My Astrological Software Reviews
for Serious Asteroid Work
If you are an astrologer or astrological researcher,
you may like to check out these software applications, below.
I have personally used Sirius, Solar Fire,
and the now abandoned Phaethon project
(which was terrific in its day!).
Developers of the Windows-based astrology software programs: Pegasus; Kepler; and especially SIRIUS which has the most advanced asteroid chart features currently available for astrologers.
SIRIUS is the only astrology software I have found that provides complete up-to-date listings of all of the astrologically-available officially Named asteroids, and available in Zodiac (Longitude) order (necessary for serious asteroid work!).
SIRIUS firstly has an optional set of Asteroid disks for more than 19,000 Named asteroids (plus thousands of so-far Unnamed asteroids that later may receive names). Plus, SIRIUS has an amazing feature which automatically downloads extra asteroid files/names (providing you have their optional extra Asteroid CDs installed) from the ASTRODIENST website, while you are calculating a list when connected to the internet! How cool is that!! So you always have the latest list that is available!
You may not think you need all these asteroids, but would you really want to miss out on some of the newer ones such as #249521 Truth ? Truth was the 249,521st asteroid to be discovered, so would not likely show up in smaller lists from other software developers. There is also an option in SIRIUS to create a small number of your own category groups of asteroids.
All asteroid listings appear onscreen and are exportable as txt or pdf files. Before each calculation, you can choose how many columns you want per page, and which information to include, such as Name, ID Number, Longitude, Declaration, Speed, etc… See my procedure and general suggestions, below, under Here’s My Method in the Mac Solutions section.
Cosmic Patterns software applications are Windows-based, but also run well with Parallels (+ your own Windows OS) on a Mac. (See my instructions below for running and using these Windows apps on your Mac.)
I keep a pdf list of my own birthchart’s SIRIUS asteroids on my iPad in iBooks—easy to search there for Names in the Search field; and also readily accessible on my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Plus, iBooks and also Preview on Mac OSX also provides a right-click function for instant online searching of the meaning or references for an asteroid name you’ve highlighted, via: ‘Definition’ (from the Dictionary), ‘Wikipedia’, and ‘Websearch’—very handy!
Also, developer David Cochrane’s YouTube video tutorials are great. Only thing I’d love to see in SIRIUS is L H Weston’s Vulcan, which I have researched for decades and could not live without.
Cosmic Patterns Software can be found via the title link above.
Windows-based programs for all systems of astrology. Especially recommended for their comprehensive SOLAR FIRE program, and their Asteroid Add-On category-editing supplemental disk, although it only contains 10,000 asteroids and many of those do not yet have names. But this number can be boosted by connecting to the ASTRODIENST site (see note at the bottom of this page*) for (tediously) downloading more asteroid files, one file at a time, which I used to do years ago!
SOLAR FIRE does uniquely have great asteroid aspects-to-planets listings within asteroid category files (quite a few categories are supplied for you there) that can, themselves, be easily edited and created (I have 300 of my own categories in SOLAR FIRE, though each category is incomplete without all the Named asteroids I have available in SIRIUS—but still very useful for the quick access to asteroid aspects within categories.
SOLAR FIRE also runs well on Parallels on the Mac (actually, better than on a PC!). (The heading link above is live.)
A website (pronounced “astro-deenst”), not an app, but they are our industry standard for the marvellous job they have been doing for decades, preparing raw astronomical data for software developers to use in astrology software applications.
You can view the full list of available asteroids on their site page All Named Asteroids with links to the NASA-JPL page for further astronomical information on each asteroid.
Hopefully, most of the apps listed above are now making it easier to add more asteroids to their lists of asteroid files. I’m not sure of their progress in that regard. (But as stated, SIRIUS downloads them automatically during the next asteroid list calculation!—You just have to be online while calculating.).
But in any case, there is also a download section of ASTRODIENST‘s website for adding extra asteroid files if you already have the bulk asteroids CDs/files in SOLAR FIRE. Remember, without their asteroid software, you won’t be able to use these asteroid files, as they need to be manually placed into the correct asteroid folders in your app’s file manager. You can find the download page HERE.
A practical warning about asteroid downloads from ASTRODIENST ! :
Never download complete asteroid folders from the ASTRODIENST listings as they contain a huge number of Unnamed Asteroid files along with some Named ones, and this will bloat your software and computer’s storage drive and calculation capacity (your calculation app might even freeze under the strain), plus it places a strain on Astrodienst’s server. I don’t think there is a way to differentiate the Named ones as yet, but keep checking in with them. (In the olden days, I used to hand-pick and download every file I needed by it’s ID number, which you still need to do in ASTRODIENST! It’s a labour of love.)
ASTRODIENST will now allow you to download up to 3,000 asteroids in one 24-hour period (any more can overtax their server). But, again, I suggest you stick to only the ones that are pertinent, as you need them. It’s very tedious!
This recent video interview, below, with Alois Treindl, the founder of Astrodienst, recorded by Chris Brennan on May 24 2018, is a rare look at the beginnings and purpose of Astrodienst and its services. You may not be aware of what has gone on behind the scenes within the global astrology community since the 1980s, and how significant, and indeed vital, Alois Treindl’s contribution has been.
Mac Solutions: Running Windows Apps on a Mac
If you’ve switched to Apple, you may still be able to use that shiny Windows label on the back of your dead PC/notebook for the OS registration details! Not sure if this is still possible, but worth a try.
— Or you can now buy a separate Windows OS disk and set it up on Windows on the Mac via Parallels (premium software). Just be aware, you’ll need plenty of free disk space to add Windows + Parallels to your Mac.
— Or use the Boot Camp app that comes free with older Macs, which will require reboots between operating systems (well, it’s free). Be sure to check out Apple’s support page for Boot Camp at https://support.apple.com/en-au/boot-camp .
Here’s My Setup:
- I run Parallels (an older version at present) on an i5 Macbook Air, with 8GB RAM on the machine; and I run ol’ Windows XP and Sirius on an external hard drive to save space on my Mac. This slows the calculation down by about double the time, but this is still only minutes.
- I use SIRIUS for the complete asteroid files (making sure my computer is connected to the net when calculating asteroid files so that any extra available asteroids will be automatically downloaded into SIRIUS);
- I was able to save the Asteroid Category files I’d originally made in SOLAR FIRE by accessing them from the backend of Solar Fire and saving them as Wordpad ducumants that I could also later save as Text documents on the Mac — I’d then copy & past the lists into individual files in my Apple Notes app, where they are automatically placed in alphabetical order for easy access when I’m researching charts, so I don’t forget all the ones I can look up in a particular category in clients’ lists.
- In Solar Fire, many years ago, I used their Wheel Designer to reduce the size of glyphs, and the spacing and sizes of the degree notation, bunching them all up closer to the wheel rim; and I reduced the size of the inner circle (I don’t use aspect lines on the chart) to accommodate only the House numbers. This allowed me to create a basic chart that head heaps of white space in the centre for asteroids to be drawn in by hand. which I write radially from their degree position.
- I now print the basic charts on A3 paper so I can scribble in up to 200 asteroids! But I think I may need something bigger soon!
- See my SIRIUS procedure for asteroid calculation in the Here’s My Method section, below.
- The beauty of Parallels over most other Virtual Machine software, is that it shares the Mac clipboard, printer, and internet connection, while it runs like an app on your Mac desktop. This means there is no rebooting of your operating systems when you’re switching from one to the other. Anything you copy from your Windows programs will be instantly available to your Mac apps, including screenshots. You can copy & paste between the operating systems!
- Even though Apple’s Macbook operating system updates are always free (thank you, Apple!), you may want to pay for Parallels updates each year if you upgrade your Mac OS, and Windows OS—I only use it for my Windows astrology apps, so I stopped updating Parallels, especially as I’m not updating my Windows OS. (Parallels will send an email to remind you to update, plus you’ll get annoying pop-ups in Windows when you’re online.)
Here’s My Method:
To calculate a complete Asteroid List file in SIRIUS — this will only work if you have bought the optional extra Asteroid Files for SIRIUS:
- First calculate the natal chart
- Go to the Listing tab in the menu:
- Choose Planets or Asteroids Positions List
- Then My Asteroids List > revealing the Customizable Asteroid List pane:
Here you can customise the output of your list by selecting—if you don’t want to change this every time, your customisations will become the default, so you only have to do this once:
- The Order of the List: Alphabetical or Zodiac (the Zodiac Listing also shows the planetary and Moon’s Nodes positions)
(I first choose Longitude to give the Zodiac positions for easy access to conjunctions and obvious aspects to planets, etc.)
- How you want the listing Sorted by Degrees: 360˚, 90˚, 120˚, 30˚, 180˚, 45˚, or 60˚
For example, a pure zodiac listing from Aries to Pisces is the 360˚ listing,
An aspect listing, for example, 120˚ will show all asteroids huddled together that produce conjunctions and trines to any planetary position or point you’re investigating;
90˚ will show the squares, conjunctions, and oppositions, all huddled together on the list … etc.
The zodiac signs are there so you can see what the obvious aspects would be (and you can choose to show the actual astrological glyphs or not).
- I calculate two sets: one in pure longitude (Zodiac listing), and the other in the 30˚ listing to put all aspecting asteroids side by side (as I use all the angles that are multiples of 30˚, being the 360˚harmonic of the natural circle divided into 12 — I don’t use sesquiquadrates and quintiles, etc.)
- Choose Data: I keep it simple by requesting only the Asteroid Name, Zodiac (Longitude) position, and ID Number. This also makes the calculation process much faster (as I don’t require the other information columns)
- Number of Columns of Asteroids per page (I use one, as I can add comments beside asteroids in Preview on the Mac);
- Lines per page (for formatting a printed copy—if you have a reem of paper to spare!)
- Then choose Over 18,000 named asteroids from the right-side list).
- When the asteroids appear (generally a minute or two!), I Copy it (under the little SAVE icon in the top-right side column of the now visible chart pane > Select & Copy All Text To Clipboard).
- Then I open a blank TextEdit page, right from my Mac’s dock, choose “Format > Wrap to Window (so you don’t lose asteroids between pages if wrapped to ‘Page’ — this happens!)
- Paste the asteroids directly from the clipboard into the blank TextEdit page on the Mac side (which maintains the columns and glyphs formatting). I also like to ‘Select All’ ⌘A and BOLD the text ⌘B.
- DO NOT change the font for the list or you will lose the Sign glyphs.
- For a personal touch for clients, I now type ‘via Kerrie Redgate’ with my site URL (which can be chosen as a live link via the menu) in the header section as well.
- I am then ready to save that TextEdit file as a PDF file (File > Export as PDF).
- Name the file, then you can delete the TextEdit copy. This PDF can be saved to your Mac’s desktop for immediate work with that file or emailed to the client, etc — seemless, no rebooting!
It may seem like a lot of extra work, but …