Last updated: 24 November 2007
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: Help on StarryNight and AutoStar Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:29:08 From: Robin Mingay (email@example.com) I have DS2102 with Autostar Go To handset. I bought Starry Night pro hoping to use it to control my scope. I have USB, Firewire, but no RS232, I guess I could buy a card, but is there another way. Also, how do you update the AutoStar handset, mine only has one RG45 cable attached to it? Thanks RobinMike here: If you have the #494 AutoStar (no number keys on the keypad) then you can NOT update the software in the handset. Only the #497 AutoStar (has number keys) can be user updated. You can still control the telescope/AutoStar using a computer (with Starry Night and other applications) BUT you will need a #506 serial cable (for the #494; a #505 for the #497). The #506 is not easily made has it has special electronics in the cord (the #505 is easy to make using information on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). Since you have only USB you will need a USB-serial adapter (which is hardware AND software) but note that not all work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page for more on USB. I use a Keyspan model with my Macs and it works well to control and update the AutoStar.
Phew! Complex, but thanks I will try to find out more as advised. Robin
Ok so, can I just check the following with you. 1. My telescope is the DS2102. The mount has 2 sockets a normal modem type and an RG45 type 2. The Autostar hand box looks like this I can get a USB serial cable from MAPLIN Presumably the handbox would not be needed and an ordinary RG45 network cable would link the serial/RG45 adaptor which I have to the RG45 socket on my telescope mount? Sorry for being a pain RobinMike here: Some points: The socket is NOT a modem port; it just uses the same connector. The AutoStar is a #494. The USB adapter you mention may or may not work; as I said, not all work reliably with the AutoStar. See that article I mentioned. The #506 cable (required) connects to the telescope base via the RJ11 port and the computer via the USB-serial adapter. The software running on the computer "talks" to the AutoStar, which in turn controls the telescope. The AutoStar is required. An ethernet network cable will not work.
Subject: software question Sent: Saturday, November 3, 2007 08:51:22 From: Gregory Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am in the market for a LXD75 SC 8 which I hope to acquire by the end of the month. I came across your LXD75 website and found it interesting and informative. I notice in your article that you use an Apple PowerBook with your telescope and I was curious what software you use. I've looked at Starry Night Pro and Voyager IV and I must say that I'm most comfortable with Voyager. I'm currently using an Intel Mac Mini (OS X 10.4.10) and plan to get a MacBook to use in the field. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your attention... Gregory DuncanMike here: I have used Voyager III, ScopeDriver, and Astroplanner. You can read some reviews of these on the Accessory Reviews: Software page on my ETX Site. You will also need a USB-serial adapter. I use a Keyspan adapter with Mac OS X.
Thank you for your response. The information you've provided has been great. One more question: Do you use any satellite tracking software? I'm particularly fond of OrbiTrack but it only runs under Classic Mac OS. Since I'm now using an Intel Mac, Classic apps are out of the question. I tried to contact the developer about updating to OS X but his e-mails bounce back. I've looked at MacDoppler Pro and I don't care for it at all. Thanks again.Mike here: Nope.
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