Riverside Scientific, Inc. -- Interactive Software for Science Exploration

RSI New Moon is intended for all teachers and students of basic Solar System phenomena at all grade levels. It lets you demonstrate--and your students explore--the three-dimensional aspects of motion in the Solar System.  And even better, it's the easiest-to-use astronomy program you'll find.

  • See--in 3D--the relationships between the Sun, Earth and Moon as the Moon's phases change
  • See how the shadows of the Moon and Earth cause eclipses, and why we don't have eclipses every month
  • See how the planets move, from Kepler's laws to retrograde motion and more
  • See how the night sky looks from anywhere on Earth, and print out a chart of the sky that shows the constellations, the locations of deep-sky objects, and even the locations of Jupiter's Galilean moons
  • Quickly show over twenty different aspects of astronomy using New Moon's new Quick configuration feature
  • Plan viewing evenings by seeing what deep-sky objects are up, whether you're using a telescope, binoculars or just unassisted eyes
  • The Teachers Guide describes a variety of concepts in astronomy, and shows you how to use New Moon to help teach them.

Do all this and more without hours of manual reading or training. We've made New Moon just like our other programs: Easy to use. There are no menus and no "toolbars of confusion." Instead, there's a simple interface and options that make sense rather than try to provide everything under the Sun (pun intended). Don't waste an hour or more of classroom time having your students learn how to use a program when they could be learning about the Moon and sky.

Sample Screens

Click on the pictures for enlarged images, then use your browser's Back button to return to this screen.  Please note that the enlarged images are smaller than what you'll actually see using the program, and that the image quality is consequently reduced as well.

Phase Screen

The Phases screen gives you a 3D view of the Sun, Earth and Moon, illustrating the spatial relationships for each phase. You can rotate and tilt the field of view while it's animating, show the ocean tides caused by the Moon and Sun, and even look at phases of the Earth as seen from the Moon.

Eclipse Screen

The Eclipses screen illustrates why we have about two solar eclipses each year. You can follow the Moon's motion around the Earth, and see the umbra and penumbra of each body. Close-up views show the Earth moving through the Moon's shadow and vice-versa. You can set the program to show you the upcoming solar and lunar eclipses.

Planets Screen

The Planets screen shows you the Solar System in 3D motion. You can view the Sun and planets from a fixed location in the Solar System, or lock on a particular planet and view it from another planet. This is great for illustrating retrograde motion, Kepler's laws, and one of Galileo's critical observations: The phases of interior planets compared to those of exterior planets.

Planets Screen

The Ecliptic screen shows how the Sun, Moon and planets travel along the ecliptic. Retrograde motion is clearly seen when animating, particularly when the "trail" feature is turned on.  The Moon's phases are depicted, and when planets pass behind the Sun or each other they're drawn behind the obscuring body.

Preview 7

The Sky screen provides a basic planetarium view that you can use to preview the night sky. You can also easily change latitude and longitude to show what the sky looks like from anywhere on Earth.  Constellations can be turned on and off; right ascension and declination grids are optional.  The best and brightest deep sky objects can be plotted, too--to help you make the best use of your class viewing time.

Saturn's Rings

Saturn's rings open and close as our view of it changes.  Here are two screen captures from August 2017 (left) when the rings are open and February 2025 when they're close to edge-on.

Eclipse Screen

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, showing the Moon's shadows intersecting the Earth.  Note the umbra and penumbral shadows on the leftmost diagram.  The two smaller diagrams on the right show the way the shadows fall on the body being eclipsed.  In this case, you can see the Moon's shadows passing across North America.
Jupiter's Moons You can watch the motion of Jupiter's four Galilean moons--another demonstration of Kepler's laws. And you can also use the sky screen to print out the moon's configuration to help with an evening viewing session. These four big, bright moons can be seen using binoculars.

If you'd like to see more sample images, write us at support@riversci.com or download the evaluation version.  You can also take a look at the Teacher's Guide included with the program--see below.

New in Version 2

We've added features to make New Moon more useful--and we've kept it easy to use, too.  Here are some of the changes:

  • You can choose from over twenty configurations that illustrate specific concepts simply by making a few mouse clicks.  This "Q" feature makes it really easy to use New Moon for demonstrations.
  • The Phase, Eclipse and Planets screens all show real stars and constellations in the backgrounds so that your students can get a better idea of where things are and how they move.
  • The Eclipse screen now offers four zoom levels.  One shows the entirety of the Earths' orbit so that you can better see the reasons eclipses are rare.  The Moon's orbit has be colored to show where it crosses the ecliptic.
  • The Planets screen now has an additional way to show retrograde motion by using a connecting line between planets.  Comets have been added, and you can see the Earth's and Jupiter's moons.  Right clicking on the planets provides a wealth of information about them.  You can also show the planets' names on the main display, or choose to show other characteristics such as speed and distance from the Sun.
  • The Ecliptic screen now allows you to show time trails of individual planets.
  • The Sky screen now provides the plotting of deep sky objects by how they're best viewed--by eye, binoculars, or a small telescope.  You can choose to display the best deep sky objects for urban viewers, too.  Right clicking on the objects provides basic information about them and a brief description.
  • Star charts printed from the Sky screen now include the deep sky objects as specified, and will provide a diagram of Jupiter's moons if the planet is visible.
  • New Moon is now a Windows- and Macintosh OS X-friendly application.  You can resize it, do screen grabs (using other software), minimize it--just like any other application.
System Requirements

RSI New Moon has the following system requirements:

  • Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP or Mac OS 10.3+ operating system.  Windows 95 must be Service Release 2 or later.   New Moon runs on both PowerPC and Intel Macs.
  • Processor running at 500 MHz or faster.  1 GHz or faster is preferred
  • Screen display of at least 800x600 pixels resolution and 16-bit color (SVGA mode).  1024x768 resolution with 24- or 32-bit color (XGA mode) is preferred
  • Approximately 12 Mbytes of free hard disk space
  • Graphics adapter that supports 3D graphics hardware acceleration.  This is standard on most computers
  • Mouse or other compatible pointing device

Almost all PCs sold during the past several years meet these requirements. We suggest that you download the trial version if you would like to verify your system's ability to run New Moon.

Teacher's Guide

The Teacher's Guide for New Moon is a PDF file than can be read with Adobe Acrobat.  The version available here omits the answers to the questions posed within it; the Teacher's Guide you receive with the software will contain the answers.

Clicking on the link below will open the Teacher's Guide for viewing (if your browser is so configured).  To save the file, right click on the link and choose the Save Target As... option.

New Moon Teacher's Guide



Copyright Riverside Scientific, Inc. info@riversci.com  Updated 16 November 2006