These release notes apply to Photo Ephemeris Web.
Please send your questions, feedback and observations via the Help button at the bottom right of the page.
Note: if you switch from the beta to production site, or vice versa, you will likely need to clear cached data in order for everything to load correctly (instructions).
2.6.3 - Jun 4 2021
- NEW: sign in page displays a warning message if browser is not compatible with the site
2.6.2 - Jun 1 2021
- NEW: error page now includes advice on supported browser versions
- Updated packages and dependencies
2.6.0 - May 14 2021
- NEW: the timeline has been updated to use event specific background colors corresponding to the event type - blue twilights, golden sunrises, silvery moons, etc.
These are the same colours you'll see in our iOS app, but day and night mode are combined into one. As always, the coloured borders at the top of some panels have corresponding azimuth lines displayed on the map (e.g. sunrise, moonrise in the screenshot above)
- NEW: support for Lunar Eclipses (requires PRO subscription):
- Eclipse events are included in the timeline (Penumbral start/end, partial start/end, totality start/end, time of greatest eclipse)
- The umbral magnitude of the eclipse is shown in the event corresponding to the time of greatest eclipse
- In the 3D Sphere page, the moon and moonlight are shown as red during the period of totality - believe me, you won't fail to spot it 😬
- NEW: hours of total darkness (i.e. from the end of astronomical twilight one night to the start the next morning) are indicated in the altitude chart for PRO subscribers. This, in conjunction with moon altitude and illumination, is useful for determining the best hours for astrophotography.
In this example from from April in Reykjavik, astronomical twilight ends after local midnight and darkness lasts only a couple of hours. The moon is up, but low in the sky and only 30% illuminated, meaning conditions would still be generally good for astrophotography, clouds permitting. (Plus, a 30% moon is sufficient to get some light into the landscape during a wide angle long exposure shot.)
- The About menu item which linked to our website About page has been replaced by a "What's New" link to this page to provide better visibility of changes and updates to the web app.
2.5.4 - Apr 27 2021
- IMPROVED: if you navigate to the Locations page from the Sphere page, then select a location and set the red pin, the navigation returns to the Sphere page rather than the Map page as before
- IMPROVED: lighting refinements: midday sun is slightly less glary; ambient light at the extremes of the day is slightly brighter; moonlight is slightly brighter - all these should help with map legibility (see also the 'worklight' option described in v2.5.2 below).
- FIXED: 3D terrain would sometimes not be shown after a selecting a saved location or when a default location was set. This was due to no zoom level being set internally. It now defaults to 13 in the absence of any existing zoom value.
- FIXED: when opening from a URL, depending on the source, the incorrect time zone would be parsed from the URL parameter
- FIXED: if you added a location at a very low map zoom level (e.g. 0/1/2) and then tried to synch locations, an error would be generated because the longitude span was out of range. Longitude span is now normalized to within 0 - 360 degrees prior to adding or synching locations. Minimum map zoom level is now 2.
2.5.3 - Apr 26 2021
- FIXED: 3D Sphere with maps enabled would crash if the app was opened from a URL containing a zoom level parameter that was floating point number, e.g. z=11.5
2.5.2 - Apr 25 2021
- NEW: taking more inspiration from the theatre, there is now a "worklight" button at the top right of the 3D Sphere. On dark moonless nights, you can switch this on to be able to see the full map even when no source of "natural light" is available. The light is a night vision style fluorescent green so there's no mistaking it for simulated sun or moonlight. The "workers" (as we used to call working light fixtures in my theatre days) turn off as you adjust the time-slider, so all you see is simulated natural light. When you stop adjusting the time, and release the slider button, if enabled, the workers will switch on once again.
2.5.1 - Apr 24 2021
- IMPROVED much better animation performance for the 3D Sphere - improved from ~40fps to 60fps on my development system when both the sun and moon were up.
- IMPROVED 3D terrain loading speeds improved (now served via CDN)
2.5.0 - Apr 23 2021
- NEW This version displays a map in the 3D Sphere page. The displayed map type is the current default map type selection (Google Maps are unavailable in the 3D sphere page)
- NEW For PRO subscribers, 3D topography (terrain) can be shown with lighting and shadow effects for the sun and moon. 3D Terrain is available between map zoom levels 8-15. Outside that range, the display reverts to showing a flat map instead
- NEW controls have been added to the Sphere page:
- Toggle map on/off
- Toggle 3D terrrain on/off (requires PRO subscription and the map to be enabled)
- Toggle Visual Search controls on/off
- Select map style
- Adjust map zoom level (when map enabled)
- NEW During hours of true darkness (after end of astronomical twilight, when moon is down or <10% illuminated), a "ghost light" shines down on the red pin and surrounding area. This indicates excellent times to shoot the Milky Way (and it let's you see enough to get your bearings)
- NEW When the sun or moon are above the horizon, and as you adjust the time of day slider, the 3D Sphere now includes projection lines (i.e. the continuation of the line from sun-to-pin or moon-to-pin). When 3D Terrain is enabled (see above), these lines indicate the point on the ground where you would need to stand to align the sun/moon with the ground under the primary pin. Of course, you'll only see them when the pin is on higher ground than the surrounding terrain, such as a mountain top.
- NEW Display Options controls are now included in the Sphere page. You can optionally show the timeline instead of the altitude chart, or you can hide both to create additional space for the 3D model.
- IMPROVED Milky Way appearance has been refined to make the spheres partly transparent
- IMPROVED Various performance optimizations to 3D Sphere rendering performance (although the new map and topography adds new load)
- IMPROVED On switching away from the Sphere page and then back again, the camera position is now saved and restored, i.e. you can switch pages without losing your view point.
- NEW Lunar Apogee and Perigee events have been added. These appear on the timeline and are included in the set of events considered by the next/previous event buttons. A perigee full moon is commonly known as a 'supermoon'.
- NEW Moon phase and lunar apogee/perigee events when displayed on the timeline indicate the percentage increase in the apparent size of the moon's disc relative to its smallest appearance (i.e. relative to extreme apogee). By this measure, the largest 'supermoon' appears ~14% larger than the smallest apogee moon. You can inspect this value to gauge the relative size of the moon at the time of the event in question. Generally, for photographers, bigger is better.
- NEW Settings: check "Use current date/time on load" to open at the current time/date instead of the last used time/date - this setting is ignored if the URL you use to open the app contains a date/time (if you have a saved bookmark, check it to ensure it does not contain unwanted location or date/time - this is the most common reason the app will alway open at the 'wrong' place or on a past date)
- NEW Settings: you can optionally set a default location from the primary (red) map pin. When set, the app will always open at this location, except if the URL you are opening already specifies the map pin position (check your saved bookmark if appropriate - you probably want it to read just https://app.photoephemeris.com with no trailing parameters)
- IMPROVED Saved locations: title field max length is now validated to be less 500 characters
- IMPROVED The feature comparison chart on the subscription page now include links to additional information about each feature
- IMPROVED The Sphere page now includes a compatibility check for browser and hardware. This should avoid displaying error messages without any context or explanation in cases where the system is incompatible
- FIX enabling meteors in version 2.4.0 would cause the app to crash
- FIX fixed a bug where occasionally the position band of the Milky Way in the 3D Sphere would get 'left behind' after the time of day was changed.
- FIX fixed a bug where a KML file with a single Placemark was not successfully imported
- FIX fixed a bug where the most recent date/time and map settings were discarded on changing to a page other than the Map - this may account for some more frequent visits to Timbuktu than intended...
- Known limitations:
- In some areas, particularly coastal areas, there are visible artefacts in the 3D terrain data
- You cannot navigate or change the primary pin position while in the 3D Sphere page - return to the Map page to adjust the pin location
- In case of network errors while loading the map data for the 3D Sphere, the app will show a an error symbol (bomb emoji) - please try reloading the page. You may need to return to the map page and switch map types before retrying
- Please send us your feedback on this new functionality!
2.4.0 - Apr 12 2021
- Adds Mapbox Satellite maps option for Pro subscribers - see the list of map types at the top left of the default map
- Adds a new option in Settings to control how the current time zone display is formatted
2.3.2 - Mar 14 2021
- Add feedback survey options for Pro subscribers
2.3.1 - Mar 13 2021
- Search for a coordinate at the equator (latitude zero degrees) resulted in 'very bad things happening'. No more. Feel free to equate your way around the world…
2.3.0 - Mar 12 2021
- Adds display of Solstice and Equinox times to the timeline
- Previous/Next Event now include solstice and equinox events in addition to moon phase events
- Parsing of coordinates entered in non-English supported languages is now correct (previously it would sometimes complain that the coordinate could not be parsed even when valid)
- If you need to sign in before reaching your intended page, the app now redirects correctly post sign-in (previously it would always redirect to the home page showing the map).
2.2.22 - Feb 26 2021
- Improved links to Nature First on Locations page and Share form: adds logo and statement of principle #4
- Updated libraries
2.2.21 - Feb 6 2021
- Adds a new display settings control on the Map and Sphere pages providing more convenient access to toggle the sun, moon and/or galactic centre on or off
- Updated time zone data to IANA TZDB
2.2.19 - Feb 3 2021
- Under-the-hood library updates
2.2.18 - Jan 31 2021
- Account sign up/email verification, password reset, and account locked notification are now sent in the current selected language (supported languages are English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Polish, Korean)
- Improvements to the display mode controls - now more compact and space efficient, and labels are now shown in the drop down
- Links to our partner Nature First are now shown on the Locations page and Share form: please take the time to check these out and consider how/whether to share photo location data
2.2.15 - Oct 30 2020
- Major version updates to underlying libraries and packages
- Moved all 'toast' notifications to top right to make it easier to switch back from Settings to other pages without having to dodge the notification while clicking
- Fix initial zoom level on switching to Google maps - it is now set correctly (previously it would always reset to zoom level 13)
- Fix occasional bug with Google Maps where valid coordinate was not set for geodetics lines
2.2.12 - Oct 21 2020
- Rolled back some package updates that appeared to be throwing errors for some users
- Adjusted order and size of day of week/time/time zone label at top left of map to reduce flickering on change of selected time of day
2.2.11 - Oct 20 2020
- Fixes KML import for exports from TPE from Android on certain Android versions
- Google Maps is now loaded in your selected language (on subsequent change of selected language you will need to reload the page to have the new selection shown in the map)
- Updated libraries and packages
2.2.10 - Oct 8 2020
- Maintenant disponible en français!
- Added a short promo video to the Subscribe page show-casing Pro features
2.2.9 - Oct 7 2020
- Display user name instead of email at top right (improved data privacy)
- Styling and translation refinements
2.2.8 - Oct 3 2020
- Light pollution map overlay now available at all map zoom levels. If you're at a higher map zoom level you may need to zoom out a couple of levels before it appears, but thereafter you can zoom in once again and the layer will remain visible.
2.2.7 - Oct 1 2020
- Ora disponibile in italiano!
- Visual search: added a new button on the search form "Use current position". Click this to set the search area to the current position of the selected body. The button is disabled if the body is below the horizon for the selected date time. This is useful for searches where you want to ask "show me more dates where the [sun|moon|galactic centre] is here"
- Fix: visual search could give false positive results if the lower bound of the altitude range or the altitude target was zero
2.2.6 - Sep 27 2020
- Some Visual Search fixes and refinements...
- If geodetics is enabled and you perform a target mode search (i.e. range mode is unchecked), and the search is conducted with altitude priority checked, then the results may display a distance to the right or left. This represents how far you would need to move the red pin (think of it as the shooting position) to achieve a perfect alignment while looking at the grey pin. The bigger the difference in of result azimuth from geodetics azimuth, the farther you'd have to move.
- Of course, this is another practical reason to conduct your target mode searches with altitude priority on: generally you have much more latitude to move your camera from left to right than you do up and down.
- On the 3D Sphere, the end of the shadow of the red pin now touches the edge of the ground cylinder when the sun is at +6 degrees - subtle, but makes things consistent with the 6-degree shadow circle on the map
- Bug fix: sometimes clicking the Search button would have no effect. This was due to form validation errors on hidden fields.
- Bug fix: some feasible search results were not found due to an internal error for high latitude locations
- Bug fix: browser console errors complaining about date formats are fixed. To resolve this, the day of the week is no longer displayed in the date selection control itself, but rather with the time of day displayed just above the map at the left.
- Improvement: You should now see a nicer 'please reload' message instead of an error page if you need to refresh the page to load the latest version of the app.
2.2.5 - Sep 25 2020
- Styling improvements in Visual Search UI for Windows users: avoid double scroll bars; avoid wrap-around for filters on smaller screens; avoid search results overflowing their bounds and overlapping
- When changing tabs or enabling/disabling range mode in Visual Search, form values are now restored consistently and insignificant floating point discrepancies are no longer displayed (e.g. 1.7° instead of 1.7000000000000002°)
- Error messages for visual search azimuth range values have been clarified
2.2.4 - Sep 22 2020
- The geodetics panel now shows the rhumb line bearing rather than the initial bearing of the great circle. The great circle bearing is display in a tooltip if you hover over the bearing label or value. With the increase in precision to two decimal places in displayed azimuths (v1 showed only 1 decimal place), the difference can cause confusion. The map line from primary to secondary pin is shown as a rhumb line and so the bearing should reflect the same. The rhumb line bearing is also used when the secondary pin is shown on the 3D Sphere and when 'Use geodetics' is clicked to set Visual Search parameters.
2.2.3 - Sep 21 2020
- NEW: Visual Search. Visual search allows you to find dates and times when you can see the sun, moon or galactic centre in a specified position or area of the sky. Access Visual Search via the 3D Sphere page. Tutorial available: Using Photo Ephemeris Web, Part 8: Visual Search
- You can either enter a target azimuth and altitude with a tolerance if you require a specific position, or to search within a range, check 'range' and specify the az/alt range you would like to search.
- For position targets, you can check or uncheck altitude priority to indicate which measure is more important for your shot. The tolerance is applied to the other field. E.g. if you search for the sun at az: 90°, alt: +6° with a 1° tolerance, then if altitude priority is checked, the results will all be pretty much exactly at alt: +6°, but azimuth can vary by ±1°. If altitude priority is unchecked, then the results will be at az: 90°, but the altitude may vary by ±1°. Generally, altitude priority performs better, especially in the tropics and in the Arctic/Antarctic circles
- When using range mode, results are shown with a time range when the body is in the specified range. For the moon, the illuminated fraction is shown. A simple visual indication of the path of the body through the range is shown (not to scale).
- If you have geodetics enabled and the elevation angle from red to grey pin is above the horizon, you can set the target or range by clicking the "Use geodetics" button in the Visual Search form. This is useful as a way to quickly find when, for example, the moon will be sat above a mountain peak.
- The search area is shown in the 3D sphere - it is quite small by default (4°). Try increasing the range or tolerance to 15° or more to see it clearly.
- The size of the sun and moon in the 3D sphere can now be controlled. For high precision visual search work, ×1 is recommended. You may also wish to zoom in to the model to see the results more clearly. In addition, the displayed size of both sun and moon is correct for the selected date/time. You'll be hard-pressed ever to see a difference in the size of the sun (it barely changes year round), but the change in the apparent size of the moon can be easily observed (perigee vs apogee change in distance from earth)
- The moon is now available in the 3D Sphere to all users. Visual Search for the sun is also available. Using Visual Search with the Moon or Galactic Centre requires a Pro subscription
- Visual Search filters. Apply one or more filters to your visual search results. You can specify filters manually - click '+' to add, choose the body, the property and set the values, then click Apply. Multiple filters can be used in combination
- For the Moon and Galactic Centre, some suggested filters are shown. Click one or more of the suggestions then click Apply.
- Suggested filters for the Moon include:
- 'Supermoon' - a perigee full moon
- Full moon - 95-100% illuminated
- New moon - 1-5% illuminated and waxing
- Cresent moon - 1-25% illuminated
- Near sunrise/sunset - sun between +2° and -2° altitude (good times for shooting the moon)
- Civil/Nautical twilight
- Suggested filters for the Galactic Centre include:
- Astronomical twilight - sky is almost dark and stars are visible
- Darkness - after/before astronomical twilight
- Moonless night - darkness, plus the moon below -6°
- Crescent moon - 1-25% illuminated (enough moonlight to illuminate a landscape, but not too much to overly impair the stars)
- Improved Visual Search results listings:
- For "range" results, click the item to set the time to the middle of the range, or click the start and end time independently
- Hold the Windows or Command key while you click a result to navigate directly to the map at the selected date/time
- Total results and filtered results count is shown
- Clicking a range result where the body passes through the range more than once will set the time to the middle of each crossing in turn for each click.
- Disc alignment: for the sun or moon, specify the preferred alignment for the body (centre - default, upper limb - top, lower limb - bottom). For example, if you want the moon to appear sat atop a mountain, use lower limb, so the moon is fully visible. If you want a sun star as it clears a ridge-line, choose upper limb, so you catch the sun just as it appears/disappears.
- Hold the Command/Windows key when clicking search to start the search from today's date instead of the selected date
- Corrections/improvements to Polish translation (thanks Jarek)
- Note: Visual Search-related text is in English only in this beta, but localised versions will be added soon.
2.1.10 - Sep 5 2020
- Allow linking directly to subscribe page for signed in users
- Under-the-hood changes in readiness for Visual Search support
2.1.8 - Aug 19 2020
- Additional major meteor showers: Quadrantids, Lyrids, Eta Aquariids, Delta Aquariids, Alpha Capricornids, Southern Taurids, Northern Taurids, Leonids, Geminids, Ursids
- Meteor shower positioning now accounts for radiant drift. Right ascension and declination are recalculated daily - greater frequency seems unnecessary for general photographic purposes. Previously, the radiant was always shown for peak activity date only
- Meteor shower labels now include a link icon that opens a reference page, typically Wikipedia, containing further information on the event
- Settings now allows meteors to be enabled or disabled - they default to off, so be sure to visit Settings to enable them if you wish. Meteor data requires a Pro subscription
- 3D Celestial Sphere is now available to all users for the sun. A subscription is required to display the moon, galactic centre and band of the Milky Way, plus meteor showers
- Minor UI/UX refinements and fixes
2.1.6 - Aug 10 2020
- Fixed regression bug where password reset links would be redirected to the /join page
2.1.5 - Aug 9 2020
- Add Galactic Centre rise/transit/set (enable in Settings page, requires Pro subscription)
- Adds 3D Celestial Sphere for Pro subscribers (click 'Sphere' in the navigation links). This shows a topocentric globe showing sun, moon and band of the Milky Way in a 3D representation. Azimuths are indicated at the edge of the disc. The model displays the primary map pin at the centre and the secondary geodetics pin, if enabled, at the corresponding apparent altitude, allowing for az/alt comparisons to sun, moon or galactic centre. The azimuth to the top of the band of the Milky Way is also indicated (light grey indicator). Sunlight and moonlight direction, intensity and color temperature are shown. The map pins cast shadows, to give a sense of direction and relative length (shadow ratio). If the elevation above the horizon is set, the dip of horizon is reflected in the ground plane of the 3D model.
- You can adjust the camera view of the 3D Celestial Sphere with the mouse or trackpad. Zoom with the mouse wheel or pinch with two fingers on a trackpad (you may need to push up/pull down with two fingers in Safari on macOS). Right-click drag to pan with a mouse, shift-drag when using a trackpad. A full tutorial is available here: Using Photo Ephemeris Web, Part 7: 3D Celestial Sphere
- New: Meteor shower radiant points (the point in the sky from which individual meteors appear to radiate) are shown in the 3D Celestial Sphere. So far, we've added just the Perseids (for this week's peak date) and the Orionids - more to follow. The radiant is indicated along with the name and approximate peak date.
- Fix: sign up form would not recognise first and last names containing any diacritics
- If the altitude of a body is lower than the apparent horizon (0° or below, if elevation above the horizon is set), the altitude is greyed out in the altitude chart legend.
- If geodetics is enabled and the altitude of a body is lower than the apparent altitude from primary to secondary pin (e.g. the sun is lower than the summit of the mountain), the altitude is greyed out in the altitude chart legend.
- Changes to how URLs work: previously, as you changed the date, time, map pin positions etc. the browser URL would be updated continuously. This behaviour has changed in 2.1. The URL is no longer updated as you work. Instead, you can obtain a link by using the Share button at the right above the map. You can copy the link, share to Twitter or Facebook, and in supported browsers (Safari, primarily) you will see an additional sharing button that presents operating system-specific options.
- On loading a URL that contains shot planning parameters (see TPE URL Parameters), the URL is processed and then the query parameters are deleted. URL handling should be more reliable than before, particularly if you are not already signed into the app, or are using private browsing.
- Further refinements to rise/set calculations to streamline algorithms across web and mobile versions
- Added Polish translation (thank you, Jarek T!)
- Added American English as a language option (e.g. "Military time" rather than "24-hour clock", etc.)
2.0.46 - Jun 29 2020
- Refinements to rise/set calculations to better match mobile app results
- Under-the-hood additions in readiness for Milky Way support (coming soon)
2.0.45 - Jun 19 2020
- Restore Google Elevation service correctly in a new session if it was previously selected
2.0.44 - Jun 18 2020
- PRO users can now select which elevation data service they would like to use. Guidance on selection is available here: Understanding elevation data sources
- During sign up, if you're already registered, the displayed message is now friendlier and includes a link directly to the Sign In page
2.0.43 - Jun 8 2020
- Sign In page now includes a 'Keep me signed in' option. This avoids generating a long-lived authentication token for users who prefer not to stay signed in between sessions. When checked, you can stay signed in for up to 12 months if your browser is not configured to reject or delete cookies between sessions
2.0.42 - Jun 6 2020
- Adds Spanish and Korean localizations
- A warning is displayed if we cannot deliver successfully to your registered account email address: you should update and re-verify your email address. If you believe it's a "false positive", i.e. the email address is correct, then sign out and request a password reset email - if it is delivered successfully, the warning will be cleared
2.0.41 - Jun 4 2020
- For free users, the default topographic map has been changed from OpenTopoMap to OpenCycleMap. We've been seeing persistent performance issues with OpenTopoMap, likely due to high traffic levels.
2.0.40 - Jun 2 2020
- When geodetics is enabled, a saved location can now be used to set the secondary pin (or the primary pin). This option is displayed only geodetics is enabled in order to keep the user experience simpler for users unfamiliar with the geodetics tools.
2.0.39 - May 31 2020
- Add notranslate tags to prevent Google Translate from prompting to translate the site (which is not supported and breaks things)
- Add styling to <noscript> tag to ensure legibility
- Add link to "Why won't this site load" article, displayed if app fails to initialize
- Add warning about Google Translate (not supported) to error component
2.0.38 - May 28 2020
- Initial v2.0 public release