Astrological Software Reviews
& Methods for
Serious Asteroid Work
If you’re an astrologer or an astrological researcher, you may like to check out these software applications, below.
I have personally used all of these software apps described here: Sirius, Solar Fire, and the now abandoned Russian Phaethon project (which was terrific in its day!). I had started my serious asteroid research, many decades ago, through buying bundles of selected asteroid files, 30 to 60 at a time, from Mark Pottenger, to use in his CCRS astrology app — I believe that is no longer available.
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 application 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 15,000 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!
So far, as I write (updated April 2018), the complete astrological database of Named asteroids contains more than 19,000 asteroids! 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. (And, by contrast, you could also check out where #26955 Lie turns up in the chart!). 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, Declination, 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.)
[2021 Note:] I’ve been experimenting with the free open source Virtual Box application (by Oracle) on my Mac, to replace Parallels which is not supposed to support Windows XP (that I’m using for my old Windows apps) — but not the easiest thing to set up! …I gave up! But I was able to go back and re-download my old version of Parallels 10 to run Windows XP.
I keep a pdf list of my own birthchart’s SIRIUS-calaculated asteroids (in Zodiac order) on my iPad in the Books app—easy to search there for asteroid Names in the Search field; and also readily accessible on my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Plus, Books and also Preview on MacOS also provides a right-click function for instant online searching of the meaning or references for an asteroid name you’ve highlighted, via: ‘Look Up …’ (from the Dictionary), and ‘Search with [your default browser]’—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 link in their heading 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 only 7,500 of those have names, but it’s a good start. 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 your own asteroid category files (plus, 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 some asteroid aspects within categories.
(A note: I’ve been copying my own category lists (over 300) from the backend files of Solar Fire and pasting them into separate files in my Apple Notes app for availability on all my Apple devices, adding new asteroids to the lists as I find them. I check these categories when I find a specific theme in a chart, so I don’t forget to look up the positions for all the asteroids I have for that theme!)
SOLAR FIRE also runs well on Parallels on a Mac (actually, better than on a PC!). (The heading link, above, takes you to the site.) This link, below, is for Esoteric Astrology’s instructions and requirements for setting up Solar Fire Gold on a Mac via virtual machines: https://www.esotech.com.au/products/solar-fire/
Now an abandoned asteroid calculation project, PHAETHON, by Albert Timashev, is an MSDOS (yes!) software program that may still be available if you inquire, as it is still (to date) on the website (which hasn’t been updated or copyrighted since 2000! — but it does have a security certificate). I ran this software on Windows for a number of years, right up to Windows 7.
Phaethon is a stand-alone asteroid calculation & (uniquely) asteroid description-editing program. In its heyday, it calculated over 11,200 Named asteroids! (Of course, now we have well over 19,000). Excellent for editing asteroid meanings you have researched, so you never lose the information for other charts—whatever you had written pops up at the bottom of the screen when an asteroid is selected in the list. Very innovative, especially for MSDOS! All the operations were performed using the Function keys on the keyboard. Those were the days!
Due to its editing capacity, this program really escalated my asteroid research in the late ’90s. Also, a full list of asteroid positions for any chart could be easily exported as a text file and reformatted as a pdf. And asteroid lists could be calculated in a variety of orders, such as Zodiac (recommended for serious asteroid work), Alphabetical, Conjunctions to planets, Speed, and has both Named and Numbered asteroids (choose both or either).
I found it worked well and quickly in Windows operating systems including Vista & Windows7, probably fine in more recent Windows as well, but I haven’t tried it; and of course on Windows via Parallels on a Mac. To check this out, a free demo version with 64 asteroids looks to be still available for download: once in the site, go to Computer Room (or use the Phaethon link above).
You can find the Russian Astrology site at https://www.astrologer.ru or use the live PHAETHON link above—that page is encrypted. (And the last time I checked, Albert Timashev was on Facebook.)
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 (www.astro.com/swisseph/astlist.htm) 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 file manager. You can find the download page at www.astro.com/ftp/swisseph/ephe/.
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 Asteroids 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 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 an Apple computer, you’ll find that Windows runs better on a Mac than on a Windows PC!
Option 1: Hang on to that shiny Windows label on the back of your dead PC/notebook for the OS registration details!
Option 2: Buy the Windows OS to install on your Mac
Here’s how (there are basically two main choices) …
#1. You can now buy the Parallels (premium software) Windows virtual machine and download that to your Mac/MacBook. Like other apps, it runs as a window on your Mac desktop, and you install your Windows operating system onto it — the Windows OS will think it’s on a Windows computer.
But just be aware, you’ll need plenty of free disk space to add both Parallels (itself being 16Gb+) and Windows to your Mac, plus the astrology apps, and asteroids if you intend to use them. With Parallels, there is no rebooting between the two operating systems. Windows runs like an app!
— Alternatively, to save disk space, you can run the Parallels ‘virtual machine’ on your Mac, but with the Windows operating system on an external hard drive plugged into your Mac to save space on your Mac OS. Downside is I’ve found this slows the Windows app down, but upside is it has freed up half of my MacBook storage! See details at
#2. Or use the free Apple Boot Camp app that is available for your Mac (looks like it has been added back again, after it was abandoned in Catalina), which will require reboots between operating systems (well, it’s free). And purchase Windows 10 to load in as the OS on the Boot Camp partition of your Mac’s hard drive. Be sure to check out Apple’s support page for Boot Camp at https://support.apple.com/boot-camp .
(Or https://support.apple.com/en-au/boot-camp for Australia).
#3. Or try installing Oracle’s free open source Virtual Box app for running Windows applications on a Mac. (I actually gave up on this — couldn’t get it working.)
Please Note !
From the end of 2020, Apple may release their new ‘Apple Silicon’ chip computers. You will have to check if these computers will run any virtual machines (including Boot Camp), as all virtual machine software will have to be rewritten right now to accommodate the new chips.
Here’s my current setup:
- I use Parallels to run ol’ Windows XP on an i5 Macbook Air, with 8GB RAM on the machine. I’ve moved Windows to an external hard drive connected by USB3, to save Mac storage space — SIRIUS takes up a lot of hard drive space if you add the asteroid CDs for the full set of asteroids plus the new ones SIRIUS allows you to download as files. The external drive has slowed the massive asteroid calculation by 50%, but still perfectly workable.
- 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 my SIRIUS files in the Windows File Manager—I’m getting some new asteroids downloading at present, but still not the entire set of Named Asteroids from Astrodienst;
- I use SOLAR FIRE for some of my Asteroid category files (though the Solar Fire Asteroid Add-On disc is restricted in the number of asteroids it contains, and many of these have numbers but no names yet); and I still use the basic chart template I was able to design (with small glyphs and degrees close to the rim) in SOLAR FIRE, two decades ago(!), to accommodate the space needed for scribbling in large numbers of asteroid names on the printed chart;
- I use the Mac OS and iOS Astro Gold apps for calculating Transits and for basic chart analysis on the fly (but it can only accommodate the usual 6 asteroids on the chart wheel).
So, I use three astrology apps for my work for each client.
- I also invested in an Epson A3 printer, as I needed a larger page so I could fit in more hand-written asteroid names to the wheel of each chart!
- 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 desktop to the other. Anything you copy from your Windows programs will be instantly available for pasting into your Mac apps for use on your Mac desktop, including screenshots. (I believe Virtual Box can also share the clipboard — I’ve been trying to get that app to work, but I’ve sadly given up, the set-up is just too complicated!)
- Even though Apple’s Mac 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, depending on how many apps you are using on Windows—I only use it for my Windows astrology apps, so I’ve stopped updating Parallels for now. (Parallels may send an email to remind you to update, plus you may get an annoying pop-up in Windows if you boot-up while online.)
Here’s my Method (using Parallels Desktop for Windows on my Mac)
To calculate a complete Asteroid List file in SIRIUS (this will only work if you have purchased the optional extra Asteroid CD files for the SIRIUS app) —
- First calculate the natal chart in SIRIUS.
- Then, go to the Listing tab in the main menu > Down to Planets or Asteroids Positions List
- Click on My Asteroids List > revealing the Customizable Asteroid List pane:
Here you can customise the output of your list. If you don’t want to change this every time, your customisations will become the default, so you only have to do this once.
- Choose the Alphabetical or Zodiac Order (the Zodiac Listing also shows the planetary and Moon’s Nodes positions amongst the asteroids). For Zodiac, choose the Degree Sort. (Note: I have finally got Windows working again after updating my Mac to Catalina OS, but my Sirius is not calculating Alphabetical asteroid lists anymore—could be an allocation of resources, but it’s a miracle my older Parallel’s version 10 and Windows XP is working with Catalina! — that was a Green Tara job!)
- I use the Zodiac listings (displaying from Aries through Pisces) for easy spotting of the obvious aspects to planets, etc, in the chart, especially the conjunctions first).
- Then choose to Sort by Degrees: 360˚, 90˚, 120˚, 30˚, 180˚, 45˚, or 60˚.
SIRIUS tells you, here, which aspects each degree sort will give you.
For example, a pure zodiac listing from Aries to Pisces is the 360˚ listing,
and a 90˚ sort will show asteroids in line together that are in square, conjunction, and opposition to each other—if one asteroid is aspecting a planet, the others nearby in the list will too, by their respective degree aspects;
— I always create two lists: 360˚ list for all conjunctions; and a 30˚ list to sort all the asteroids together that are making aspects to each other in all of the 30-degree-multiple aspects (the harmonic resonance for the 360˚ chart with 12 Sign-frequencies: semi-sextiles, sextiles, squares, trines, quincunxes, oppositions, as well as the conjunctions.) These are the aspects I choose to use, and I can see the asteroids here that fill in the stories to the planets they aspect.
- You can choose to turn on the actual astrological glyphs (or turn off for letter abbreviations only).
- Next, choose Additional Data: I keep it simple by requesting only the Asteroid Name, Zodiac position (Longitude), and ID Number. This also makes the calculation process much faster (I don’t require the other information columns, such as declination, etc).
- Choose Sets of Columns of Asteroids per page (I use just one for easy viewing on all devices, and later making text notes beside the names in the PDF in Preview on the Mac);
- Choose Lines per page (especially for formatting a printed copy—if you have a reem of paper to spare!)
- Then in the right-side column, choose Over 18,000 named asteroids (or any of the other smaller sets that are available there, or that you have created).
- When the asteroids list appears on the screen in its own pane (in generally less than a minute with Windows on the Mac!, or may be double that from an external drive), click the SAVE icon on the top-right side column of the pane, then down to > Select & Copy All Text To Clipboard
— That’s it for the Windows side! —
- Then go to your Mac’s dock (which is generally visible while you’re in Windows) and open a New TextEdit file (or use any plain text editor if you’re in Windows exclusively) and simply Paste (⌘+v — that is, command + v) the asteroid file directly from the clipboard into the TextEdit page on the Mac side (which maintains the columns and glyphs formatting).
— I also like to ‘Select All‘ (⌘ + a) and BOLD (⌘ + b) the text (or format the text font as you choose—but don’t change the actual font if you’ve opted for the astrology glyphs as you’ll lose those in a font change!).
- From the TextEdit menu: File > Export as PDF. Name the file.
— I save it to my Mac’s desktop for immediate work or emailing. Seemless, no rebooting in any part of the process. That’s it!
It may seem like a lot of extra work, but …