TMA SoftStar News May 2010
by Hank Friedman
Welcome to the first issue of my new ongoing column about astrology software, including new programs & updates, bug reports, and more.
Time Zone issues in Astrology Software
Astrologers need the correct time zone and time changes (e.g. Daylight Savings) for each birth place in order to calculate charts accurately. We rely on astrology software, and their built-in time-change atlases, for this. However, many astrologers don't update their software, and are using out-of-date, inaccurate time zones for some of their charts.
There haven't been many time change developments for those born in the U.S. lately, but internationally, the situation is much more fluid. Unfortunately, some of the new international time zone changes have not been incorporated in even the current software atlases.
Specifically, since December 9, 2007, Venezuela has had a time zone of + 4:30 (i.e. 4 1/2 hours West of Greenwich). But most astrology programs miscalculate birth charts from that date onward, because they use the old +4:00 time zone.
As of May 2010, the ACS atlas -- used by most programs -- had not been updated, so I contacted Astrolabe, and found out that they are redesigning the ACS atlas. When the project is completed, this error will be fixed. Only just recently, Sirius 1.1 and Kepler were updated to include this correction.
To test your software for the new time zone, create a chart for January 1, 2010 for 12:00 pm for Caracas, Venezuela and see if the time zone is listed as 4:30 (or incorrectly at 4:00); the Ascendant should be 13 degrees 55 minutes of Aries.
For more atlas tests, use my online article "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software" at /optimal.htm. You can also go online to http://www.timeanddate.com/ to find the correct time zone for any date and location.
AstroDatabank was sold to Alois Treindl, who has created a website http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Main_Page making all of the data from the program available to everyone. The website is updated frequently, adding new charts and biographical data, and correcting errors.
The AstroDatabank program, which had many unique research features, is unfortunately no longer available. (In fact, if you happen to own the program, I encourage you to make a backup copy of your CD, in case your original CD becomes unuseable.)
If you own the AstroDatabank software, know that the web update feature still works. I suggest that you run the program once a month, to retrieve the new charts and corrections.
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