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** VERSION 6.00 **
Release notes for Astrolog version 6.00 (December 2015):
Happy Winter Solstice everyone! This file describes the freeware astrology software program Astrolog version 6.00 and the additions and fixes made to it, over the previous version 5.40 which was released back in December 1998. The main things in this update are the more accurate Swiss Ephemeris, features supporting esoteric astrology, and a good number of bug fixes.
Here are new additions to version 6.00 that weren't in previous versions:
1. Swiss Ephemeris: Astrolog 6.00 now uses the Swiss Ephemeris, which is more accurate and covers more years than the Placalc ephemeris it used before. The Swiss Ephemeris is a compressed version of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) DE431 ephemeris, and reproduces it with 0.001 arc seconds precision. The Uranian objects in Astrolog are computed using the Swiss Ephemeris too, and are much more accurate than the Matrix routines used before. Their zodiac positions may vary up to 10 arc minutes from before, and their latitudes (which were always fixed at 0 before) may vary by up to 59 arc minutes.
Ephemeris files: The ephemeris files used by the Swiss Ephemeris cover 10800 years. Three different files cover each date range, which are named “se*.se1”, in which “se” stands for “Swiss Ephemeris”. The files “sepl*.se1” cover the planets (“pl” stands for planets), the files “semo*.se1” cover the Moon (“mo” stands for Moon), and the files “seas*.se1” cover the asteroids and Chiron (“as” stands for asteroids). The last three digits in an ephemeris filename indicate the date range covered, which consists of six centuries starting with the number indicated, in which “_” means a positive year, and “m” means minus or negative years BC. Note since there is no year 0 (1 BC is followed by 1 AD) negative ephemeris file ranges are offset by 1 year. The three files “se*_18.se1” cover the years 1800 through 2400 AD, which is good for most modern purposes and take up 2012K of space. These three files are included in the standard setup of Astrolog. For users who want to cover more years, the complete set of files is available online. The following is a list of the years covered by each ephemeris file:
Files seplm54.se1 / semom54.se1 / seasm54.se1 cover -5401 BC - -4801 BC.
Files seplm48.se1 / semom48.se1 / seasm48.se1 cover -4801 BC - -4201 BC.
Files seplm42.se1 / semom42.se1 / seasm42.se1 cover -4201 BC - -3601 BC.
Files seplm36.se1 / semom36.se1 / seasm36.se1 cover -3601 BC - -3001 BC.
Files seplm30.se1 / semom30.se1 / seasm30.se1 cover -3001 BC - -2401 BC.
Files seplm24.se1 / semom24.se1 / seasm24.se1 cover -2401 BC - -1801 BC.
Files seplm18.se1 / semom18.se1 / seasm18.se1 cover -1801 BC - -1201 BC.
Files seplm12.se1 / semom12.se1 / seasm12.se1 cover -1201 BC - -601 BC.
Files seplm06.se1 / semom06.se1 / seasm06.se1 cover -601 BC - -1 BC.
Files sepl_00.se1 / semo_00.se1 / seas_00.se1 cover -1 BC - 600 AD.
Files sepl_06.se1 / semo_06.se1 / seas_06.se1 cover 600 AD - 1200 AD.
Files sepl_12.se1 / semo_12.se1 / seas_12.se1 cover 1200 AD - 1800 AD.
Files sepl_18.se1 / semo_18.se1 / seas_18.se1 cover 1800 AD - 2400 AD. *
Files sepl_24.se1 / semo_24.se1 / seas_24.se1 cover 2400 AD - 3000 AD.
Files sepl_30.se1 / semo_30.se1 / seas_30.se1 cover 3000 AD - 3600 AD.
Files sepl_36.se1 / semo_36.se1 / seas_36.se1 cover 3600 AD - 4200 AD.
Files sepl_42.se1 / semo_42.se1 / seas_42.se1 cover 4200 AD - 4800 AD.
Files sepl_48.se1 / semo_48.se1 / seas_48.se1 cover 4800 AD - 5400 AD.
If a chart is cast for a date without the required ephemeris files, an error message will be displayed (only one error message per chart, to avoid a long string of errors when doing charts like transit searches and ephemeris tables). Then, the program will fall back to using a less accurate internal ephemeris and formulas by Steve Moshier. The Moshier ephemeris is based on the JPL DE404 ephemeris, which covers 6000 years (-3000 BC to 3000 AD), and computes planets to within 0.1 arc seconds, and the Moon within 3 arc seconds. Note that the position of Chiron is only available for 3975 years at most, from Jan 1, 675 through Dec 31, 4649, regardless of ephemeris files available. That’s because outside those dates Chiron’s orbit becomes impossible to accurately determine, due to close encounters with Saturn. Attempting to cast a chart for Chiron outside of this range with Swiss Ephemeris will display an error and place it at 0Aries.
Old ephemeris: The less accurate Placalc ephemeris that Astrolog used to use is still available with the new -bp switch. There’s little reason for the average user to ever need or want to do this. The old ephemeris routines are still available for obscure situations such as comparing accuracy of different calculation methods, testing against previous version output with known positions, or a need to run Astrolog in limited disk space environments. (The Placalc ephemeris is 4.8 megabytes total or 57K per century, while Swiss Ephemeris is 37.1 megabytes or 344K per century.)
Old formulas: When no ephemeris files are available for a given date, previous versions of Astrolog would fall back to very old formulas based on those created by Matrix Software. The new -bm switch allows those formulas to still be used. When this setting is off, the Matrix formulas will never be used no matter what, in which case the lack of ephemeris files will result in planets being at 0Aries. That may be desired behavior, to ensure only the best Swiss Ephemeris positions are ever in place. Many may prefer the error condition of no positions, to relatively inaccurate and potentially misleading positions. Again there’s little reason for the average user to ever need or want to turn this on, although some features like defining your own orbital elements (-YE switch) make use of the simple Matrix formulas.
2. Vulcan object: Astrolog now supports the position of Vulcan, a hypothetical planet located inside Mercury’s orbit. Vulcan is significant in esoteric astrology, and is computed according to the research of L.H. Weston. Vulcan is object #34 in Astrolog, and is added to the Uranians group of objects (which are also hypothetical planets). That means commands like “Include Uranians” (-u switch) will now include Vulcan along with the actual Uranians. In the Windows version, Vulcan appears in the More Object Settings dialog and the Restrictions dialogs. Computing Vulcan requires the Swiss Ephemeris routines to be active, and it will be placed at 0Aries otherwise. The orbital formula for Vulcan is defined in the file “seorbel.txt” in the Astrolog install directory, and like the larger ephemeris files that text file needs to be present in order for Vulcan to be computed. Note the insertion of Vulcan means the other Uranians and fixed stars have increased their index numbers by one.
3. South Node object: Astrolog contains a new object position for the South Node of the Moon, which is of course always located opposite the North Node. The South Node is object #17, inserted right after the North Node. In the Windows version, the South Node appears in the Object Settings dialog and the Restrictions dialogs. Note the insertion of the South Node means other minor objects, the house cusps objects, the Uranians, and the fixed stars have increased their index numbers by one.
4. Earth object: Astrolog supports the position of Earth in the same way it does other objects. Earth is object #0, placed before all other objects so nothing has its index numbers changed. In the Windows version, the Earth appears in the Object Settings dialog and the Restrictions dialogs. This addition means that many settings and command switches in the program that take object indexes will accept numbers 0 and above, instead of only 1 and above as before. Note because Earth is its own official object, heliocentric charts will no longer automatically replace the Sun with the Earth, and so Earth needs to be unrestricted to see it. If Earth is unrestricted in a geocentric chart, it will be the heliocentric position of the Earth (i.e. directly opposite the Sun). Similar logic will be applied whenever the central object is unrestricted (with an unrestricted Sun in a heliocentric chart being the geocentric position of the Earth, i.e. opposite the Earth).
5. Esoteric chart: A chart for esoteric astrology is available with the new -7 command switch, and in the Windows version (when text mode is active) with the new “Chart / Esoteric” command. It will list planets, showing the planet’s Ray, the planet’s position and the Ray(s) of its zodiac sign, and rulership information about the planet’s zodiac position and house position. That includes whether the planet exoterically rules or is debilitated in the sign (indicated with “R” or “d” characters), whether the planet esoterically rules or is debilitated in the sign (“S” or “s” characters), whether the planet Hierarchically rules or is debilitated in the sign (“H” or “h” characters), whether the planet exalts or falls in the sign (“X” or “f” characters), and finally whether the planet Ray rules or is Ray debilitated in the sign i.e. whether the planet’s Ray is the same as one of its sign’s Rays (“Y” or “z” characters). Finally the power of each planet is listed, based on its inherent strength, positioning, and aspects, which is computed in the same way as in the -j switch influence chart.
The esoteric chart also lists the seven Rays, showing the count of planetary sign positionings that are associated with that Ray, the total power of those planets, and the rank of each Ray’s total power and the percentage covered by that Ray. This can be used to see which Rays are most influential in a chart. The same counts and powers are repeated, however this time a sign associated with multiple Rays only contributes proportional slices of power. By default, each Ray is associated with three signs, so for balanced Ray coverage that gives each Ray an equal potential for power, the first “count” values are preferred. However, some signs are associated with one Ray, while others are with two or three, which means certain signs have triple potential to contribute power, so for balanced planet coverage that gives each sign an equal potential for power, the second “slice” values are preferred.
6. Esoteric Ray graphic ephemeris: A graphical ephemeris of esoteric Ray influences is available by combining the -7 with the -X command switch, and in the Windows version by selecting the “Chart / Esoteric” command (when graphics mode is active). This chart is effectively the Ray power values in the text mode chart graphed over time. The seven Rays and their powers (and average power) are listed on the horizontal axis, and time on the vertical axis. If “Graphics / Modify Chart” is set, this chart will graph an entire year instead of just a month. If “Graphics / Modify Display” is set, it will graph the “slice” power of each Ray instead of the “count” power.
Ray column width: The new -YX7 <num> switch specifies the width in influence units of each Ray’s column in the esoteric graphic ephemeris. For example, given “-YX7 600”, then a Ray influence value of 400 will fill 2/3 of the column.
7. Ray info: Information about the seven Rays used in esoteric astrology is available with the new -H7 command switch, and in the Windows version with the new “Help / List Rays” command. Each Ray is listed, along with its name in esotericism, and the aspect of will that Ray covers. The signs associated with each Ray will be printed (by default each Ray is associated with exactly three signs), and the planets associated with each Ray. Finally is printed the “slice” value of the Ray, which is the count of signs associated with that Ray, each proportioned by the number of other Rays associated with that sign. For example, Ray 5 is associated with Leo (along with Ray 1), Sagittarius (along with Rays 4 and 6), and Aquarius (only Ray 5). Therefore Ray 5’s slice value is 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/1 = 1.83.
8. Windows wallpaper: The Windows version has three new menu commands to save the current graphics chart as the Windows desktop background. The “File / Save As Wallpaper / Stretch Bitmap” command will save the chart, stretching or shrinking both its dimensions separately to cover the background dimensions. The “File / Save As Wallpaper / Fit Bitmap” command will stretch or shrink the bitmap to just fit within the desktop while preserving proportion, so will leave space on the horizontal or vertical edges if the proportions are different from the background. The “File / Save As Wallpaper / Fill Bitmap” command will stretch or shrink the bitmap to completely fill the desktop area while preserving proportion, so will crop content on the horizontal or vertical edges of the bitmap if its proportions are different from the background. Note the “Fit” and “Fill” commands will only work on Windows 7 or later, which supports these styles of background.
9. Windows setup: Astrolog for Windows can do its own setup in many respects. The new “Help / Setup / Program Group (User)” menu command (and the new -WSg switch) will create a Windows program group for the current user containing pointers to the Astrolog executable, the main and update documentation files, and the Astrolog website. The “Help / Setup / Program Group (All)” command (-WSG switch) will create the same program group, but for all users. The “Help / Setup / Desktop Icon” command (-WSd switch) will create a Windows desktop icon to launch Astrolog. The “Help / Setup / File Extensions” command (-WSx switch) will associate Astrolog with “.as” extension files in the Windows registry. The “Help / Setup / Uninstall Extensions” command (-WSu switch) undoes the effect of the previous command, and unassociates Astrolog from “.as” extension files in the Windows registry, which is useful for uninstall. Finally, the “-setup” switch is a convenience to do the combination of “-WSg -WSd -WSx” all together. Note the last two menu commands edit the Windows registry, which is protected on Vista and newer versions of Windows, meaning the command may fail and display an error message. Hence Astrolog may need to be run as Administrator in order for the program to have permission to change the registry.
10. Windows website: The new “Help / Documentation / Open Website Mirror” menu command will open the Astrolog website mirror location at magitech.com in the default browser.
11. Windows license: The new “Help / Documentation / Open License” menu command launches the default browser and has it automatically open the Daedalus license file “license.htm”, displaying legal information on how you may use the program. Astrolog now uses the GNU General Public License (GPL). There are no major changes in the rights intended with respect to using Astrolog, however the GPL expresses this in a more clear and standard manner.
12. Esoteric Pluto glyph: An alternate glyph is supported for Pluto, an upward pointing arrow often used by esoteric astrologers. One may select the new radio button “Esoteric” in the “Pluto Glyph” section of the Obscure Settings dialog, or pass the digit 3 to the 10’s place in the -YXG command switch.
13. Object colors: Colors of planets and other objects can be set with the new -YkO command switch, which takes at least three parameters. The first two parameters are the low and high object indexes to change. The next parameters are the new colors for objects within that range. If a color is “Element” (or the number 16), that means use the element color of the sign the planet rules (which is the default color setting for the main planets and house cusps). If a color is “Ray” (or the number 17), that means use the color of the Ray associated with the planet. Note that signs will use the colors of the house cusp objects corresponding to them, e.g. the Pisces glyph and zodiac positions in Pisces will be printed in the color of the 12th house cusp object.
14. Ray colors: Colors of esoteric Rays can be set with the new -Yk7 command switch, which takes at least three parameters. The first two parameters are the low and high Ray numbers to change, ranging from 1 to 7. The next parameters are the new colors for the Rays within that range.
15. Object Rays: The Ray associated with each planet can be customized with the new -Y7O command switch. The first two parameters are the low and high object indexes to change. The next parameters are the new Rays for objects within those indexes, ranging from 1 to 7.
16. Sign Rays: The Rays associated with each zodiac sign can be customized with the new -Y7C command switch. The first two parameters are the low and high sign indexes to change. The next parameters are the set of Rays for each sign within those indexes. Since a sign may be associated with more than one Ray, each setting change may be multiple digits, for example “-Y7C Cap Cap 137” will make Capricorn associated with Rays 1, 3, and 7.
17. Esoteric rulerships: The new -YJ7 and -YJ70 switches customize esoteric and Hierarchical rulerships. They are very similar to the existing -YJ switch that customizes a standard exoteric rulership. These switches take three parameters: The planet to change the rulership of, the sign that it rules, and a second sign that it also rules if any.
18. Esoteric influences: The new -Yj7 switch defines power numbers for esoteric positionings, as used by the -7 switch esoteric charts. It takes six parameters. The first three are the power added to a planet when it’s in the sign it esoterically rules, the power when a planet’s in the sign it Hierarchically rules, and the power when a planet’s in the sign it Ray rules. The second three are the same, but are the power added to a planet when it’s in the house corresponding to the sign it esoterically, Hierarchically, or Ray rules.
19. Esoteric chart listing: The new -v7 switch is like the standard -v chart listing switch, except the text listing will indicate esoteric astrology rulerships. Normally shown is whether the planet exoterically rules or is debilitated in the sign (indicated with “R” or “d” characters), and whether the planet exalts or falls in the sign (“X” or “f” characters). With this setting, also included is whether the planet esoterically rules or is debilitated in the sign (“S” or “s” characters), whether the planet Hierarchically rules or is debilitated in the sign (“H” or “h” characters), and whether the planet Ray rules or is Ray debilitated in the sign i.e. whether the planet’s Ray is the same as one of the sign’s Rays (“Y” or “z” characters). In case of multiple alignments applying, the order of priority is to show a standard exoteric rulership or debilitation, an exaltation or fall, an esoteric rulership, a Hierarchical rulership, and finally a Ray rulership.
20. Position rounding: Previous versions of Astrolog would display zodiac positions rounded up or down to the nearest minute (or second when Print Nearest Second was active). Zodiac positions are no longer rounded up by default, so a position of 12Lib34 means the actual position is somewhere between 12Lib34:00 and 12Lib34:59. Not rounding is better when animating Astrolog, so for example the moment when 29Sag59:59 turns to 0Cap00:00 is the exact instant of the Solstice. The new -Yr switch will make it so positions are rounded as before.
21. Polar houses: When a chart is cast in a polar region within the Arctic or Antarctic Circle, the Ascendant may be more than 180 degrees after the MC, which makes it impossible to have proper house cusps (at least for systems that associate the Asc with the 1st house and the MC with the 10th). Normally Astrolog addresses this by flipping the Ascendant 180 degrees if it’s in the wrong half of the zodiac. If the new -Yp switch is set, the MC will be flipped 180 degrees instead.
22. Windows file extensions: Astrolog setup claims ownership the file extension “.as”, standing for Astrolog Switch file. The “.as” extension files appear in Windows as a gray ringed planet icon. Double clicking a “.as” file (or right clicking it and selecting “Open”) will launch Astrolog and have it automatically open that file. Right clicking a “.as” file and selecting “Edit” will open the file in the text editor Notepad.
File command line: If Astrolog is invoked with a single parameter that doesn’t look like a command switch (e.g. “astrolog file.as”) and that parameter exists as a file, then the command line will be converted to a parameter being passed to the -i switch (e.g. “astrolog -i file.as”). This is needed internally because the Windows “Open” verb is implemented by launching the program and passing it the file as a parameter.
Here's a summary of the 21 new command switches in Astrolog 6.00 that weren't in previous versions:
-H7: Display information about the seven esoteric Rays.
-v7: Like -v but include esoteric and Ray rulership placements.
-7: Display esoteric astrology and ray summary for chart.
-bp: Use less accurate Placalc files instead of Swiss Ephemeris.
-bm: Use inaccurate Matrix formulas when ephemeris unavailable.
-WSg: Setup Windows program group, for current user only.
-WSG: Setup Windows program group, for all users.
-WSd: Setup Windows desktop icon for program.
-WSx: Setup registering Windows file extensions for program.
-WSu: Unregister Windows file extensions for program.
-setup: Setup Windows program group for current user, desktop icon, and file extensions for program.
-Yr: Round positions to nearest unit instead of crop fraction.
-Yp: Fix polar houses by preserving Ascendant instead of MC.
-Yj7 <inf1> <inf2> <inf3> <inf4> <inf5> <inf6>: Set influences for in esoteric, hierarchical, Ray ruling sign, plus same for ruling house.
-YJ7 <obj> <sign> <cosign>: Set signs planet esoterically rules.
-YJ70 <obj> <sign> <cosign>: Set signs planet hierarchically rules.
-Y7O <obj1> <obj2> <ray1>..<ray2>: Customize object rays.
-Y7C <sign1> <sign2> <rays1>..<rays2>: Customize sign rays.
-YkO <obj1> <obj2> <col1>..<col2>: Customize planet colors.
-Yk7 <1..7> <1..7> <col1>..<col2>: Customize Ray colors.
-YX7 <inf>: Set influence width for graphic esoteric ephemeris.
Here's a summary of the 12 new menu commands in the Windows version of Astrolog 6.00 that weren't in previous versions:
File / Save As Wallpaper / Stretch Bitmap
File / Save As Wallpaper / Fit Bitmap
File / Save As Wallpaper / Fill Bitmap
Chart / Esoteric
Help / List Rays
Help / Documentation / Open License
Help / Documentation / Open Website Mirror
Help / Setup / Program Group (User)
Help / Setup / Program Group (All)
Help / Setup / Desktop Icon
Help / Setup / File Extensions
Help / Setup / Uninstall Extensions
A list of improvements to existing features, such as new things you can now do with old features that you couldn’t do before, or ways existing features work better than before:
1. Nearest second times: The Print Nearest Second setting as set with the -b0 switch affects many more areas in the program.
Time display: When Print Nearest Second is on, all clock times will include seconds. Exact times in the Transits In Day search list (-d switch), the Transit To Natal search list (-t switch), and the Rising and Setting Times list (-Zd switch) will all be displayed to the second, instead of just to the minute. This will also affect the time and location values in chart header text.
Time entry: Entry of times in the Enter Chart Info dialogs and command switches that take time will now parse seconds (this is true regardless of the Print Nearest Second setting). For example, “12:34:56am” translates to 12 hours, 34 minutes, and 56 seconds. Fractional seconds can be entered, e.g. “12:34:56.78” means 12 hours, 34 minutes, and 56.78 seconds. One can still enter times like “12:34pm” without a seconds qualifier, in which case 0 seconds will be used. Similarly, seconds can also be entered for longitude and latitude locations, in formats such as “122W19:59” or “122:19:59W”. When Print Nearest Second is on, times and locations in the Enter Chart Info dialog fields will also be displayed to the nearest second.
Zodiac display: When Print Nearest Second is on, the text mode aspect and midpoint grids (-g switch) will have an extra row for the zodiac arc second of the orb or midpoint position.
Azimuth display: When Print Nearest Second is on, the text mode rising and setting chart (-Zd switch) will display the rising and setting horizon azimuth point to the nearest second. Before, only zenith and nadir points could have their altitude displayed to the nearest second.
2. HTML documentation: The main documentation file for Astrolog is now HTML with text formatting, which is much more readable. Before it was plain text with 80 column lines. Similarly, the update file describing changes to the latest version (what you’re reading here) is also now HTML instead of plain text.
3. Windows clock: The Windows version of Astrolog will use Windows calls to compute the current time for “now” charts. This should ensure “now” charts are always correct, and avoid having to set the TZ environment variable, or use the -Yz switch, to prevent “now” charts from being off from the expected result by some number of hours.
4. Time zone directions: The -z switch time zone setting (and time zone fields in Windows dialogs) will accept “W” and “E” suffixes, in order to indicate whether the time zone is west or east of GMT. Time zones will be output with “W” or “E” (or neither in the case of GMT itself) in all charts and files, instead of positive or negative signs as before. One can still use positive numbers to indicate west of GMT, and negative numbers to indicate east of GMT, however the new default format makes both entry and display of time zones more consistent and understandable.
5. Daylight autodetect: The -z0 switch default Daylight Saving Time setting will accept “autodetect” (which may be abbreviated as “auto” or “a”), in order to compute whether Daylight time is on or off at the current moment. This allows charts for “now” to automatically use Daylight time when the computer’s internal clock is using it. Previously one would have to manually change this in their default settings file twice a year. Presently the “auto” value is only implemented to detect this in the Windows version.
6. Ayanamsa addition: The zodiac degree offset dropdown in the Windows “Setting / Calculation Settings” command dialog has been extended to include the Djwhal Khul system, which is -3.619166 degrees (or -3 degrees 37’ and 9”) different from the default of Fagan-Bradley. Djwhal Khul is a significant figure in esoteric astrology, so that ayanamsa is good to include with other esoteric astrology features.
7. Date Difference extension: The Date Difference chart (-rd switch) will now show fractional amounts for the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds that have passed between the two chart times. Also, the difference in location between the two charts is included. The degree differences between longitude and latitude are shown, as is the actual distance between the two spots on the globe when measured around a great circle (displayed to the degree, as well as in miles or kilometers based on whether the European date format is active).
8. Sign help extension: The List Signs table (-HC switch) has been extended to include esoteric astrology information. For each sign, listed are the Rays associated with the sign, the sign’s standard exoteric planetary rulers, the sign’s esoteric rulers, the sign’s Hierarchical rulers, the planet exalted in the sign, the exoteric detriments in the sign, and the planet that falls in the sign.
9. Object help extension: The List Objects table (-HO switch) has been extended to include esoteric astrology information. For each planet, also listed are the signs the planet esoterically rules, the signs the planet Hierarchically rules, and the Ray associated with the planet.
10. Ephemeris cusps: The text and graphics ephemeris charts (-E switch) will include house cusp and other fast moving objects that move around the zodiac in a single day, if such objects are unrestricted. In such cases, it’s important to remember that object positions in the ephemeris are only plotted once per day, so when an object such as the Ascendant changes only a degree or so between one day and the next, within the day the object did move around the entire zodiac.
11. Ephemeris format: The text mode ephemeris charts (-E switch) will now respect the 360 degrees display format (-sd switch) and hours and minutes display format (-sh switch), when Print Nearest Seconds is off.
12. Star aspect orbs: Aspects to fixed stars may now have their maximum orbs defined. The -Am and -YAm switches to specify the maximum orbs for object(s), along with the -Ad and -YAd switches to specify orb additions to object(s), will now accept the object index for the first star (i.e. #43). The values assigned to this slot will apply to all fixed stars. Before, aspects to stars were always hardcoded to two degrees, which couldn’t be changed.
13. Aspect logic improved: The “Ignore Insignificant House Cusp Aspects” setting (-YC switch) has been improved to show more aspects, when normally redundant aspects wouldn’t ever appear due to object and/or aspect restrictions. If one object has been restricted, any aspect will be allowed to an object always opposite it (e.g. if Ascendant restricted allow any aspect to the Descendant). Also if one aspect has been restricted, anything involving the supplemental aspect will be allowed (e.g. if Trine restricted allow all Sextiles).
14. Extended characters: Astrolog’s internal graphics font for text characters has been extended to include glyphs for the high-Ansi 128-255 character range. These glyphs cover the common Windows-1252 codepage, which is a superset of ISO 8859-1 (Latin 1) but with extra characters defined for the 128-159 range.
15. Animation improved: In the Windows version, the animation jump rate (as set on the “Animation / Jump Rate” submenu) can now be set independent of whether animation is on or off. That allows the Step Forward and Step Backward commands (“+” and “-“ hotkeys) to step by any rate now. The “Stop Animation” command is now called “Do Animation”, and shows a check mark when animation is on instead of off.
16. Windows icons extended: The Windows version comes with 48x48 pixel and 256 color versions of Astrolog’s ringed planet icon. Before there were only 32x32 pixel 16 color icons, which didn’t display nicely in modern versions of Windows which use 48x48 pixel icons most often.
17. Windows redraws: In the Windows version, the “View / Windows Settings / Buffer Redraws” (Tab hotkey) setting is now on by default. Also, when this setting is on, resizing the window won’t blank the screen first. Together, this makes screen updates (especially when resizing the window) look much smoother.
18. Windows DLL’s: The default Windows executable of Astrolog is now statically linked with the C runtime. That has zero effect on behavior of the program, however it will avoid the occasional scenario that could make the program fail to launch with an error like: “This application has failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect.” Without static linking, the program would depend on runtime DLL’s being on the system (which they usually are, installed by Windows Update) however on certain systems they would be absent, resulting in a confusing error and requiring manual installing of the runtime separately before Astrolog would launch.
A few changes that aren't feature additions or bug fixes have been made to this version, which means certain old assumptions are no longer valid. A list of these (which aren't useful to be aware of unless you have used previous versions of the program) follows:
1. Astrolog.dat renamed: The “astrolog.dat” default settings file has been renamed to “astrolog.as”. On startup, Astrolog will search for and load the contents of “astrolog.as” instead of “astrolog.dat”. Astrolog now uses the “.as” extension (standing for “Astrolog Switch” file) for chart info files and setting files. This extension isn’t required, so existing chart info files don’t need to be renamed.
2. Helpfile renamed: The “Helpfile.540” comprehensive documentation file has been renamed to “astrolog.htm”, and converted from plain text to HTML.
3. Update file renamed: The “Update.540” file containing changes to the newest version has been renamed to “changes.htm”, and converted from plain text to HTML.
4. Readme removed: The “Readme.540” file containing a summary of Astrolog’s features has been removed. Its contents are now a summary section in the main “astrolog.htm” documentation file. The “Help / Documentation / Open ReadMe” command in the Windows version that opened this file has been removed.
5. Summary file removed: The “file_id.diz” file identification description format file containing a brief summary of Astrolog has been removed. Its contents are now within the main “astrolog.htm” documentation file. The “Help / Documentation / Open Summary” command in the Windows version that opened this file has been removed.
6. History file archived: The “History.540” file containing a history of everything added to each version of Astrolog (which is basically a list of all the Update files for each version concatenated together) is no longer being updated. The list of Astrolog versions and their release dates have been moved into the main “astrolog.htm” documentation file. The most recent history file is still available in the file “history.txt” alongside with the source code.
7. Rulership terminology: Astrolog now calls the sign opposite a planet’s rulership its “detriment”, and the sign opposite a planet’s exaltation its “fall”. This is the most common terminology. Astrolog used to call the sign opposite a rulership its fall, and the sign opposite an exaltation a debilitation. That’s much less common, however it’s still how some have referred to it, e.g. the book “The Inner Sky” (second printing, page 207) says, “The sign of a planet’s fall is always opposed to the sign of its rulership.” Because of this change, the standard text mode chart listing now uses “R” and “d” to indicate rulerships and detriments, and “X” and “f” for exaltations and falls.
8. Exaltations changed: Mercury is now considered to exalt in Virgo by default (instead of Aquarius as before). Neptune is now considered to exalt in Cancer (instead of Sagittarius as before). The North Node is now considered to exalt in Gemini and the South Node in Sagittarius (instead of Virgo and Pisces as before). These are the most commonly used exaltations for these objects. The old values if preferred or other values can be set with the -YJ0 command switch.
9. Modified ephemeris: The Modify Display graphics setting (-Xi switch) when applied to the graphics ephemeris (-E switch) will make it so the Part of Fortune (along with the Moon as before) is not displayed. This setting is meant to prevent the display of fast moving objects (that can race around the zodiac within a month) without having to restrict them, and the Part of Fortune (which can now be included in ephemeris charts) has a fast moving behavior like the Moon.
10. Previous chart: The initial contents of the "previous" chart as accessed with "-i set" has been changed from the astrological "chart" of version 5.40 of the program to the release of this version 6.00. This chart is now set to the time of the Winter Solstice, specifically for 8:47:57pm PST (8 hours before GMT) on Monday, December 21, 2015 for Seattle, WA (122W19:59, 47N36:35).
Here are problems with version 5.40, all of which have been corrected in this release:
1. Alcabitius bug: Alcabitius houses were computed incorrectly, in which the cusp positions were off by a few degrees (including the 1st and 10th, which normally are the same as the Ascendant and Midheaven).
2. Neo-Porphyry bug: Neo-Porphyry houses were computed incorrectly when the sidereal zodiac was active. They would be very messed up, with houses potentially in the wrong order.
3. Progression bug: Solar arc progressed charts (-p0 switch) would be slightly inaccurate by up to one day, due to bad time difference calculation. This could be seen by doing a solar arc chart for the exact same date and time as the birthchart (especially combined with a low degree per day value) and notice the planet positions incorrectly move.
4. Gauquelin bug: In the sidebar of the graphics Gauquelin sector chart (-M switch), the planet and house positions were wrong. (They would be offset by a potentially large amount.)
5. Fixed star bug: The position of fixed star objects would be inaccurate when the zodiac offset ayanamsa (-s switch parameter) was non-zero. They would always be displayed as if the ayanamsa were zero.
6. Now bug: Charts for the current moment now would be inaccurate by up to 24 minutes if the default time zone was a non-integer hour, due to arc minutes being treated as fractional degrees.
7. South Node display bug: When ephemeris files were turned off (_b switch) object #17 (Lilith) would be replaced with the South Node (because only the Placalc routines knew how to compute the position of Lilith, and without them Astrolog put the South Node in its place). However, turning ephemeris files back on (=b switch) later wouldn’t rename object #17 from “South Node” back to “Lilith”. Now that the South Node has its own unique object index, this will no longer happen.
8. Ayanamsa accuracy: Astrolog’s values for ayanamsas (as populated in the Windows “Chart / Settings” dialog) were only accurate to the nearest arc minute. They have been improved to the nearest arc second. The offset between the default of Fagan-Bradley and Nirmala Chandra Lahiri (Robert Hand version) is 0:53'0” (already accurate to nearest second), the offset to Krishnamurti is now 0:58’48” (instead of 0:59’ as before), and the offset to B.V. Raman is 2:19'46” (instead of 2:20’).
9. PostScript crash: On some Unix versions, creating a PostScript graphics file (-Xp switch) would crash, due to closing a file handle twice.
10. Metafile copy broken: The “Edit / Copy Chart Picture” menu command to copy a metafile to the clipboard would fail to do anything in recent versions of Windows. (The Save Chart Picture command would still work at least.)
11. Recall chart broken: The “Animate / Recall Chart Info” menu command to replace the current chart with a stored chart would fail to do anything.
12. Open Website broken: The “Help / Documentation / Open Website” menu command would fail to do anything in recent versions of Windows.
13. Windows help bug: The commands on the “Help / Documentation” submenu that open files would fail to find those files, if the current directory were other than the Astrolog install directory (such as by first opening a chart file in a different directory).
14. Local horizon crash: The text mode local horizon chart (-Z switch) would crash if the Sun or the Moon (but not both) were restricted.
15. Local horizon bug: Local horizon charts (-Z switch) would be slightly inaccurate, in which the longitude and/or latitude of the location would be off by up to 0.4 degrees, due to arc minutes being treated as fractional degrees.
16. Local horizon limitation: The Nodes and Lilith wouldn’t be shown in the graphic local horizon chart (-Z switch), even if unrestricted. The Nodes and Lilith have valid longitude and latitude positions, so can be plotted on the local horizon like any planet.
17. Astro-graph bug: Astro-graph charts (-L switch) would be slightly inaccurate, in which the longitude used would be off by up to 0.4 degrees, due to arc minutes being treated as fractional degrees.
18. Astro-graph bug: Astro-graph charts (-L switch) would be computed incorrectly when the sidereal zodiac was active. The sidereal offset would be applied, which should not happen since positions are displayed relative to the local horizon and are therefore independent of zodiac type.
19. Astro-graph omission: Text mode astro-graph charts when displaying latitude crossings (-L0 switch), would accidentally omit and not display the northernmost crossing.
20. Astro-graph bug: In the graphic astro-graph chart (-L switch), the dashed equator line would be drawn too far north by 1 degree.
21. Astro-graph display: In the graphic astro-graph chart (-L switch), when displayed in medium or huge character scale, the glyphs for the Asc and MC at the bottom of the chart would use zoomed versions of lower resolution glyphs, which would look blocky.
22. Ephemeris chart bug: The text mode ephemeris (-E switch), when doing a non-geocentric chart and when the Sun is restricted, wouldn’t label the first column, which would result in every subsequent column label being off by one.
23. Ephemeris chart bug: The graphic ephemeris chart (-E switch), if the chart is narrower than 250 pixels or so, would frequently draw planet lines as if they moved 360 degrees around the zodiac in a single day.
24. Grid display omission: The graphics aspect grid (-g switch) would leave out aspects if the “Ignore Insignificant House Cusp Aspects” setting (-YC) were set, which is one scenario in which such aspects are wanted instead of superfluous. The graphics aspect grid now ignores this setting and includes all aspects, the same as the text mode aspect grid already does.
25. Aspect list bug: The text mode aspect list chart when displaying the aspect summary at the end (-a0 switch), would only display zeros in the summary part when the chart was being interpreted.
26. Display bug: Zodiac positions would be rounded up or down to the nearest minute (or second when Print Nearest Second was active). However the text color would be based on the actual position, meaning a position within a half minute/second of the next zodiac sign would have the color of the current sign but a position in the next sign. Zodiac positions are no longer rounded up by default, so a position of 12Lib34 means the actual position is somewhere between 12Lib34:00 and 12Lib34:59.
27. Time space midpoint glitch: In the Windows version, selecting the “Time / Space Midpoint Chart” command would set a mode to replace chart #1 with the midpoint of chart #1 and #2. That’s expected behavior, however that mode would remain, so any screen update would update the chart again with the midpoint between the previous midpoint and chart #2. In the Windows version, the “Time / Space Midpoint Chart” command will now compute the midpoint chart, and then get out of relationship chart mode, so the midpoint chart can be worked with normally.
28. Transit bug: The -tYn <years> switch, to do transits for a given number of years starting with the current year, wouldn’t skip over the <years> parameter, and would also parse the parameter as a separate command switch.
29. Daylight specification omission: The -z0 Daylight time switch would only accept numeric parameters like “0” and “1”, and wouldn’t parse non-numeric parameters like “Yes” and “No” (and would also treat and parse non-numeric parameters as subsequent command switches).
30. Windows ephemeris: When computing charts using the Placalc ephemeris, if a chart were cast for a date that didn’t have an ephemeris file available, multiple Windows error messages would be displayed for each chart, and potentially numerous errors for tables involving multiple charts such as transit searches. Each error message would need to be dismissed manually, which would get annoying quickly. Now only one error is displayed for each chart until control returns to the user.
31. Windows display glitch: When Buffer Redraws was on, and a fixed size chart was being displayed (such as the aspect/midpoint grid or astro-graph), then the chart would always be frozen in the upper left corner of the window, and changing the position of the scrollbars wouldn’t move it.
32. Windows save glitch: In Windows open chart dialogs and the Windows save as text dialog, the extensions dropdown would be initialized to “All Files” instead of the specific file format in question. Also in all Windows open and save dialogs, the filename field would start out empty, and not be selected text containing the default extension.
33. Windows dialogs display: In the most recent versions of Windows, dialogs are laid out slightly differently, and therefore had display issues such as controls too close together. All dialogs have been adjusted to look more polished.
34. Color omission: Redefining the standard color palette in the Set Colors dialog (or the “main” and “rainbow” color lists with the -Yk and -Yk0 switches) wouldn’t change certain parts of certain text charts. For example, the white and gray header text in the standard listing (-v switch) wouldn’t be affected even if white and gray were redefined to other colors. Now, every bit of text in every text chart will be affected by Astrolog’s color palette.
Finally, here are changes or improvements with respect to version 5.40, that aren’t related to the program’s features directly, but rather are related to compiling the program:
1. 16 bit Windows dropped: The source code for Astrolog no longer supports being compiled for 16 bit Windows. The official Windows executable only exists as a 32 bit version now. 16 bit Windows is only required for Windows 3.1 and before, and 16 bit Windows executables are only even able to run in Windows XP and before, so this platform is hardly relevant anymore.
2. Shell archive distribution dropped: The source code for Astrolog is no longer distributed in Unix shell archive format. That format was only required when the primary method of acquiring Astrolog was from text postings to Usenet newsgroups. Astrolog can still be compiled on Unix systems just like before, however the source code is released in the universal .zip archive format. Zip files can be unpacked on most Unix systems with the “unzip” command, in the same way that the “sh” command unpacks shell archives.
3. No Macintosh executable: This release doesn’t come with a ready-to-run Macintosh executable. I don’t have access to a Mac or compiler for it at this time, so was unable to produce or test a Mac binary. Astrolog still supports the Mac (including graphics, although with a command line interface like the X Windows version) just like before, so anybody with a compiler should be able to generate their own binary.
4. C++ sources: The source code to Astrolog is now C++. All source code files (including the new Swiss Ephemeris routines) have been converted from C. This has no visible effect, but makes the sources cleaner and adding future features easier.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Astrolog and all chart display routines and anything not enumerated below used in this program are Copyright (C) 1991-2015 by Walter D. Pullen (Astara@msn.com, http://www.astrolog.org/astrolog.htm). Permission is granted to freely use, modify, and distribute these routines provided these credits and notices remain unmodified with any altered or distributed versions of the program.
The main ephemeris databases and calculation routines are from the library SWISS EPHEMERIS and are programmed and copyright 1997-2008 by Astrodienst AG. The use of that source code is subject to the license for the Swiss Ephemeris Free Edition, available at http://www.astro.com/swisseph. This copyright notice must not be changed or removed by any user of this program.
Additional ephemeris databases and formulas are from the calculation routines in the program PLACALC and are programmed and Copyright (C) 1989,1991,1993 by Astrodienst AG and Alois Treindl (firstname.lastname@example.org). The use of that source code is subject to regulations made by Astrodienst Zurich, and the code is not in the public domain. This copyright notice must not be changed or removed by any user of this program.
The original planetary calculation routines used in this program have been copyrighted and the initial core of this program was mostly a conversion to C of the routines created by James Neely as listed in 'Manual of Computer Programming for Astrologers', by Michael Erlewine, available from Matrix Software.
The PostScript code within the core graphics routines are programmed and Copyright (C) 1992-1993 by Brian D. Willoughby (email@example.com).
More formally: This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful and inspiring, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details, a copy of which is in the LICENSE.HTM file included with Astrolog, and at http://www.gnu.org
* Walter D. "Cruiser1" Pullen :) ! Astara@msn.com *
O Astrolog 6.00 homepage: http://www.magitech.com/~cruiser1/astrolog.htm O
* "Who am I, What am I? As I am, I am not. But as we are, I AM. And to *
O you my creation, My Perfect Love is your Perfect Freedom. And I will be O
* with you forever and ever, until the End, and then forever more." - GOD *