Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, February 7, 2011

Frustrations abound

This is definitely off topic for RV'ing, so you can be forewarned and skip it if you like.

I have more time on my hands than is good for me, and I have been getting re-interested in astronomy. Not that I've ever lost interest - even subscribed to a year of Astronomy magazine, but that's another story in frustration.

When my ex husband gave me a telescope for Christmas 2000, there was software included that I can't find, but it is no doubt only for Windows based computers and I need something for the MAC. I want a simple backyard observer type program - nothing fancy or 3-dimensional. The software I had was absolutely perfect for me - you could set it for your location and time and it was set in memory until you moved or changed it. What it showed was a line depicting the horizon, and directions printed below letting you know what was in the sky to the N, NE, E, SE, S, etc. The stars were depicted in their proper location above the horizon.

You could move in any direction with the cursor and find out what stars were in view. You could even move the focus to straight overhead, and change from stars to planets only. It was absolutely perfect for printing out a section of what was up in the sky (to take outdoors for viewing).

I spent hours last night as well as a couple this morning trying to search for software that will allow me to see what's up in the format that I want it to be. I don't want 3 dimensional viewing; I don't want to travel through space, go to the moon or other planets and see the sky from their vantage points. I want a backyard chart for me, right here and now. Why is that so unavailable any more?

If anyone out there knows of the kind of software I'm looking for I'd appreciate hearing from you. I am nearly certain that the computer it was loaded on was the PC before my last one which I bought in about 2003. That is long gone, so my only hope is to find my original software and maybe buy a really cheap windows based laptop to load it on. I've been thinking a lot lately about getting an inexpensive laptop that I can load software on that isn't available for the MAC. Mainly games such as Mahjong and FreeCell, but also old programs that I loved and used. No web surfing, email or anything that invites scamming.

As far as Astronomy magazine goes, it drives me crazy with calling old familiar celestial objects by their numerical designation. Who the heck refers to M1 (I think that's the Crab Nebula)? I wonder why newly found objects are given a numerical code, and how memorable is that? I prefer the beautiful old melodic sounding names, such as Andromeda, or Cassiopeia-distinctive because of it's "W" shape formed by 5 bright stars. I would never remember that if it was called by an "N" or an "M" number.

Okay, I'm finished. Back to searching for old software depicting the night sky in my backyard. By the way, I'm desperately trying to not think about RVing or traveling until I know that I can do it in the future.


  1. Gypsy, have you checked for games that came with your Mac? I have both Mahjong and FreeCell on mine.

    Here's the link to one astronomy program that I found for the Mac. It's shareware so it's free for 15 days and then if you like it you pay for it. There are many others. I just put 'backyard astronomy program for Mac' in google and it came up with a few.

    Good luck!

  2. Why are there no programs out there that can read my mind, do the required searches, know I have a MAC, used to own a PC and then do the install for me and then show me how to use it? Is that too much to ask?

  3. Fist off, Cassiopeia is a constilation and they are all named. Here is a link to a gadget that you take out at night, point it at something and it will tell you all about it. It is called the SkyScout. Here is a link to a video:

  4. WOW, Anonymous. You sure zero right in to the basics! I don't understand why you are bothering with my blog, though. I'm sure there are many others you'd like much better. But thanks for your comment anyway.

  5. Anonymous should just go away!

    Not having a Mac I wouldn't have a clue how to find any kind of a program for you. And since I know zilch about astronomy, I really am no help at all. Sure do hope you find something that will work for you.

  6. Hi Gypsy - My husband uses Equinox. He says there is a lot of eye candy in the program, but that it can be ignored and just used in a simple mode.

    You will have to enter your current location. He will be glad to walk you through the process if you have difficulty doing this.


    There is also Starry Night.


    You can always look for Mac software of all kinds at:



  7. The only recent thing I have seen on this is my SIL's new Droid phone which has an Application that allows you to just hold it up the the sky and it shows all the celestial bodies and as you move it up/down, left or right it continues to show the sky you are looking at. I was very impressed with this. Being an old sailor who used a sextant and tables to navigate around the world in ancient times, this was really amazing.

  8. I think I have a program or two on my home computer but can't remember what they are. I still have a tendency to fall back on my Astronomy book. Only thing I have now on desktop here is probably not what your looking for... http://earthsky.org/tonight Taught myself the night sky years ago so have a reasonably good idea where things are but it's one of those things that you have to keep at or the names of the constellations, etc soon slip from memory. Two of my favorite night time constellations are Orion in the Winter & Scorpios in the Summer.

  9. Great post Gypsy bringing out great responses - with one exception - I'm going to check out some of the suggestions myself. I've always been interested in the stars but could never manage with book to sky to book.

    I'm sure you can get a "really cheap" PC just for the things you want. Hope you find your software. Do post and let me know its name if you do.