Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Astronomy Hobbyists or Students Get an Intimate Glimpse of the Sky

(MS) -- It used to be that the only way astronomy enthusiasts could experience the skies, stars and solar systems was to point a trained eye upwards. High-powered telescopes changed the way the heavens were studied, and now low-cost software is changing it even more.

Did you know that the sun is 4.5 billion years old and produces 383 billion trillion kilowatts of energy? Or that Venus is the only planet that rotates from east to west, and a year on this planet is equal to 225 days on Earth?

Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects like stars, comets, planets and galaxies. The word is derived from Greek words astron and nomos, which mean "star" and "law." In fact, the ancient Greeks were some of the first people to look skyward and ponder about the stars.

Astronomy is an interesting science filled with many fun and thought-provoking facts, whether you are a hobbyist or a student who is looking for more information on celestial objects. To make the research and education process even more hands-on, Redshift(TM) announced its astronomy software Redshift 7 and the new portal Redshift live are available at www.redshift-live.com. During 2009 -- the International Year of Astronomy -- the Redshift software and plug-ins are offered at affordable prices, as well the launcher for free. Whether you have a MAC or a PC, the free launcher and the plug-ins at redshift-live.com are a great way to start sampling the best available astronomy content on the web at little or no cost.

The software package allows astronomy fans from around the world the opportunity to share and enhance their passion for the sky. The user-friendly program includes new articles about astronomy and space flight, the latest observation tips, exclusive guided tours and an active community of other star gazers. Redshift has a wide variety of multimedia content and covers space missions, the solar system and constellations.

"The software allows everyone from beginners to experts and parents to professionals to experience the galaxy while learning and having fun at the same time," says Raphael Steinbach, product manager at USM, the company that publishes the Redshift software. "The advanced tracking and visualization tools enable the user to chart thousands of asteroids, comets and even meteor showers."

Some interactive and entertaining features include:

* deep sky photography based on the latest discoveries and star catalogs with the ability to chart asteroids and comets;

* online community that provides added value in the form of tours and information sharing;

* access to the online Google map to view anywhere on the planet in more detail;

* special "3D-flight" mode to study celestial bodies from a close distance with the option to use a joystick to control the 3D-flight;

* option to travel back in time and learn what happened in the sky on the user's important dates, such as a birthday or anniversary.

Students may find the software is instrumental to illustrating what they have learned in the classroom. Astronomy enthusiasts can get together and share what they have learned and discovered. Even individuals new to astronomy can be wowed by the mysteries and discoveries waiting to be explored millions of light years away.

For more information, visit www.redshift-live.com.

CAPTION: Software enables individuals to get up close to celestial bodies, and share their passion for astronomy.

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