The last public release of The Digital Universe was v1.6.
BugFixes since v1.6
If using the native printer drivers, a grim reaper would appear after a
page had been printed. If using TurboPrint the bug was not evident. The
printing error has been fixed so that using native OS4 print drivers now
The Abort button did not always work when printing, especially if printing
a display with a detailed planetary surface. It is now possible to Abort a
printout at any stage during the printing process.
Classification of Deep Sky Objects.
Though most DSOs were classified correctly, some picked up a default
classification of "Galaxy", for example Messier 3 is a globular cluster.
The NGC data file has been updated to not only correct this bug but also
to include more detailed classifications of objects such as the galaxy type.
Fixed a memory leak that could occur if plotting was interrupted when
drawing a large sized planet.
Custom horizon did not draw in v1.6, now fixed for v1.7.
Reports. Geocentric data was not corrected for precession before but was
always precessed to DATE. Now all data precesses to the values selected in
the user preferences. The Epoch for which co-ordinates are valid is shown
at the top of the report.
Planet Info. Unless precession was enabled and set to other than J2000, the
planets showed incorrect info for the constellation they are meant to be in.
Bug fixed for v1.7 so correct data is given in all circumstances.
The Undo/Redo record became repeated if screenmode was changed, this is now
Fixed a bug where in rare cases at high fields of view an area of stars,
DSOs etc. did not draw and was left blank.
Fixed a bug where screenmode did not change if new dimensions were chosen
from within the ASL requester and the mode id had not changed.
Improved the behaviour of the Alert Window when the maximum zoom size is
reached. Now the alert will only display once and not display further
messages when moving around the sky when at the maximum zoom level.
Fixed a memory leak that occurred if many alert messages were shown
in the same window.
Some pens were the incorrect colour when DU was uniconified and twilight
enabled. Now corrected.
Fixed a bug where a grim reaper could occur on iconifying DU while it was
set to autoadvance mode.
When printing, stars were not drawn with a correct aspect ratio in earlier
Previously, Deep Sky Objects with sizes greater than 100 arcminutes lost
the most significant digit. eg Andromeda galaxy size was shown as being
89.1 instead of the true value of 189.1 arcminutes.
Finding stars. In some cases the wrong star could be found by the advanced
searching mechanism, eg Mira would locate Mirach. The search will now always
return the correct value.
New Features and Enhancements for version 1.7
More detailed DSO classifications - see Bug 2 above.
New Arexx Commands added.
FINDCONSTELLATION FINDPLANET FINDMISCOBJECT FINDSTAR FINDDSO
SETADVANCEINTERVAL SETAUTOINTERVAL SETTIME SETJD
GETMOUSE_RADEC GETSCREEN_RADEC SETBUSY SETFREE
INFOREQUEST ALERT SHOWHELP SETMODE PRINT
MAGPLUS MAGMINUS SETFIELD GETFIELD
LOADDISPLAY SETMAGMISC SETMAGSTARS SETMAGDSO
MOVE and LOOK commands replace the numerous LOOKNORTH, MOVEEAST etc.
All the FIND windows have a consistent GUI, including the criteria gadget
and search button. This means the user can find an object just by entering
its name or just a few characters from its name in the Criteria box.
Planetary feature maps. The map sizes are no longer restrained to specific
sizes. If available, Digital Universe can now use LARGE or EXTRA_LARGE maps
to show far greater planetary details. Not all solar system objects have
high definition maps but most planets now do.
Reports object lists will now automatically update when any changes are
made to the Misc Objects list, or misc objects toggled on/off.
Reports now show the Epoch for which the data is valid. See bug 5.
The original menu short-cuts of Right Amiga ] and Right Amiga [ for zooming
the display are not too handy on some European keyboards. To avoid using
the menu short-cuts it is now also possible to zoom into and out of the
display using the numeric keypad + and - keys. The numeric +/- keys also
have the feature that if they are held down the operation is repeated
resulting in fast multiple zooms.
Added two new buttons to the Control Panel and also the use of the CURSOR
UP and CURSOR DOWN key to allow the general magnitude level of all
displayed objects to be increased or decreased. If any magnitude level hits
a limit then no further increase or decrease is possible and the individual
levels in the Display Prefs Window would then need to be used.
At wider fields of view (>45 degrees) the moon and sun are shown slightly
larger than actual size. This is not as odd as it first seems, due to their
brightness the moon and sun are perceived as being larger than their angular
size suggests. All planets are drawn rounder (less square) for small sizes.
The Undo/Redo system has been enhanced. In v1.6 only changes in the geometry
of the display were taken into account (e.g.. changes in RA, Dec and field of
view). Changes in time were not taken into consideration. In v1.7 time
changes have been included in the Undo/Redo system. If using Auto mode, only
the beginning and end times are counted as valid Undo/Redo events.
The number of undo steps has been increased to 50.
New tooltypes and CLI parameters, AISS, NOFLARES, BRIGHTERLINES, CONTROLPANEL
,VERTICALPANEL CUSTOMMENU, NOLOGO.
If AISS is enabled and the AISS system installed, the navigation buttons in
the control panel will be more aesthetically pleasing.
If NOFLARES is enabled then stars will be drawn with purely spherical symmetry,
otherwise stars are drawn with a cross flare by default..
If BRIGHTERLINES is enabled then constellation figures, names and boundaries,
RA/Dec lines, Horizon and ecliptic lines are drawn 35% brighter.
If CONTROLPANEL is enabled, the Control Panel will be automatically opened
on starting The Digital Universe.
If VERTICALPANEL is enabled, the Control Panel will have a vertical aspect as
opposed to the default horizontal panel.
See New Feature #36 for info on CUSTOMMENU.
See New Feature #37 for info on NOLOGO.
Star plotting improved to give a higher dynamic range per magnitude
difference. This gives a more realistic looking sky. The stars also appear
brighter so the user may wish to lower their default magnitude setting in
the Display Settings Window for stars and planets. As mentioned in the
above section, stars can be drawn as round or with a cross shaped
Grid lines and constellation figures and boundaries were previously too
prominent, whereas it is more important to see the stars and other objects.
All grid lines have been toned down so that the stars are more prominent.
However, depending on monitor and graphics settings some people may find
the new, less prominent lines, too faint. If this is the case, set the
BRIGHTERLINES tooltype or use the equivalent CLI parameter mentioned
Hierarchical labelling of stars and Deep Sky Objects.
Previously if a star or DSO had more than one designation then a single
object could be labelled up to three times, depending on the users display
settings. Now only one label will be shown in order of hierarchy.
Stars - Name, Bayer, Flamsteed number.
DSOs - Name, Messier number, NGC number.
Time Advance lock now defaults to Alt/Az at startup because we start looking
due south and not at a fixed RA/Dec. Certain operations will set the Advance
Lock, e.g.. looking to a particular direction will set Alt/Az, finding a star,
DSO or constellation will lock to RA/Dec and finding a solar system object
or misc. object will lock to that object. A new gadget in the Status Line
will display the current Advance Lock setting. This gadget shows only if
the display size is large enough (> 1000 pixels).
Modelling proper motion of stars no longer needs the Epoch Date to be set
as DATE as in older versions. The Epoch is only required for precession of
co-ordinates NOT for the true positions of stars.
Coloured rendering now applies not only to planet feature maps but to
planets drawn as "stars" and also to the actual stars themselves. Stars
that are 4.5 magnitudes brighter than the limiting value are shown coloured
according to their spectral type.
Labelling the constellations now uses several sizes of font, this improves
readability when the field of view is very large and at lower screen
resolutions. The constellations in the background are now labelled at high
zooms (low fields of view) whereas previously there would be no label on
most occasions due to the label being at a fixed position.
When zooming into the display, various elements would become out of range
with previous versions. Now all lines will still show even at very high
zoom levels. This improvement was originally intended to fix an OS4.1
problem in updates 1 and 2 which will most certainly have been fixed in
OS4.1 - update 3. Only older versions of DU will be affected by the
temporary OS4.1 bug as version 1.7 has a workaround leading to a much better
Streamlined the method used for non-fast labelling of objects. When the
fast labels option is disabled Digital Universe uses routines for better
placing of object names to improve readability, the placing routines are
now significantly faster than in previous versions.
Amidock support. Digital Universe registers itself as an OS4 application
and places an icon on the Amidock. This icon can perform various functions
such as uniconify, bring the DU screen to the front or quit the Digital
Restructured the menus, so that some of the items previously in the Project
Menu are now more appropriately in a new View Menu.
Added two new View Menu items to allow the toggling of Twilight and Night
Palette settings without having to go via the Display Window. The keyboard
short-cuts are Right Amiga L and Right Amiga N.
The Control Panel can now be shown either horizontally (the default) or
vertically. The panel no longer has a title or drag bar making it neater.
The panel will open by default at the top left of the screen below the
title bar. It can be moved to any desired position using CTRL AMIGA as
qualifiers to the left mouse button.
The Control Panel position is automatically snapshot on exiting The Digital
Universe. The menu item Project -> Control Panel now toggles the open/closed
status of the panel.
Lunar Features. If the option is enabled to display planet names, then
features on the lunar surface are also labelled. The number of features
labelled, starting with none at all, progressively increases as the user
zooms in to the moon.
When drawing DSOs, DU now uses the objects minimum size and position angle
(if available) to draw elipses for the NGC objects instead of drawing just
The Information Window will now display both maximum and minimum sizes when
Printout is no longer just black and white but use a greyscale shading.
Printed text is improved with differing fonts for constellations, planets
etc. The milky way is now included in the printout. The modelled location is
now printed in addition to the local time.
If planetary features and also phases are enabled (default) the planetary
shading is much more realistic. The phase is no longer on/off marked by a
sharp terminator but accurate shading depending on the position of the sun
It is possible to disable the drawing of the milky way if desired.
Input handling. A small delay has been added before moving the mouse will
commence a zoom drag box or angle measurement. This prevents occurence of
accidental zooms into the field of view. Another longer delay is now used
when zooming or angle measuring that will allow the operation to be aborted
if the mouse is held still for 1.5 seconds. During dragging operations,
information is now shown at the left hand area of the Status Line.
Time Window. Date and time are now separate gadgets. There are additional
pop up gadgets that allow the time to be entered from a list in 15 minute
increments, or the date to be entered from a pop up calendar.
Misc Object Settings.
It is now possible to display the orbital parameters for objects in the
"Selected Objects" list, previously you had to find the object in one
of the many source files and click its entry in the left hand list. The
windows for "Selected Objects" are read only and do not allow editing of
It is now possible to open multiple Misc Object Edit or Read windows.
If data in one of the source files is changed, and the object is also
one of the "Selected Objects" the data applying to the selected object
is automatically updated.
It is also possible to open one source file and open an Edit window,
then open another source file but still be able to edit the orbital
data for the object from the original source file.
Display Settings. Added an option to hide stars, and deep sky objects
that are below the horizon. Grid lines, constellation names and planets
are still shown.
Digital Universe can now use 32 bit pointers. If you wish to use the
old planar pointers then delete or preferably just rename the Pointers
drawer within the Digital Universe directory.
DigitalUniverse now uses a DOUBLE CLICK before showing any object
information. A single click is ignored, thus preventing accidental
opening of Object Information windows when not intended..
NOTE: SHIFT and DOUBLE CLICK both centres the object and also
displays its information.
Custom Menu GUI option. (Disabled by default)
If the CUSTOMMENU tooltype is enabled or du started with the same
CLI parameter, the default "Like Workbench" settings can be modified
to look better on the Digital Universe screen, especially if using
the Night Vision palette. A heavily themed Workbench using images
for the Screen Titlebar cannot be modified, but if using plain
colours or simple gradients the menu system can be much improved
in fitting the general DU environment.
The setting defaults to OFF so your usual Workbench settings will
be used unless the tooltype is enabled.
Custom Logo GUI Option. (Enabled by default)
The Digital Universe will by default use its own custom screen bar
logo. There are two sizes available and one will be used which is
most appropriate for the users default Workbench GUI settings.
The logo may not fit well with all GUI themes that users may have
installed so the tooltype and CLI argument NOLOGO can be used to
revert to the one in their default "Theme".
Multi Object Window. If double clicking over several possible objects
a list is displayed for the user to choose which they want to view
the information for. This window cannot now be snapshot but opens
just to the left and below the object, similar to a Pop Up Menu.
If the user needs to move the window this can be done using the
CTRL AMIGA Left Mouse Button combination.
Finding objects enhancement.
After finding an object a small help bubble will appear at the position
of the found object showing its name, this bubble will disappear after
a short time. The name is derived from your FIND parameters so may not
necessarily be the one that would be displayed. For example searching
for M31 will display the name Messier 31 and not Andromeda Galaxy.
With the exception of extended objects such as constellations and large
clusters as the Pleiades and Hyades, the mouse cursor will show as a
Telrad type pointer. Moving the mouse will revert to the normal pointer.
When the pointer is in this "found" state, one click of the left mouse
button will display information for the particular object. The Multi
Object Window does not appear with a list of available objects as
the user will only be concerned with the object found. The telrad
pointer will time out after a while and then the normal double click
is used for information and if there are several objects the Multi Object
Window will be shown.
Databases and Helpfiles for version 1.7
ngc2000.dat replaces ngc.dat - see bug 2 and bug 15 above.
New arexx.guide file specifically covers the Arexx interface.
New file flares.dat for drawing star shapes.
More planetary feature maps in several different resolutions.
Replacing of many old low quality deep sky images with more up to
date and higher resolution images.
Several Arexx example scripts are provided in the Rexx folder.
Display setting presets can be loaded from the Presets folder. These
can only be used from within Arexx scripts.
milkyway.data replaces older file mw.data
Config files are now 180 bytes instead of 172. This allows the milkyway
setting, objects below horizon hidden and brightness settings to be saved.
DU will still read older v1.6 config files. If an older file is used, DU w
ill assume default settings of milkyway enabled and brightness level of 0
and objects below the hoizon are visible..
duintro.mp3 renamed as duintro. Any datatype supported sound file can
be used, a users custom tune may not necessarily be an mp3.
DU uses a new format for storing its selected Misc Objects (this is now
in fact the same as that used by the source Misc Object data files).
To avoid using an old file by mistake the file is now renamed to
du.miscobjs instead of du.miscobj
Renamed orbit files with numbers with leading zero to aid sorting in
Directory Opus etc. Resized the NASA satellite files.
Renamed comets_current.uof to comets_c2000.uof as they are no
Updated the 20 brightest asteroid orbital elements in the orbit file
asteroids_numbered01.uof. If you have any of these in an updated
OLD miscobjects file then copy the new data accross. If using the
default file, the information is upto date already.
Added new orbit file, satellites_100_brightest.uof
This file repeats some of the objects in the older files, but use the
data in this new file in preference to any for the same object
elsewhere. The elements in this file are upto date for 2012.
Note: This file can be updated online using the supplied Arexx script !
DULogo.jpeg is now DULogo without a file extension and is an fact a PNG.
Any datatype image can now be used so the logo is not limited to one
particular image type.
New file in orbits directory called "satmags", this is used in conjuction
with an updated "tle2uof" file to incorporate magnitude data when updating
satellite orbital parameters.
Current Known Bugs
Only one known at the current time.
So report any you find !
Bugs not reported tend not to get fixed.
Only applies if the CUSTOM MENU option is enabled. (Status Minor)
If the user has set a Simple Gradient for their Screen Title Bar, *AND*
the gradient angle is set to 180 degrees (which is actually a good setting)
then the modified gradient customised for The Digital Universe screen
does not use the required pens. This can easily be worked around by using
a gradient of 179 degrees or 181 degrees in your GUI Prefs, the results
are indistinguishable from 180 degrees and the DU custom bar works as it
Under the Bonnet Stuff
A lot of work has been done on the Digital Universe code that will not be
readily seen by the end user. The code has been tightened, optimised and
will hopefully be much easier to maintain for future development.