Mirrorsoft Ltd
Paul Phillips
1985
Educational
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

47
Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

If you've ever been to the London Planetarium, you might have been tempted to find out more about the night sky. Star Seeker attempts to bring the Planetarium into your own living room! The package actually contains two programs, Star Seeker and Solar System.

The first of these is a program which gives views of the night sky from any point on the earth's surface, at any time from 1800 to 2200hrs. It holds information on 500 stars in 76 different constellations, including all the most prominent ones, and may be used as an interesting introduction to astronomy, enabling the novice to learn about the stars visible in the night sky. It may also be of use to the amateur astronomer as a reference guide and practical tool.

To begin, the user is asked to input certain information. First of all the location on Earth from which the night sky is to be 'viewed ' must be provided. This must be specified by the longitude and latitude in degrees, and for convenience, a table in the accompanying booklet gives the exact position of selected cities. Next, the program asks for the direction in which you want to view the sky - North, South. East, West or overhead, though you can also position the centre of your field of vision towards any direction in the Sky and alter the size of the field of view displayed.

Once you have provided this information, the program begins to plot the requested star map and displays it on the screen. A menu then allows a variety of options. The computer can list the names of the different constellations, with the stars in each flashing briefly when the name is given. It is also possible for a constellation map to be drawn, defining the shape of that constellation and making it easier for the user to learn to recognise the individual star groupings. You can also obtain quite detailed information on any of the plotted stars, and even obtain a printout of the star map.

The second program, Solar Systern, provides information on the Sun, Moon, planets and Halley's comer. This program locates planets in the sky and can plot their orbits relative to the sun and each other, and can plot the course of Halley comet (which has recently been in view for the first time since 1910). One of the options allows you to watch the motions of the planets and the comet as they orbit the sun, and a great amount of factual information is also obtainable. A very detailed booklet describes the operation of the programs, as well as giving a wealth of additional astronomical information.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Control keys: mostly single key commands
Keyboard play: responsive
Graphics: clear and appropriate
Use of colour: limited
General Rating: All you ever wanted to know about the night sky.

Not Rated