Jump to content


Photo

StarSense Accessory

  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 laszlog

laszlog

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2009

Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:47 PM

Well OPT called me yesterday telling me that it had finally arrived. Drove down there picked it up, and installed and tested it.

Here is what i found.....

it replaces the finderscope. I had the newer mount , so i did not replace the holder - it worked just fine...

It connect to my GPS unit, and has a new hand controller. it is a 4 line controller when it is using the Star Sense. It automatically sensed my GPS, and seemed to start u properly... Had a bunch of clouds in the west .. so I had wait for the clouds to clear enough... It finally did, and off StarSense went....
It took 3 pictures of the west sky and 4 point in the East....

It seemed to align properly... I seemed becuase it found several stars after alignment just fine, but it missed Saturn... It coulds be quality of my sky.. the clouds could be thin enough to distort the imager

I then ran a calibrate, and that seems to help.

If the sky clears, I will work with it more.. It seems to have a lot of potential

#2 Sorny

Sorny

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 775
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Southern MN

Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:45 AM

After reading the manual online, I just placed an order for one. Preliminary info was short on how the camera hooked to the scope/handcontroller. Now that I know I can still use the RS-232 port on the hand controller to interface with my SkyWire adapter and iPad with SkySafari, I just had to get one. I'm glad it uses the AUX port for the camera...

I'm expecting even more *BLEEP* weather since I just ordered another astronomy toy, but the weather has been @#$% all year, so what the heck...

I am also interested in seeing how well it'll work at my normal observing spot, which has nothing visible to the west due to a big shed (blocks the yard light), but totally clear to the horizons to the N, S, and E. I figure I'll throw some calibration stars at it after the initial "dance" and calibration/re-alignment and see how close it gets things into the center of the FOV.

I'm glad to see they're shipping now!

#3 gaz-in

gaz-in

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 821
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2007

Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:54 AM

oh mine has been on backorder.....hoping it is shipping now!

#4 Peter9

Peter9

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4702
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Yorkshire - Born & Bred

Posted 23 August 2013 - 09:06 AM

Well OPT called me yesterday telling me that it had finally arrived. Drove down there picked it up, and installed and tested it.

Here is what i found.....

it replaces the finderscope. I had the newer mount , so i did not replace the holder - it worked just fine...

It connect to my GPS unit, and has a new hand controller. it is a 4 line controller when it is using the Star Sense. It automatically sensed my GPS, and seemed to start u properly... Had a bunch of clouds in the west .. so I had wait for the clouds to clear enough... It finally did, and off StarSense went....
It took 3 pictures of the west sky and 4 point in the East....

It seemed to align properly... I seemed becuase it found several stars after alignment just fine, but it missed Saturn... It coulds be quality of my sky.. the clouds could be thin enough to distort the imager

I then ran a calibrate, and that seems to help.

If the sky clears, I will work with it more.. It seems to have a lot of potential


Would be good to know which scope your trying it with??

Regards. Peter.

#5 cn register 5

cn register 5

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 760
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:05 PM

I've been beta testing this for a few months.

It seems to work really well. I've been impressed at how well it's been able to find stars and do a plate solve in hazy twilight.

The Auto align for a GEM starts at the align position and does slews to two positions on the West of the meridian, then two positions looking East. At each position it acquires an image, detects the stars and solves it to get a Ra and Dec position.

If it doesn't find any stars it moves and tries again, and seems to keep moving and trying for some time. The location I have been using is very obstructed, the mount is set up about 3 ft from the house, that blocks all the N sky and a fair amount of the E sky. It's OK on the West but on the East it can take a number of additional slews and images to get to a position that's clear.

An alternative is a manual StarSense align, in this case you do the moves to the positions yourself, it acquires images and continues as before.

The Alt Az mounts only need three positions I think.

You do need to do a calibrate first, this is the equivalent of aligning a finder scope but electronically. After an Align you slew to a named star and press the align button, it takes an image, solves it and works out where the align star is. Then you do another SS align and it should be more accurate.

In all cases additional calibration positions can be added. If you slew to an object and it isn't in the field click on Align - add calibration position. It takes an image, solves it and uses it to improve pointing in that area.

Chris

#6 laszlog

laszlog

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2009

Posted 24 August 2013 - 04:04 AM

Sorry... Forgot to mention....

It's mounted on an Edge 11 on a CGEM-DX mount.

Laszlo

#7 Peter9

Peter9

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4702
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Yorkshire - Born & Bred

Posted 24 August 2013 - 05:58 AM

Thanks laszlo

Regards. Peter.

#8 A. Viegas

A. Viegas

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1054
  • Joined: 05 Mar 2012
  • Loc: New York City/ CT

Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:40 PM

This seems like an interesting accessory. But I think Celestron has it mispriced. Most buyers of CPC or CGEM, CGE Pro type of mounts have little difficulty doing the alignment process... while lower end consumers buying the SLT or VX type mounts, the price point for the starSense is too high relative to the value of their mounts. Hence, it seems to me that this product will need to have a substantial price drop to get much traction...

Al

#9 Stacy

Stacy

    Star Partyer

  • *****
  • Posts: 5022
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2002
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:58 PM

I agree with Al.

I cancelled my pre-order months ago after I went to a star party and realized just how easy it is to do a highly accurate three-star align with my fork mount.

Possibly be more of a benefit with an EQ mount?

Then there is the "cool" factor. :ubetcha:

The price will have to come down to make it interesting to me again. You can get a nice little refractor or a really nice wide-field ep for that coin.

Stacy

#10 Digital Don

Digital Don

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2004
  • Loc: Manteno, IL

Posted 27 August 2013 - 01:42 AM

...I went to a star party and realized just how easy it is to do a highly accurate three-star align with my fork mount.


Hi Stacy,

Is this in equatorial mode? I've always thought that adding additional stars to the alt-az alignment routine would increase accuracy, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that.

Don :usa:

#11 JoeR

JoeR

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1455
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Columbus, OH

Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:45 AM

I've never had a problem with accuracy using the auto two star alignment objects are always in the FOV. Maybe not dead center but they are always viewable.

#12 Stacy

Stacy

    Star Partyer

  • *****
  • Posts: 5022
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2002
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hi Stacy,

Is this in equatorial mode? I've always thought that adding additional stars to the alt-az alignment routine would increase accuracy, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that.

Don :usa:


Hi Don!

I don't use equtorial mode. I use SkyAlign (just point at any three bright stars). Not sure how I got this, but this scope (NS11 GPS) I bought used a few years back. I think the hand controller was upgraded.

I believe the newer software has SkyAlign, but then you loose the old GPS Align (level north). However SkyAlign uses the GPS as well.

Maybe someone familiar with the different firmware versions and which controllers they apply to could chime in. It would be a good idea for a sticky thread perhaps.

Regardless, with any alignment procedure you can add alignment stars or objects by backing out to the main menu from whatever target you are on and press "Align", then it will let you sync to the current target. IIRC.

Stacy

#13 cn register 5

cn register 5

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 760
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posted 27 August 2013 - 05:44 PM

StarSense uses three positions in Alt Az mode and four when equatorially mounted. I've only used SS with an AVX so can't say how it handles deciding if a fork mount is Alt Az or equatorial.

Chris

#14 Digital Don

Digital Don

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2004
  • Loc: Manteno, IL

Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:45 PM

Thanks Stacy,

I never use Sky Align so I forgot all about it! Duh!

Thanks,

Don :usa:

#15 pjglad

pjglad

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 234
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2011

Posted 29 August 2013 - 06:02 PM

I received my StarSense unit today. The RJ12 cable is way too long for my CPC800. I'd like to get a 2 or 3 foot RJ12 black coiled cable. Any advice as where to get one. Thanks.

#16 cn register 5

cn register 5

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 760
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posted 30 August 2013 - 02:57 AM

Too long is better than too short!

I wind the cable round the OTA a few times, but make sure it can easily reach no matter where the mount moves. The velcro cable tidies are also a good idea.

The cable is a straight through 6 way cable with 6 pin RJ connectors. I think it's the same as most auto-guiding cables so that's a possible source of one of the right length.

Chris

#17 pjglad

pjglad

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 234
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2011

Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:44 AM

Where's Calibrate GoTo in the HC Menu?

#18 C8er

C8er

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 154
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2012

Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:55 PM

Ive just had a good look through the menus on my newly arrived starsense hc and accessory and calibrate RA and calibrate goto seem to not be there, at least nowhere that I can find.

Cheers.

#19 hrgreen

hrgreen

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2013

Posted 03 September 2013 - 03:09 PM

My StarSense arrived today, sitting in front of me now for inspection. May have to wait a few days for a clear sky.

Hal

#20 JonNPR

JonNPR

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 293
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:21 PM

@C8er -From Celestron: "The Calibrate function is in the hand control’s advanced menu (enabled by pressing Menu > Utilities > Menu Levels and choosing Advanced) under StarSense Camera."

Jon

#21 C8er

C8er

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 154
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2012

Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:29 PM

Hi Jon,

Yes, There are at least two types of calibrations in the new unit. You can add extra calibration areas of sky and you can also calibrate the camera to the OTA, but what the other person was asking about was the function in the old HCs I think under the utility men called "Calibrate GOTO", quite a different thing. That is nowhere to be seen in the new HCs. The associated function "Calibrate RA" has also disappeared in the starsense HCs.

Cheers,
Chris M

@C8er -From Celestron: "The Calibrate function is in the hand control’s advanced menu (enabled by pressing Menu > Utilities > Menu Levels and choosing Advanced) under StarSense Camera."

Jon



#22 JonNPR

JonNPR

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 293
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:56 AM

Oops! sorry, I thought you were just looking for "calibrate", period; didn't realize you were looking for the old HC's specifics, but on the new HC.

Jon

#23 cn register 5

cn register 5

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 760
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:27 AM

Its a new HC, with new mount modelling software, maybe it doesn't need the Calibrate Ra and Calibrate Goto functions.

Chris

#24 dragon86

dragon86

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 75
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Erie, Pa.

Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:46 AM

Finally got to try the new StarSense and it seems to work as advertised. I was trying to enter an IC number then a Caldwell number but I could not find where to enter them on the hand control. Does anyone know where they are located?

#25 hrgreen

hrgreen

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2013

Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

I got a chance to try my StarSense last night, in my fairly restricted-view front yard, on my CGEM 925 Edge. It found four calibration stars OK, and put any star or DSO I called up within a 24mm EP FOV, although about 50% off center on average.

I'm not sure I have it properly connected, because using my Celestron GPS unit with it is not covered in the manual. Since both use the Aux connector, I tried using a splitter. This is mentioned in the manual, but in a different context.

I don't think the SS picked up the date correctly, because the planet positions were about 15-20 degrees off.

Has anyone had success using the two together fully automatic, and what hookup/procedure did you use?

Hal






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics