I'm not sure if this is best for the Imaging forum or the Software forum, but since it's about imaging I am trying here.
I am relatively new to astrophotography, but have been having fun figuring out what hardware and software to get and how to integrate it all so it works together. Like many of you, I have made sub-optimal decisions that resulted in my wasting money and time. Today, I need some advice on connections and software.
Currently I use a hybrid setup:
- Adding AstroGuider
- Adding AstroTelescope
- Adding Astrometry
- Preferred over the hand controller
- Blocks me from using hand controller, and I can't seem to control mount from the Mac side when CPWI is enabled
- Used for StarSense AutoAlign, adding alignment points, saving alignment models, scope control and focuser control
I'd like to use the Mac exclusively as I start on my journey into auto guiding. However, I'm not aware of any software on the Mac that can use StarSense (SkySafari 6 Pro does a beautiful job in iOS via buggy WiFi, but SkySafari 6 Pro on the Mac cannot use StarSense over USB). This implies that I am stuck using the hand controller for doing the initial alignment, ASPA and then final alignment with a few calibration stars. Is this correct?
Lately I've been using CloudMakers AstroDSLR and AstroImager and have been impressed by their reliability and intuitiveness. For this reason, I also tried out AstroTelescope and AstroGuider, along with Astrometry (though I've never really tried plate-solving and don't know how this interacts with StarSense). I am open to other applications like KStars/Ekos, TheSkyX, etc. And I love the idea of being able to use SkySafari for GoTos (apparently this is possible with KStars/Ekos, but I have time and knowledge invested in CloudMakers at the moment). The problem with my current hybrid setup is I can't seem to connect to the scope when CPWI is in control of it, and disconnecting from CPWI seems to drop the alignment and the scope goes dead.
I figure there must be something simple that I'm doing wrong, related to procedure or connections or both. Unfortunately because of work, family and park sprinkler schedules, I have limited windows in which to experiment, so night after night I trudge 150 pounds of equipment outside and only get an hour or two at most to try to get things working. Needless to say, any straightforward advice would be greatly appreciated!
Are these the right connections?
- Computer connected to USB 3 hub
- ASI294MC-Pro main cam connected to USB 3 hub via USB 3
- ASI174MM Mini guide cam connected to main cam via USB
- Hub connected to the hand controller via USB (or should I connect to the mount directly?)
- Mount aux ports connected to StarSense and the focuser.
Is this procedure right?
- Turn on mount
- Connect computer to USB hub
- Do a StarSense auto align from the hand controller (I sure wish I could do this from Mac software without running Windows/CPWI)
- Do an ASPA (all-star polar alignment)
- Re-align and add a couple extra alignment points.
- Point to a bright star for focus adjustment using a Bahtinov mask
- Slew to target (preferably using SkySafari 6 Pro)
- Do the auto-guiding star selection and calibration in AstroGuider (cameras seem to work great, but I haven't been able to get it to control the mount yet due to CPWI)
- Start imaging
Does this sound right? If I have missed this guidance in other threads on CloudyNights or elsewhere, I apologize -- please point me in the right direction.
One other question lingering in the back of my head: Should I even worry about using the StarSense camera and AutoAlign procedure if I can figure out plate-solving, or are these two complementary? I haven't had a chance to learn plate-solving yet, but really like the StarSense AutoAlign feature and my ability to save pointing models for different sites, etc.
Edited by MountainAir, 10 November 2019 - 03:54 PM.