In November 1996, #sciastro — the amateur astronomer’s IRC channel — began. The channel, housed on the StarLink-IRC Network, is open 24 hours a day, with channel operators (moderators) logged on for much of that time.
Before you can begin chatting on #sciastro, you must first connect to a server. Begin by choosing from several IRC software packages. Most visitors use Pirch or mIRC for Windows-operating systems and Ircle for Macintosh computers.
These programs come with a listing of major IRC networks with pre-installed servers. StarLink-IRC should be among the choices, so select that network and pick one of the servers. If you can’t get your chosen server to respond, try another one. If you don’t find StarLink-IRC listed, simply type “/server irc.starlink-irc.org.” Once connected to a server, type “/join #sciastro” and you can begin chatting. You’ll find general IRC information at www.irchelp.org, or check www.starlink-irc.org for information about the network and getting connected.