Last updated: 28 January 2004
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: starry night manual
Date: 1/26/04, 16:36
I need the manual for the starynights program that meade sells with the
506 cable and includes with the scope package buddle version 2.1 I
talked with th company rep from toronto and he tells me thay donot
support that bundle package because Meade did not reach a agrement with
them after 2001 but thay keep selling and giving the bunddle with new
scopes i cannot download a manual from there web site and he suggested
that you may know who has access to the manual information to obtain a
George in Miami
Mike here: I don't know who might have the manual in softcopy.

And an update:

I have got a copy of the manual and printed out

I call meade and it is on the CD  but when you hit help in the program
there is no link to the manual

You have to go to the file  on the program and open it up and it is
under AOL starry nights htm

I guess the guy who called me last night from starry nights customer
service whas being a Alpha Hotel and was to busy bashing Meade for not
renewing its agreement on the software bundle

Gee I thought we only had those types of Companys in Ham Radio

I guess I was wrong
Hope you can use the info
George in Miami

Subject: Astroplanner Software
Date: 1/25/04, 12:52
I just picked up the cable for my ETX-90 to go to my laptop.  Do you
know where I might get a full copy of the Astroplanner or any other
software you might suggest.  I would love to find a free copy, but would
pay someone for the trouble to make a copy.  I downloaded Astroplanner
from the internet, but it looks like it is limited.  Thanks for your
Roy Yount
Waddy, Kentucky
Mike here: Astroplanner is shareware ($20 USD) and is available at:


I found that after I mailed you.  Thanks. What do you think is the best
software to use with the ETX-90?
Mike here: "Best" depends upon a lot of factors. You can read some reviews on the Accessory Reviews - Software page.


By best, I guess I am asking which, if any, do you use?
Mike here: Voyager III for star charting. Otherwise none normally.

Subject: Converting FITS images
Date: 1/21/04, 09:50
From: "Robert G. Valentine" (
I just started back into astrophotography after a many year hiatus
(people were just starting to play with hypering techniques for film
then). I used to own a Cave Astrola reflector back in the 70's, but
higher education and work got in the way. Recently I purchasd a Nexstar
8 and plan a larger scope when I get a home built with an observatory.

I am a dedicated Mac user (new G5 on the way), but the only software I
have found to use consists of Photoshop (I just bought your CD book),
Keith's Image Stacker and The Sky for Mac.

My question is this: Have you ever used any of the software available
with any of the current crop of CCD camers (e.g. SBIG), collected image
data in FITS format and used Graphic Converter to convert to Photoshop
format? If not, does this even make sense? Perhaps this is covered in
the CD, but I only received it yesterday.

Sorry to sound so ignorant, but astronomy has passed me by over the past
20+ years.

Thanks. I am sure you are very busy, so if this is an imposition, and I
am sure it must be to some extent, just let me know.

R. G. Valentine
Gainesville, FL
Mike here: I haven't needed to do this but I think the current version of GraphicConverter handles FITS files. Check out the Applelust website. Lots of scientific info there for Mac users. (By the way, the Astrophotography CD book is not mine; I just reviewed it on the web site.)

Subject: Setting Date in Astronomer's Control Panel
Date: 1/13/04, 20:09
From: R Shapp (
Tonight I helped set up a friend's Astronomer's Control Panel for use
with the bundled StarryNight planetarium software to drive an ETX-90. 
We were able to select objects on the StarryNight screen and then use
"Telescope > Slew Telescope to Gaze" to make the 'scope do reasonably
good GOTOs.

I'd like your help with two remaining problems:

1.  The ACP program would not accept the current date from the PC.  It
did accept the PC's time when we clicked on "Set scope time from PC",
but the ACP program gave an error saying the PC date was in an invalid
format.  We could not get the ACP date to budge from "7 Feb 06".  We
even used Control Panel to reconfigure the PC's date format to agree
with the European day, month, year format (dd-mmm-yy).

2.  We were unable to control the 'scope's GOTO movement using the ACP
on-screen control pad.  In fact, the only part of the ACP's "Enter
Destination Coordinates" screen that wasn't grayed out were the windows
for entering RA and dec.  IOW, the portion of the screen where objects
should be selectable from menus was grayed out.  The "GoTo" button was
also gray.  We know the ACP was communicating with the 'scope because
the ACP output windows for current RA, dec, Altitude, and Azimuth all
showed reasonable quantities when we moved the 'scope's position using
the handbox or the StarryNight program.

Thanks for any troubleshooting ideas you might suggest and/or for your
directing me to a more appropriate forum for ACP questions, if

My friend's laptop PC is a relatively new Pentium IV running WinXP Pro.

Best regards,

Ray Shapp
AAI, Cranford, NJ
Mike here: You need to get the ACP update from their website. The date error occurs in older versions and has been around about a year or more. I don't know if that solves the other problem though.


Thanks for the quick response regarding ACP.

Ray Shapp

Subject: Mac astro program control for ETX-60 with 494 controller
Date: 1/1/04, 21:06
From: Bill Swartout (
I was wondering if you know of any Mac astronomy software that will
correctly control an ETX-60 with a 494 (firmware 10E) controller.   I've
tried using Equinox and Planetarium (on my Palm handheld) and had
similar results: the program worked if I had it query the telescope to
find out what it was pointing at, but if I used the program to instruct
the telescope to slew to some object, the scope wound up pointing in a
very different direction.  Both the controller and the computer were set
to the same times and locations.   Any thoughts?   Thanks much!   -Bill

P.S. I'm running OS 10.3 on my Mac...
Mike here: Check out ScopeDriver and Astroplanner. I've used both on my Mac to control a #497 Autostar so they should control the #494. See the Accessory Reviews - Software page.


Thanks Mike; I'll try them out and report back the results.


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