Newbie question - plate solving SW requirements

Hi everybody.
I just received few days ago my first CCD and I’m doing my first baby steps in this world after some years spent with a DSLR setup.

I was looking at voyager as a stand-alone software to point, guide, focus (in future) and acquire my images.

Looking at the introductory videos, I noticed that MaximDL is required for plate solving.

My question could be stupid, but…

  1. without plate solving I can’t point my mount to the subject as voyager doesn’t know “where it is”, right?

  2. Is there any free - and reliable! - option for the plate solving software instead of MaximDL?

  3. (Please don’t shoot me on this one) if MaximDL is required for plate solving and - if the answer to 1 is “yes” as I think - pointing at your subject, if I already have Maxim, which advantages I get from using Voyager over Maxim for guiding and acquiring my images?

As you might understand I never tried Maxim and I basically just downloaded Voyager, so please don’t be harsh if I said something stupid :slight_smile:


Actually with Voyager you can plate solve with a number of other programs. Plate Solve 2 (Which is included in the Voyager install but I can’t recall if you need to separately download the catalog files) All Sky Plate Solver and ASTAP or a local server and even a remote (Web) call to ANSVR (Same thing but to a server on the internet) are the usual suspects.

I use Plate Solve 2 for near solving and ASTAP for blind solving on the very rare occasion that PS2 fails.

If you do not have any plate solver set up, Voyager will still be able to point the mount but accuracy will certainly suffer and will also depend on your initial mount setup and sync to be able to reliably point at or at least near a target.

PS2, ASTAP, Local (Or over the net) are all free but most take a little setup work.

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I use ASTAP for both blind and plate solving. It’s fast, accurate, and reliable.



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Another vote for ASTAP. Very nice and reliable.