Exoplanet Explorer: V2.1.0
The first new exoplanets for the year announced today let me put the update process through it’s paces… and it didn’t work. Sure, V2.0.0 downloads updates, it just doesn’t save them to the database if they are new systems… only if they are updated systems, or new planets in existing systems. Time to do a quick release, which includes a bunch of new features I had just finished off late yesterday.
The full version gets two new buttons, the first of which version toggles an overlay that shows the orbits of our planets compared to the planets in the solar system you are currently looking at. The scale is correct so it should give you a good idea of how big a system is compared to ours.
The second new button pops up a panel that shows you the relative radius of the planets in our solar system compared to the planets you are viewing. I’ve ordered the list according to the distance they are from their parent star, so they may appear to be out of order because planets are given their names (such as “a”, “b” or “c”) based on their discovery order. This panel shows how bizarre some of our neighbouring systems are when compared to the relatively neat appearance of our home.
A handy option has been added which displays the radius and mass of planets compared to the category they belong to, and also shows the surface temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit rather than Kelvin. Normally, planet measurements are supplied relative to Jupiter which is fine if they are pretty big, but when they aren’t there’s an awful lot of decimal places in the numbers. I’ve decided to make this active by default, but if you don’t like it you can turn it off in the options menu.
The help panel has been improved so there’s more detail and it will be easier to expand in the future.
Finally there’s also a number of fixes for minor issues such as the one where scrolling the list of planets or stars would occasionally select one accidentally. Icons for planets have also been updated because I noticed a few of the icons were smaller than the rest. I’ve also adjusted the logarithmic scaling slightly to fix a few systems such as KOI-55 that have planets orbiting really close to their star.
This release also features a fix for the Detailed Planets option that was crashing Solar Explorer and this app on some Tegra-2 devices. Let me know if it doesn’t work and I’ll complain to my development tools vendor on your behalf.
Hopefully the next data update will go smoother…