Redshift 3

Piranha Interactive Publishing, Inc.
(602) 491-0500
www.piranhainteractive.com
$49.95 SRP

Several years ago, I received an exceptionally powerful astronomy program to review in this journal. Unfortunately, it was very high priced, ran incredibly slowly on my computer, and was so difficult to use that I couldn't recommend it to my readers. Now that has all changed. RedShift 3 is a remarkably versatile astronomy program that is both inexpensive enough and easy enough to learn to appeal to most astrologers.

You might ask, "Why would an astrologer even want an astronomy program?" The answer is simple. The origin of astrology was observation, and unfortunately too many of us now live in cities where viewing planetary and stellar phenomena in the night sky is difficult or impossible. By using an astronomy program like RedShift to experience upcoming astronomical phenomena, we are participating in the very roots of our craft.

And RedShift can alert us to stellar events that probably have important meanings (and in the forgotten past have actually been interpreted by astrologers). The Sky Diary feature shows us what phenomena are occurring during the present month, including what stars the Moon conjuncts (how closely and when), planetary conjunctions in declination, meteor showers, when the superior and inferior conjunctions and greatest elongations of the inner planets occur, planetary oppositions, lunar phases and eclipses, and more. For each event, the program shows us a diagram explaining what is occurring, as well as listing important details. Switching to another month is simple, and you can print out any of the results or immediately view the sky for the time of the event.

RedShift is first and foremost a planetarium program for your PC or Mac. You can view any portion of the sky from the surface of any planet, or watch a planet as it moves in space, or venture freely into outer space and explore. The accuracy is excellent for a period from 1141 BC to 3002 AD, using the latest JPL algorithms, and can actually go from 4,700 BC to 9999 AD. The flexibility of the program is unparalleled and impossible to fully delineate in this review. It can display constellations -- complete with boundaries, names, images, and star patterns, more than 7000 asteroids, planetary moons, comets, galaxies & star clusters, and more than a million stars! You can "filter" for brightness, find and show specific objects, eclipses, and conjunctions, turn off displaying any category of objects, and view detailed screens of information on any object.

RedShift shows a dynamic sky, where you can easily and precisely control the speed with which time unfolds, zoom in on objects, change your reference point instantly, lock on to any object, change the date and time, return to the present date and location, and even go backwards in time. I watched eclipses unfold, a breathtaking view of the asteroid belt turning, Saturn's rings changing their orientation towards the Earth, and a phenomenal planetary conjunction on May 17, 2000.

The software comes complete with an extensive astronomical dictionary, as well as many built-in movies and animations (complete with narration), such as ones that depict the birth of the solar system, tours of Mars and Saturn, a ride on a comet towards the Sun, and many more. You can even record a "movie" of any astronomical event. Imagine showing your class a home-made movie of Mercury's retrogradation, or a specific Solar or Lunar eclipse.

Finally, RedShift has a large photo gallery of planets, moons, nebulae, galaxies, etc. and built-in Internet links for accessing new information and updates. Its 3D graphics of the planets and the Moon are stunning, and it is so fast that you never have to wait for the program to catch up with your request.

Astrologers and astronomers alike now have in RedShift a truly great planetarium program that you can use to explore and study the sky for hours and hours with great delight.




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