Last updated: 31 March 2002
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:	Astro Software
Sent:	Saturday, March 30, 2002 6:59:53
From: (Ken Hurd)
Hwy Mike, You have so much info on this site it's easy to get lost. (
that's a good thing by the way) With all you know about these scopes and
Astronomy what software would you personally suggest for an ETX-70 and
Autostar 497? I have been thru a few and without purchasing them it's
hard to tell what they really can do. I really do not want to commit to
buying a lot of software to find out I really don't want it. If you
suggest something then I can save a lot of time and grief.

Mike here: You didn't say what OS you were using but for the better software that doesn't matter as they come in Mac OS and Windows versions. The email header implies you are probably using Microsoft Windows Outlook (hope you have all the Microsoft security "fixes" installed). Since I don't use any telescope driving Windows apps I really can't answer your question from personal experience. There is an effort underway at (a Mac OS oriented site) to evaluate all the Mac astronomy software and even Palm OS astronomy software. For the apps that have both OSes covered the reviews should be additive to what's mentioned on the ETX Site.
Mike here: Mac OS X users who have iDisk access can now get XEphem-3.5.2-Free Astronomical Software Ephemeris as a complete binary package. It is in the Software/Mac OS X Software/Applications/Math & Science folder and is a 37.3MB file.
Subject:	Astronomers control panel
Sent:	Sunday, March 24, 2002 6:47:41
From: (Ken Hurd)
I have recently began to use the rs-232 connection and software that
came with my etx-70. My problem is the software has problems, like the
date is unchangeable and various things. When I go to the web site for
the update or trial software to see if this is actually buyable I get
server applet errors. Does anyone have better hopefully free/shareware
software that will control the scope from my pc? Windows 2k pro.

I am finding that your site is becoming increasingly useful for me, and
as the summer kicks in I will be using my scope more often.
Mike here: I don't know why you are getting errors from the ACP software site but there is a newer version that fixes the date bug and presumably other stuff as well. Maybe their server is just having a problem that will be fixed come Monday.
Subject:	Starry Night
Sent:	Saturday, March 23, 2002 13:49:28
From: (Michael Kaye)
Not sure whether you've heard but Starry Night have annouced they will
release a Mac OS X version of Starry Night sometime in the Summer.

Regards, Michael.

PS. Got my first glismpe of Ikeya-Zhang on Thursday. First clear night
here in London, UK for weeks!!

Subject:	useful info about palm and planetarium connections
Sent:	Thursday, March 7, 2002 7:09:33
From: (Steve Dummit)
Thanks for an immensely useful site about ETX telescopes. here is my
small contribution.

I am planning to try out both the Palm/Planetarium setup and the
Macintosh/softPC connection with an ETX-70. parts are on order.

the attached correspondence is the culmination of my research online
about hardware connectors. feel free to edit for addition to your site.

additionally, RadioShack carries a Belkin Palm V modem cable and
male-male DB9 connector which would connect to the Meade #505 cable, but
that cost a bit more than the products.

I shall let you know how it all works out when I have received all the
parts and tested them.

-Steve Dummit

To: Mark Griswold 

Dedicated palm/meade505 cable- way cool! why don't you advertise it on your

I want one, and I shall forward $27.95 via PayPal.

another link that might interest you is "weasner's mighty ETX site"
(, where there is an ongoing forum
discussing software and hardware for the meade autostar products. This
would be another good place to make contact about your products and
ability to customize them.

mucho gracias!

Mark Griswold wrote:

> Steve,
> The Palm V modem cable will do what you want.  It is $19.95.
> We also make a dedicated Palm/Meade505 cable for $24.95, which
> plugs directly into the telescope.  3ft is standard, but we can
> do longer cables if necessary (even coiled-type cable) for about $5 more.
> Thanks for the tip on the Planetarium website.  I'll email them to
> see about adding a link.
> S/H is $3 for firstclass mail, or $6 if you want Priority mail shipping.
> Note that delivery is running about 7 days ARO.
> To place an order, I recommend using PayPal, which lets you pay with a
> credit/debit card.
> If you don't have a PayPal acct, find out more about it here:
> You even get $5 free when you sign up.
> If you have PayPal already, simply email payment to:
> Be sure to include your mailing address, as well as what you are ordering.
> I can also accept, personal check, cashiers check or
> money order.
> These must be made payable to:
>   Syncable Solutions
> A personal check will delay your order, since I must wait for payment to
> clear.
> Thanks for your interest.
> Regards,
> Mark Griswold
> Syncable Solutions
> > -----Original Message-----
> > To:
> > Subject: Order info
> >
> > I wish to connect my Palm Vx to the Meade #505 connector
> > cable ( for Meade
> > Autostar Telescopes to try the Planetarium software
> > ( which can
> > control a telescope.
> >
> >  My understanding is that the DB9 modem cable will directly
> > connect to Meade's cable set. If you know otherwise, and can
> >
> > supply the appropriate cable/connector, please let me know.
> >
> > Thus, I wish to order the Palm V Modem cable in a DB9-M
> > configuration, standard 3ft length is fine. Advertised price
> > was
> > $19.95 + $3s&h. I can use PayPal.
> >
> > This item has not been easy to find at a reasonable price.
> > You may wish to contact the software developer at the site
> > noted above about creating a link to your page. The links he
> >
> > currently shows are to sites that either do not have the
> > appropriate
> > product any more or are more than twice your price.

Subject:	astrostack
Sent:	Sunday, March 3, 2002 16:27:02
From: (divenuts)
I know this is a little off subject, but wanted to ask if you can help
me with this problem. I am  having difficulty using the astrostack
software to stack bmp images. I was hoping you could tell me what I'm
doing wrong. I start and get to the astrostack window with the sample
moon photo and then I click the BMP button and I get the new window. I
try listing my first image and the picture goes in the top of the box on
the right, I then list the last image and it also goes also in the box
in the top of the box on the right...that screen disappears and takes me
back to the main astrostack screen and the sample moon photo is still in
the input picture box. I press the calculate button anyway and I keep
getting an error message: "List index out of bounds(0)" I have read the
manual but I'm obviously missing something. Once again, I know this is
not in your area of expertise.
Chuck Callaghan

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