What's New with RTGUI and
its Related Files
March 15, 2017: Release 11
- Changes in the Minor Planet Center website resulted in the "Get Asteroid/Comet" function no longer working. This has been fixed.
Aug. 28, 2015: Release 10
has been tested to run on a Microsoft Windows Tablet PC, so long as it
is running a standard version of Windows (for example, Windows 8.1, not
"Windows RT" or "Windows CE"). The user interface of Version 10 of
RTGUI has been enhanced to make it easier to use on Windows Tablets.
All text, buttons and fields have been enlarged, and all
functions on the main form can be invoked by typing a single character, displayed on the
key. For example, you can invoke the "GoTo" function by typing "g", or
by clicking on the GoTo button using a mouse or a stylus. Fields to click on the
smaller secondary forms (for example, Catalog Select) have been almost
doubled in size.
- Minor bug fixes: Rounding error in Object Altitude display. "Cancel" button on Trace Object was not working.
June 5, 2013: Release 9.3
Sept. 18, 2011: Release 9.2
- Changes to the user interface for downloading positions for
Near-Earth asteroids and comets. No longer just goes off and gets
current parameters when position not found in current file. (This is a
good idea for 60 days' positions, which always are obtained in
real-time, not so good for the possible multiple datasets containing
just 24 hours' positions). Now the user must approve getting the new
- Fixed problem with Scripting. Original command minalt
(for minimum altitude) is changed to minal
(6 letters down to 5).
- Fixed rounding error in Azimuth display sometimes causing
it to display "360 degrees."
- Fixed a few data errors in FULL.RTG.
- New Feature: "Object Trace." Get a list
of altitude & azimuth values for the current
object, for a specified length and interval, starting
at the current time (need not be Real-Time)
- Fixed bug where trying to load a catalog from a drive
that's not ready caused RTGUI to terminate.
Feb. 28, 2011: Release 9.1
The servers at the Minor Planet Center
underwent major reconfigurations (none of them documented), causing
RTGUI's downloading of asteroid and comet positions to stop working.
Changes have been made to RTGUI allow it to work with the new
data configuration. There are still a few problems with the generated
RTG files that I don't yet understand, but they
are approximately 99% correct. If you should happen to hit an
entry that does not look correct, try downloading the file again later,
or changing the program time to pick up an earlier or later entry.
- added double-quotes to Command Line parameters for
RTGUI now displays two COM port
selections next to the "Options" button on the main form. The
first is the COM port selected for the telescope connection. The second
is the COM port selected for reading the GPS.
Dec 11, 2010:
Increased the number of possible COM ports from 32
Skycharts Ver. 3.2 is now released and
supported. You must use Skychart version 3.2 (10 Oct. 2010) or
later, which you can download
here. If your skychart.exe file
is older than 10 Oct. 2010, it will not fully support the
functions of RTGUI (and some of its features will be
broken, anyway). If you have an older Skychart
version (probably Version 2.76), you must install
Skychart Ver 3 in the same directory - this is the recommended
install procedure. If you download Ver
3.2 on a machine with no old version, this is
OK. If you have only the old Skychart version installed on
your computer, RTGUI will operate the same as before, but it is
strongly recommended that you upgrade as the new Skychart program is
RTGUI now uses two separate COM ports, one for communication
with the telescope, and one to read the time and location from a GPS
device. Click on the "options" button to load the Options form. To
select or change the telescope port, click on
"Select COM port for telescope," then click on one of the
available ports listed, and click "OK". To select or change the GPS COM
port, do the same with the "Select COM Port for GPS." Your
selections are recorded if you click the "Save"
button afterward, or choose "Yes" when asked to save
configuration changes when you exit the program. You
do not need to select a COM port again unless you
want to change your selection. The operation of the two ports
are completely independent, and neither interferes with the other. You
can use the same port for both, but then you must disconnect
the telescope to use the GPS.
Fixed bug of uninitialized variable for GPS COM port. (If you
previously selected a GPS COM port, you'll have to do it again.) Added
explicit warnings when RTGUI is being run in a directory where the user
does not have write access.
Minor feature enhancement to Search Wizard, making it easier
to find a specific star that is not above the horizon. You might, for
example, want to know how far south Alp Cru is,
even if it never rises above your horizon. You can click on
"Alp" in the Greek Letter table, then enter the 3-letter constellation
abbreviation in the second name box. Previously, this kind of search
was not allowed.
If the length of the transient
file name of an asteroid or comet (without the
".rtg") is longer than 12 bytes (the length of a name field),
the displayed name of the object will be the file name itself, rather
than the name field in the file. This allows names
longer than 12 characters to be displayed.
April 14, 2010: Release
Modified Search Wizard to work
with catalogs containing different kinds of deep-sky objects
(specifically, the Herschel 400 Catalog).
Increased the number of COM ports
from 8 to 32. Earlier problems with using COM ports > COM9 are
fixed. Added visible search status during COM search to provide
feedback showing where delays might be occurring.
COM search now performed only on
demand, no longer automatic. Once a COM port is selected and stored,
there is no need to scan again unless you wish to change it.
Added 109 of the brighter and
more popular Carbon Stars (of bright red hue) to FULL.RTG
Modified the Search Wizard to
include searches for Carbon Stars, and Quasars (already in FULL.RTG).
Fixed bug in checking magnitude limit.
Now using Ver. 7.52 of Alzip to
create self-extracting code. This allows the self-extractor to run OK
on 64-bit versions of Windows . Previously, RTGUI would run OK on
64-bit systems, but the self-extractor failed.
No longer prompts for deletion of
obsolete asteroid or comet data. Deletion is automatic when the object
is selected, and updated positions are obtained from the internet (if
Changed all instances where "GMT"
was displayed to read "UTC".
Changed name of temporary file
containing comet or asteroid data as received from "mpe.tmp" to
11, 2010: Bug detected in
catalog-building utility "addconst.exe". File was fixed and updated.