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The best program for polar alignment

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#1 Michal1

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 06:24 PM

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.


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#2 Raginar

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 07:55 PM

Michal,

You should come over to the Main Sequence Software forums for SGP. It'd be cool if it was able to use that program. They have an easy api and there is a 'free' version that is camera control only.

#3 mikeyL

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 10:58 PM

I don't have Maxim DL so cannot try out your program, but impressive to see quality free software that attempts to streamline the polar alignment process. Very nicely done.

 

ML


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#4 Hilmi

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 07:31 AM

Looks nice and simple, looking forward to see the software further mature and grow.



#5 njensen593

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 08:06 AM

Well, I tried to download this software and antivirus software blocked it from downloading as shown in the following comments. I did not want to go any further due to this threat.

 

Access Blocked - Virus Alert

The URL: http://iweb.dl.sourc...PARot.1.0.4.zip was blocked
• The link you are accessing has been blocked by the Barracuda Web Filter because it contains a VIRUS. The name of the virus is: Suspect.FakeAV-zippwd

• If you believe this is an error or need to access this link please contact your administrator.

 

If anyone else has downloaded and has not encountered this problem please let me know.

Niel



#6 Michal1

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 08:16 AM

Hi Neil, this is a common problem of all programs written in the AutoIt language. Google autoit antivirus. Any piece of code written in this language is evaluated as malware by some antiviruses. Just wait when the program is tested by other people with different antiviruses. I can provide you the source code if you wish. What antivirus do you use? I have this problem with avast! on my own computer.



#7 njensen593

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 08:24 AM

It was the Barracuda Web Filter.



#8 Phil Sherman

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 10:23 AM

An alternative to using Maxim for imaging is to use the same technique that AstroTortilla uses. When AT can't control the camera, it presents an alternative "file open" dialog to use an image taken with any imaging software that was written to disk. This avoids needing to connect to many different imaging programs.

 

AT uses a similar technique for checking polar alignment using the standard drift alignment points. Two images with a short slew between them and plate solves to determine the error caused by polar misalignment. It doesn't, however, point your scope with information showing how far you need to move it to fix the misalignment.



#9 neptun2

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 01:37 PM

Very interesting program and looking at the youtube video very easy to use. Definitely will test it next time when i go under the stars.



#10 vdb

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 01:59 PM

SGP please, many people don't have Maxim ... it's used most by fixed setups that don't need PA that much ...

 

/Yves


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#11 Michal1

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 03:11 PM

I'm glad you like PARot folks. I will have very little time for the development of the program in the following months. I should be able to give advice how to use the program and maybe to do minor improvements, but no big changes.

 

The free version of SGP sounds like an interesting substitute for MaxIm, thanks. I will look on it.

 

An alternative to using Maxim for imaging is to use the same technique that AstroTortilla uses. When AT can't control the camera, it presents an alternative "file open" dialog to use an image taken with any imaging software that was written to disk. This avoids needing to connect to many different imaging programs.

 

If you look for this, maybe PhotoPolarAlign would be suitable for you:

http://www.iceinspac...p/t-128890.html

 

 

Very interesting program and looking at the youtube video very easy to use. Definitely will test it next time when i go under the stars.

 

neptun2, I recommend you to read the manual and save the time under dark sky. PARot requires several preparatory steps before you run it for the first time. You can make all of them on the nights when Moon is up or even at the daylight.

 

SGP please, many people don't have Maxim ... it's used most by fixed setups that don't need PA that much ...

 

/Yves

This is probably location dependent. A lot of people here have MaxIm, but SGP is almost unknown.



#12 vdb

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 01:29 PM

I'm very active in Belgium, netherlands and France, except for some people who have a fix setup and use ACP for automation and need Maxim all others use ...

CCD users; Nebulosity, SGP ...

Those who use dslr camera's use Backyard EOS or APT ...

 

But actually to get the widest adaption just implement ascom camera and take pictures yourself ...

 

/Yves



#13 njensen593

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 06:59 AM

Michal

Getting back to the post of several days ago and I hate to beat things up too much but I ran "PARot.zip" file through an online virus scanner "Jotti", suggested by the IT folks at the office, last night and found that it may have two viruses in it. One is tagged a "Trojan filekill 588832 (or near that number)" and the other is a Malware file, I think it was "FakeAV-zippwd" . Can you help me out  as to whether or not these files are really contained in this zip file and how to rid the zip file of them before downloading? I am very concerned and will not open your software until this is resolved. I would like to try it but do not need any destructive files on my system. I know you offered the source code and I did as you suggested by looking up the information online "FakeAV-zippwd" but this did not ease my concerns.

Niel



#14 rgsalinger

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 09:08 AM

How do you differentiate cone error or other mount orthogonal errors from polar misalignment?

Rgrds-Ross



#15 entilza

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 09:51 AM

Looks neat, I don't have the required software but thanks for the work regardless.



#16 Michal1

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 04:57 PM

Michal

Getting back to the post of several days ago and I hate to beat things up too much but I ran "PARot.zip" file through an online virus scanner "Jotti", suggested by the IT folks at the office, last night and found that it may have two viruses in it. One is tagged a "Trojan filekill 588832 (or near that number)" and the other is a Malware file, I think it was "FakeAV-zippwd" . Can you help me out  as to whether or not these files are really contained in this zip file and how to rid the zip file of them before downloading? I am very concerned and will not open your software until this is resolved. I would like to try it but do not need any destructive files on my system. I know you offered the source code and I did as you suggested by looking up the information online "FakeAV-zippwd" but this did not ease my concerns.

Niel

Please can someone confirm that the program is not harmful? Niel, I've sent you a PM with the download links.

 

 

How do you differentiate cone error or other mount orthogonal errors from polar misalignment?

Rgrds-Ross

Orthogonal errors are not importat in this method. By taking the two images of the polar at different RA angle, the program can simply "see" where the polar axis points.

 

 

Looks neat, I don't have the required software but thanks for the work regardless.

 

I'm in contact with the developer of APT. We will work on replacing MaxIm DL by the free version of APT.


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#17 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 06:43 PM

I love smart people. This program looks great. Want to try it out.



#18 Michal1

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 07:31 AM

PARot has over 160 downloads now. Did it work for you? Didn't? Questions, comments, suggestions? Criticism? Now I have some time for development.


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#19 HxPI

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 08:46 AM

Nice program. I'll add a vote for SGP compatibility since I don't have Maxim DL!

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Ciao,

Mel


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#20 wargrafix

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 10:04 AM

:-( I don't have a view of the celestial pole. Dang


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#21 Raginar

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 10:04 PM

Sequence Generator Pro support!
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#22 akira

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 02:07 AM

I have not used the software but from what i see at the end if the routine there should be an option not to disconect the camera and close maxim/dl (or any other software)


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#23 Michal1

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 04:37 AM

I'm in contact with the developer of APT. We will work on replacing MaxIm DL by the free version of APT. 

Nice program. I'll add a vote for SGP compatibility since I don't have Maxim DL!

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Ciao,

Mel

Sequence Generator Pro support!

 

Do you have something against APT? It would be easier for me and for the users if PARot woked with APT rather than SGP.



#24 HxPI

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 09:02 AM

 

I'm in contact with the developer of APT. We will work on replacing MaxIm DL by the free version of APT. 

Nice program. I'll add a vote for SGP compatibility since I don't have Maxim DL!

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Ciao,

Mel

Sequence Generator Pro support!

 

Do you have something against APT? It would be easier for me and for the users if PARot woked with APT rather than SGP.

 

 

Nothing personal against APT. I think it's a great app and the cost seems like a great deal. However, I have Nikon gear which is not fully supported by APT. If it did fully support Nikon, I'd probably have gone with it! MaximDL looks like a great piece of software but I went with other software instead. Now I have numerous pieces of software for different capabilities. In retrospect, maybe I should have just went with Maxim DL!

 

I just got a new ASI174 that may be able to use some of the tools in APT. I'll give the free unlimited demo a try and see what it has to offer. If PARot support is added to APT that would be nice too.

 

I understand developers are limited in time and resources and have to make the best choice where and how to invest to implement features. I appreciate that these projects exist to help fill the void and make things better. Any tool that can help get the best polar alignment is welcome!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 04 July 2015 - 09:17 AM.


#25 tony cap

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 10:23 AM

Using PARot with both Maxim DL5 and 6 installed.

 

Can anyone help with starting PARot with both DL versions installed. When I start PARot it starts Maxim 6DL instead of 5 DL.  I renamed the DL folder to trick startup and PARot does not find the DL5.  I hate to uninstall DL 6 so does anyone know how to overcome this issue?

 

PARot starts DL6 instead of DL5.  help please

 

thx

t




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