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Synced scopes software ?

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#1 BigC

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

Is there a program that can query a hand controller for pointing co-ordinates and then sync another,or even several, scope to the same co-ordinates ?

I'm thinking AP RGB with three scopes ?

Or one might use a SkyProdigy or Lightswitch for automted alignment and sync a bigger scope to the objects ?

#2 rmollise

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

No, there is no software that can do this. Using 3 scopes to do RGB imaging is interesting, but impractical for several reasons, I fear. For starters before even worrying about alignment you'd have to have three scopes whose focal length were nearly identical.

#3 JAT Observatory

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:10 PM

Off the top of my head I don't see why this couldn't be done by scripting a program like TheSkyX and your camera control software. The 3 systems could pass info via files that are generated / updated by the script.

One of the systems is the master and the other 2 are slaves. Once the master issues the pointing info to the file. All 3 would then begin a slew to the target and then execute a scripted plate solve for accurate pointing.

After the pointing accuracy has been achieved a flag in the file is updated by each system. When all 3 systems are pointed and the confirmation flag is written to the file the script would then begin the camera control and the pictures are taken.

If the script / file were setup with target names then multiple targets could be selected. TheSky can be set to read target names and validate thrm against the installed database. If that approach was taken that would allow the script to move to the next target and begin the sequence over again until the list of targets is done.

While it's not an out of the box, ready to go solution I think it could be done with a little thought and either TheSky/CCDSoft or MaxIm DL

#4 rmollise

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

For that to work, there'd have to be interaction with the hand controls. Just working with the camera control software and TheSky would not do it.

#5 JAT Observatory

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

That is all you need. The programs (scopes) can either talk to each other using the com (Component Object Model) or read and write the values to an accessible file. TheSky and MaxIm Dl both have knowledge of where the scope's are pointed once the software is successfully connected to the scope. In some cases (scope dependent) you don't even need a hand controller connected. Here is a Sky example that reads the scope's position. This could be the master scope (or it could be read from a file as a target position by each scope):

'Get and show the current telescope ra, dec
objTele.GetRaDec()
Msg = "Ra,Dec =" + CStr(objTele.dRa) + "," + CStr(objTele.dDec)

Below is the routine that sends the ra & dec to the scope. Each scope would execute this routine and a plate solve script, then write the complete flag to the file. Agian the scripts would wait until all the scopes had written their "pointing complete" flag before executing the imaging. Pretty straight forward.

'Goto a particular ra and dec
Call objTele.GotoRaDec(2.0,3.0,"Home")
MsgBox("GotoComplete")

It can also be done from the camera control software once the scope is connected such as CCDSoft scripting. I already do scope control from within CCDSoft.

MaxIm DL commands are a bit different but the same applies, even more so since camera & scope control are fully integrated in MaxIm.

In my case I am still using CCDSoft because all of the CCDSoft functions are not available in the TSX camera plug-in yet.

If the target was a star (or bright object) you could even have all the scopes center on that star. This would be useful for performing a "sync" if you didn't have a pointing model running. I use this script within CCDSoft. It turns the cross-hairs on, then takes a 1 second exposure and then centers the scope on the brightest object in the frame. It does this 3 times. I use this routine to quickly align my guide and imaging scopes (no plate solves). I just set the repeat value (i) to some really large value then turn the alignment screws on my guide scope. The imaging scope will continuously recenter itself as long as the routine is running.

Option Explicit
rem Center Imager.vbs
Sub CenterIt
Dim Cam
Dim i
dim WshShell
set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WshShell.AppActivate "CCDSoft"

WshShell.SendKeys "6"

Set Cam = CreateObject("CCDSoft.Camera")

Cam.ExposureTime=1.0

for i=1 to 3
Cam.TakeImage
Cam.CenterBrightestObject
Next

Cam.TakeImage
End Sub

CenterIt

#6 rmollise

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

Well, that's all cool and stuff, but you miss the fact that almost all go-to telescopes _will have to be aligned via their hand controls before you can operate them with a computer_. Aye, there's the rub. ;)

#7 JAT Observatory

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Yes unless they are pier mounted the system would have to be aligned. But that's not what the OP asked about. What they want is all three scopes to be autonomously pointed and/or sync'ed to the same co-ods. What I showed is it can be done.

#8 rmollise

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

Even many pier mounted rigs _require_ you to run an alignment unless the scope has been in "sleep" mode.






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