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CD-ROM Review - Teaching You Astronomy Skills - Focus 

 

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This 2-CD set is from the makers of the Redshift software, and appears to be called Redshift Planetarium in the US (in fact the actual software is called this, it's just the box that is called Teaching-you Astronomy Skills).

This is a clever combination of powerful piece of planetarium software and a series of guides, videos, photographs and informative tools. Although the underlying planetarium is rather less intuitive than its competitor Starry Night, it is still quite easy to use, and has a fascinating, if not always structured, pile of content.

Introductory tours use the planetarium software with voiceovers and text boxes to explore the universe as seen through the Redshift planetarium, including highly detailed photographs of planets, while a strong section of Quicktime animations explores everything from the big bang to the possibilities for extra-terrestrial life. Video topics include different aspects of the universe, the solar system, spacecraft and the Hubble telescope. The videos are a little small on the screen, but still quite effective. Add in hundreds of photos, a sky diary of astronomical events, over 2.5 million stars, more than 15,000 deep space objects and 10,000 asteroids and you get a good picture of just what's out there.

What's also impressive is the value for money - this is a very reasonably priced package with a whole lot of functionality. You may find the planetarium a little overwhelming to start with, but nonetheless it's worth persevering with.

2xWindows CD-ROM. Both CDs can be installed (1.4Gb) and run without putting CDs in after activation.

Reviewed by Brian Clegg

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Last update 05 June 2007