I have now tried four different games with the last one being pure vanilla version 1.8 game with no custom anything or mods. still slows to a crawl and then hang plus CTD. The 1.8 update has definitely introduced something that makes this game hang once the 1.8 update is installed.
I shut down every ship I had that was on auto and only "discovered" anomalies during my turn instead of pointing ships straight to them. I was able to get beyond the point I crashed several times this morning by doing this. It looks like the idea an earlier poster had about this may be the root cause, simultaneous actions during the automated turn seems to crash the game.
Hopefully this helps.