Badge Resources - Astronomer - Starry Night Review


Starry Night™ Complete Space & Astronomy Pack Deluxe Edition is an excellent piece of software that will enable you to take Scouts through their Astronomer badge with ease


Starry Night Complete Space & Astronomy Pack is very competitively priced (available from Amazon for £27.


Starry Night was very painless and easy to install. The installer takes you through it all with ease and ensures that the relavent versions of Quicktime and Adobe Reader are installed.

Registration as well was very quick and required next to no personal details to complete... no endless typing of details and answering questions like what colour is your wallpaper here.

Once installed the program calls home to check for the latest updates. These are found and downloaded within a very short space of time.

The printed Quick Start Guide included in the box is very useful and simple

Starry Night


Starry Night™ Complete Space & Astronomy Pack Deluxe Edition is an excellent piece of software that will enable you to take Scouts through their Astronomer badge with ease

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On first loading the program I opted to use the guided tour. This is an excellent feature that all complex software should have and it takes you on a whistle stop tour of the main features of the program. These include:

  • moving maps and general navigation
  • details of objects
  • planets along the ecliptic
  • zoom in on a planet
  • watch a comet
  • track the path of an asteroid
  • zoom in on deep space objects
  • prepare for celestial events
  • share the view (export and print options)
  • travel back in time (stonehenge)
  • forward in time (solar eclipse)
  • International Space Station
  • Moon and Apollo objects
  • Rovers on Mars
  • Planets - solar system view
  • Observe planets from the moons
  • Ride a comet
  • Go to Alpha Centauri
  • Milky Way view
  • Local galactic neighbourhood
  • 28000 galaxies in 3D

From the galactic view I actually travelled back to London (setting your location is easy and included in the setup routine) by selecting the scenic route back. Watching it fly through would help to give young people an appreciation of the huge scales involved in Astronomy.

Also available are:

  • Weekly sky events
  • The sky this week (by days)
  • Daily headline news (from – loads web page

Starry Night Basics offers you a good overview how to use controls etc

Other options include:

  • Upgrade
  • link to
  • link to Orion telescopes and binoculars
  • link to

There are also:

  • Discussion list
  • Tech support online help
  • Program updates

Main View

Within the main view of the program itself you can get a view of the sky with a false (but pretty) horizon. You can move this map easily (for instance drag and move iwth the mouse). There is a compass and a field of view area in the top right to help you with your bearings.

Pressing K will fade in and out the constellation stick figures with labels which can be very instructive to those not used to the night sky. Right clicking will show an image of the constellation (e.g. Orion the Hunter) superimposed on the constellation, which will help kids to appreciate why they are so named.

Hovering over any object with the mouse will bring up info like name, object, RA/DEC, distance, apparent magnitude.

There are lots of useful options to play with too. A labels button shows all the interesting stuff currently viewable on the screen. The constellation button speaks for itself. Identify foremost constellation will show you the nearest one to the centre and select it. You can toggle the constellation illustrations and the positioning grid.

Printing star charts is easy, including being able to print negative images (black stars on a white background) which is very useful. You can even export the view as an image. You can even view a whole screens worth by toggling the menus off.


he status area on the left will bring up lots of useful information when an object is selected in the main view:

  • General – looking, field of view, limiting mag
  • Time – UT, Local
  • Location – loc, lat, long
  • Info: For example: Geimin Info, name, extended info –, more options, rises, transit, sets, object type, (clickable)
  • Description: For example: Position in sky – azimuth, altitude, hour angle, ra, dec for jnow and j2000 (real time tracking)

For the moon – position in sky and position in space (distance from observer, sun.. heliocentric x, y and z)

  • Other data,… age, radius, apparent mag, orbit size, angular size, disk ill, planet oblateness, mass, max mag from, length of sidereal and solar day.

Using the scroll wheel in the main view quickly enables you to zooms in and out.

The clock at the top has options (now sunrise, sunset) and is configurable and changeable. You can also adjust the time flow rate ( 1x, 30, 300, 3000, 30000.. player like music player, sec, mins,hours, sid days, days, lunar months , years)

Viewing location can be changed with ease too and there are shortcuts such as Home, spaceship. Gaze… alt/az… NSEW buttons allow you to navigate the screen too.

There are other tweaks too like being able to Hide daylight.

Program options include Open GL options (used for some fancy views) and Update time length options.

Companion Book

The box includeds a printed companion book (which is also available electronically on the cd). This is a very well written book that forms an excellent introduction to the subject and would prove very useful for those who want to use the software to take their Scouts through this material but perhaps are not Astronomy experts themselves.

Starry Night Theatre

The box includes a second DVD, Starry Night Theatre.

Upon loading you are presented with a graphical menu containing several videos.


This is an overview of all the material on the DVD

Earth zone (3 videos)

Earths moon contains some interesting info. Tug of the Moon includes features on craters, ice, farside, lunar cilization, making the Moon. There are shortcuts on the menu which jump to relavent point in the video. These are very well done and have a nice mix of video, pictures and animations. There is also some atmospheric background music. It lasts for about 13 minutes. The only qualms I have is the Americanized voice over and the background music sometimes intruding.

Other videos include:

  • Finding spacecraft
  • Meteorites
  • Planet zone (4 videos)
  • Eyes on mars trailer
  • Skyvoyager preview

Also links to :

  • Night sky
  • Starrynight software try it now

Live Sky

The program has several links to Live Sky, which is its online presence.


Starry Night Complete Space & Astronomy Pack represents outstanding value for money and I can recommend it to anyone with an interest in Astronomy. As a package to educate young people and train them up for their Astronomer Badge it will prove very useful as it is easy to use but contains a wealth of information and has extended sources such as the Starry Night Theatre videos and links to its online presence and other sources of further information.

A very good package for £27.