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Release of the new Virtual Moon Atlas Pro 6

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#1 Ch. Legrand

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:26 AM

Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce you that we have just released the new Virtual Moon Atlas "10th anniversary / Pro 6" version !

In 2002 we published the first version of the VMA. Today, for its 10th anniversary, we are happy to present you the new Pro 6 version, the most complete computerized lunar atlas.

Since December 2009, release date of the Pro version 5, we were waiting the datas sent by the recent lunar probes US LRO and chinese Chang'e 2 so that we could format them for use in VMA. It's now done and we also fill this gap period in our production to add new modules and functionalities. We have also update and increase the databases. We hope that all this new work will make your lunar observing sessions still more interesting.

And we can't not forget to dedicate this new version to Neil Armstrong whose "small step and giant leap" have conducted many of us to become amateur astronomers and specially lunar observers.

We will now present you all the news of this version that spread us in the new 10 years coming :

THE NEW "COMMAND CENTER"
Because of the increasing number of modules in VMA Pro version, VMA is launched now from a "Command Center" that gives you a direct access to each module and to the associated documentations.

THE NEW "WEBLUN" © MODULE :
We have realized a new special database about the main Web sites dedicated to Moon exploration and lunar surveys.
- General sites
- Lunar atlases
- Lunar probes
- Apollo missions
- Lunar observers associations
- Amateurs lunar pictures
- On line lunar ebooks
- Others lunar sites
The new "WEBLUN" © module manages a quick access to these sites. So, if your computer has a WiFi access during your observing sessions, you will be able to consult these sites directly from VMA while observing.

THE UPGRADES OF THE "ATLUN" © MODULE
- Upgrade of the terminator dynamic shadows with LRO datas
- New CCD cameras field visualization on the map
- New altazimutal and "Dobson" telescopes dedicated lunar globe orientation

THE NEW "LRO / Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter" HIGH RESOLUTION TEXTURE :
We propose you a new texture corresponding to the best released datas of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe. It reaches 100 m resolution per pixel. We are waiting a new more precise release in the following monthes. This texure is linked to the new IAU lunar nomeclature.

THE NEW "CE2 / Chang'E 2" TEXTURE :
Chines authorities have released on 2012 february a global lunar map with a 60 m resolution per pixel. We have built a new texture comparable to the LOPAM texture yet available, but with an almost vertical lighting.

THE 5 NEW "HISTORICAL TEXTURES" :
We have formatted for VMA the best digitized versions of old lunar maps in the public domain. You can know compare these pioneering works with today datas. These maps, sure, only show the visible face and the formations positions are sometimes far from the actual one. We propose you the following maps :
- Langenus / 1645 (Version : N & B)
- Hevelius / 1647 (Version : N & B & color)
- Cassini / 1676 (Version : N & B)
- Tobias Mayer / 1775 (Version : N & B)

5 NEW SCIENTIFIC OVERLAYS :
- LRO Surface roughness (Surface roughness according to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter datas)
- LRO Surface slope and roughness (Surface slope & roughness according to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter datas)
- LRO Silicates (Surface silicates amount according to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter datas)
- Chang'e Daytime surface temperature (Surface temperature during lunar day time according to Chang'e 1 datas)
- Chang'e Nighttime surface temperature (Surface temperature during lunar night time according to Chang'e 1 datas)

THE INTEGRATION OF NEW INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION NOMENCLATURE
Jennifer Blue and her team have revised the IAU lunar nomenclature with the LRO datas. We have also revised the VMA databases to incorporate this new IAU lunar nomenclature and to correct an important number of initial mistakes.

THE NEW "ANONYMS CRATERS" DATABASE
The fifth VMA database presents 52 000 anonyms craters compiled by G. Salamunićcar, S. Lončarić and E. Mazarico. Thanks to them for their permission to use their work in VMA. With this addition, VMA contains now more than 60 000 formations references.

THE CONCEPTION AND INTEGRATION OF THE "LUN / Lunar Universal Number" ©
Because of the presence of formations without an official IAU name in the VMA global database, Christian Legrand has conceived the "LUN / Lunar Universal Number" © that permits to localise in an unique way every lunar formation more than 10 m large. As it's unique for each lunar formation and as everybody can built easily the LUN of each formation, it becomes a very powerful tool for future recognizition of anonymous formation and discussions on them. This VMA exclusive field is now incorporated in every VMA databases.

THE NEW PICTURES LIBRARY "T1M PDM / 1 meter telescope of Pic du Midi" :
We have extracted pictures taken by a french team with the 1 meter telescope of Pic du Midi observatory (JL Dauvergne, P. Tosi, E. Rousset, F. Colas, C. Villadrich,et T. Legault ) which are the best lunar pictures ever taken from the Earth surface. Really amazing. Thanks to the team to allow us in using their production.

THE NEW PICTURES LIBRARY "Best of Peach" :
Damian Peach is one of the best world lunar imager. He gives us authorization to buit a "Best of Peach" pictures libray with his production for supporting VMA. Damian has produced one of the most detailed and most numerous set of lunar formations and it's a very important addition to the software. Thanks to him !

THE NEW DOCUMENTATION :
The general documentation of VMA PRO 6.0 has been updated with new screen captures and pictures showing the new abilities of this version 6.

THE NEW VMA DVD
As the amount of datas included in VMA has grown considerably with the new HR textures, we now distribute a complete version on a DVD for people whose Internet connection is too slow for reliable downloads.

We invite you to download freely and test this new version.

http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start

Thank you in advance for your support to our action,

Very sincerely,


Christian Legrand et Patrick Chevalley

#2 rmollise

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

Another wonderful gift to the amateur community from Christian and Patrick. Thanks, guys! :applause:

#3 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:21 PM

Another wonderful gift to the amateur community from Christian and Patrick. Thanks, guys! :applause:


+1

:waytogo: :goodjob:

Jon

#4 Man in a Tub

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:15 AM

Since 2005, I've had some VMA version on my succession of crackerboxes. Today I downloaded and installed the new version. Thank you very much for this right stuff.

#5 RandallK

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:27 PM

I've installed it on my VISTA 32 Laptop and my Windows 7 64 desktop with no problems. XP on my laptop was another story. The opening logo appears but once you click on the lunar application icon, I get a continual series of exception errors and have to CNTRL/ALT/DEL to terminate the program. Re-installing version 4 doesn't present this problem.

The new version does look pretty though.

#6 Spaced

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 02:29 AM

A Thousand Thanks! :applause:

#7 AdirondackAstro

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:36 PM

Very nice update!

I do have one thing I wish I could do. I downloaded some of the high quality imagery from LRO available on the VMA site. I just wish I could use some of these downloaded images with phases with dynamic relief option. The dynamic relief really shows what's popping along the terminator and would be nice if some of the large files I have downloaded could be used with it since I use that option most of the time.

Other than that I really like this update, lots of good stuff added, and I can't stop exploring the moon on my computer.

#8 Spaced

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:54 AM

After installing it warned me that without an open GL graphics card it wouldn't work correctly, and it guessed right! So now that's in the works. Soon to be a happy guy!

#9 Koen Dierckens

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:10 AM

Thank you very much!!

#10 jfshade

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:32 PM

Fantastic. Installed update on Win 7 with no problems. Nothing comparable. Thanks!

#11 FrankenCub

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:21 AM

OMG....A HUGE thank you for making it available for Linux !!!! :bow:

#12 Mark9473

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:01 AM

I seem to ba having some problems finding the best settings. Specifically, I have the following issues:
- terminator looks "jagged", showing about 5 distinct steps.
- the texture setting "phase with dynamic relief" makes it very hard to estimate where the terminator is, but I can't find a setting to increase the contrast.
- I regularly get 'out of memory' error messages.
- navigating is a pain - I wish it had the zoom&center functionality I use on Cartes du Ciel.

Any tips from the experts here?

#13 FrankenCub

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

I seem to ba having some problems finding the best settings. Specifically, I have the following issues:
- terminator looks "jagged", showing about 5 distinct steps.
- the texture setting "phase with dynamic relief" makes it very hard to estimate where the terminator is, but I can't find a setting to increase the contrast.
- I regularly get 'out of memory' error messages.
- navigating is a pain - I wish it had the zoom&center functionality I use on Cartes du Ciel.

Any tips from the experts here?


I am in by no means an 'expert', but I'm not seeing any of those issues with my install on my Linux pc. What are the specs of your pc ? Processor, graphics, memory etc... ?

#14 Mark9473

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

I'm trying to find where I can read that information; I'll report back when I've found it.

#15 FrankenCub

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:46 PM

I don't remember what Windows uses but I have "System Information" in my menu. I think there is something similar under the Windows Start menu.

#16 Mark9473

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:17 PM

It was hidden in a few menu steps but here's what I found (how annoying that I can't copy/paste it):

Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel i5-2300 CPU @ 2.8 GHz, 4 cores
RAM installed: 6 GB (available: 3.56 GB)
NVIDIA GeForce 405 graphics card with 1 GB RAM

Does this help?

#17 FrankenCub

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

It was hidden in a few menu steps but here's what I found (how annoying that I can't copy/paste it):

Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel i5-2300 CPU @ 2.8 GHz, 4 cores
RAM installed: 6 GB (available: 3.56 GB)
NVIDIA GeForce 405 graphics card with 1 GB RAM

Does this help?


Hmmm, that should not be an issue. It should work fine with those specs. I use Linux Mint 13 running an i3 @ 3.07GHz and 15.5 GB available ram and a GeForce GT240,, and VM runs silky smooth.
Are you sure Windowz isn't running from the i5's onboard graphics instead of taking advantage of the GeForce ? Your system shouldn't be having that issue, although only having 3.56 GB available ram out of 6 seems odd. Like something is dragging it down. Maybe Windowz 7 is just that much of a resource hog, IDK, I haven't touched anything Microlimp in a long time.
Just for kicks, open your System Monitor and see what is using the most resources.

#18 Mark9473

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:52 PM

I get the impression that a good part of the RAM memory is set aside as "cache"...
On your question if the system is using the GeForce card - how would I know?

#19 FrankenCub

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:15 PM

Well actually, that may have not been the right question lol. If your monitor is plugged into the GeForce card and monitor works then the card has to be being used lol. Still it's weird that it isn't rendering smoothly. Let me poke around a bit....

#20 Mark9473

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:32 PM

Thanks for your help Brendan, but actually the one thing I'm most eager to resolve is the look of the terminator in the "dynamic relief" setting. Any tips on that? Is the LRO WAC mosaic the right texture to use?

#21 FrankenCub

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

I was thinking the GPU might have not been letting it render correctly, but maybe not. I am looking through my settings again and at the moment I have my texture set at Phase with dynamic relief, and overlay is Colors natural. The only LRO settings I'm seeing are Silicates, Slopes, and Surfaces. Am I missing one maybe ?
Can you get a screen shot of what the problem is that you are seeing ?

#22 Mark9473

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:24 AM

Here's a screenshot in the "dynamic relief" setting. There is no clear terminator line - I know it's not a sharp line in the telescopic view but it would be more distinct than this.

Attached Files



#23 Mark9473

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:38 AM

As a reminder, here's what the reality looks like (same phase, similar scale).
Just looking for an "increased contrast" setting on the lunar terminator to more closely mimic this view. When zoomed in more on the VMA the problem becomes even more apparent.

Attached Files



#24 rmollise

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:32 AM

Problems of this sort are most often cured by a new video driver. Don't rely on Windows finding one, go to the video card manufacturer's website. ;)

#25 FrankenCub

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

For driver issues, Rod is spot on, always go directly to Nvidia (or whoever), they will many times have a newer version not released to Windows yet.
As for your problem, I see what you mean now, exactly. I think it's an issue of the images used to build the picture, I think the blackness of the terminator shows more detail from orbit up there than we can see from down here. I see the same image and just figured it's normal for higher resolution orbit based.






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