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chitown
super member


Reged: 01/26/09

Loc: Plainfield, IL
Software based star alignment?
      #5554724 - 12/04/12 09:58 PM

Guys is there a automated / software controlled method to align my Atlas EQ-G?

I have been trying the 3 star alignment and its a hit or miss. Sometimes id spend hours and nothing comes in site properly.

Anybody tried any software based solution?


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: chitown]
      #5555231 - 12/05/12 07:51 AM

The three star alignment should work fine, unless your clutches are slipping or are out of balance. Balance or dragging wires causing clutch slipping has been my most common problem.

If these are also your problem, no software will fix it.

Charlie B


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Lane
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/19/07

Loc: Frisco, Texas
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #5555491 - 12/05/12 11:08 AM

You can always use EQMOD on a PC, free software, but you will have to spend about $70 to get the cables you need.

On my Sirius Mount which is just a smaller version of the ATLAS, I get very good GOTO accuracy with the hand controllers 3 star alignment.

If my scope is out of balance or if I don't level the mount then my GOTO performance suffers a lot.

There are some software issues with the hand controller that cause it to totally mess up the alignment every now and then. For instance I had a situation a few months ago when the hand controller picked VEGA as an alignment star and it was currently near zenith. The alignment process did not work at all so I simply picked a different star and everything worked fine. I just avoid ever using VEGA as an alignment start now and always pick something else. No more trouble since then.

Edited by Lane (12/05/12 11:09 AM)


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fmhill
sage


Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: Lane]
      #5555522 - 12/05/12 11:27 AM

You should investigate "Astrotortilla" plate solving software.

AT is the ultimate solution to alignment issues. The only alignment you will need to worry about with AT is to be sure your mount has a good polar alignment and from that point on, AT will do all the alignment for you.

Since I started using AT, alignments are done at the computer and take about five minutes. As I live in New England, have arthritis (white haired old Pharte syndrome) I prefer to do all my astroimaging while sitting indoors at the computer keyboard warm and comfortable rather than suffering the outdoor cold and raw night air and Astrotortilla gives me this ability.

Mitch...


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5556067 - 12/05/12 05:47 PM

AstroTortilla seems to require astrometry.net, which requires internet hookup. You can do the same thing with Elbrus and Carte du Ciel. uniMap is another free program.

Regards,

Charlie B


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fmhill
sage


Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #5556205 - 12/05/12 07:01 PM

Quote:

AstroTortilla seems to require astrometry.net, which requires internet hookup. You can do the same thing with Elbrus and Carte du Ciel. uniMap is another free program.

Regards,

Charlie B




Charlie,

This is not fully correct, Astrotortilla has two modes of operation, one is as you state, it uses a internet link to the Astrometry data base, however, the second mode which is as I use AT, is by having the necessary database files downloaded and contained on my own computer.

As I use a WiFi internet link with limited bandwidth, having the Astrometry data index files in just under 5Gb of HD space is a much more practical solution as well as making Astrotortilla much faster at resolving images.(typical resolves take about 6 seconds when the data indexes are on your local HD)...


And no internet link is required to use plate solving which works great... I happen to use it with Stellarium via the ASCOM driver however AT is very flexible, my understanding is that it will work with any Planitarium software and mount with ASCOM control capability...

And I use AT with BYEOS which is not presently an AT supported imaging program however it works very well in a semi-automatic mode requiring you to trip the image making process in BYEOS and pointing AT to the new image. Two mouse clicks is simple enough to do for the benefit of AT correcting the telescope aim...


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5556412 - 12/05/12 09:01 PM

I stand corrected! I only looked at their website. However, all those functions are also done by Elbrus. I use SkyTools and The SkyX now, but I've used CdC in the past and it works well with CdC with an ASCOM interface. I also use Pixinsight to plate solve, but it cannot control a telescope as Elbrus can.


The reason I mention Elbrus is that it's free and I'm cheap. It also has been around a while and is not a beta version.

Regards,

Charlie


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Software based star alignment? new [Re: chitown]
      #5557030 - 12/06/12 08:12 AM

Quote:

Guys is there a automated / software controlled method to align my Atlas EQ-G?

I have been trying the 3 star alignment and its a hit or miss. Sometimes id spend hours and nothing comes in site properly.

Anybody tried any software based solution?




As you were told on the other boards where you posted this, you need to describe exactly how you are doing your alignment. Frankly, EQMOD likely will not help you. What will help is the following:

1. Even if you have the latest firmware in your HC, don't just blindly accept the star choices the HC offers. You want two stars that are separated by at least 3 hours of right ascension. Azimuth separation is less critical, but you still want them well separated in azimuth if possible.

2. It's not good enough to be on "almost" the correct star. You must center the correct star.

3. Always do a 3-star alignment. Star three should be on the opposite side of meridian and with a north or south declination of about 30 to 70 degrees.

4. Do a decent polar alignment with the polar alignment scope.

If you observe these things, the Atlas is a very good go-to performer. Mine will put anything I request somewhere in the field of an eyepiece at 100x from horizon to horizon.


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