I’m having difficulty calibrating guiding in the SkyGuard software. It keeps failing saying the camera moved less than 5 pixels, even though I can clearly see it moving very well across the screen and producing a well defined L pattern. I think there is a setting affecting the scale of the image causing it to think it is moving less. I’ve read the manual but find it difficult to resolve this particular issue. I’m using an ES127CF, CEM60EC, ONAG-XM, ASI1600MMC for imaging port and ASI174MM for guide port. Can you share your InSight on the Innovation ForeSight ONAG guiding calibration process and possibly settings to check. Thanks.
I would suggest to download our latest version this may help you. We have changed the calibration a bit to automatically match the tracking window with the pixel size and calibration motion time.
Be sure that you have the right parameters set, such as scope FL, pixel size.
The default calibration motion for both axes is 3 seconds, that should work for most setup.
You current trail license key will work with any new release of the software.
Here is the procedure to install a new version:
Download the new version from our SKSS download page.
Uninstall the current version using the standard Windows uninstall tool.
Install the new version.
When prompt for the license provide your current one.
When prompt for the workspace folder provide the same one than before to reuse your current settings.
Open the instruments tab and check that all the parameters are correct.
If you have a white cross over a read dot next to a mandatory field this is most likely because it is a new field, added since your current version, just fill it with the right value and save the workspace again.
Should you still face some difficulties let me know, feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll work with you to resole any issues you may have.
When you start with SKG I would suggest to use as single star, or just few, (do not clip the signal) for the calibration and use several seconds of guider exposure (say 5 or more) with an aggressiveness value at, or below 30% (0.3) for both axes.
Then when you fill comfortable you can enjoy guiding without the need to look for a guide star explicitly anymore.
Also be sure that you have the latest version (at least 6.4) of the ASCOM platform (if you use ASCOM) and the latest version of the drivers.
A problem I have seen few times is that an old version of the ASCOM platform has been left behind (not uninstalled) when a new one was installed.
If you have more than one ASCOM platform on your system you may face some issues.
Below some general information/comments:
SkyGuide/SkyGuard 32 bits version supports Maxim-DL but as a consequence is limited to guider images/frames up to 1 Mpixel.
This is a direct result and legacy of Maxim-DL which is a 32 bits application, this limitation applies even when used without Maxim-DL on ASCOM only configuration.
We'll release an ASCOM only 64 bits application shortly which will not have such limitation anymore.
If you face the 1 Mpixel limit you have 3 solutions:
Bin the guider, like 2x2 or 4x4.
Beside this is usually a good idea when guiding (at least with focal lengths > 500mm, most guider featuring small pixel size), its improves SNR without any significant reduction on the auto-guiding resolution.
Our full frame technology has a 1/10 of a pixel calculation accuracy.
You can crop the guider frame (see guider exposure setting).
You can use the Block Compression option in the advanced tab of guider acquisition section.
Block compression splits the guider full frame in sub-frames of same size, for instance if you set the block compression factor at 2 (the default value being 1) you will have 4 sub-frames, and then they are added (summed) together to create one single smaller frame (1/4 of the full frame in my example).
This concatenated sub-frame is used for guiding and focusing.
Our full frame technology and related algorithms process the all guider image/frame, here the concatenated sub-frame, it does not make any assumption about the nature nor shape of the pattern inside the guider frame.
As a result the block compression allows you do decrease the size of the frame to be processed down to 1 M-pixel, without removing any information, unlike cropping may.
For instance if you have a 16 M-pixel image from your guider and you do not want to bin more than 2x2, you could then use the block compression with a factor 2 to reach the 1 M-pixel limit.
However I still suggest to bin 4x4 when doable. The software supports binning above and beyond most guider driver capabilities, if you elect to do so (say bin 6x6, as an example), it will automatically split the binning process between a hardware binning and a software binning.
Binning and/or copping leads to a higher guider image transfer rate than block compression does, since the image from the guider is physically smaller to begin with.
Also if you guider camera pixel relative to your scope FL and local seeing lead to few pixel per star FWHM you may get a small star warning message.
In this case I would suggest to disable the median filter (advanced tab in the acquisition section), set it to zero, and use the dark frame subtraction instead (a new feature).
To take a dark frame use the last (most right) button of the button bar of the acquisition section (upper left of the GUI).
Than active the simple dark in the advanced tab, the same than for the median filter.
Again feel free to contact me at any time.
Comments, feedback and suggestion are very welcome.