Starry Night 8 is a major huge, big time improvement over Starry Night 7 for 2 reasons.
The engine, the heart and soul, the absolute most important thing about astroware is the deepsky database. top 10 things to look at when choosing astronomy software, 1 through 8 is the deepsky database. It's that important. It needs to be large, plotting every single last thing without exception visible in binoculars and 2" to 20" scopes. It needs to be accurate with good info to help you plan observing sessions. It also needs to be crossed indexed. The deepsky database of Starry Night 7 was a haphazard mess of text files thrown in without a *&^% given that sucked major *&^. Starry Night 8 has made a major overhaul to its deepsky database. It is now cross indexed, and plots most everything visible in amateur equipment. The info is a little better though not as good at SkySafari, Skytools, and others. Double star info is poor. Nonetheless, the deepsky database has improved so much I now recommend it as a consideration as a serious tool at the telescope.
Reason two: Modern computing consist of data syncing in real time from device to device. Gone are the days when we only had one desktop. Now we have smartphones. When you edit an Excel file on your laptop, it syncs in real time to your phone, so you can view and make changes on your phone. You find a great recipe on your laptop, copy it to Onenote, go down stairs, pull it up on your phone and cook. That is 21st century computing. Starry Night along with the mobile app SkySafari are the only astroware that is modern. Create an observing list in Starry Night and pull it up on your phone when you are at your telescope. Create a log entry on your phone and view it in Starry Night the next morning. Starry Night and SkySafari syncs in real time, observing sessions, equipment, logs, locations, and observing list. That is mega huge.
Because of these 2 major ground breaking, major huge improvements, I now use Starry Night over Skytools and TheSky.
I really want(ed) to agree with this. Unfortunately, your Reason Two is where it fell way short on promise and still doesn't work for me, and why I asked for a refund. As I've mentioned in another thread, as an SNPP8 beta tester, I was surprised when the product was released with none of the issues discovered during beta fixed (at least none I discovered and let them know). I was quite put off finding out I had bought the full product to find out it was still beta for all practical purposes, without any fixes applied, and to my knowledge still aren't.
Most of the issues are directly related to shared files. Between LiveSky and SkySafari, there is 100% sharing of databases, so 100% correct transfer of observing lists and logs. Not so for Starry Night 8. It's still using its own database for many items such as stellar database, comets, meteor showers and others. What this means is observing lists don't always fully sync, and if not, then observing logs are not transferred or are unable to be read even though they report as present. To date, reading the Sim Curr Community Support forums since I was refunded for the product, it doesn't sound like this has still been fixed. Also broken, still to my knowledge is the pointer record for the external data (AllSky Image, Horizons, Exoplanet Planetary Images, etc). The files are reported as being installed and run from one folder, but the pointer is incorrect, which means unless you're aware of the issue and manually rename the folder (in the hidden ProgramData directory) you're having to constantly stream the data. And yes there are still people without fast internet, or those like me who do not wish to constantly tie up their pipe streaming data if it's available locally, as it slows down the entire program.
All this said, I really do have high hopes that Simulation Curriculum will get all the known issues fixed and a stable version 8 releases, and sooner than later, so they don't scramble with a lot of stuff hanging when SN9 is released one day. I really want to like the product and hope it will one day meet my needs of full integration between my desktop and SkySafari/LiveSky; sadly at present it still falls way short.
edit - if DSO's and solar system objects (aside from those I mentioned above) are mostly all you're going to observe then SN8 is likely going to be an excellent product for you. I'm not disagreeing with you dongallo, I'm just letting the OP know it all depends on their needs and how they plan to use the product as to whether it's an excellent product or if it'll come up short.
Edited by Steve Cox, 22 March 2019 - 05:20 PM.