Re: [guide-user] Running Charon on Windows 7

Christian Ambros Feb 26, 2016


I had a conversation about Charon with Bill two years ago, because I had trouble using it many years at all. There is an alternative called It offers a web service but the more interesting version is running it offline because even completely unknown star fields are found within an hour if you roughly know with what optics it might be recorded. It compares the image to a specially altered ucac4 and not only alters the fits header for wc5 positions it also tells you the exact focal length pixel scale etc if you provide some more information about your optics. Several years back one downside was downloading the catalogs from their site because the complete catalog has 110gb. Once you have it it's child play.

I talked to Bill because I wanted to compare the power of both tools and asked if you might get an option (button) to link both together. Since nobody else was interested so far, he gave me the source code for personal usage and sophistication. Dealing with the code I found that I have rewrite it with more modern pattern and methods like parallelization and segmentation to speed up the code for good. Because of my tumor problems, I didn't get to it, yet. Since works fine and does the header altering automatically, there ware no need for a hurry. Other things like my low-budget-be-there-tracking system had more priority because our old Apogee Ap7p should get a revival as autoguider for our 24" Cassegrain telescope.
So far, we are still re-building the tracking system to get back to science grade again, but without the engineering mistake of the past.

I'm using the dosbox for Charon still and it won't run out because this dosbox is running on a very up to date linux, like my GUIDE Version (continuously updated since Guide 6, I bought 8 & 9, too, to support Bill's work). I don't had any problems with freezing the dosbox, even when Charon crashes. Maybe that's an issue of the windows version, which is one more point that I recommend switching to a sophisticated OS which is much more user friendly than windows, in addition.

I compared Charon running in a dosbox on XP and distroastro linux on my CCD-camera laptop and have to say, that Charon on the linux dosbox runs 5 times faster and is more accurate due to Windows outdated treatment of the rtc-chip. A second thing that caused differences in the calculations might be windows lack of accurate mathematics which is accurate only to 40 digit not 128 like on good old dos or 2.7billion on linux with a 64bit system (real not only integer like on windows).

Since I encountered the problems with the clock treatment and the digits, there isn't any point to me why one should use any windows version ever.
At out telescope we encounter a 8 to 15 arcminutes displacement at pointing due windows using that old nt-based software clock and a tracking error of 4 to 7 arcseconds moving. The old tracking system which is still in use, doesn't show that behavior if you run the dosbox on the same machine on linux. The tracking oscillation is reduced to 2 to 5 arcseconds which is the normal and depends stepper motor which are drive with 3.75° fullstep.

More worse. This isn't only the problem of XP. 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 still show this, because that windows code didn't change and won't be.

Have a try with the linux dosbox. If you don't want to install, just get distroastro as a liveDVD. It works fine with it and without the errors. For those who can't get rid of there windows because they are to affrait that their system will start to work perfectly, Qubes might be an alternative. Qubes is a virtual machines linux. It starts what ever program with it's OS in a virtual machine and run's it in a sandbox the way that crashes won't harm anything. Intermediate data transfer between the vm's is established.

To summarize, yes Charon is running in a dosbox with win10 but as bad as it could be.
Solution: get a sophisticated OS and run the dosbox there or just use for better and faster results.

-- "A little learning never caused anyone's head to explode!" "Ein wenig Lernen hat noch niemandens Kopf zum Explodieren gebracht!"

On Friday, February 26, 2016 2:13 PM, "'P. Clay Sherrod' drclay@... [guide-user]" <> wrote:


I have attempted to use dosbox, but have major issues at random.  How are you exiting the Charon program when finished measuring?  It stalls our computers to get out of the program.
Also, some of the computers do not want to show a full screen Charon, making it impossible to use.
Please share some of your tips.  I am running out of Windows XP machines....and I still fully agree that Charon is the best in the business.
We have dosbox on two W-7 Pro machines and it is working, but having issues.
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
ASO Petit Jean Mountain /MPC H41
ASO Petit Jean Mountain South /MPC H45
ASO West Conway /MPC H43
.......serving astronomy since 1971
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 5:24 AM
Subject: [guide-user] Running Charon on Windows 7

Charon is definitely not obsolete. I still use it all the time after 26 years. Like paper books there are somethings it just does better than more modern packages. For example it can match fields even when you are way off target. Anyway I was gutted to find out that Widows no longer supports DOS until I installed the DosBox dos emulator. All I did was copy dos4gw from the CD to the guide directory, then drag and drop the Charon icon onto the DosBox icon. Works great, I'm so happy! I'll bet everyone else  knew about this months ago.......
IAU 216