My biggest problem during an imaging session was the guiding. Not having an autoguider, I was stuck with my laptop and it's limited battery life. My goal was to replace the laptop with something which is not as expensive as an autoguider but it can easily do what an autoguider does (usually this means guiding and DSLR control). The iAstroHub is a great project but what I saw from the screenshots is that you need a quite big screen for the web interface and I wanted to run the whole thing on my phone's quite small screen (compared to a tablet).
So I started developing StarsPi, a dedicated Android application which is capable to communicate with a Raspberry Pi via WiFi. The Pi runs a modified version of Lin Guider which is accepting commands and transfers the results to the application. The benefit of a dedicated application is that the UI can be designed much better and intuitive also for smaller screens making possible to install it on a handset. To keep it short: StarsPi is a user interface towards Lin Guider which is running on the Pi.
What is working right now:
- transfer the image on WiFi, in two different sizes: VGA(640x480) and QVGA(320x240). The image format is selected dynamically by the application depending on your connection speed. This is necessary to keep the 1FPS on lower-end devices
- select the guide star on the image using simple touch gestures
- setting the exposure and gain values for the camera
What I want to implement:
- whole calibration process
- guiding with real time data representation (RA and DEC drift)
- DSLR control
- notifications on important events: guide start lost, drift above threshold etc.
Right now I'm working on the implementation of the calibration process: the dark and the reticle calibration (the UI is already available in the app)
I'm seeking feedback from you, what do you think about the idea? Is it something you would use as an alternative instead of a laptop or an autoguider?
Do you have some ideas I can incorporate in the future?
Thanks in advance!
PS: two screenshots attached.