Sienna Software has released Starry Night Backyard, a program for the aspiring astronomer in all of us. Starry Night Backyard allows users to easily identify and gather information about stars and planets. According to Sienna Software:
Starry Night Backyard makes astronomy easy for the whole family. With it you can learn how to identify planets, stars and constellations, print detailed stars charts, watch the phases of the moon, or catch a ride on the new International Space Station. You can even see what the sky looked like on your birthday.
What sets Starry Night Backyard apart from other astronomy programs is its true to life representations of the sky, and its fast performance. Start the program during the day and the sky is blue. Set the program to fast forward and watch the shadows of the trees lengthen on the horizon at sunset. As the sky darkens, the brightest stars appear first followed by the fainter ones. In case you live in a city with a lot of light pollution, you can even set the program to show fewer stars to show only the ones you can see from your backyard.
Click on any star, planet or other object, and learn its name, how far away it is, and more. Ask the program to find your favorite constellation. The auto identify constellation feature makes it easy. You can magnify the screen image to see the rings of Saturn or the red spot of Jupiter. You can also press the elevation controls and blast off into space and fly up to 20,000 light years away.
Starry Night Backyard also connects to the Internet like no other program, linking you to the latest astronomy information and news. Select the "What's Up Tonight?" feature and have the experts show you what to look for so you won't miss a thing.