Where to Find Asteroid Software — A Review by Kerrie Redgate

Vesta asteroid

Some 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!). I offer the link to Intrepid as a courtesy, as I haven’t tried this software as yet, though I have had very helpful email correspondence with the developers.

Cosmic Patterns Software, Inc.
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 15,000 Named asteroids (plus thousands of so-far Unnamed asteroids that later may receive names). And now, 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!

So far, as I write (updated December 2016), 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. There is also an option in SIRIUS to create your own category groups of asteroids.

All asteroid listings appear onscreen and are exportable as txt or pdf files (on your PC, or directly to the Mac via Parallels—I use the standard TextEdit app on my MacBook), with the information columns of your choice (including declaration, speed, etc). . . I keep it simple, as I principally only need the name, asteroid number, and the longitude; and this also makes the calculation process a lot faster: less than a minute, even with them sorted in zodiac order!

Cosmic Patterns software applications are Windows-based, but also run well with Parallels (+ your own Windows OS) on a Mac (If you’ve switched to Apple, hang on to that shiny Windows label on the back of your old PC/notebook for the OS registration details! Or you can now buy a separate Windows OS disk).

  • I actually run Parallels and ol’ Windows XP on an i5 Macbook Air, with 8GB RAM on the machine.
  • Even though Apple’s Macbook operating system updates are always free (thank you, Apple!), you will need to pay for Parallels updates each year when you upgrade your Mac OS. (Parallels will send an email to remind you.)
  • The beauty of Parallels over other Virtual Machine software, is that you can Copy (‘Select & Copy All Text To Clipboard’) an asteroid list in SIRIUS and paste it directly into a blank TextEdit file (maintaining its columns formatting) on the Mac side, from where you can save that as a pdf file (which can later be emailed, etc.) anywhere in your Mac directory (such as a ‘Clients Info’ folder), as Parallels and Mac can share the same Clipboard—no rebooting!

I keep a pdf list of my own chart’s asteroids on my iPad in iBooks—easy look-up for names in the Search field; and also automatically accessible on my iPhone and Macbook. Plus, iBooks (and Preview on Mac OSX) also provides an instant click for online searching of the asteroid name you’ve highlighted, via all its references: ‘definition’ (from the Dictionary), ‘Wikipedia’, and ‘websearch’—very handy!

Also, developer David Cochrane’s YouTube video tutorials are great, and the customer service is excellent. 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.

Esoteric Technologies
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 that can, themselves, be easily edited and created (I have 300 categories in SOLAR FIRE, though each category is incomplete without all the asteroids I have available in SIRIUS—but still very useful for the quick access to asteroid aspects within categories and a good overview of each theme by category).

SOLAR FIRE also runs well on Parallels on the Mac (actually, better than on a PC!).

Russian Professional Astrology
Now an abandoned asteroid calculation project, PHAETHON, by Albert Timashev, is a DOS (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!)

Phaethon is a stand-alone asteroid calculation & 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 DOS! 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, full lists of asteroid positions for any chart were easily exported as text files and reformatted as pdfs. Asteroids 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).

Intrepid Astrology Software
The most economical of the comprehensive software packages for astrologers on the world market; and the beauty of INTREPID is that it is available in two versions to run natively on either Mac or PC—so you won’t need Parallels for your Mac.

I have not yet used it, so I’m providing information found on their site and via my email correspondence with the developers. It includes comprehensive asteroid functions. To date (as I write), 7,000 Named asteroids are included to get you started (and 150,000 Numbered-only asteroids), and you have the capability to hand-pick and download* others from ASTRODIENST, which you may want to include in the program (though, adding the extra 12,000+ would be quite a chore!)

The only thing missing for me in INTREPID is L H Weston’s ‘hypothetical’ Vulcan, which I always add to charts, as it holds valuable information—I will be elaborating on this in one of my books to be published in 2017.) This software program sounds like very good value for money if you’re not yet ready for the full list of all Named asteroids or the expense of SIRIUS just yet.

ASTRODIENST is a website, 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 in SOLAR FIRE or INTREPID. Remember, without their asteroid software, you won’t be able to use these asteroid files, as they need to be placed in the correct asteroid folders in your file manager. You can find the download page at http://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 Asteroid files along with some Named ones, and this will bloat your software and computer’s storage drive and calculation capacity (your app might even freeze under the strain). 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 every file I needed to download, by it’s ID number, which you still need to do in ASTRODIENST!)

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!

Disclaimer: The above software applications are listed as recommendations for your consideration only. Kerrie Redgate is not affiliated with these software companies and can in no way be held responsible for your use of the above listed software or dealings with these companies, though they are recommended in good faith.

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