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Mac please....I can't stand Windows anymore!

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#1 George P Dunham

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 12:27 PM

Sorry, I'm a winer.  I've been primarily using Mac for the last 10 years.  I used windows and linux prior to that.  I have started seriously running all my astro stuff via a computer.  I've sorted out all the software I don't really use and have the following as necessary for running my telescope mount, camera's, autoguider, plate solving and astrometrics.  I have SkyX professional, MaxIm DL 6, Nebulosity, PHD2, Astrotortilla, NexRemote, QHY's EZcap & EZplanetary, Metaguide and ASCOM.  I am using a CGE Pro mount (via NexRemote), QHY12, QHY5 & Lodestar autoguider.

I would love to rid myself of Windows as the main controller and perhaps use it for image processing only.  What I like of windows is ASCOM's ability to integrate everything.  I think that perhaps SkyX will control most of my stuff but I think the QHY12 & 5 only have ASCOM drivers in the camera package. 

Anyone using Mac to control their observatory with similar devices?  I'll even consider Linux again if I can depend on integrating.  Any help is appreciated.


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#2 JRG2

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 03:40 PM

Since you are open to Linux you might want take a look at the astronomy dedicated distroAstro. You can use the live boot option to explore it without installing. I have not installed it yet myself. I was thinking it might make a good compliment to Windows as a dual boot. That way the option of doing things like upgrading drivers for equipment, for example, may be easier through Windows. You might also take a look at the INDI site for supported devices first.

 

http://www.distroastro.org/

http://www.indilib.org/devices.html


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#3 rpineau

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 04:30 PM

I use TheSkyX pro on OS X but I have a SBIG camera.. so that helps. I know Software Bisque is working (slowly) on a QHY X2 plugin for OS X. In the mean time I see that QHY has released an OS X version of their EZcap software : http://www.qhyccd.co.../EZCAPV0121.dmg

 

The CGE PRO mount is supported by TheSkyX pro.

The Lodestar is also supported but on OS X I prefer to use PHD2 for the auto guiding (which supports the Lodestar on OS X).

For the Canon 40D you might be is the same boat as me with my 20D as the new Canon ESDK doesn't supports them on OS X anymore (not really TheSkyX Pro's fault there).

So most of your equipment seems to be directly supported.

For image processing I use PixInsight (on OS X).

TheSkyX pro can do plate solving (aka image link) but you can always install the unix version of astronometry.net's code ( http://astrometry.net/use.html ) and recompile it on OS X (requires XCode.. which is free).

 

Regards, Rodolphe



#4 drmikevt

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 07:47 PM

Yes,  - I recently asked the moderators if we could start a Mac-specific group so we could have a central place for these discussions.  I was shot down.  

 

Rodolphe - Thanks for the information.  Can you more specifically lay out the steps needed to get the Unix version of the code working on OS X? - Be as specific as you like.  Thanks.

 

To anyone else reading this who is on a Mac and is getting into video astronomy - be aware that the most popular software for Mallincams, Miloslick, was written natively on a Mac and is fantastic.  However, it can not handle the new Sky Raider series of cameras.

 

Mike


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#5 trevize

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 07:54 PM

3 Cheers for more OS X users.   I'll second the desire to have a MAC Only forum.   Sifting through the current software forum is obnoxious and I'm tired of being told to run an OS I simply will never choose to run.


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#6 drollere

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 09:45 PM

it's true, there is an entrenched "shut up and use windows" attitude in the industry, but the mac software has gotten progressively better in the decade since i've been back in the hobby. certainly TSX is a beautiful program and is quite effective running an SB mount from a laptop. (i haven't tried it yet with my losmandy.) cameras, etc. are a different batch and there i think the windows bias is simply because most engineering and software firms use microsoft boxes, at least when i was in the industry and probably equally in europe and in the USA, so that's what they know and that's what they use.



#7 Sami

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 12:08 AM

Please, if there is going to be a MAC group, then let it be a MAC and Linux group.  Both operating systems and UNIX or UNIX based and should be similar.  Few years ago I got a vixen GPD2 mount and added to it ioptron GOTONova to automate it.  There was no linux support so I wrote a linux program to control the mount using the few command I could find from documentation.  I could not get any help,  information or comand sets from ioprton or others.  Only some command from the attached documents and AP published docs?


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#8 nytecam

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 01:50 AM

CN is about astronomy not specific OS and this forum EAA eg near realtime imaging and viewing in brief or very brief exposures - essentially replacing eyeballing through the EP :-) 

Check my links...

Nytecam


Edited by nytecam, 10 September 2015 - 01:54 AM.


#9 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 03:56 AM

Yay for fellow Mac owners doing Live Video :)

 

I'm using a CGE Pro that I slew around with via SkySafari, Miloslick for my Mallincam, Capture One version 8 as my Sony A7s will never likely be supported in The Sky X, The Sky X for my Focus Boss II focusers, PHD for guiding and Celestron's StarSense for plate solving. I would use The Sky X more for things like guiding but I just simply hate the application in its current form - that god awful GUI...eew.

 

I've tried INDI to control my focusers but I just get it to work properly :shrug:

 

.


Edited by CHAPSKINS, 10 September 2015 - 03:56 AM.


#10 George P Dunham

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 06:23 PM

I looked at SkyX for Mac and realized it doesn't support my focuser.  I tried to use the QHY CCD driver in SkyX with my QHY12 and couldn't open(or find the device) a port.  For those two reasons I will need to stay with Windows as ASCOM is my only option for the functionality I use during imaging.  Looks like things haven't changed much since I last researched this, 2 years ago.  Bummer.



#11 Alex Parker

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 08:38 PM

Yay for fellow Mac owners doing Live Video :)

 

I'm using a CGE Pro that I slew around with via SkySafari, Miloslick for my Mallincam, Capture One version 8 as my Sony A7s will never likely be supported in The Sky X, The Sky X for my Focus Boss II focusers, PHD for guiding and Celestron's StarSense for plate solving. I would use The Sky X more for things like guiding but I just simply hate the application in its current form - that god awful GUI...eew.

 

I've tried INDI to control my focusers but I just get it to work properly :shrug:

 

.

 

Hi,

 

Question - what do you use to connect SkySafari to your CGE Pro?  I have tried one pass at connecting Sky Safari Pro to my CGEM but with no success.  I have the USB to serial connector and a serial to "phone cord" cable to plug into the handset.  I think I must be missing a driver or something.  The makers of Sky Safari don't provide much documentation on how to do this, I think because they want people to buy their WiFi solution instead...

 

Thanks!



#12 drmikevt

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 09:20 PM

Alex

 

If you have the USB to serial off Celestron's site then that is the problem - it's driver (to my knowledge) is windows only.  I use the wifi unit and it works great.  If you wanted to go serial, the Keyspan products work very nicely on Macs.

 

Mike


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#13 Don Rudny

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 09:21 PM

Hi,

 

Question - what do you use to connect SkySafari to your CGE Pro?  I have tried one pass at connecting Sky Safari Pro to my CGEM but with no success.  I have the USB to serial connector and a serial to "phone cord" cable to plug into the handset.  I think I must be missing a driver or something.  The makers of Sky Safari don't provide much documentation on how to do this, I think because they want people to buy their WiFi solution instead...

 

Thanks!

 

Hi Alex,

 

I am in process of setting up a connection to a CGE Pro for SkySafari.  Here is the SkySafari sheet for making up a cable.

 

http://skysafariastr...yfi/serial.html

 

Celestron also has instructions for making a cable to connect to a computer from their handset.  I just ordered one from a third party source and should get it tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it works out.  It does require a modular 4 pin telephone handset connector to connect to the CGE handset.

 

I use a Keyspan 232 to USB adapter that was recommended by Southern Stars.  Works fine with my Atlas mount.  Does your SkySafari recognize your 232/USB adapter in the setup menu?  If not, that could be the problem.

 

Hope this helps.



#14 George P Dunham

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 09:04 AM

I struggled to find the correct pinout for the serial to USB cable from the hand control to the computer.  I found http://www.nexstarsi...l/NexRemote.htm to be very helpful.  I believe the celestron serial cable has the correct pinout.  Also the serial to USB chip set and driver needed to be high quality and I found FTDI product and driver to be paramount.  The driver for Mac is at http://www.ftdichip....rivers/D2XX.htm the hardware is at http://www.ftdichip....es/USBRS232.htm

The simplest was the WiFi.



#15 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 10:09 AM

As others have said, you can do imaging on OSX, but you won't usually have the choices as you do on Windows. Also, as mentioned, the main problem may be your QHY cameras - at least with something like The SkyX. Hopefully that will get fixed soon.

 

As the you alluded to when you said that you were OK with using Windows for processing, I'd advise to use whatever platform you want but don't let the computer get in the way of getting your work done. If you need ASCOM then that's a pretty important technology. I do run everything on Macintosh but my hardware is pretty main stream and from long established vendors.

 

If I really needed a PhatTek WizBang 4000 camera to make my life complete and that camera required ASCOM then I'd probably dedicate a low-end net/ultra/whatever-book to astronomy. A dedicated machine would also give you the benefit of, as best as you can anymore, freezing the system once you get it working.

 

Regarding a Macintosh forum - I understand. I have used Macintoshes for a long time. Long before everyone's grandmother had one. In this case though, descisions are based on larger factors. One of the goals on CN is to promote discussion by having wider and diverse audiences. If a particular forum becomes stove piped or only serves a very small audience then it tends to die but also slices away the discussion from elsewhere. For example, if there was a Macintosh forum, there would be debate as to if other UNIX based systems should be there. Then there would be a debate about tablets running iOS (as an OSX varient). What about Android discussion? In the past, CN had more system and brand/make specific forums but they started stealing traffic from each other and this led to cross posting and confusion.

 

Generally speaking, most of the astronomy software that runs cross-platform is, essentially, the same on both machines and even if the software is different, the issues are more alike than different between the two platforms. I wouldn't want a Windows PhD user who could answer a question for an OSX user *not* to answer the question because they were hanging out in the Windows software forum and didn't see it. We already have a bit of this with the computer forum vs the imaging fora.

 

Anyway, enough, sorry for the ramble. Good luck with OSX.


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#16 Dragon Man

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:43 AM

I am at a loss. When did this become a Computer and OS Forum?  :shameonyou:

 

This is a perfect example of why the title of this section is so confusing; "Electronically Assisted Astronomy".

 

Yes, a computer and software is 'Electronic' and 'Assists Astronomy'. But so does an "Electronically Height  Adjustable Observing Chair".

 

Lets also talk about "Electronic Focusers" and "Dew Heaters" then. They fit the bill too.  :rollingeyes:

 

 

EDIT: Thank you Mr. Moderator for moving this thread  :waytogo:


Edited by Dragon Man, 11 September 2015 - 11:45 AM.


#17 trevize

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 12:02 PM

Alex

 

If you have the USB to serial off Celestron's site then that is the problem - it's driver (to my knowledge) is windows only.  I use the wifi unit and it works great.  If you wanted to go serial, the Keyspan products work very nicely on Macs.

 

Mike

 

 

I use the Celestron cable with a Prolific USB<->Serial on my MacBookPro with SkySafari 4 Pro for Mac and it works great.    I also use the Celestron Sky Portal with both my iPhone and SkySafari for mac without issue.

 

Edit:   I use Sky Portal


Edited by trevize, 11 September 2015 - 02:45 PM.


#18 drmikevt

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:22 PM

So - Just to be sure we are all clear and posting correct information:

 

SkyFi is not a Celestron product.  Their product is called either SkyQLink or Sky Portal - I am not sure if either of them work with Sky Safari, but I don't think so - I think you have you use Celestron's software.  SkyFi is made by the same folks as Sky Safari.  [BUT - it will also allow your kids to join Minecraft worlds on long car trips OR it can allow you to Park your computer next to the scope and use Air Display to control your computer via your iPad - it works great (with just a slight delay)  It is awesome to run Miloslick in full screen mode on the iPad.  Good stuff]

 

The Celestron cable that plugs into the HC and has a serial adapter on the other end is just a cable - it does not matter what platform you are using.  However, that cable needs a serial to USB adapter and the one on Celestron's website does not work with Macs.  



#19 btschumy

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 05:57 PM

FYI, SkySafari does work with Celestron's SkyQ Link.  

 

Sky Portal is a stripped down version of SkySafari that we made for Celestron to give away. It doesn't have the full power of SkySafari.



#20 drmikevt

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 10:11 PM

Good to know - thanks for the correction.


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#21 rmollise

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 09:21 AM

Sorry, I'm a winer.  I've been primarily using Mac for the last 10 years.  I used windows and linux prior to that.  I have started seriously running all my astro stuff via a computer.  I've sorted out all the software I don't really use and have the following as necessary for running my telescope mount, camera's, autoguider, plate solving and astrometrics.  I have SkyX professional, MaxIm DL 6, Nebulosity, PHD2, Astrotortilla, NexRemote, QHY's EZcap & EZplanetary, Metaguide and ASCOM.  I am using a CGE Pro mount (via NexRemote), QHY12, QHY5 & Lodestar autoguider.
I would love to rid myself of Windows as the main controller and perhaps use it for image processing only.  What I like of windows is ASCOM's ability to integrate everything.  I think that perhaps SkyX will control most of my stuff but I think the QHY12 & 5 only have ASCOM drivers in the camera package. 
Anyone using Mac to control their observatory with similar devices?  I'll even consider Linux again if I can depend on integrating.  Any help is appreciated.


I'm tired of Windows as well. And am planning to migrate to OSX/iOS, with a Mac taking on the role of desktop computer and a MacBook and/or an iPad Pro being what I'll use with the scopes.

 

Linux? Not much point since there is little top-of-the-line astro-ware for it. I don't want something almost as good as TheSky, I just want TheSky. ;)

I do realize that it will change the way I work. If I don't want to run Windows software on the Mac.

NexRemote? Hate to lose it, but I haven't really used it as much as I used to of late, anyway.

 

A planner? It will hurt like hell to give up Deep Sky Planner and SkyTools. I am still struggling with that.

 

FireCapture? That's gonna be a problem.

Registax the same.

 

The good news...

TheSky? There is a Mac version so I'm good.

 

Same with Starry Night.

 

There's SkySafari, including a Mac version.‚Äč

Nebulosity? There's a Mac version.

Same with PHD.

Cartes du Ciel? Ditto.

What is sounds like to me is that there is little choice but to hold onto a minimalist Win laptop for a few things (or occasionally run Windows on a MacBook)...not the least of which is updating telescope mount firmware and the other things I can't do with an iPad at the scope. This will undoubtedly change over the next couple of years...we are in a far better place with the Mac/iOS for astronomy than we were a couple of years ago. And I can do most of the things I do without Windows, if not necessarily the same way.
 


Edited by rmollise, 12 September 2015 - 09:34 AM.


#22 jackofalltrades

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 09:37 AM

I'm tired of Windows as well. And am planning to migrate to OSX/iOS, with a Mac taking on the role of desktop computer and a MacBook and/or an iPad Pro being what I'll use with the scopes.

 

... A planner? It will hurt like hell to give up Deep Sky Planner and SkyTools. I am still struggling with that. ...

 

I feel your pain there Rod, having migrated over myself this year.  I've been working on migrating my logs from SkyTools over to AstroPlanner, another great Mac app you forgot to mention above.  The task is proving to be monumental but well worth it.  I've owned AstroPlanner since v1.5 but never really used it until now.  I'm gaining a whole new level of respect for it as I learn its capabilities better.

 

I started out trying to migrate my logs to Starry Night and use it, but alas, was let down by that product once again.  I hope they do get the Log feature fixed and it can become a powerful and usable product one day.  But at present, it's just another planetarium package for me.

 

I will miss the eyepiece view and atlas of SkyTools, but I do have a Win 10 VM running with SkyTools if I feel I need it.

 

---

 

Currently, my go-to software is AstroPlanner and CdC for logs and research.  I also use SkySafari 4 Pro for Mac to build my observing list for the night, then export the list to SkySafari 4 Pro on my iPad/iPhone.  After the session, I simply transcribe my observing logs back into AstroPlanner.  Since I don't image, I don't have any input on software or functionality there.


Edited by jackofalltrades, 12 September 2015 - 09:40 AM.


#23 AstroEthan

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 10:43 AM

I have SkyX professional, MaxIm DL 6, Nebulosity, PHD2, Astrotortilla, NexRemote, QHY's EZcap & EZplanetary, Metaguide and ASCOM.  I am using a CGE Pro mount (via NexRemote), QHY12, QHY5 & Lodestar autoguider.
I would love to rid myself of Windows as the main controller and perhaps use it for image processing only.  What I like of windows is ASCOM's ability to integrate everything.


Unless you find an OS X version or alternative, or you can get most of these to work with Wine, both of which are unlikely from my experience, I think you're out of luck.

Ditto for Linux.

#24 rmollise

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 09:23 AM

I feel your pain there Rod, having migrated over myself this year.  I've been working on migrating my logs from SkyTools over to AstroPlanner, another great Mac app you forgot to mention above.  The task is proving to be monumental but well worth it.  I've owned AstroPlanner since v1.5 but never really used it until now.  I'm gaining a whole new level of respect for it as I learn its capabilities better.
 
I started out trying to migrate my logs to Starry Night and use it, but alas, was let down by that product once again.  I hope they do get the Log feature fixed and it can become a powerful and usable product one day.  But at present, it's just another planetarium package for me.
 
I will miss the eyepiece view and atlas of SkyTools, but I do have a Win 10 VM running with SkyTools if I feel I need it.
 
---
 
Currently, my go-to software is AstroPlanner and CdC for logs and research.  I also use SkySafari 4 Pro for Mac to build my observing list for the night, then export the list to SkySafari 4 Pro on my iPad/iPhone.  After the session, I simply transcribe my observing logs back into AstroPlanner.  Since I don't image, I don't have any input on software or functionality there.


Yep, should have mentioned AstroPlanner. I am in the process of getting used to it again via the Win version, and I am sure it will work fine if I decide to go the MacBook route.

Edited by rmollise, 13 September 2015 - 09:28 AM.


#25 rmollise

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 09:26 AM

Unless you find an OS X version or alternative, or you can get most of these to work with Wine, both of which are unlikely from my experience, I think you're out of luck.

Ditto for Linux.


There are OSX versions of TheSky and PHD. The rest? There are Mac alternatives for almost everything. The only thing I know of that's lacking other than NexRemote is a program like FireCapture for planetary imaging. There appear to be a couple of Mac alternatives, but they do not appear to be in the same league. Ditto for Regsistax and Autostakkert, alas.

Edited by rmollise, 13 September 2015 - 09:27 AM.



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