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Carina Software - Voyager 4.5 Software

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Some brief background on myself and my experience so you can take this review for what it is worth. I have always been very curious about astronomy, even taking a 101 level astronomy course in college many years ago. It was only recently (2 years ago) that I was given a nice 8" SCT scope from my father (since sold) and gave stargazing a try. I consider myself a beginner level star gazer with a healthy enthusiasm. I have always been a very techno-savvy person who wants to incorporate computers into most daily life.

My first experience with astronomical software dates back to the early 1990's with the first versions of "Redshift" software for PC. A nice package to play with for the times.

Fast forward to 2009, and a new commitment to stargazing. I have sold my larger 8" scope in favor of a smaller 3.5" go-to scope for the short term. My thoughts were that the ease of setup on the 3.5" vs. the 8" and the go-to will encourage more frequent gazing. So far I have proved myself right.

The next step in my learning/enjoyment journey has been to purchase Carina Software's Voyager astronomy software package (current version 4.5.5). I purchased the downloadable CD Rom version of the software for $99.00US. I made this purchase after reading several reviews and also after "test-driving" different package trial versions. I am using the software on a Core 2 Duo 13" MacBook running Mac OS10.6.

The software has been magnificent to work with. The user interface is very intuitive for novice users, and also provides multiple access locations for different features. The user manual is well written, provides screen shots in line with text on various topics to provide a frame of reference in learning the software, and provides many tips as well. Within 10 minutes of the first download of the complete package the software was installed, registered, and I had gone through a quick setup of preferences.

My first use of the software was to simply setup an observation list for a given night along with printing a star chart for the approximate time of my observation. These tasks were accomplished simply quickly, and cleanly. Having an observation list with sky locations on it really helped "tweek" in my alignment on the go-to scope in the course of the night.

After the first use, I spent some time learning how to setup the software interface to communicate with my scope, and to also incorporate the observation list with my telescope "go-to" capability.

The second "field" use of the software occurred on November 16, 2009. With a clear dark night forcasted, I loaded up my gear for a trip to a local park parking lot (not many lights). Setup a folding table for my laptop, setup the scope, connected the computer to the scope, and fired up Voyager. After a quick alignment of the scope I was able to easily use Voyager to run through my observation list. Voyager gives great previews of objects that are helpful for viewing an object for the first time. The software did a great job of controlling the scope and pointing to each object on the observation list. The software also displayed the approximate view that the scope was looking at at any given time. I was able to look at many objects that were not on my planned list just by double clicking the laptop screen and looking through the scope. Great stuff.

For those of you looking for a great software package that is both Mac and PC friendly, I strongly recommend Voyager by Carina Software.


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