SoftStar News

June 2000

More on Solar Fire 5
by Graham Dawson And Stephanie Johnson

Note: Astrolabe is now processing orders for Solar Fire 5. I am offering my readers a special price of $295 including free U.S. Express shipping (you'll get it two weeks sooner). To get the software as soon as possible email me c.

Note: this is a portion (about 1/3) of the upcoming review I wrote for the September 2000 issue of American Astrology magazine. Please purchase the magazine when it comes out to see the full article.

The newest version, 5, adds major enhancements to Solar Fire. The program has been recompiled for 32 bits (and so requires Windows 95, 98, or NT), which makes all of its calculations and searches much faster. You can label files with long file names, and it's even more stable. Solar Fire 5 now uses the Swiss Ephemeris planetary algorithms from AstroDienst for its calculations, providing 10,000 years of the highest accuracy available today. The software also helps you to get instant updates to Solar Fire via the Internet, and you can email charts and chart data effortlessly to anyone in the world.

The program now comes bundled with the full ACS PC Atlas, the stand alone version that can be used with most other astrology programs, and includes longitudes, latitudes, time zones, and time changes for 252,000 places world wide. You'll never have to look them up again.

The interactivity of the program is better than ever with the new animated chart feature. You can view any single chart, or bi , tri , or quad wheel or even chart page, and watch the chart(s) and aspect lines (and aspect grids and other graphs and tables) change as the planets move forward or backwards in time. Imagine, for example, that you want to watch the outer planets transit your birth chart for the next few years. You can specify the planets and points you want to watch, the increments at which time moves (e.g., a day per step, seven weeks per step, a year per step, etc.), and control the rate of movement, or even manually move forward one step at a time. As you start the animation, you'll see the planets move around the chart and the aspect lines form and disappear. You can watch Secondary, Minor, Tertiary, and user defined progressions; Solar, Ascendant, Vertex and User Arc directions, Annual Profections, and Transits. You can also observe the sky unfold in real time. This is an excellently implemented module.

Solar Fire 5 adds basic astro mapping, making Solar Fire a truly complete program. You can view and print maps for Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Middle East, South America, the UK, the U.S. and the world, with locality map and/or Local Space lines drawn in for the planets, and optionally for points such as asteroids.

I was particularly surprised and amazed at the depth of the included new Synastry Interpretations Report by Stephanie Johnson. This report interprets the compatibility of any two people, with the insightfulness and extensiveness one might expect from a professional level compatibility report.

My favorite new feature is called the Astrologer's Assistant. This tool essentially automates your work. Let's say that for one group of clients, you always want to print out a birth chart, progressed chart, Solar Return, and transit graph. You simply enter the Astrologer's Assistant, record this series of jobs once (by choosing them one by one), and push the Save button. From then on, you can run the same series at the push of a button. When you want to record a second sequence, you just follow the same steps and save them under a different name. What an incredible time and effort saver! You can even select one set of jobs to be run every time you enter Solar Fire, if you'd like (e.g., display your transits for the month).

The extra ring points feature allows you to display a chart with an extra ring around it, and place in that ring Arabian Parts, Fixed Stars, TransNeptunians and other hypothetical points, midpoints, the lunar phases or eclipses prior to birth, planetary nodes, major or minor asteroids, and fixed zodiacal points. You can completely control what points are displayed in the extra ring, so that whatever points you find meaningful can be accessed easily for any chart you calculate.

Solar Fire 5 is a masterpiece. Its awesome power is balanced by exceptional usability so that both novice astrologers and advanced professionals will be equally overjoyed to own it. Never has an astrology program been this impressive, and this easy to use.

Neat Stuff: Great Planetary Photographs

One of my friends just introduced me to another website that offers great photos of the planets. The Malin Space Science Systems site has literally over 25,000 photos of sections of Mars, including a beautiful picture of a frost-covered crater, as well as photos of the Earth and the Moon.

In the process of exploring the site, I discovered links to an incredible planetary image collection from NASA, I hope that you enjoy these wonderful images.

Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

Almost every major astrology program now comes with a full electronic atlas for the U.S. and the World. Those that are bundled with, or incorporate, the latest version 2 of the ACS PC Atlas (e.g. Solar Fire 5) or equally up-to-date data (e.g. Kepler) are fully trustworthy. They offer the highest quality time zone information available anywhere.

Other programs, however, have their own internal atlases, which may have not been updated in years, or may have errors for other reasons. If you have one of these programs, go to my article on The Optimal Use of Astrology Software and test your software with the atlas tests included in the article.

Discounts on Software

When you purchase astrology software through me, you will get:

1. My free expert guidance in choosing the right program.

2. The best pricing distributors are allowed to offer.

3. Free U.S. shipping, unless prohibited by the manufacturer, and for some programs, free Priority shipping Worldwide.

4. Additional benefits. E.g. I offer a very inexpensive excellent transit report for purchasers of Kepler & Sirius, over 60 free beautiful extra artistic wheels for Solar Fire Gold, etc.

5. You are supporting my website, allowing me to continue posting astrology tutorials, software reviews, and much more.

6. Your software is fully registered to you and shipped to you directly from the manufacturer, with their full customer support as well as mine.

To go to my secure astrology software order form, click here.

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