Astrocalc Released!

About 2 months have passed since last time I wrote a post about a new release of Astrocalc 6.2, and that time it was release 47 while now it's 52 so as you can see there have been a few in between. A new release often comes about as a user points out something or has a request. I then fix or implement the request as soon as possible and make a release in the benefit of that user, but at the same time it’s made available for everyone, of course. But I don’t always write about it for various reasons. Meanwhile, I’m constantly at work with making general improvements or developing new features and some of this is also merged into the release as it fits, while other things are saved for next version.

If you are an old customer you may notice that I have a somewhat different work procedure than Colin Miles (when he was in charge) who didn’t offer you free updates with such a frequency as I do. The main cause of this is actually the Internet, which didn’t play such a prominent role during the time prior to me fully taking over from him. In fact, the updates could be rather frequent also during his time, on the same grounds, but snail mail still ruled as email yet wasn’t as common as today and it would have been somewhat inconvenient so send out letters for each release.

If you want to be informed about every release I do, the best way is to follow Astrocalc on Twitter as I usually tweet each release. Of course, an even better way is to regularly pop by at, although I have to admit that apart from updates to the change log about releases not much is happening there at the moment. Actually, if you are thinking about changing your Windows Pc for a Mac, you may like to read a blog post I wrote recently on the subject, before you make your decision.

Anyhow, the main purpose of this post is to bring your attention to the current status of the Astrocalc programme, summing up the most important changes since last time. You can also take a look at the change log if you want it short and crispy.

If your program includes the Huber module, it has become possible to use the Now function also there. However, you won’t get a moving wheel, only an instant one for that moment. The reason for this is that Huber uses a different wheel created from different code and support for “the moving thing” was never implemented with it. I have this on my “To do” list though.

It has also become possible to either start the moving Now/Clock wheel instantly or as earlier, to only load new input values on the first click and the wheel won’t get loaded until you click either Now or Clock a second time, allowing for alteration of the values. Note that you no longer click the Go! button to start a moving wheel.

Another change is that you now can make Astrocalc remember where on the monitor it displays a window, so if you moved it, next time it opens at the same place rather than in a centre position as before. Wise of my mistake with the new “Show help when the mouse hover” feature (some found it annoying that help changed all the time as the mouse moved and didn’t know how to switch it off, as they never had switched it on – I did) you have to switch on this feature in the Help menu or the program behaves as it always have done – opening screens in a x/y centre position.

The chart option setting for Search Criteria, located on Data Entry form, has got a 4th option, Auto Complete. This option influences how the Name field works when searching for a saved chart. While any of the 3 first options are selected and you type into the Name field, nothing happens until you press the Enter/Return key, which executes the search and returns one or more charts. However, with the new 4th option charts are searched for and looked up as you type and if there is a matching chart its name gets loaded into focus. You can see this by the end part of the name that you haven’t typed yet, it gets highlighted by a selection. As long as there is a match the highlighted part changes as a new chart is looked up. However, nothing gets loaded into the data fields until you press the Enter/Return key. This assumes there still is a matching chart in focus and that you haven’t typed too much.

The Auto complete lookup function works only on charts in the Active Group. So what happens if you type too much and there no longer is a match? In such case and if you press Enter/Return a search is done as if option 2, Match from start, was selected.  This search is always done across the whole database. If still no match you are given the option to start a new chart based on the text you typed for Name so far or you can start all over with another search.

The latest release also looks a bit “lighter” due to a change in the default font in use. This is a bit technical but may be of interest anyhow. With the release of Windows XP Microsoft changed the default system font from MS Sans Serif to Tahoma but that change never happened in Astrocalc at the time, not until now. At the same time I also changed, what I believe was a design flaw, the (bad) habit of using a Bold font weight basically everywhere. It’s bad because bold is meant as a means to enhance the importance of something, in a similar way as with underlining, which is totally lost if used in excess.  It is now used in that way as e.g. if you select an option the text becomes bold enhancing it visually.

Someone pointed out to me that when the program looked up zone time in the Atlas it wasn’t properly accounting for seconds, unless Local Mean Time (LMT) was in use, in which case the time offset is calculated based on the Longitude in use. In this case it worked correct, but I wasn’t aware of that some countries actually had an explicit set time offset that included seconds. By research I found out this was quite common during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, as countries changed from LMT and adapted to the new Standard Zone Time reform. Indeed, in the case of the Netherlands it was in use until the beginning of WWII. The Atlas data and the program have been amended to properly handle this now, although it’s quite possible I have missed some because it’s hard to find data.

Maybe I should stop there as these posts tend to become a bit lengthy, or do you think I should write more often instead? Anyway, there is one more thing I would like to inform you about and at the same time it may be my contribution to the ever ongoing discussion on Tropical vs. Sidereal Zodiac. Quite often you may hear that the Tropical zodiac is out of sync and that Sidereal is the only true zodiac giving true positions of the planets. Indeed, both assertions are wrong in my opinion! I won’t go into depth about the Tropical issue here (but makes a note to write a post about it), but anyone who makes such statement hasn’t truly understood how it works, possibly blinded by fascination or love for the Sidereal one, if not totally misguided about astrology by a reality vision that ended with the tip of the nose. They simply don’t function out of the same fundamentals and that’s why both work at the same time alongside each other.

As for the Sidereal, planet positions and their accuracy, it totally comes down to something called Ayanamsa, or Precession in plain English, which bluntly is the measure (in Degrees, minutes and seconds) of the celestial difference between the two zodiacs. Now comes the funny part that sidereal people may like avoid talking about. While the state of India gives an official one, there exists a bunch of them (Ayanamsa) within a span of about 6 degrees difference, and hardly anyone uses the official one. Now that isn’t what I would call accuracy! In fact, it reminds a bit about the Tropical houses (where you typically use the one that works for you or is decided in favour of by a School e.g. Huber and Koch houses) and it’s probably not by coincident that the Sidereal Astrology systems only have one house system.

Well I am not a “Siderealist” so what do I know, but the above isn’t in any way an attempt to discredit its working or people using it, on the contrary I believe it works fine but so do the Tropical Zodiac as well. I just don’t like “My God is better than your God and is the right God” mentality and it saddens me reading when someone having a craze for the Sidereal Zodiac on expense of the Topical one. If you want others respect for what you do and believe in, you have to show them the same – even if you disagree.

Anyway, if you weren’t aware of it the Ayanamsa for the Sidereal Zodiac can be set to a custom value in Astrocalc and I added some extra info to the help displaying for its input fields together with examples of various Ayanamsa to experiment with.

As always, the latest release is available as a free download from your user profile at – if you have a valid license for Astrocalc 6.2 that is. Now it’s also possible to order an update CD directly from the download page, with a simple button click. It will cost you £5 but you may like the fact that when you order an update CD you now get all the interpretation text files (matching your edition) as well. For others there is the 30 days free Trial version which also have been updated to

Before I end, just a quick note about the “Coming Soon – Astrocalc 6.2 Video tutorials” displayed on the web site. I had some technical problems with my headset which now has been replaced by a cordless one, besides I am not absolutely comfortable listening to my own voice (who is?) but I’m getting over it and indeed it’s not as easy as one may think to produce a “simple” video. So I changed it to “Coming Next” which better reflects the current state of plans.

Ok that’s it for this time and may the star force be with you.

3 thoughts on “Astrocalc Released!”

  • Vicky

    re sidereal : There should be a difference between tropical and sidereal charts. Earth time is different than star time and is adjusted every day depending on earth's rotation versa sun position. Use the first point of Aries, the star not the point the sun crosses the equator, as the ascendant and you can compare charts for any planet any time. As to what to use 'to each his own'. I like sidereal as inner planets are freed to be in any point in the zodiac.

  • Geraldine Firequeen

    I had to figure out a clear way to describe the difference between the two zodiacs for my Planting by the Moon (which is calculated in sidereal). I will send it to you, you might like to use it. Yes I would like you to write more often! As you may remember, I have not been doing the updates as it messed everything up and I do not have the time to unravel things. I would love to update but have too much fear now. Just remembered about your 'chart competition' - I had begun it ages ago. Just got back from hol, catching up.
    Back in time, when astrology and astronomy were the same thing, the zodiacal year began on 21 March, when day and night are equal all over the earth, and the Sun reached the first point of Aries. Since then, due to stellar drift (called the precession of the equinoxes) on 21 March the Sun now rises in 5deg Pisces. Astrologers work by the tropical zodiac, which still begins 21 March, while astronomers and moon gardeners wait another 25 days for the start of the sidereal zodiac. This is a technicality which does not affect the validity of the method

    • Joakim

      I don't think you need to fear updating to the latest release. The problem you had before probably wasn't caused by Astrocalc per se as then I would have got drawn in complaints ;-)

      However, generally speaking it's always riskier to wait many releases between updates as I don't test the update path against every previous release. Usually I keep and test against the 2-3 latest releases and the last release of any previous version. Sometimes I also let an older release lurk around longer and test to update it but not as a rule.

      I would love to see your Planting by the Moon, maybe it had saved the 150 beans we lost from night frost in mid May :-(