ASTRONOMY SOFTWARE FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 July 2003
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: Postings regarding atronomy software for Macintosh
Sent:	Monday, July 28, 2003 11:22:36
From:	pst@ksu.edu (Paul St. Amand)
To:	propertylondon@btconnect.com
> Postings regarding atronomy software for Macintosh Sent:   Friday, 
> July 25, 2003 05:55:28
> From:   propertylondon@btconnect.com (Bentleighs Estates & lettings)
> Hello to all

> I am also an avid Mac user and have read the comments posted by Jamie
> Turner (Canoe007@aol.com ) and Paul St. Amand ( pst@ksu.edu ) ref:
> Subject:    Feature requests for ETX/Autostar control via Starry Night
> on a Macintosh Posted :    Thursday, March 15, 2001 10:46:35
>
> Firstly I wondered if there was any progress on development of a
> suitable application program for Mac users which will work with Meade
> and in particular the  ETX series.
>
> I have searched high an low with very little success. Apart from 
> running
> Virtual PC on my Mac G4 ( which ties up large amounts of memory ), I
> cannot see another workable route.

To my knowledge, other than running Virtual PC, no Macintosh software
will allow you to UPDATE the Autostar software or the DATA contained in
the Autostar. Note, that does NOT mean there is no Mac software for
slewing (pointing and controlling) or tracking a telescope. See below.

> Secondly a question to Paul St. Amand. I note that you are in contact
> with the author of the SN program.  If she is limited on time may I
> suggest that she explores the possibilities of getting coverage and
> feedback from the editorial team from MacAddict magazine.

I was in contact with the author of the SN plugin that allowed telescope
control of the ETX via Starry Night software on the Mac. That plugin was
needed for older versions of SN. The latest version of SN Pro (version
4) NO LONGER needs a plugin to control a telescope via a Macintosh.
Telescope control is built-in to the SN Pro software and it works very
well.

Mike has mentioned AstroPlanner and ScopeDriver, both for the Mac
(including Mac OS X) and they are very capable for controlling a
telescope and planning a night of viewing. I have tried both and like
them. However, if you want telescope control AND superb planetarium
software, you must get Starry Night Pro. The other versions of SN,
"Beginner" and "Backyard", do not control telescopes. This latest
version is for Mac OS X (10.1 and higher) ONLY, no Mac OS 9 support. It
is expensive, about $180 US dollars, but is worth the cost if you want
more that just telescope control. For those of you that have never tried
SN you should get the 15 day demo
(www.starrynight.com/digitaldownload/) and give it a go.

What I like most about using SN to control my ETX125 is that it is SO
EASY to explore a given region of sky. Once you have the scope aligned
and the software going, you just point, click, and the scope goes. So,
if I am out viewing and clouds or landscape or trees block parts of the
sky, I can slew the scope around in my restricted area of the sky. How
many times have you tried to follow a list of objects, only to spend
half your time watching the scope slew to a tree or rooftop or clouds?

> In the past 4 years, sales of Mac computers world-wide and in 
> particular
> in UK have soared to giddy heights. The number of potential customers
> who may wish to purchase this new software ( including myself ) would, 
> I
> am certain yield a decent profit.

I am not sure of the size of the market for Mac astronomy software. I do
know that Mac use is increasing in many science fields since the
introduction of Mac OS X. I have always used the Mac because in my field
(Genetics) there has always been excellent software. Now, with OS X, I
can run any Mac, unix, and Windows software.

> Finally, I am keen to join an astronomy / Mac astronomy discussion 
> group
> such as this one, or maybe by posting this mail I have already done so
> !!!

I don't know of any Mac only astronomy discussion groups. Mikes' site
does have good Mac tips. Maybe Mike or others will have some suggestions
for groups.

Paul St. Amand
And:
From:	propertylondon@btconnect.com (Bentleighs Estates & lettings)
Dear Paul,

Thanks for your response to my positing on 25 July 2003. I have decided
to invest in a copy of SN Pro for my Mac OSX.

Another question. How does the ETX connect to the Mac. Is is via a USB
port, or I require a special adapter. I ask because I have just bought a
second ETX which include the cable connectors to a computer. The kit has
what looks like a modem lead with a small box on one end and a serial
plug housing a socket that again looks like a modem lead socket ??.

PROBLEMS WITH TWO STAR ALIGNMENT OF ETX 70AT

I attempted my first two star alignment last night. I kept on receiving
a error message saying ' alignment failed ' This happened after I had
located the second nearest bright star to the scope position on the
second star line up. I used the combine compass and leveller which I
bought with the scope and was sure that the scope was in the Home
position and pointing North !!

Any tips ?
Mike here: There is a Mac astronomy discussion group; see the item on the ETX Home page for AstroMac (near the bottom of the page). You will need a USB-serial converter. See the article "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Autostar Information page for more info. As to your alignment problem, check the batteries. Did you try any other alignment stars?

And:

thank for the advice re: connecting a Mac computer to the ETX.

There are two type of USB - Serial converters. Is it the round serial
plug or the rectangular one that I need to buy ?

I think I have joined AstroMac. I found the link at the bottom of your
page prompting to enter my email address to join the group, but then was
presented with a series of pages that were reminiscent of subscribing to
Hotmail. After this I expected to be connected with Astromac home page,
but this was not the case.

It may be just me but ' am now subscribed ??

keith brueton
london UK
Mike here: The Autostar #505 cable from Meade ends in a DB-9 (somewhat) so that is the model USB-serial converter you would need. As to the AstroMac mailing list, I have no affliation with it. You should be able to find info on it on http://www.applelust.com. There are usually several emails per day.
Subject:	Postings regarding atronomy software for Macintosh
Sent:	Friday, July 25, 2003 05:55:28
From:	propertylondon@btconnect.com (Bentleighs Estates & lettings)
Hello to all

I am a new ETX user and have spent considerable time researching  which
scope to buy. I ended up with 3 !!! EXT 70 AT, ETX 90 EC  and ETX 125
EC.

I am also an avid Mac user and have read the comments posted by Jamie
Turner (Canoe007@aol.com ) and Paul St. Amand ( pst@ksu.edu ) ref:
Subject:    Feature requests for ETX/Autostar control via Starry Night
on a Macintosh Posted :    Thursday, March 15, 2001 10:46:35

Firstly I wondered if there was any progress on development of a
suitable application program for Mac users which will work with Meade
and in particular the  ETX series.

I have searched high an low with very little success. Apart from running
Virtual PC on my Mac G4 ( which ties up large amounts of memory ), I
cannot see another workable route.

If someone knows please mail me : keith@sky3.co.uk or
kb@adoms.demon.co.uk.

Secondly a question to Paul St. Amand. I note that you are in contact
with the author of the SN program.  If she is limited on time may I
suggest that she explores the possibilities of getting coverage and
feedback from the editorial team from MacAddict magazine.

In the past 4 years, sales of Mac computers world-wide and in particular
in UK have soared to giddy heights. The number of potential customers
who may wish to purchase this new software ( including myself ) would, I
am certain yield a decent profit.

Finally, I am keen to join an astronomy / Mac astronomy discussion group
such as this one, or maybe by posting this mail I have already done so
!!!

Keith Brueton
London UK
mailto:kb@adoms.demon.co.uk
Mike here: Two excellent programs are AstroPlanner and ScopeDriver, both for Mac (including Mac OS X) and Windows. See the Accessory Reviews - Software page on my ETX Site for my comments.

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