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planetarium/scope ctrl. software

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#1 fullotto

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 10:52 AM

hi,

i have been looking at the above software for diff. choices best suited for want i want to do.( mainly for controlling my scope).

i know of and have read up on the more popular one`s like Stellarium, CdC, (freeware) & The Sky6.

 

 

i just found another one called Megastar 5. anybody here ever used this or know more about it?

 

keeping in mind i mainly want the software for scope control, is Megastar 5 pretty good?

 

i have an 10in. lx200gps set up in my obs.

 

thanks for your input.



#2 einarin

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 11:24 AM

"The most recent update is V5.0.14, releasedOctober 2, 2012."

So pretty old.



#3 fullotto

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 11:41 AM

ok, old. did you use it? was/is any good you know?



#4 einarin

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 11:56 AM

Nope but I would recommend using software that is more recently updated.

Besides both CdC and Stellarium are free.



#5 fullotto

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 04:43 PM

since there freeware ( i have looked into them already) there is no real customer support. chats, youtube & forums

just are not that good for me since this type of software usage is very new to me. im just beginning to learn and i have to do this by myself because i dont have an astronomy club or other amateurs to help me hands-on. i sure i`ll have loads of questions, problems,

trouble getting my scope & computer to talk to each other etc. so that just leaves me with buying from a co. that has real cust. support

to talk to anytime i need.

 

once i get onto this pretty well i probably will get stellarium but until then i`ll have to go with bought software.

 

even though the Megastar is old it must still be used since they are still selling it.

 

if anyone else reads this thread and uses megastar or has used it, please reply.



#6 redodson

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 06:54 PM

I have owned MegaStar for quite a few years, and I still use it on occasion. Even though it is very old software and has not been upgraded very often (last in 2012, I believe), it is still very useful for certain purposes. To me, its most useful feature is its ability to display images as overlays on the star charts - theoretically both DSS images from the STScI DSS database, or from locally stored FITS image files, or (less usefully) from a modified RealSky image database. Unfortunately, its usefulness has been severely compromised by the fact that the STScI address is hardwired in the code as http://archive.stsci...gi-bin/dss_form, but the actual address has been changed to http://stdatu.stsci....gi-bin/dss_form. It should be a trivial matter for the code developer to correct this change, but to date, no correction has been made. To me, this is a critical shortcoming, and I would not recommend purchasing the code until that fix has been made, or, perhaps, a major upgrade is released; but I would assess the chances for another upgrade as very small. MegaStar has no control features for modern scopes, so its main strength is its ability to display star charts and image overlays.


Edited by redodson, 02 June 2019 - 09:35 AM.


#7 fullotto

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 09:55 PM

thanks for the information on the scopes because that was going to be the main purpose for it.

i dont like freeware because of the lack of any customer support. this type of software is rather new to me

and i would assume there is a pretty decent learning curve involved so i know i would be calling tech a few times.

 

so that just leaves me with the Autostar Suite from Meade, The Sky6 from Bisque & maybe Skysafari 6 pro to name a couple.

i have contacted & talked with each of these  and their support is top notch!

 

and since i am a beginner & the main reason for wanting this software to begin with is scope control, these programs

with the excepting of SkySafari, all have native scope control built in so i dont have to download a 3rd party program

in order to get it to function to control the scope. Meade seems the easiest to learn but the Bisque program

is awesome in cust. support. i was told by Mr. Rickard of Bisque that i could call if i am have a problem at the scope

and they would walk me thru it!



#8 redodson

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 10:04 AM

I wasn't entirely accurate when I said that MegaStar lacks control features for modern scopes. It does interface with several digital setting circle devices, such as Sky Commander, Argo Navis, ServoCat, etc., and a few go to systems such as Meade LX200, Celestron Nexstar, Astro Physics GTO, etc. I have never used its tracking or go to capabilities, so I can't evaluate them; but, of course, they are seven years old. If that is the main purpose of the software you are looking for, I would definitely recommend something more current.



#9 gregj888

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 11:11 AM

Otto, I think you'll find the freeware packages are pretty well supported, even if just by the community. 

 

I uses CDC and find it is easy to get information, add catalogs and so on.  If you do need help or further discussion there is a group page at:   https://groups.io/g/skychart

 

If you put " Cartes du Ciel" into youtube, you'll get a page or two if videos.  Admittedly many are in French, but not all.

 

For as long as it works I also use the old DeepSky software (free now).  I still like it's planning and search capabilities.  It ties to CDC though can be a little clunky.   It's about only software I've found that I can load my own catalog (full Washington Double Star Catalog) and search for targets with a separation between 0.4 and 1.5 arc-sec and primary mag from m14-m9 and sec mag from m15 - m9 and in the consolation of Virgo (the "ands" here are logical).  I get a list back that with a click is in CDC, another couple of clicks and the telescope is centering on the one chosen...



#10 fullotto

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 12:49 PM

i believe you there. but i`m old fashioned & almost 60yrs old. i believe in good`ol personal one-on-one phone talk.

im not much for youtube vids. over the yrs i have needed help in amateur astron. and you just sometime cant convey your problem

in texting/typing what you need. i have had to use verbal comm. to get it right.

 

i have no astron. clubs or other people like me anywhere near. so i prefer the phone support instead...even if it means paying

top dollar for software.



#11 gregj888

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 12:36 AM

Otto, you kids always want to take the easy way :-)  Ya, I've got you by a few years and a Medicare card... ;-) 

 

You have to go with what works for you, but this stuff is pretty easy.  Most of the software, even the shareware/freeware have quick start guides.



#12 dongallo

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 04:24 PM

Why TheSky 6? Get the latest version if the Sky is what you want. Always get the latest of any software you wish to purchase. TheSkyX is the latest. TheSkyX is probably the easiest software to use for for computers. If you are strictly doing visual observing, the simplest is SkySafari 6 Pro along with SkyFi for a wireless connection to your phone or tablet. This setup is very powerful and so easy to setup even my wife could do it. 



#13 Procyon

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 01:52 PM

Can Stellarium control your scope from say a mini ipad or other tablet to hand controller?


Edited by Procyon, 10 June 2019 - 01:57 PM.


#14 gzotti

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:10 PM

Can Stellarium control your scope from say a mini ipad or other tablet to hand controller?

No. The free desktop program runs on desktop PCs and can control telescopes with the keyboard&mouse interface native to desktop systems. There was a hand controller or joystick control in development years ago, but was given up due to lack of response. And we won't build software for hardware that we don't have and use ourselves. However, as open-source project, everybody is invited to contribute.


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#15 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:35 PM

I've been using Hallo Northern Sky(HNSky) for years with good success on all my scopes.

 

http://www.hnsky.org/software.htm



#16 Procyon

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:16 PM

No. The free desktop program runs on desktop PCs and can control telescopes with the keyboard&mouse interface native to desktop systems. There was a hand controller or joystick control in development years ago, but was given up due to lack of response. And we won't build software for hardware that we don't have and use ourselves. However, as open-source project, everybody is invited to contribute.

Great engine on it, good stuff. Smooth and never stalls.



#17 einarin

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:48 AM

I've been using Hallo Northern Sky(HNSky) for years with good success on all my scopes.

 

http://www.hnsky.org/software.htm

Used it way back.

Does it look like this ?
http://www.hnsky.org/hns_scr.htm



#18 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:44 PM

That's it. The upper-left corner usually has more data than older versions. I find it easier to set up than other planetarium programs. The others are good but this one seems to fit my temperament.



#19 Procyon

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 03:08 PM

Looks like windows 95-98 era though.

#20 optinuke

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 03:01 PM

Otto, I think you'll find the freeware packages are pretty well supported, even if just by the community. 

 

I uses CDC and find it is easy to get information, add catalogs and so on.  If you do need help or further discussion there is a group page at:   https://groups.io/g/skychart

 

If you put " Cartes du Ciel" into youtube, you'll get a page or two if videos.  Admittedly many are in French, but not all.

I recently was in the same situation as the OP - looking for planetarium software to control my (very vintage) 10" LX200 and somewhat more modern 16" LX200.  After trying several free software packages with varied success, I settled on CdC for the reasons Greg cites, plus it has features that are very observer-friendly such as being able to turn off the computer monitor/laptop screen while executing tours, thus preserving night vision.

 

Greg, thanks for the link to the users, group.

 

Jay



#21 ShaulaB

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 03:11 PM

Husband and I use Sky Safari Plus version 5 on an generic Android tablet to control a Celestron CGE mount and an iOptron AZ Pro mount with great success. We have been doing this for at least four years. Sky Safari is not free. It supports Apple and Android phones and tablets.


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