Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main differences between Voyager and SkyGazer?
SkyGazer is introductory version of our software, and Voyager is the advanced version.
SkyGazer has a database that can show you everything you can see with your eyes, or a through a pair of binoculars or small telescope. Voyager's database, on the other hand, contains more objects than most large backyard telescopes can see. Voyager can control a computerized telescope; SkyGazer cannot.
Voyager is designed to predict the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, asteroids, comets, and spacecraft with the highest possible precision; SkyGazer gives enough precision for casual, naked eye observation. Voyager's interface contains a complete set of options for configuring nearly every aspect of how the program computes and displays celestial phenomena; SkyGazer's user interface is simpler, and contains fewer options.
Voyager is shipped on a CD or DVD which contains hundreds of megabytes of high-quality astronomical images, and (on the DVD) gigabytes of additional stellar/galactic data. SkyGazer is available by internet download (or on CD), and therefore does not include the image gallery or expanded database.
On the other hand, SkyGazer contains some educational features - such as our illustrated SkyGuide introduction to basic astronomical concepts, the planets, and the constellations - not found in Voyager.
How do Voyager and SkyGazer differ from other astronomy programs that are out there?
There are many of astronomy programs available today! Much of it is very good, and some of it is even available for free. However, you'll find that very few programs - commercial or otherwise - can perform the range of simulations with the same ease-of-use that Voyager and SkyGazer provide. For example:
One leading commercial astronomy program can only show you the night sky as seen from the Earth. The most popular open-source program can only show you the sky as seen from locations other than Earth. We can take you to any place on Earth, in the Solar System, or thousands of light years beyond into interstellar space.
Many commercial astronomy programs require high-end graphics hardware to function reliably; ours does not. Voyager's database and computing engine was written by a MIT planetary science graduate for research-level accuracy; and by a serious amateur astronomer and telescope maker with decades of observing experience. While we can't vouch for anyone else, we can guarantee that our software has been through years of rigorous testing. Our user interface is the result of many years of experience in astronomy education, and is among the best in the business.
Do you have an astronomy textbook that can be used along with Voyager or SkyGazer in the classroom?
No, but SkyGazer is bundled with Benjamin Cummings' excellent introductory college level astronomy textbook, "The Cosmic Perspective". You can purchase a copy of this textbook on-line from Benjamin Cummings or Amazon.com.
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Copyright February, 2011
Carina Software & Instruments, Inc