TMA SoftStar News January 2011

by Hank Friedman

Welcome to the first freeware issue of SoftStar News, focusing on great free programs.

Alcyone Software

If you go to you will find several free astronomy programs that are valuable for astrologers. The Alcyone Ephemeris 4.1 is a very powerful astronomical ephemeris that can generate accurate tables of planet and minor body positions for a 6000 year range, using Helio, Geo, or Topocentric coordinates, generate star charts, and much more.

The Alcyone Solar Eclipse Calculator is particularly valuable to astrologers because so many astrological programs don't depict total eclipse paths accurately (see my article examining this issue at: You can view eclipses for a 5,000 year period as well as a superb table showing time of first contact, maximum eclipse, last contact, duration, magnitude, etc. for a large number of cities. Eclipse maps can be printed, as well as exported as graphics.

The Alcyone Astronomical Tables provide astrologers with information about planetary phenomena such as conjunctions with the Sun, planetary conjunctions, oppositions, stations, greatest elongations, lunar phases, passages of aphelia and perihelia, etc., and the data is exportable to spreadsheets, html, and other formats.

For those interested in Fixed Stars, their Bright Star Catalogue (of 9,110 stars) is packed with information, searchable, and based upon the most reliable astronomical references.

Finally, the Alcyone Planetary, Lunar, and Stellar Visibility program depicts when a planet, a star, the Moon or the Sun is visible, as well as gives tables of visibility phenomena.

Free Demo versions of Astrology Programs

It makes sense, with astrology software, to "try before you buy" because you may or may not like the charts, interpretations, ease of use, or other features of a specific program. I've assembled links to free demo versions of all of the major astrology programs at:

Lunabar Revisited

Many years ago, I discovered the Windows program Lunabar, which is full of useful facts about the Moon and places two icons in your system tray (at the bottom right of your computer screen). The first icon shows the phase of the Moon, and the second icon shows the current Moon sign (and indicates when the Moon is void-of-course).

Unfortunately, both developers of Lunabar stopped offering this lovely free program, but just recently, I discovered that two astrologers have once again decided to provide the program and necessary tables.

You can download the Lunabar program and add-ons at: and get the necessary void-of-course Moon tables at

[Important note: after downloading the void of course Moon tables, you will need to rename the Traditional table Void of Course.Trad and the Modern table Void of Course.Luna.]

Being able to always see the Moon sign and phase is really great, and the program also has a daily Moon almanac, list of Moon phases for two months at a time, the Lunar Mansion, information on cycles, and more.

© 2011 Hank Friedman - all rights reserved