ASTRONOMY SOFTWARE FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments on Astronomy software for the PC, Macintosh, or Palm OS systems. Items that are more "review" oriented will be posted on the Astronomy Software Reviews page. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Re: Planetarium Sent: Friday, August 17, 2001 10:39:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Robert You are absolutely right...Planetarium is a wonderful resource and very affordable and useful every time you go out. Many people are NOT aware of this so I am forwarding your comments to Mike Weasner who might want to remind folks of it (he has had a review of this in the ETX site). With the development of all the really sophisticated programs that can wash your car while you search for NGC 4565, this one is a true joy to own. Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- >I wanted to tell you about a great program I have on my Palm Pilot that might >be good to recommend to amateur astronomers who are just starting out, like >me. It's called Planetarium, and what it does is give you lots of information >about celestial objects. Not only positioning information, but distance, >magnitude, rise/set charts, etc. It has not only a compass view which >graphically displays Alt and Az for a selected object, but also a sky view >which displays the location of the object with respect to constellations and >other objects. Here's the info about the objects it has in its DB: > >Objects > > All planets, sun and moon > 1600 or 9000 stars (can be determined at installation) > 88 constellations > Deep sky objects data base expandable. (Data sets available for 110 > Messier objects and 110 Caldwell objects, 280 double stars, 400 > Herschel objects and over 1000 additional deep sky objects) > Comets and asteroids (data base expandable) > >Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it. It might make a handy quick reference >for advanced observers, but the biggest benefit is definitely to "newbies" >like myself, and since Palm Pilots are a lot more common these days, more >people have the capability to run this app. The registration cost is $24, >which is a GREAT deal for all the features it has (I've paid more for Palm >applications that did much less for me), and it's shareware, so people can try >as long as they want before they buy. The website for it is >http://www.aho.ch/pilotplanets/ > >Anyway, I have no connection to the developer other than being a very happy >customer. I just thought it might be something you could pass along for those >who might find it useful. > >BTW, you were right, setting the Alt circle again was a breeze -- I did it in >just a couple of minutes last night. They say we're finally going to clear >off early next week, so I'm hoping to get more time with the scope then. > >-- robert
Subject: Re: The Sky Pocket Edition Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2001 15:24:19 From: email@example.com (Philippe HAAKE) To answer to this question.... I have an ETX-90 + Jornada 48* The sky pocket... And it works nicely... The only thing you need to make it working in a nulmodem cable or just gender changer...... Have look at the well designed page og^f TheSkyPocket www.bisque.com/Products/TheSkyPE/TheSkyPEScope.asp If you have any question. let it me know..... Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND Phil ICQ 3128404 http://astroclub.net/sag/index.html http://astroclub.net/sag/ephemeride/index.html http://community.webshots.com/user/beruberu1 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: The Sky Pocket Edition Sent: Thursday, August 9, 2001 20:11:43 From: email@example.com (Richard Schreiber) I have decided to purchase TheSky to drive my ETX-90, using an HP Jornada 548. I noticed one review of TheSky on your site believed that the software expected the ETX to be polar aligned; feedback I've received is that it really doesn't matter. AltAz should be fine. Recently I built the PC to Autostar interface cable and it has worked well for downloads and I tried it with an evaluation copy of SkyMap v7 and it worked. Question: Do you think this cord will also work with TheSky Pocket Edition? I've seen no mention that anyone has tried this but since it works with Sky Map my guess is it will be o.k. Sure would beat their patch cord configuration. Any thoughts? Thanks. Dick Schreiber Buckeye, AZMike here: As long as the cable connects to the PocketPC I would think it would work.
Subject: Correction: Good Astronomy "GoTo" Software for ETX125,
and an older/slower Laptop, 5/14/01 Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 20:44:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Silver) In my May 14th email (below), I mistakenly called the software "SkyView". The correct name for the software program I referred to is "SKYMAP" v3.2 . I sincerely apologize for any wild-goose-chase people may have gone on trying to find the incorrect name. Information, and a free (trial) version which can be used on 30 "different" days can be downloaded at: http://www.wwsoftware.com/. It worked well on my slow laptop, and should also run under Windows 3.1 (check the website). Also. I have downloaded and tried the latest trial version of SKYMAP Pro, version 7 on my slow laptop. It does take longer (3-5 seconds) to change screens, but it does control my ETX-125 accurately, and also contains some very nice new features (such as showing an accurate "eyepiece" and "viewfinder" view of the sky). This trial version is missing Hubble star data, but is not limited to the 30 (different) day trial period. It can also be downloaded from http://www.wwsoftware.com/ . Hope this info helps. Ron Silver
Subject: BasicCE Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 22:01:57 From: Anonymous I found the link to where you can download basicCE for the LXCE LX200 control program: pda.atlasta.net/wince/preview/32347.html
Subject: WinCE LX200 Control Program Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 22:00:36 From: Anonymous I was surfing the net looking for some more handheld pc astronomy software and ran by this, it uses your handheld WinCE machine to run your LX200, and its free! But you have to have WinCE version 2.0 or higher, and either an SH3 or a MIPS processor, and some program called basice to run the program under. I have yet to test it. I have two links for this program, one is to a page where you can download it and find a little bit of information and one is to the author's own site. Download site: pda.atlasta.net/wince/preview/181825.html Enjoy!
Subject: New WinCE Astronomy Software Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 21:47:46 From: Anonymous Hi. I was surfing for software for my handheld computer one day and came across this software. It's called Pocket Universe by Sticky Software. It supports both palm size and handheld pcs running Windows CE. It doesn't control a telescope though, only displays the stars and deep sky where they are. The link is www.sticky.co.uk/Palm/pu.htm. They also have a demo version available with fewer stars and some functions disabled, but hey, its free! I have yet to test it out though, I'll tell you how it goes when I get around to testing it.
Subject: AstroFinder Software Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 11:13:41 From: Keenangroup@home.com (keenangroup) I am a new ETX 70AT user and new to astronomy. I am interested in PC software and have looked at various shareware and Sky and Telescope recommendations. Is the AstroFinder software -- because of its integration with the ETX 70AT -- the best bet for a beginner? Or is there another overwhelmingly popular choice that would be of more value to me? I suspect that, eventually, I will own AstroFinder, but I can't try it, so I don't know whether it is as useful as some others I have looked at. I noted that many of the postings to this board are pretty old, so I hope you are still monitoring it and providing advice. Thanks. Jim KeenanMike here: The Site is current as of 13 June 2001. It gets updated every 2, 3, or 4 days and has been for almost five years. Of course, not all areas get updated everytime. But are you sure you're looking at the current web site address? Anyway, there are some software reviews on the Accessories - Software page, as well as comments on the Software Feedback page. You can also search the site for "software".
Subject: Planetarium 2.0 for PalmOS and Autostar Sent: Saturday, June 9, 2001 11:38:02 From: email@example.com (John Gastineau) A few days ago I promised a real observing report using Autostar and Planetarium for Palm OS controlling the 'scope. Well, I couldn't sleep this morning, so I looked outside and found the first cloudless sky I've seen in weeks and weeks. It was about 4am, so there wasn't much time before things started to get bright. I assembled my ETX and got it all aligned with a two-star alignment. (More on this below) Then I connected my Handspring running Planetarium 2.0.4. I choose a new star, and the scope hopped right there. Another choice, and the new star was right in view. I didn't have time for a test by looking for deep sky objects, because by then the sky was getting bright with morning light. Still, judging by the ease with which I could star-hop from the Handspring, this combination of software and hardware is going to be very nice indeed. Now, about alignments. I mentioned this before, but let me amplify my comments. From the Planetarium web site you can download a special list of EXT alignment stars. As Dr. Sherrard discusses in his alignment comments, you probably don't know all the ETX alignment stars by name. By highlighting the ETX stars on the sky map, it is easy to choose stars that are unobstructed. For example, this morning it was already getting light, and I didn't take the time to move to a large clearing--I just set up in my road. The trees obscured much of the sky, and only a subset of the alignment stars to the north and above were visible. Using Planetarium's sky map with the ETX stars highlighted, I made good use of the two-star alignment mode (not the Easy align mode!) whereby I get to choose the two stars. I just chose two stars that I could identify by naked eye and named by Planetarium, and then selected them from the Autostar's list as needed. Much quicker than using Easy Align when you have to keep rejecting the stars that Autostar chooses. JEG
Subject: Re: Deepsky 2000 Sent: Saturday, June 9, 2001 10:25:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: David Glad you got that Deepsky2000 download. You will very much like it and use it often; the comet and asteroid database is very useful and changes often; the LX 200 control panel update is something that - with an ETX scope - you do not need to waste disk space on. You have everything you need! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- Dr. Sherrod, I did purchase the Deepsky 2000 program and opted to get the downloadable version. I might not if I had known how large it was, but it was less expensive that way. I can't wait until they get my DSL installed as it will drastically cut down those type of issues. Now that I have the program on my desktop I will transfer is to my Micron notebook via The Fast PC Linker III, a neat little program for people who have more than one computer. One question, there were other files on the web site that I am not sure if I need or not. I did download the Deepsky 2000 User Manual, and the Latest Comet and Asteroid Database, but I do not know if I need the LX200 Control Panel Update. Is this last file needed for the 125EC? Thanks Dave
Subject: skychart for windows 3.1 Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 13:37:05 From: email@example.com (andrew sprott) i'm askin you and any other people on this web-site, if you gnow where i can obtain skychart for windows 3.1. i have the 95 version, but the puter i want it on is a 486 runnin wfwg. i fixed the problem with linin up the digital camera up with the eye piece. as it happens, a spare eyepiece cover turns out to be the answer. the base fits the cameras lense and i got inside of the cap removed so that it can sit on top of the eyepiece. tia andrew sprott www.btinternet.com/~talisoft/
Subject: Vega WebCam Astro Capture Software Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 11:23:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Colin F Bownes) Thanks for the site - I have just got an ETX90EC and am learning a lot from the information you and your contributors have provided. I thought some of them may be interested in trying webcam astronomy using my Vega program. I wrote Vega after I joined the QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group (QCUIAG) http://www.astrabio.demon.co.uk/QCUIAG/. It is freeware and has been specifically designed to get as much out of a webcam in an astronomy context as possible. Vega has a long list of features but broadly it allows you to capture AVIs, BMP's and FIT files (8,16, and 32 bit) using a number of tools (oscilloscopes, pixel meters, focussing aids etc). The program is also capable of carrying out Video Integration (Stack and Accumulate) to simulate long exposures by stacking a large number of short exposures. Dark Frames are supported as are three binning modes. When using FIT files there is a special IRIS compatible mode (IRIS is a very powerful freeware French astro image processing system written by Christian Buil - it has an english version and PDF manual for those who don't speak French). IRIS can be found at http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/us/iris/iris.htm Vega is multi-lingual and has a manual with tutorials in PDF and Word Format. One of the users (Jan Timmermans) has written a further manual for beginners called the Vega Cookbook which is also available in PDF format. The download is about 1Mb. There is also a Lite version which allows less functions but which, being smaller, often runs on lower powered machines such as 486s. The download page for Vega is at http://www.ncare.co.uk/qc/download.htm There are also comprehensive instructions on building an astro webcam on the same site at http://www.ncare.co.uk/qc/build.htm Clear Skies Colin Bownes
Subject: Astronomy software Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 1:16:16 From: YDuchemin@Antibioticos.it (Duchemin Yann) just somes words to tell you that you could find a small (very small) software to take a picture from your favorite twain application (like a webcam). My application (written in JAVA with source code), could write the current date, and a personnal pict on the picture before to publish it automatically on you website. I think it's particularly easy to make a live for an astronomical event, like a solar eclipse may be in june ;o) because I can't going to Africa... so use it for us :o) You could find it on my personnal website at : http://yann.duchemin.free.fr/astro and "DIRECT" in the left menu, it's arround 100Ko for source code and application. Sorry it's only in French at this time. Best Regards, Yann DUCHEMIN
Subject: Good Astronomy "GoTo" Software for ETX125,Mike here: See the correction on the 9 July update.
and an older/slower Laptop Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 18:27:10 From: email@example.com (Ron Silver) I have an old (but reliable) Compaq '486-PC laptop running Windows 95. It only has 20 MB of RAM, and a 25 MB/S processor. I decided to try the "SkyView version 3.2" software because of it's modest processing requirements. (SkyView Pro has much greater capabilities, but recommends more PC horsepower!). I downloaded their '30-day-trial' software, carefully read the "getting started" instructions, plugged the serial cable from the serial-port on the laptop to the Autostar on my ETX125. Lo and behold, clicking on stars, galaxies, Messier objects immediately sent the ETX to the proper sky positions! No problems! The actual position of the ETX is shown on the 'planetarium' screen as 'blinking' cross-hairs. I have only used it for one (hazy) night so far, but it is perhaps the best use of my old laptop ever. Looking at the PC 'planetarium' screen and selecting sky objects is like effortlessly aiming my ETX125 at a "labeled" sky! Lots of fun so far! Ron Silver firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Pocket Deepsky Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 16:04:28 From: email@example.com (Steven S Tuma) I have released Pocket Deepsky for WIndows CE devices. It will run an ETX Autostar. Could you let ETX users know that the product is now available. The Pocket Deepsky website can be found at http://www.deepsky2000.net/pocket.htm Thanks Steve
Subject: StarryNight Pro Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 17:55:53 From: Canoe007@aol.com Great site. I have a Meade EXT-125. I use StarryNight Pro for my software. But I'm on Mac, so I can't control the telescope from my laptop. Are you aware of any planetarium software that can control the EXT-125 from a Mac Laptop? Thanks, Jamie TurnerMike here: See the message from "firstname.lastname@example.org (pst)" further down this Software Feedback page for info on Mac OS plug-ins.
Subject: AstroQC v1.1.0 Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2001 12:22:22 From: Dave.Rosenthal@ie-ate.com (Rosenthal, Dave) I have developed a Bitmap / AVI capture program for the Logitech QuickCam series of CCD cameras, it supports the following: QUICKCAM_VC QUICKCAM_QUICKCLIP QUICKCAM_PRO QUICKCAM_HOME QUICKCAM_PRO_B QUICKCAM_TEKCOM QUICKCAM_EXPRESS QUICKCAM_FROG The application is ready for its first release as Freeware. Features include: Video Capture: 120 by 160, 240 by 320 & 480 by 640 formats Timed Capture Time-Lapse Capture Bitmap Capture: Single Shot Sequenced Capture Integrated Video & Bitmap Viewers Integrated Video Database with preview Integrated Observations Database InstallShield Installation AstroQC for Windows is now available for download from here (13.7MB). Contact me at: email@example.com **************************************************************** David Rosenthal Software Engineering Manager
Subject: Palm Pilot vs Autostar. Palm Pilot wins! Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2001 22:13:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Scott Horne) A little something for palm pilot owners! If you upgrade the autostar's firmware from the same computer you hotsync your palm pilot with, BE SURE TO DISABLE THE HOTSYNC MANAGER! They often times use the same com port, and the autostar updater will not be able to use the port! In this fight, the palm pilot wins......... Remember this is only if the updater and the hotsync manager use the same com port! Thanx for the site! Scott Horne http://starjourney.net
Subject: Palm, Planetarium and ETX Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2001 08:40:49 From: email@example.com (Mike Hadey) To: RMOLLISE@aol.com Hi Rod, I noticed your question about using the Palm Planetarium program with an ETX on Mike W's web site. I have successfully used this program with my ETX-90 with 2 versions of Autostar software. 1st 2.1Ek and now 2.2Ef. I just got in from trying it with the new software and I successfully did GOTO the sun, Venus, mercury and Jupiter (I couldn't see the planets but the position agreed with the GOTO's using the Autostar. I assume that you initialized and aligned the ETX as usual. Then you need to do one GOTO (doesn't matter what you goto) before using the Planetarium program. The only other thing that you might check is the "set location" settings in the Planetarium program. You need to have the correct Time, Latitude, Longitude, Time Zone, and Daylight saving set. If you have already done all of that, I'm not sure why it doesn't work. It accurately hit all of the goto objects that I tried when using it at night with 2.1Ek and, as I just said, the Sun and planets with 2.2Ef. I think the program is well worth the money. Good Luck, Mike H.And:
I just though of something else that could have caused your problem with the Planetarium program. In the upper left-hand corner of the sky view display there is a clock Icon that you can toggle on and off. If it is toggled on, the program uses the current Palm time, if it is toggled off you can set a different time. If you pick an object and click the information Icon, it shows the position and other stats for the chosen time (either Palm time or the one you set). I haven't verified this yet, but if you don't have the clock icon selected (and therefore are using a different time for the display) the goto position for the scope may be the one for the selected time instead of the Palm time. Clear as mud? Mike H.
Subject: Software: Palm, Planetarium and ETX Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001 14:41:16 From: RMOLLISE@aol.com Hi Gang: I've been evaluating the Palm program Planetarium. It's a fine app, and I intend to register it. Before doing so, though, I wanted to be sure it could be used with my li'l ETX. I hooked it up in the usual way...Palm cable, null modem, gender changer, 506 ETX cable. But I've got a problem. "Query" telescope works very well, returning the exact position of the ETX. But goto, "set position," does not seem to work. The scope will drive to a location, but usually one about 180 degrees away from the selected object. Using query position returns the WRONG position of the scope _accurately_. Am I doing something wrong? How should the Palm serial connection be set up? I realize this driver is for the LX-200, but I've been told it should work. Goto works fine with a laptop, etc., but a laptop is surely overkill for an ETX-60, while a Palm IIIxe is just right. Peace, Rod Mollise, Moderator, sct-user, The mailing list for CAT fanciers (MCT, SCT, and MNT fanatics!) http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index4.html
Subject: Starry Night Upgrade Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2001 07:35:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Leo) Thanks for the great site. For the benefit of those wishing to upgrade Starry Night Bundle Edition (Basic) to Starry Night Backyard they will find that SNBY does not have a facility to connect to the scope. However, contact Starry Night support and they will e-mail the necessary file to modify the program at no charge. There are plenty of features in SNBY to justify the upgrade cost from Bundle Edition. email@example.com
Subject: RE: GPS Meade Palm Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2001 12:15:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Hadey) To: Thomas The specific palm application is "Planetarium" at http://www.aho.ch/pilotplanets/ . I got the null modem cable to use with my Palm Vx from: http://www.delorme.com/earthmate/cable_wince.asp (I have a Garmin GPS III+ but the earthmate cable works fine along with the synch. cabel that came with my Palm). The site http://www.gpspilot.com/GPReceiver.htm gives you links to various interfaces to other GPS's and tells you how to make a generic null modem serial cable. The site: http://www.gpspilot.com/ has an application called "Atlas" for $34 (free to try) which is great for a moving map application that you can use with your GPS. There is a free application on the site called "cartographer" that lets you scan in your own maps for the application. There is also an application called "compass" that works in conjunction with "Atlas". Hope this helps. Feel free to reply with more questions. Cheers, Mike H. -----Original Message----- From: Thomas I have a Garmin GPS, Meade ETX90ec, and Palm VII. I read your email on the Weasner site and was curious what cable you where talking about and where to get it? Also what software for the Palm did you use? and what cable configuration did you use to connect the etx to the palm? Thanks a lot, Tom
Subject: Feature requests for ETX/Autostar control via Starry Night on a Macintosh Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 10:46:35 From: email@example.com (pst) I have been corresponding with the author of the Starry Night (SN) plug-in that allows ETX telescope control on a Macintosh. She and I worked out the bugs in the latest version which can be downloaded from her web site (http://www.CarmelCoast.com/pages/Robin/IG_Astro.html). You must have an Autostar handbox for this to work. The plug-in will allow you to slew your scope by selecting objects in SN or you can have SN show where your scope is currently aimed. It works well for slewing and following and I would like to publicly applaud her efforts. Thanks Robin!!! While helping debug the plug-in, I began to think that it would be nice to have additional features built into the plug-in. I asked Robin about that and she was open to the idea. However, she has very limited time to do the programming required and she does NOT have an ETX (or LX200, which uses the same command set, or nearly so) to use for testing. So she and I thought that if any more features were going to be added to the plug-in, most of the ground work would need to be done by someone other than Robin. That leads me to the following point. I would like to start a discussion on your ETX site so that us Mac users can kick around some feature ideas that we would like to see implemented in the plug-in. A separate discussion list would be great. Once we have a nice list of useful features, we could then start discussing how to program those into a plug-in. I would then forward that info to Robin and she would be deciding if those ideas are doable and how we at the Mighty ETX site could best help her. I don't expect any of us to be submitting code, at least not at this time, but those with the skills may want to. Those of us that understand the Autostar inside and out (did I hear Dick Seymour's name!?!?!) would likely be able to help the most with implementation. All of us could help beta test the various plug-ins if we get that far. So, to kick off the ideas, I submit several for discussion (from most to least useful): 1. Data dump from SN to Autostar. Since the folks at SN have a built in mechanism for automatically updating ephemeris data via the internet (and it is updated very often, much more so than Meade updates the Autostar ephemeris data on their web site), it would be most useful to have the plugin simply replace all database info (at least the satellites, comets, asteroids) on the Autostar with that from SN. Anyone interested in satellites, comets, asteroids, etc. would use that feature often! This would relieve us from using the awful, Windows only, software that Meade provides. This would require a complete understanding of the data structures and data communications between the Autostar and SN. Maybe it would require a completely separate program to do this. It may be too much for a plugin, but it is a feature I would be willing to PAY for. 2. Satellite tracking. The current satellite tracking in autostar leaves much to be desired. It will not start tracking until the satellite has reached 10 degrees above the horizon. Allowing customization of the AOS would be very useful. For instance, if I have a clear shot at the horizon, I may want to start tracking at 4 degrees or so. Or, if there is a house or mountain in my view, I may want to start at some other arbitrary hight like 37 degrees or so. You can't really do this now with the autostar. Implementing tracking may be a real nightmare though if communication between the plugin and autostar is not updated often enough, unless there is some info that could just be fed to the autostar to change or improve it's built-in tracking of satellites. I would use this feature especially if it improves tracking accuracy. 3. Improved Polar and Alt/Az alignment. The easy alignment in the autostar usually works ok, but I would like to see some sort of high precision alignment mode to improve tracking and slewing. I don't know how well it works, but the Astronomer's Control Panel (ACP) (http://acp.dc3.com/) has this. I think that the autostar needs to be aligned before it really works with external commands; however, there may be some way to "update" the alignment after the autostar alignment. 4. Satellite passes during a given time period. Currently, if you want to track satellites using autostar or even with a plugin for SN, you must know which satellite will be passing in a visible position before you start. With autostar, you select a satellite and then wait for a full minute while it calculates the satellite position, and only then will it tell you if there is a visible pass coming up within the next few hours. If it isn't visible and you just want to track any visible satellite, you must then select the next satellite and wait for it to be calculated, check visibility, etc, etc, etc, until you find a visible pass. And after all that, the pass may be hours away. So you check others until you find a closer time. Also, you have no idea from the autostar what the magnitude of the satellite will be. It would be great to ask the plugin for a list of satellites with a magnitude of greater than some value, visible at my location, from say 8pm to 11pm tonight, and have the list sorted by AOS time. You can do that now by visiting the Heavens-above site (www.heavens-above.com), but then you must have that list on-hand. I don't know of a way to get such a list or display in SN by itself. 5. Setting Date and Time in the autostar. The autostar does not have an internal clock/calender so you must set the date and time every outing. Using the time from a Mac (especially if the Mac is updated often from an internet time server, like mine) is likely going to be much more accurate that that from a wrist watch. And anything that will improve the slew accuracy is great in my book! 6. Setting Lat/Long of the current viewing location. This may occasionally be useful, but only if you are traveling or if you often move your scope around to various sites. This is not something I would use often. Also, this would require that you have previously entered the correct location info into SN. I am sure there are other features that could be useful, lets hear them! Paul St. Amand http://www.alfalfa.ksu.edu/ http://ars-genome.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/WebAce/webace?db=alfagenes Alfalfa Breeding & Genetics KSU, Agronomy Dept. 2004 Throckmorton Hall Manhattan KS 66506-5501 firstname.lastname@example.org 785-532-7746Mike here: I put this on this page since even Windows users will want to know what is being discussed. Maybe Meade will take some of the requests and implement them in their software.
And this response:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Bunches of comments.... Pre-comment: i don't know/use Starry Night (SN), so i'm not sure what the "plug in" does versus the main program. Hence i don't understand where the dividing line (or effort) is for doing some of the stuff... (like setting Site... in LX200-speak it's merely :SgDDD*MM# for longitude, and :StSDD*MM# for latitude. ) > So, to kick off the ideas, I submit several for discussion (from most to least useful): > 1. Data dump from SN to Autostar. > Since the folks at SN have a built in mechanism for automatically updating ephemeris data via the internet (and it is updated very often, much more so than Meade updates the Autostar ephemeris data on their web site), it would be most useful to have the plugin simply replace all database info (at least the satellites, comets, asteroids) on the Autostar with that from SN. Anyone interested in satellites, comets, asteroids, etc. would use that feature often! This would relieve us from using the awful, Windows only, software that Meade provides. This would require a complete understanding of the data structures and data communications between the Autostar and SN. Maybe it would require a completely separate program to do this. It may be too much for a plugin, but it is a feature I would be willing to PAY for. ...and it's murderously difficult to do... What the Updater (or cloning) does is completely rewrite 64KBytes of the flash ram... it has created a Motorola byte-ordered (no problem for 68k Mac folks!) memory image of the 6 linked lists (plus tours) which form the user objects... and sends the whole mess over. It doesn't send over individual entries for the Autostar to weave into the list as if you'd keyed it in via the keypad. > 2. Satellite tracking. > The current satellite tracking in autostar leaves much to be desired. It will not start tracking until the satellite has reached 10 degrees above the horizon. Allowing customization of the AOS would be very useful. For instance, if I have a clear shot at the horizon, I may want to start tracking at 4 degrees or so. Or, if there is a house or mountain in my view, I may want to start at some other arbitrary hight like 37 degrees or so. You can't really do this now with the autostar. Implementing tracking may be a real nightmare though if communication between the plugin and autostar is not updated often enough, unless there is some info that could just be fed to the autostar to change or improve it's built-in tracking of satellites. I would use this feature especially if it improves tracking accuracy ...something you may not realize is that you can ask the Autostar to -recalculate- the AOS point... as far as i can tell it's kind of random about AOS Altitude angle. IF you don't like the first AOS, [mode], reselect the satellite, and see what -that- AOS point is. I find it'll range between 15 and 35 degrees (unless the satellite is already overhead, in which case it'll take the -current- Alt for AOS) But i agree... to-the-horizon tracking is desirable... I've sent that wish to engine@meade many times. However, i get around the limitation with a copy of EuroSat, an LX-200 (and ETX90) compatible tracking program. > > 3. Improved Polar and Alt/Az alignment. > The easy alignment in the autostar usually works ok, but I would like to see some sort of high precision alignment mode to improve tracking and slewing. I don't know how well it works, but the Astronomer's Control Panel (ACP) (http://acp.dc3.com/) has this. I think that the autostar needs to be aligned before it really works with external commands; however, there may be some way to "update" the alignment after the autostar alignment. ?? i don't understand... SYNC updates the alignment, and you can invoke "High Precision" (HP) from the LX200 command set. HP actually -is- a SYNC operation on the "guide star" it goes to before going to the final target. However, it "skews" the Autostar's alignment a bit, rather than simply saying "retard 10 arcminutes in RA". A better way to do this, and perhaps -exactly- what you're asking for, is to *not* align the Autostar at all (if in Alt/Az). Then have SN command it in pure Alt/Az mode. If you have the ETX level and pointed due north when you power up, it'll be as accurate as the drive system can get. I believe the current version of Autosar firmware doesn't fully implement the "high precision" syntax for angle description. (even though you can -say- 45 degrees 42.3 minutes, it ignores the ".3") The same fault affects RA numeric precision. I suspect Meade's work on adding an autoguider to the LX90 will filter down to us ETXer in improvements to that. > > 4. Satellite passes during a given time period. > Currently, if you want to track satellites using autostar or even with a plugin for SN, you must know which satellite will be passing in a visible position before you start.... > I don't know of a way to get such a list or display in SN by itself. EuroSat does all of that. Live. My 133 MHz Pentium can track over 150 satellites with full update every 2 seconds. I get live full-sky charts with (if wished) trails which make the satellite quite visible. A list with flashing entries shows what's up -now- and what's about to be up. A click with the mouse and the program (and ETX) concentrates on -that- satellite (other still show, that one gets numbers). For the ham radio (and amateur radio astronomers), EuroSat -also- calculates doppler shift so that any radio transmissions (wanna -hear- MIR or ISS?) can be kept in tune as the satellite approaches, passes and leaves... http://members.aol.com/marionjc/eurosat/ is the beginning of the French site describing it... On the photo of people at a conference are words ... each of which is a link to a page showing part of Eurosat's features. The program -itself- is multilingual (both written and verbal... it speaks!) Roghly $100 shareware. The demo is fully functional... -except- that you can't change the observing location. > > 5. Setting Date and Time in the autostar. > The autostar does not have an internal clock/calender so you must set the date and time every outing. Using the time from a Mac (especially if the Mac is updated often from an internet time server, like mine) is likely going to be much more accurate that that from a wrist watch. And anything that will improve the slew accuracy is great in my book! ?? the Autostar accepts time and location settings via the LX200 command set. There (were, probably still are) may be bugs in how well the Autostar accepts those changes once you've keyed in the Time during initialization. I can't remember which way it fails: either "the time sets OK, but the when-objects-go-below-horizon may get confused" or vice-versa. You can test this from the Keypad... merely change the time. > > 6. Setting Lat/Long of the current viewing location. > This may occasionally be useful, but only if you are traveling or if you often move your scope around to various sites. This is not something I would use often. Also, this would require that you have previously entered the correct location info into SN. ...also currently available with LX200 command set. (see WAY above) Older versions were buggy in that the latitude wouldn't accept a "minutes" with a units digit greater than 5. I'm also happy to provide what data i can about the structure of the user objects lists... but i do NOT have them completely figured out, nor do i have the linked listing structure itself nailed down. I believe the LIBxxxx.ROM files in the Updater's Ephemerides folder -are- the memory images as used by the Autostar. It's tying them together which is difficult (for example: it was slight errors in -that- code that had the A2.3 Updater destroying Autostars and Starfinders...)(Meade sent a -lot- of replacements out). --dick
Subject: sky epoch 2000 (cdrom) Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 00:11:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Luis Plantier) I'm running Sky Epoch 2000 in my Compaq Armada 1500c Laptop under Windows 98 and with a HP 930C printer, the printer is well setup to work with the program, but every time I try to print a chart out of it I alaways get the answer - " STACK OVERFLOW ". I also have a desktop running under Windows 98 and this never happens. I wonder if you could help me. Thank you Luis Plantier Lisbon-Portugal email@example.com
Subject: Re: Controlling the ETX-125 via StarryNight on a USB Macintosh Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2001 00:49:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) To: email@example.com (pst) Hi, Paul -- okay, you win (sorta)!! I tried doing an "exhaustive" test of my ETX-90EC controlled using the Info-Genie plug-in to SNPro 3.1.1 (running on a Mac G4/450 DP under OS 9.0.4) -- and now I'M exhausted. You're right. There is definitely something that is not working as expected. Before when I tried it, I think I managed to GOTO coordinates that probably just worked, and not many of them -- enough to convince me that the scope and SNPro were talking to each other. But when I tried to continuously GOTO locations in all directions, as you requested, I ran into trouble. First, let me get the "Follow" out of the way. I first did a quick Easy Align of the scope so I had some reference point (this was all tried in the house during the day -- I have a pretty good idea where North is). I then used the Autostar handbox to slew the scope to various locations in RA that I just pointed to randomly throughout the 24 hour range, then clicked on the "Follow" button in the Info-Genie plug in. In all cases that I tried, SNPro would pan to the relative location in the sky where the ETX would be pointing. I tried doing diametrically opposite coordinates just to give the scope and SNPro a workout, but it seemed to work each time. Then I tried the "Slew" feature, and that's where things started going crazy. I first selected Polaris in SNPro and then pressed the "Slew" button in Info-Genie. That was a success. But when I then tried to center a star in SNPro to the RIGHT (eastward) of Polaris, the scope would want to slew LEFT (westward), about the same amount. The more eastward I centered a new star and tried to slew the scope, the more westward the scope would point. And sometimes it would slew by just a very small amount (both in Dec and RA) even though the next GOTO was rather far away. I had trouble going more than about 150 degrees west of Polaris -- I never was able to make it go east of Polaris. And to make matters worse, every once in a while I would get an error (I don't remember the exact wording), about there "NOT being a cable connection to the LX-200. Please check your cables and try again." -- or something to that effect, anyway. I would click "Okay," and just try the procedure again, and it would work, but usually not pointing successfully to the coordinates on screen, but the scope WAS getting a signal because it DID move in response to clicking the "Slew" button. I wonder if anyone has really done this successfully under real circumstances, actually out in the field. I don't believe it's the #505 cable, or the Keyspan adapter, or any other part of the hardware connection (although I'm not one to say that it -couldn't- be that). I think it probably has something to do with the code being sent from Info-Genie to the Autostar, which would be a software glitch -- whether that falls within the Info-Genie plug-in or in the Autostar itself I couldn't tell. I was under the impression that the ETX uses a subset of the LX-200 codes -- perhaps there's a problem there. I think the "Follow" command works as expected. I think the "Slew" command needs some looking into. I'm sending this message to you and also to Mike Weasner -- perhaps others will read it and provide some feedback (Dick? Clay? anyone?) Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Problems with Starry Night and ETX-125 Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 09:27:05 From: email@example.com (Hal Bonillas) I just wanted to report that I have solved my problem getting Starry Night to work with my ETX-125. Turned out I had a bad connection! I sprayed a little WD 40 on my connector and it now works perfectly! When I stop to think about everything I went through to get the thing to work.... I suppose one of the first things I should have done was to make sure I had a good connection. Anyway, I would like to thank those who responded to my message. I appreciate your comments and found them helpful.
Subject: ETX-125 and StarryNight Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 12:22:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hal Bonillas) Has anyone been successful getting Starry Night to work with a Macintosh in controlling the telescope? I have all the software, plugins, etc., required but have not been able to get the software to recognize the telescope via Autostar. I would appreciate any suggestions anyone might have is solving this problem.
Subject: Planetarium Interface to ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2001 14:54:29 From: email@example.com (Joe Walker) Saw a message posted asking if anyone had successfully interfaced a 497 Autostar scope using Planetarium on a Palm. I've used Planetarium several times to interface with the scope and it works very well using the LX200 plug in module. I interface to the scope using a #505 cable and a cable from DeLorme that interfaces a DeLorme GPS with the Palm. The use of the DeLorme cable eliminates the need for a gender changer and a null modem. Also, there is a GPS plug in module that will download location information for use with Planetarium. Hope this information is useful. Joe Walker
Subject: Controlling an ETX with a palm device/Planetarium software Sent: Monday, February 12, 2001 07:45:07 From: Nitefly2@aol.com First of all, thanks for creating such a great site! I recently installed "Planetarium" on my PDA. On the Planetarium Download page (www.aho.ch/pilotplanets/download.html), it references some success controlling an ETX using their LX200 commands. The following text is from their Download page. "I have got reports that the LX200 plug-in also works for ETX telescopes. Please note: You need an AutoStar device. You must not connect the Telescope directly to the Palm without the AutoStar in between, this might damage your Palm or the telescope. To use Planetarium with a Meade ETX with AutoStar, you need to do the following first: Make sure the AutoStar is not on the RA/Dec screen. You must select an object and move to it using the AutoStar controller before you attempt to do something through Planetarium." Have you heard of anyone doing this successfully? I am currently trying to build a 505 type cable that will link the Autostar to my Handspring serial cradle. Rich Shoji Seattle, WAMike here: Don't recall any reports yet from an ETX/Autostar/Palm/Planetarium user.
Subject: PC star chart pgms Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2001 08:19:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Autostar Software Review Project) I've used three different programs and none are quite "da bomb", to use youthful parlance. On my Linux box I run XEphem (included in RedHat and SuSE Linux distributions and also on line). Like much of the Unix world, it's a little quirky, assumes significant user skill, but gives a lot of options for those who have the time to learn how to run it. I tried Deep Sky 2000 but found it almost user hostile. It's great on building lists and so on but for someone who wants to do a "hmmm, what's to be seen tonight" or "it's cloudy but I want to see what the sky's up to" session, fahgedaboudit! My buddy at USNO swears by it but I pulled it off my machine. SkyMap has some gaps in it, the artwork is ...ah... workman-like (curiously, the Milky Way isn't included as an outlined area although there's a nice free add-on that does just that), and the star catalogs, as best I can tell, never heard of Struve numbers. Still, I can light it up, watch the Moon slide past Jupiter and Saturn on a cloudy night, and, as you've seen, watch the ETX on the screen. Go to http://www.skymap.com to grab a copy of the program and try it. It has a "begging screen" and doesn't have the full star catalogs received when you pay for it, but is otherwise fully functional, including telescope control modules. I haven't had a chance to try The Sky or Starry Night in any of their varied flavors. I've seen The Sky in use but, based on what I saw, I'd rather spend the money on a new EP. Cheers, Rick
Subject: Planitarium (Palm OS) Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 16:44:54 From: email@example.com (Adam J. Thurston) I just downloaded and registered Planitarium for my Palm Vx. WOW! I haven't learned to use it yet, but this looks super cool.Mike here: I tried it too some months back but ended up with Star Pilot. Reviews on the Astronomy Software Reviews page.
So you like Star Pilot better huh? I've only been playing around with Planetarium for a few minutes, and I'm already blown away. If Star Pilot is even better, I MUST HAVE IT.Mike here: It is more expensive. See the reviews.
Subject: TheSkyPocket Sent: Friday, December 29, 2000 09:34:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (HAAKE Philippe) Hello again... in TheSky (Pocket Edition) Subject: TheSky and Ipaq Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 12:34:26 From: email@example.com it is said that Also TheSky assumes that the 125 is in the polar mode and will not work in the AZ/ALT mode. Wrong my TheSkyPocket is working well in alt-az with my HP Jornada 548... Have a nice day. Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND Phil ICQ 3128404 http://astroclub.net/sag/index.html http://community.webshots.com/user/beruberu1
Subject: SkyTools Observation Planning Software and TheSkyPocket software... Sent: Friday, December 29, 2000 09:28:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (HAAKE Philippe) Following these e-mail you could add those two address where I made two review: BUT IN FRENCH!!! they can use a translator... For Skytools: http://astroclub.net/mercure/sag/observateur/99-2-a.html For TheSkyPocket: http://astroclub.net/mercure/sag/astrorevue/theskypocket.html I hope it will help some of us to decide for two very good soft... Thanks for all... And Happy Millennium.. Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND Phil ICQ 3128404 http://astroclub.net/sag/index.html http://community.webshots.com/user/beruberu1
Subject: Palm VIIx Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2000 06:19:32 From: Bill.Cody@mbia.com (Cody, Bill) My wife bought me a Palm VIIx handheld for Christmas. I would like to use the Palm Pilot to control my ETX125EC, but can not seem to find any software which is compatible with the Palm and has the capability of controlling the ETX. Software Bisque The Sky is not compatible with many of the Palm versions. I was hoping maybe you had some suggestions that may do the trick. The Palm VIIx has Palm OS software v. 3.5 as its operating system. Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Great site Mike, keep up the good work.Mike here: According to the recent review on the Software Reviews page, Planetarium will work with the LX200 commands, so it might drive an ETX/Autostar. From reports I've seen, TheSky seems to work with WinCE (is that really pronounced "wince"?) handhelds. A future version of Star Pilot will reportedly support telescope control.
Subject: the Sky pocket Edition Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2000 05:07:19 From: email@example.com (Tony Frisina) After trying several times to get my etx90ec autostar set up, etc, I gave up and bought THE SKY pocket edition for my HP Jornada pocket PC. One trip to radio shack and I had the adapters I needed to connect. By the way the sky manual says you need gender changers to go to the null modem( I already had), but you can get the proper 25 to 9 pin adapters to avoid the gender changers. Anyway, the learning curve for THE SKY was wonderful and I highly recommend it to all. I was finding, syncing and slewing in about 10 minutes !!Of course. if you don't have a pocket PC, you may shell out almost the price of the scope for one. It is fun to walk around with a view of the sky in your pocket !! Also, the WP function of the PC lets you keep lat&long settings, etc. Havn't tried to use it for a log.
Subject: Starry Night and Mac Sent: Thursday, November 2, 2000 14:25:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel Forslund) I've now spent the entire evening trying to get Starry Night and the ETX to communicate, and it finally works (sort of). It turned out that the old (1.0) version of the plugin that's availible on the web and the Pro CD wouldn't work on a USB-only Mac. I emailed Casady & Green (who wrote it) and got a new version 2.02. This will allow for selection of the port used and this works with the keyspan adapter. So far so good. When trying the plugin, Starry Night is perfectly capable of reading the scope position using the "Follow" command. However, the "Slew" command sends the ETX to weird positions. I've tried several settings without results. Could this be because my Autostar still uses version 1.1j of the software? Has the LX200 emulation been much improved since then? I haven't updated yet since I don't have access to VPC and it isn't realistic to purchase it only to be able to update the scope (since MEADE should be able to solve the problem for Mac users). And I do need to use VPC, right? Anyway, if you have any info which might be of help I'd be very thankful! Best Regards, Daniel ForslundMike here: Currently you do need VirtualPC to update the Autostar unless you can clone yours from one at a dealer. Perhaps someone knows whether updating helps with the new plug-in.
Some more info regarding the LX200 plugin for SN and the ETX. I've managed to dump the communication between the ETX and the plugin. These are the commands sent/recieved when using the (working) "follow" command: :GR# / 01:45:4# :GD# / +36 DF26'# And the nonworkin "slew": :Sd +49*52'44"# :Sr 3:24.4# :MS# I have no idea if these commands are correct or not. Would be very thankful for all enlightment. :-)
Subject: SkyMap Pro 6.0 and the ETX125 Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 06:10:15 From: email@example.com (Paul J. Boudreaux) After reading some of the notes on your pages, I made a serial cable for my Windows laptop computer out of an old telephone handset cord by following the instructions in your sections on Autostar Info. Then I downloaded a copy of Skymap Pro Ver 6.0 from your listing of Software in Astronomy Links. After reading all the documentation and following the instructions to be sure all connections were made (with the POWER OFF for the computer and telescope), I was amazed, yes - that is the right word, at how well it all worked. I could move the crosshairs on my laptop screen amd click the button and the ETX moved right to that point in space! WOW! Targets were right on. Mind you, I had aligned all beforehand just as in a regular observing session. What was even more remarkable, all this was done with a free demonstration program, SkyMap Pro ver 6.0. Although a few features are not active in the demonstration(evaluation) program mostly all features are and it works fine when connected to the Autostar on the ETX125. What I found remarkable was that everything worked as advertized the first time out. However, you do have to read all the documentation carefully to get the instructions correct so that you set up the SkyMap program for the ETX/Astrostar hardware. I thought I would drop you this this note because I often read about complaints and problems of people needing help. I wanted your readers to know that there are a lot of "success stories" out there too! Thanks for enabling a little joy in life! Paul Boudreaux
Subject: Sky Pocket CE Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2000 11:22:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gene) Has anyone had any problems that you know of running The Sky Pocket Windows CE. I loaded it on a HP Jornada 690 and it won't run. I get fatal error messages. I've been back and forth with Bisque but nothing is happening. The last response was "when we have an answer we'll get back to you. That was over a week ago. I just sent them another reminder. GeneMike here: See the "TheSky (Pocket Edition)" on the Software Reviews page. There's a comment there about it running on a HP Jornada 548.
Subject: ? for astronomy software forum Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2000 23:14:47 From: email@example.com (Scott Powell) I am a long-time ETX user (recently upgraded my ETX90 to an ETX125Ec). I am trying to get a feel for how to integrate the 125 with my pc and / or an Autostar. My question is this - can I run the scope off of a laptop without purchasing an Autostar controller? (out of astronomy $ after the recent upgrade... :( I see lots of articles re: how to connect the autostar to a pc with home-made serial cables. Is this just to do software upgrades to the autostar, or do you have to connect thru a autostar to run the scope thru an astronomy program (I'm currently evaluating Starry Night)? I appreciate the help! Thanks, Scott p.s. - love your site, hope to be sending you some astrophotos soon!Mike here: I believe you will need the Autostar since as far as I know, all the existing software sends commands to the Autostar to control the telescope. You could write software that would accomplish the same thing but then you'd have to duplicate some of the functions of the Autostar and I don't know if anyone has done that.
Mike, thanks for the reply. Will be very interested in knowing if anyone has written software that doesn't need the autostar (seems strange to have a $2000 laptop running commands thru a $150 hand held device). In any case, thanks for the reply!
Subject: My first controll ETX with TheSky Pocket........ Sent: Friday, June 30, 2000 08:46:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (HAAKE Philippe) For the first time yesterday evening I controlled my ETX wit a pocket PC Jornada HP with the TheSky Pocket astrosoftware..... Really great and useful, much easier to run than the autostar, just click on the object you want to go to, and then the etx slew to it.... You can even synchronize with an object..... so you don't have to enter all the data for comets because you get them already in the pocket pc........ If you have any questions..... i'm here.. Phil Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND Phil ICQ 3128404 http://astroclub.net/sag/index.html beruberu@NOSBSPAMwebshuttle.ch !!!!!!REMOVE NOSBSPAM FROM MY E-MAIL!!!!!!
Subject: ETX125 Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2000 14:18:02 From: FOILIT@aol.com I recently purchased the Meade ETX125 with autostar New. I recently found out that in the past Software has been sold to also Map and even has Go To capabilty when use with a laptop or desktop. I have a older 486 laptop and would like to use this when out on star missions. Do you know of any available software for this windows 3.1 laptop ? Even used would work fine. Thanks Greg Whippo
Subject: SkyChart Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2000 09:52:46 From: email@example.com (Pedro Junior Ashidani) The SkyChart by Meade is Starry Night from Sienna! ============================================================= Nome : Pedro Junior Ashidani e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visite Araxa: http://www.aax.zaz.com.br =============================================================
Subject: re: Star Pilot Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2000 10:53:59 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Wednesday I was watching over a new Palm-owner's shoulder as he was playing with it. And it appeared to not have any stars south of -55 degrees Dec.! Is that true? (he bought the Palm and was loading it to help recognize/name stars/constellations during his trip to Roratunga (he's there now). I was amazed/amused/dismayed by the blank southern sky... --dickMike here: I entered a location of 85S and it displayed stars to the Southern Pole. I have the full, registered version, however.
Subject: Sky Chart Astro Software Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2000 21:19:41 From: MrSchmoo@aol.com Have you seen any feedback on the Sky Chart Astro Software that Meade is promoting for the ETX? It is reasonably priced but may be just a waste of money. I have searched a bit but have not yet found any feedback. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks and I continue to enjoy your site. Mark KlesmanMike here: I don't recall any seeing any comments on it.
Subject: Astronomy Software Feedback Sent: Wednesday, March 1, 2000 22:43:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Lonn) In response to the question asked by Steve Hoffman, EPOCH 2000 software from Meade can best be described as old outdated software. For the Price Meade wants it is junk software! I tried it once, and took it back and got "THE SKY". Now this is what modern day software is all about! They have added the drivers to allow operation with the Autostar and Nexstar scope. It was the best $$$ I have spent and can fine tune your AUTO SEARCH function and it turned my 125 into a fine tuned star hunter (Porsha 911). With the auto sync function of "THE SKY", you don't have all the GO TO problems everyone is talking about on this web site. Just be sure the time (LST) etc. is PERFECT with both the Autostar and computer clock. I have tracked items for hours with no drift. I would hope not, after all you are replacing the $150.00 autostar with a $4000.00 Dell laptop, real control power. Great site Mike but I notice the feedback in all categories has dropped off a lot?? I think we were all getting tired of reporting problems about the 125. I sent mine back last year, got it back in 10 days, I was first in line but then again Meade is just up the road from San Diego. Mike, you don't need to tell me about the rain, I feel your pain! But then again we can use the rain, more for Thursday/Friday and then again on Sunday. Good Viewing!!
Subject: Software Question Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 18:21:04 From: email@example.com (Steve Hoffman) Great site! Got a question for you or another ETX125 owner. I am looking to enhance the scope and utilize my laptop with it but need to know if anyone has used the Epoch 2000 software that Meade offers. Is it really as good as they say and better than "other software" (I assume they are talking about TheSky). Which of the two should I invest in? Any body got some info? I am using the ETX125 with kids at my church and need something that will be easy to use but at the same time worth the $200 or so dollars spent. Thanks for your help! Steve Hoffman
Subject: Palm Astronomy Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 11:28:10 From: Eric_Gregoire@ne.3com.com I was just catching up with "what's new" while I have a bit of downtime here at work. I hadn't stumbled on to the "software" area until today (kind of funny since I thought talking about Palm software would be for too limited of an audience). I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who uses my Palm for astronomy as much as reminding myself of appointments! I've tried the Star Chart demo...nice look, a bit big in the resources department, but solid. I too have been leaning on the Star Pilot Suite (I'll get around to registering it sooner or later). Haven't seen "Planetarium" but I did use a nice bit of freeware (i think) called Astronomy Info (Astro Info for short) that gave rise and set times for the sun, moon and planets and only took up 31k , good for those of us who have too much in there already ( I use a Plam V not a Vx... not complaining since it was compliments of the company). I haven't seen anyone talking about much PC software lately any stunning new versions due out? Which ones will do control for an ETX? Keep up the great work! Eric Gregoire (jazzn2day)
Subject: Software Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 07:04:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Lonn) It would be nice to have a Software feedback section. Separates out Scope stuff and software stuff. Just my opinion!
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