VOGONS


First post, by Keatah

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The short version:
Looking for a source for old Zephyr Services' astronomy software. http://web.archive.org/web/19990421060004/htt … s.com/astro.htm

The long version:
Prior to getting a PC I had an Apple II and it was a most satisfying rig in countless aspects. I did all kinds of things like run a BBS, play millions of games, started a personal journal which I still keep today, printed homework, learned about space and astronomy, learned all kinds of computer concepts and how hardware worked, got an HDD, and so much more. Though I had astronomy and sky chart stuff for the Apple II it really wasn't an ideal experience. It was like looking at the heavens through a straw. The resolution was limiting in what could be displayed. Because with astro software you usually have a lot of numbers and symbols going on. And the text was limited too. But, hey, it's what I had at the time.

15 years after the II series was born, it was definitely showing its age. In an attempt to move forward and upward I farted around with the Amiga in the late 80's and early 90's as a replacement. But it was just too far off the mainstream. No one had one. Software was hard to come by. Businesses weren't using them. Beyond some specialty paint programs it was a dead-end for me. And there was very little astronomy software to boot. At least none that I could locate. Expansion was limited and the 386 PC platform was showing signs of life for home users with billions of upgrades and seemingly faster clock speeds every 6 months.

Decades ago (1990's) I clearly remember reading the "Dance of the Planets" info sheet and paging through Zephyr Services Astronomy Software catalog. I was amazed and blown away by the colored text and hi-resolution lines and dots. Perfect for sky charts and eclipse graphs and "impressive technical looking" columns of numbers and ephemerides. I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO GET A PC! No two ways about it.

To a kid it was a magical dream come true. Magical that a computer could understand the laws of nature and the music of the celestial spheres. Amazing that fundamental concepts of nature could be simulated and recreated inside a circuit board.

Got my first one in 1992/1993, a Gateway 486. Still have it today.

Discovering astronomy software on the PC wasn't a revelation in itself. But seeing color plots, and color charts, in easily readable hi-res was. It was how I wanted it to be on the Apple II. But, expecting that on a nearly 15-year old 8-bit architecture wasn't anywhere near reasonable.

I soon enough got the system. I got all kinds of astro software and enjoyed all of it. Even got some astrological stuff for fun. Got things like RedShift, SkyGlobe, Dance of the Planets, and so much more! Loads of shareware and catalog stuff. But not everything. I missed out on a lot of offerings from Zypher Software. It was just too expensive to get everything. And that's what I'm looking for - the stuff they had listed.

Sure it's fun to play with Stellarium, Cartes du Ceil, DeepSky, Starry Night, SpaceEngine.. But I want to get more of the old stuff like listed by Zypher. Some for nostalgia sake. Some to "complete" a childhood dream.