Frequently Asked Questions

Sky Chart Questions

I changed my location, but every time the program starts up, it says I am located in San Francisco. How do I make Voyager or SkyGazer save my location?

After changing your location (or, for that matter, any other setting you wish to have the program start up with by default), use the Save Startup Settings command, in the File menu. This will overwrite the default settings file, and ensure that the program starts up with your new settings every time.


I want to show the entire sky as a "ball", similar to the monthly star maps printed in Sky & Telescope or Astronomy magazine, but the edges are cut off at the sides of the window. How do I show the full sky in a Voyager or SkyGazer sky chart window?

First, you need to use the Orthographic or Stereographic projection. Set the field of view to 180 degrees, then "look straight up" by centering the zenith. Finally, resize the chart window so that the window itself is square. To print a sky chart like this, make sure you're printing in "portrait" mode, not "landscape" mode, so that the printed page is taller than it is wide.


I'm running Voyager or SkyGazer on Mac OS X, and I can't change the time step (in the Time Panel) or the field of view (using the menu in the lower left corner of the chart window). I click on the time/zoom menu button but no menu appears. Why?

Check to see if your display is running in 16-bit color (i.e. thousands of colors). If so, switch it to 32-bit color (i.e. millions of colors). That should solve the problem. This appears to be a bug in Mac OS X, which we've reported to Apple on several occasions, but as of this writing (OS X 10.5.2) still appears to be present.


I want to put "Telrad Circles" on my sky chart, which simulate the field of view of my telescope/telrad/finder/binoculars to assist in star-hopping. How do I do this?

Go to the Telescope menu > Control Setup, and select the "Demo Interface" as your telescope type. Click the Display Setup tab, and set the FOV of the finder and eyepiece to match your Telrad. Then go back to the Control Setup tab, and click the OK button to connect to the scope. Once you're connected, you can then make the demo telescope "GoTo" the star, other object, or coordinates where you want the Telrad circles to appear.


Can Voyager or SkyGazer show me the Moon/Mars landing sites? Can your software show me the night sky from a planet other than Earth?

No. But that's coming soon.


I resized my Sky Chart window and saved my Startup settings. But when I re-launch Voyager (or SkyGazer), the Sky Chart window is always maximized to the size of the screen! How can I make your program start up with my preferred Sky Chart window size and position?

Select Preferences... from the Voyager 4.5 menu (Mac OS X) or Help menu (Windows). Select the File tab in the Preferences dialog. Un-check the box labelled "Maximize chart windows when opening settings", then click the OK button to save your preferences.

Now, when you resize the Sky Chart window and save your Startup settings, Voyager or SkyGazer will use you preferred Sky Chart window size when it starts up, instead of maximizing the window.

Please note that when this option is turned off, sky chart windows in all settings files - not just your Startup settings file - will be displayed at their size/position when the file was saved. No sky chart windows will be maximized when opening any settings files. Also note that when this option is turned on, sky chart windows will only be maximized if the settings file contains more than one. (It makes no sense to maximize more than one sky chart window, since the first one maximized would hide all the others.)


When I save my Startup settings file, Voyager (or SkyGazer) isn't saving my asteroid/comet/spacecraft/satellite options! I always see the same set of asteroids/comets/spacecraft when the program starts up, even though I used the "Save Startup Settings" command after I changed my asteroid/comet/satellite options. Is this a bug?

Voyager and SkyGazer are designed not to save orbit data in the Startup settings file. There is a reason for this (see below), and a workaround:

Go to the File menu > Save Settings As... command > Settings File Options dialog.
Check the Save Orbit Data box. (In SkyGazer, this option is not available, but it is turned on internally.)
Save the settings file as "Startup.vgr", in the same folder as the Voyager or SkyGazer application, overwriting the "Startup.vgr" file already there.

Your custom asteroid/comet/spacecraft settings will now be saved when you re-start the program. However, there is a caveat: orbits for those objects will not be updated when you update your asteroid/comet/spacecraft data. Orbit data updates are applied to the internal database files, not the Startup file. (This is why "Save Orbit Data" is turned off by default in the Startup file: so that the program will use the most up-to-date orbits from its internal database.)

Orbits in your Startup file - or for that matter any other settings file - supercede orbits from the internal database. You will need to re-save your Startup file every time you update your asteroid/comet/spacecraft data, so your Startup file will save the updated orbits.


Copyright February, 2011

Carina Software & Instruments, Inc