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"Best" software for Mac?

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#1 zombie1210

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 03:03 PM

What are you recommendations for astronomy software for a new MacBook Air? Take into consideration it will be my first. But I want full featured, and user friendly.

Thanks

#2 spaulmac

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:53 PM

Anything specific you are looking for? Planetarium? Image Processing?

The major planetarium programs (The Sky, Starry Night) are available on the Mac, but you might start with Stellarium. Very nice program and at the right price (free). You can get this and Celestia at http://opensourcemac.org along with a great deal of other high quality Mac software that is free and legal.

I only briefly dabbled with astro-photography, but I do know the image processing program Nebulosity ($80) and the guiding program PHD Guiding (free), both fairly popular programs I believe, are available at http://www.stark-labs.com/.

I'm afraid those are the only ones I've had experience with. Good luck and enjoy the Mac.

#3 mountain monk

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:00 PM

SkySafari Plus. If you just look at itm you'll buy it.

Dark skies

Jack

#4 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:52 PM

I use Sky X Pro and Sky Safari Pro (for OS X).

Both are great. I have an 11" MacBook Air.

- Jim

#5 ThreeD

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:16 AM

And then there is Cartes du Ciel. Not sure how the Mac version is but based upon the Windows and Linux versions I'd give it a thumbs up -- particularly for free software.

#6 Jon_Doh

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:04 AM

I use a 13" 2010 MB Air and it runs everything I throw at it. Keith's Stacker and AstroStack are two pretty good programs that come with attractive price tags. Also, Stellarium for Mac is free.

Here is a link that shows some of the software available for the Mac: http://www.astropix....OP/SOFTWARE.HTM

Scroll down toward the bottom for the Mac section.

#7 rboe

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:11 AM

I tend to use Equinox 6
http://www.microproj...a/equinox6.html

and Starry Night Pro. (www.telescope.com)

#8 rmollise

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:50 AM

If you're new to astronomy software, why not start with FREE and GOOD?

Both Cartes du Ciel and Stellarium are both of the above and may be all you ever need.

#9 Tim DeBenedictis

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:01 AM

In my humble (but admittedly biased) opinion, you cannot go wrong with any version of SkySafari for Mac OS X. Much faster and smoother than any version of Starry Night or TheSky, vastly easier to use than Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium, and - while not free - less than the cost of a restaurant dinner ($5 for the basic version, $20 for Plus, $50 for Pro). Details on www.southernstars.com.

#10 JMW

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:39 AM

I love SkySafari Pro on my mac. I have used Stary Night Pro+ for years but it would really use the CPU when working away. This would draw down the battery faster than I likes. I started using SkySafari for the iPad and bought the mac version when it came out. It is very smooth, easy to use are hardy puts any load on the processor so the battery will last longer through the night.

I have to use Windows 7 on my Macbook pro for a few imaging programs. I wish I could use SkySafari Pro on Windows 7 with the ASCOM driver.

#11 rmollise

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

Stellarium is not easy to use? First time I have heard THAT...

#12 bicparker

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:23 PM

Going to the OP's question... "Best" software for Mac? Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel? Really?

One should try to get a Mac program for a Mac. That way you get to take better advantage of the features that Mac's have to offer, which is one reason you probably bought a Mac in the first place.

Having said that, Cartes du Ciel, while a fine program for Windows XP, is just a ported version of a Windows 2000/XP program put on a Mac. It has a long-in-the-tooth with a lot of little icons and a lot of the Mac style guide isn't followed. When I was using a PC over 10 years ago, this program had essentially the same interface but with fewer icons (a bunch more were added on the side bars a few years ago). You get what you pay for here.

Stellarium basically plays by its own rules on a Mac, also. This is a cross platform program that doesn't adhere to any interface standard and wants to either take over the screen or occupy its own corner of the screen. It is fairly easy to use, but again, it follows its own interface method, which can be confusing for those who are used how most other programs run on a Mac. I run other programs on my Mac and Stellarium just simply gets in the way.

You want free and less than average for a Mac, you can go ahead and get those programs. If you want the best, there are several other options that were not only written for the Mac, but are in fact some of the best astronomy software packages available today.

#13 rmollise

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

Going to the OP's question... "Best" software for Mac? Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel? Really?

One should try to get a Mac program for a Mac.


CdC 3.0 is a Macintosh program. And a Linux program. And a Windows program. It was completely rewritten by Patrick and is not long in the tooth at all.

Except for those little icons maybe. Which help you do a lot of stuff. Considerably more than programs without all those little cotton picking icons. :roflmao:

Free doesn't mean "not powerful." Cartes is considerably more powerful than some of its prettier and "more modern" competitors. ;)

#14 helpwanted

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:41 PM

You can get Sky Safari for a Mac.

#15 bicparker

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:08 PM

Rod,

I cannot endorse a program like that as "Best" when there are simply far better programs out there on Mac OS X (like Sky Safari, which is not that expensive). CdC is fine but it is certainly far from "Best". I have much better tools that I use on my Mac (and I have CdC on my Mac, too, but I just don't use it anymore in the face of better options).

Now CdC was not originally a Mac program and you know that. It was developed on 98/95/Me platforms and the version 3 code refresh that you referred to started out (in 2002, i.e. 10 years ago) using Borland libraries. It was cross platformed to Mac OS X and Linux in 2006 when Patrick et al switched to Lazarus/Pascal and still uses the base 2002 interface (which was based on earlier interfaces). The menu system across the top is the same as its Windows version and is definitely not what one looks for in Mac OS X applications.

I have the old version 2.x systems on some of my old Windows laptops (and am looking at them now) and its interface just hasn't changed that much other than additional icons. I think most of the code base change was on the internals. When Patrick went to version 3 with the Borland libraries, he took advantage of the Borland tools to add the icon-y look to the side bars (I know, because i recognized the lib objects since I was playing with similar Borland tools).

I appreciate that you may like all of the icons and buttons it has, but quite frankly, programs like Sky Safari are doing a lot more using a more intelligent interface. And yes, that is "more modern" but it is also a much smarter design that gets more done with fewer controls. This brings more and more focus to the actual sky display, which is where it should be.

Windows interfaces that are ported over to the Mac tend to generally disappoint Mac user (as would a Mac interface on Windows). You always compromise your software trying to develop cross platform.

I cannot endorse a program like that as "Best" when there are simply far better programs out there on Mac OS X (like Sky Safari, which is not that expensive). CdC is fine but it is certainly far from "Best". I have much better tools that I use on my Mac (and I have CdC on my Mac, too, but I just don't use it anymore in the face of better options).

#16 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:56 PM

Going to the OP's question... "Best" software for Mac? Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel? Really?

One should try to get a Mac program for a Mac. That way you get to take better advantage of the features that Mac's have to offer, which is one reason you probably bought a Mac in the first place.


Exactly so. SkySafari is elegance in motion, and hugely impressive for such a relative newcomer.

#17 mountain monk

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:28 PM

15-20 bucks for beauty and anyone is complaining? You can barely get a burger, fries, and beer for that around here. Sky Safari Plus gives you beauty, speed, a standard interface, extraordinary performance (see the post last week on Sirius and the Pup), and you can enjoy it every night for years. Where are your priorities!? But then...some people will complain about heaven.

Dark skies.

Jack

#18 rmollise

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:33 AM

Rod,

I cannot endorse a program like that as "Best" when there are simply far better programs out there on Mac OS X (like Sky Safari, which is not that expensive).


Best is a subjective thing. I am glad you are happy with SkySafari. But what is best? Is it your fave or is it maybe TheSky X? Or something else? That's up to you, me and everybody else. You try stuff and you settle on what works for you.

It doesn't matter what the older CdC was or was not. What matters is what it is now. Maybe you should give the new one a little more time under the stars; you might just like it. Especially if your observing projects tend toward the more complex.

But that is neither here no there. I am glad you like what you like, but I've gotta endorse what has worked for _me_, and that is CdC and Stellarium, both on Mac and PC formats. Which I dang sure _can_ endorse. :lol:

<psst> It don't cost nothing to try either one of my picks. If'n you don't like 'em, you can send them into the ether (I am speaking in the collective "you" I am not telling _you_ to sully your harddrive with dumb old Cartes :cool: )...

#19 bicparker

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 03:38 PM

Rod, you just need to take a harder look at the new stuff... that doesn't hurt too much either :).

Buy Sky Safari Plus for $19 and support one of our own CN members! It is a program for serious observers written by a very serious and learned observer.

It does matter what CdC was, though, because that is what it still is now. And that legacy technology carries its inherent limitations. I gave it a lot of time and now I have outgrown it.

P.S. like I said in an earlier post, I still have a copy of CdC on my hard drive (latest version) and it still suffers by comparison to stuff actually written for Mac OS X (which it wasn't). It is also very unkind to the CPU, which can be expected from a ported program.

#20 rmollise

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:21 PM

I have SkySafari...it is an excellent program. I prefer CdC for most of what I do. Which doesn't mean you or anybody else has to. ;)

What do I know? Not much, but I have been using astroware at the scope since the days of SkyGlobe and Stargaze, so maybe that is worth something. :lol:

#21 bicparker

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 05:29 AM

Rod,
We both have been doing this for a long mess o' years and have both been using astronomy software since it was hammered out on paper tape. We just don't see eye to eye on this.

#22 UmaDog

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:40 PM

I too rather like SkySafari. It's got a pleasant interface and the ability to read up about all the objects is nice. I run SkyTools3 on my Air via CrossOver but I've been finding that it randomly looses log entries (quite probably because of CrossOver). Very annoying indeed. I have, therefore, switched my logging to AstroPlanner as of today. If you're doing stuff such as working through observing lists, then AstroPlanner is better than ST3. The interface is more modern and intuitive. It's easier to read your past logs (ST3 is bad for that) and you get stats on your progess, etc. ST3, on the other hand, makes very nice charts and is very accurate. It will download minor planet and supernova data, too. It all depends what you're looking for, really.

#23 rmollise

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:17 AM

Rod,
We both have been doing this for a long mess o' years and have both been using astronomy software since it was hammered out on paper tape. We just don't see eye to eye on this.


And that is the way it should be. If all we ever did was conduct a mutual admiration society, nobody, particularly novices, would learn much around here.

As I said, I like SkySafari very much. When it comes to the big screen, though...I guess I'm just set in my ways. Big surprise, right? :lol:

#24 LivingNDixie

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

I second bicparker and use the Sky Safari Plus for my Mac. It is available from the App Store and is easy one time download. I have had only one problem with it, for some reason the TSP list I imported was doing some screwy things. Basically the software was always trying to find objects from that list only.However closing out that window and using the search function seemed to fix the issue.

I also have Stellarium and CdC. I got Stellarium first and used it as a digital planetarium to find alignment stars for my LX200. It worked great for that, not so hot at finding things in the sky with the search function.

CdC I could never really figure out.

I would like to get the Moon Atlas and Mars Atlas Apps too, but I already have them on my iPhone so I might not get them for the actual laptop since that would be a little overboard. Seeing a realtime Mars or Moon map is pretty cool.

#25 NickK-UK

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:30 AM

I'd have a look at EQMac if you have an EQ6. It will connect to PHD etc for guiding.






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