The LunarPhase Astronomy Software is a utility for Windows which provides a range of information on the Moon and, to a lesser degree, the sun, graphically displaying the current phase of the moon and lunar data, in real time. Lunarphase Pro (LPP) needs about 35Mb hard disk space for its installation.
The recommended minimum amount of Ram on a Pc is 128Mb (this will display the Moon in medium resolution graphics) but 256Mb is required for high-resolution displays. A 500Mhz or faster Pc is recommended but some screen load times on calculation-intensive screens will be slow on less-specified Pcs.
The initial window is clean and uncluttered. The 'skin' is chrome-like, it is impossible for the user to change this to give a more conventional Windows 'feel'. The number of buttons on the toolbar is small; however one of the buttons is entitled Display Menu of Other Functions.
This gives an extensive list of other functions, all which really deserve their own icons. While this would increase the 'busyness' of the Window, I feel it would be preferable to the current situation. In general, I think that while some users might be unhappy with the non-standard appearance of the User interface, this departure from the standard Windows 'look' looks very high-tech.
There is a downloadable manual which is available to you before you buy the software which i like. The file is a zip file which you extract and view using a browser. Instructions on viewing the manual are provided on the manual's download page
The LunarPhase Astronomy Software is primarily a planning tool for lunar observers and offers an enormous amount of information to assist the observer in this regard. Obviously, it graphically displays the current phase of the moon in real time and displays the times and dates of the major lunar phases for the month.
However, it also provides much more information for planning your next night of moongazing, including the real-time position of the moon in both RA/Dec and Alt/Az coordinates, a calendar of lunar phases for each day in the selected month and monthly lunar libration diagrams.
It is also possible to display a Lunar visibility diagram for the month showing when the moon is above the horizon and the brightness of the Moon. In addition, the software calculates and displays Moon's Rise, Set and Transit times.
If you see an interesting feature under a particular illumination condition, it is possible to find times and dates when this feature will be under similar illumination, taking into account libration effects. Far-side and North/South Polar features can also be viewed and identified.
The Lunarphase Astronomy Software is a great observation planning tool for lunar observers or imagers. The utility can teach you a lot about how the Moon orbits the earth. In addition, it provides near photo-realistic views of the Lunar surface via the Lunar Explorer utility and these can be printed as custom built maps.