software’s capabilities, and a demo version of the
software will be available shortly.

“The Digital Universe” has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)
of $149.95 in Canadian funds (approximately $93.89 US according to the
exchange rate on November 20, 2001). The software can be purchased directly
from our secure web site or by calling Syzygy at 1-866-961-2269 (toll free
in the US and Canada) or 780-961-2213 (elsewhere).

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write to, or phone us at 780-961-2213.

Syzygy Research & Technology Ltd.
Box 83, Legal, AB T0G 1L0, Canada
Phone: 780-961-2213,

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