Hello, I want to present you my new program. PARot is software for ultra-fast and precise polar alignment of equatorial mounts. With its help I'm able align my EQ6 mount with sub-arcminute accuracy in five minutes of time.
To use the current version of PARot, you will need:
* A computer with Windows OS (tested with WinXP x64, Win7 x64, Win7 x86).
* Maxim DL version 5.
* A camera which can be controlled from MaxIm.
* A combination of telescope and camera such that the camera can 'see' a star in any field with the exposure time of a few seconds.
* A view of the celestial pole. It can't be blocked by ground objects or clouds.
The program is based on the rotation method of polar alignment. First, you align the mount roughly (e.g., by polar finder) and point the telescope with the camera attached toward the celestial pole. The program takes an image, makes a plate solve and finds the position of the celestial pole in the image. It takes into account the corrections for precession and atmospheric refraction. Then you rotate the mount a few degrees around the RA axis. The program takes another image. It compares the two images to find the center of rotation with respect to the stars. Then you choose an alignment star and use the azimuth and altitude adjuster to shift the stars at the marked position.
Here you can see a video showing how I aligned my mount with PARot with the precision of around 0.3 arcmin in three minutes: https://youtu.be/DOihsxeJDg0
The program is for download here: https://sourceforge....projects/parot/ Please read the attached manual before running the program.
PARot is for free. If you like it, you can make a voluntary donation. You can use the program only on your own risk.
How you can help the development of the program:
* Test if it works on the southern hemisphere. It should, but no one has test it so far.
* Test it on other versions of Windows than listed above.
* Currently, PARot is dependent on commercial MaxIm DL. It was the only way I could finish the program in a reasonable time. PARot works as remote controller of MaxIm -- it sends simulated keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks to access some functions of MaxIm. It would be nice if PARot wouldn't have to rely on any commercial software. I need the following free codes (first the most important, last the least important): 1) a code that can download images from the camera, display them and draw into them, 2) a code for plate solving, 3) a code for astronomical image registration.
* I currently have little time to continue developing the program. I would be glad if someone would want to help me.