The Gaze


    The gaze display in the status bar shows the direction you’re looking.

    Astronomers use a couple different coordinate location systems for identifying where objects are in the sky. These coordinate systems are similar to the longitude and latitude that are used to locate objects on the Earth. By default Starry Night Pro opens with a Gaze that is using the "local Alt / Az" - Altitude & Azimuth coordinate system.

    When you open Starry Night the Field Of View (FOV) - how much sky you can see - is 100 degrees by default. You can change the FOV using the Zoom +/-. The FOV has a center point. The center of the FOV will have a location in the sky that can be identified using the local Alt / Az coordinate system. So, whatever Alt/ Az coordinates you see in the Gaze, when the program opens, is the center of your current FOV.

    An object, such as the Earth's Moon, has a local Alt / Az (which is dependent on your location and time). If you point your cursor at the moon, information about the Moon will be revealed - including its current local Alt / Az (based on your location and time).

    If you right click on the Moon and choose "center", the Moon will be centered in your current FOV. At this point the Gaze Alt / Az will match the Moon Alt/ Az.

    So, the Gaze is basically a way of seeing where your Starry Night program is presently centered (and also for seeing where your telescope if pointing). For example, you were using Starry Night synchronized with a telescope, and you discovered something in the night sky using the telescope, and you wanted to know exactly where your discovered object was located in the sky using a coordinate system, to make a note for yourself, and/or to share with other astronomers, you could look at the Gaze and record the local Alt / Az.

    Altitude (Alt) measures the angle above the horizon in degrees. An altitude of zero degree means you’re looking straight ahead; 90 degrees means you’re looking straight up.

    Azimuth (Az) indicates the direction you’re facing: zero degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south, and 270 degrees is west. You can also use the compass points marked along the horizon to determine your viewing direction.

    To change your view, you can also click the compass-direction buttons below the gaze display in the status bar.