Exoplanet Explorer 2.5.6: lots of improvements
With the new Exoplanet Explorer apps out for nearly a week now, I’ve had some feedback and time to fix some minor issues and make improvements.
- The ghostly labels that looked like a fog appearing near the center of the screen are now gone. A side effect of the Tegra fix. They didn’t show up on my desktop computer because the frame rate is too high.
- The star labels now sort correctly and the nearest 50 stars to the selected system (within 100 light years) will be labelled.
- Due to a typo, the gravity value was being written into the radius field during import. In addition to not showing a value for gravity, the planet sizes were slightly incorrect. Generally the gravity increases with radius, so it was a subtle problem. I made some adjustments to the scaling so that the planets now appear to have a larger size variation.
- Gas giants closer than 2AU to the parent star will never have rings under the assumption that the solar wind would disrupt small orbiting particles. 50% of the rest will randomly have rings.
- There’s now an option to keep the screen active while the app is focused. It defaults to “on” and can be turned off in settings.
- A translation bug that turned “Rock and Iron” into something completely different in Italian is hopefully corrected.
- The star habitable zones are now tilted to the average inclination of the planet orbits. This fits most systems better, with the exception of crazy systems such as Gliese 876 which have planets orbiting all over the place.
- The star and planet filter presets are now merged into one list for less clicking.
- Fixed a bug causing the hab zone to vanish occasionally
- And a big database update… I forgot to refresh the database for last week’s release. It’s now up to date with about 1,800 planets now in the Pro version.
What’s planned over the next couple of versions
- A method for identifying new planets with each release. Currently the PHL data only shows the year, and sorts by planet name, so there’s no easy way to identify which planets have been added recently.
- Free flight mode, just like Solar Explorer.
- Fill in the blanks. It looks like some of the blank fields in the PHL database could be estimated.
- Lens flares for brighter stars
- Lots more