Voyager 4.5 by Carina Software

My all-time favorite planetarium software program is Voyager 4.5 from Carina Software.  Hardly a day goes by when I am not using it, and my use of Voyager goes all the way back to 1993.  The current version for Mac OS X (and Windows) is 4.5.7.  Sadly, the last update was in 2010.  I wish there was something we could do to ensure that Voyager will be maintained and enhanced in the future.

Speaking of maintenance, in 2015 Voyager ceased being able to import comet and asteroid orbital elements through its automatic Updates process.  This happened because the URL changed for both.  Seems like a pretty easy fix to me.  If Carina won’t fix it, then maybe someone can edit the executable and change the two URLs?

Fortunately, you can still manually import these orbital elements by following these instructions.

Adding Comets
  1. Navigate your web browser to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/Soft00Cmt.txt and save this page to a file, which will automatically be called Soft00cmt.txt.  You can save it anywhere, but I’d suggest you save it in the Import Files folder in the Voyager 4.5 main directory within your Applications folder.
  2. In Voyager, go to File : Import : Comet Orbit File…
  3. Navigate to Applications : Voyager 4.5 : Updates : Soft00Cmt.txt and click Open.  You will get a message box asking “Before importing new data, do you want to delete all current asteroid/comet/satellite data?”  Click Yes.  Next you will see an Import results box showing you the number of comets added to Voyager’s database.  Click OK.
Adding Asteroids
  1. Navigate your web browser to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPCORB.html and under Available Files right click on MPCORB.DAT (uncompressed) and Save Link As… to your Voyager 4.5 Import Files folder.  Do not open this file in your web browser as it is over 147 Mb in size!  The file saved is called MPCORB.DAT.
  2. Navigate to Applications : Voyager 4.5 : Updates : MPCORB.DAT and edit the MPCORB.DAT file with the editor of your choice.  Remove the header lines at the top of the file right down to the line of dashes, and save the file.
  3. In Voyager, go to File : Import : Asteroid Orbit File…
  4. Navigate to Applications : Voyager 4.5 : Import Files : MPCORB.DAT and click Open.  You will get a message box asking “Before importing new data, do you want to delete all current asteroid/comet/satellite data?”  Click Yes.  It will take a while to import all the asteroids, and then you will see an Import results box showing you the number of asteroids (and transNeptunian objects, by the way) added to Voyager’s database.  Click OK.

2 thoughts on “Voyager 4.5 by Carina Software”

  1. The Comet Import function no longer appears to work when running Voyager 4.5.7 under macOS Sierra 10.12.1, nor does it work for Windows 10. When I tried to re-install Voyager 4.5.7 under macOS Sierra, I could not create a registration file, perhaps due to permissions issues. This may be the beginning of the end for this venerable software.

  2. I started playing around with SkySafari 5 Pro, which has some nice similarities with Voyager (not surprising, since Tim DeBenedictis had a big hand in both), but I think that Voyager is still hands down easier to use. For example, I use Voyager to create my weekly Planet Visibility report, and it takes far fewer mouse clicks (and far less time) to do it with Voyager as compared with SkySafari. Also, SkySafari does not include some features that I use all the time in Voyager, such as the Conjunction Search. I’ll be continuing to use Voyager, even if I have to run it on an old computer and older Mac OS X.

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