The Options panel lets you modify StarDome's appearance and the information it displays. The four dropdowns, in order from the top, control the view, color, items displayed, and object names displayed. View.
StarDome initially starts with the Full Sky - Flat view. An alternative view that more closely matches Astronomy
magazine's center star map is Full Sky - Dome. However, the Flat version makes it easier to find objects near the horizon.
Additional views show 45°, 90°, and 120° swaths along the horizon; horizon to zenith; a 100°-region around the zenith; and 4°-, 8°-, and 16°-wide regions centered on the Sun and Moon. These close-up views are useful for viewing eclipses and occultations.
When displaying small fields of view around the Sun and Moon, additional options appear at the top of the map. These allow you to rotate the view so it's either parallel to the ecliptic (the plane of Earth's orbit) or parallel to the horizon.Sky color.
StarDome initially starts with a Multicolor sky background, with a glow centered on the Sun and twilight colors that fade to black. This will slow down animations, however, so you may prefer a static blue or black sky background. Display.
These options let you toggle on or off constellation stick figures, the celestial equator, the ecliptic, and selected asteroids and comets. The asteroids 1 Ceres and 4 Vesta and Halley's Comet (1P/Halley) will always be available for display. As events warrant, Astronomy
editors may include additional objects. (StarDome Plus offers a greater number of asteroids and comets.)Show Names.
This option lets you control what constellation, star, planet, asteroid, and deep-sky object names appear in StarDome.
StarDome will remember your most recent selections when you return. Mark One Specific Object.
You can obtain information about a single object even if it isn't displayed. Here's how:
- Click on the Show Names menu.
- Select Mark One Specific Object.
- Choose the object you're interested in finding from the pop-up list.
- Make sure your cursor is off the sky display.
The object's information appears in the marquee, but the text will be colored orange (instead of its usual green) to indicate the object is off-screen.Tech talk
StarDome is a small program — called an applet — written in the Java language from Sun Microsystems. When you visit Astronomy.com, your web browser downloads the applet and executes it. For StarDome to function, you'll need the Java Runtime Environment version 1.3 or higher, and you'll need to set your web browser to enable Java content.