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EAA for ES/MS Education -point me in the right direction

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#26 alphatripleplus

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 06:56 AM

 

After about and hour, ASCOM refused to access altitudes above 65 degrees, and while troubleshooting that ceased to work from Stellarium completely.

 

 

Don't you mean that Stellarium (rather than ASCOM) had a problem with pointing the mount above 65 degrees? I'm assuming the handcontrol did not have this issue? 

 

If you can't get  version 0.21 of Stellarium to work for you, you might want to try the previous version, or alternatively give Cartes du Ciel a shot. I've been using CdC for scope control for years on a couple of different mounts, and it uses less in computer resources than Stellarium. 



#27 astrohamp

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 08:18 AM

If I may suggest 'SchoolMaster: Install all necessary software onto a Windows 10 Pro 'PC' that can be configured to, and left at the chosen EAA instrument setup.  A dedicated computer for astronomy use (only) would be ideal. 

Then inside using a second 'PC' run Windows Remote Desktop, preferably on a local only wireless network meaning no internet connection.  This will connect to, command, and receive camera images for "share screen" Zoom broadcasting.  If distance and signal strength is a problem you may need to configure a mount wireless router that can receive and transmit a better signal. 

 

With this arrangement the mount PC will do it's astro things independently from your Zoom/control/internet computer.  For my use the desktop wireless connects to the mount PC (running a USB powered wireless router), and the internet link via ethernet to the www router.

 

Your telescope "window" becomes one of many you would want to refer to during zoom.  It's camera view among others like one of the instrument outside or of an assistant helping inside.  These all can be an arranged mosaic on Zoom share screen, highlighted as needed, minimized when not.  Production complexity to your skill level although simple is a good thing.  Scripting and pre-recorded features can help content flow or "on-air" glitches.

Good luck and clear skies.



#28 GaryShaw

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 09:10 AM

Don't you mean that Stellarium (rather than ASCOM) had a problem with pointing the mount above 65 degrees? I'm assuming the handcontrol did not have this issue? 

 

If you can't get  version 0.21 of Stellarium to work for you, you might want to try the previous version, or alternatively give Cartes du Ciel a shot. I've been using CdC for scope control for years on a couple of different mounts, and it uses less in computer resources than Stellarium. 

+1 with Errol for CdC versus Stellarium. I’ve been observing via EAA for 3 years now with CdC and recently tried Stellarium since the screen graphics are so much nicer than CdC… but Stellarium keeps crashing my computer so I switched to the ‘Angle Mode’ of Stellarium. This fixed the ‘screen blackouts’ I got with the basic Stellarium but then the application started crashing when connecting with my mount. At first I thought it was an incompatibility with my mount but I am hearing of more problems with Stellarium so I’m dropping that application  - life’s too short.

 

EAA is complicated enough for a beginner so, if you must use a planetarium program instead of your mounts hand control,  switching to CdC probably makes since while you are creeping up the learning curve. (Sticking with the mount’s hand control, together with Sharpcap plate solving, makes more sense though until you know what you’re doing pretty well ). CdC telescope control works well and is easier to figure out. Also, in all this, don’t  ignore the ultimate truth that you absolutely must have the latest Ascom Platform and latest Ascom drivers for all your gear that you expect to connect and use via Ascom. 

Gary


Edited by GaryShaw, 12 June 2021 - 09:14 AM.

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#29 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:01 PM

Don't you mean that Stellarium (rather than ASCOM) had a problem with pointing the mount above 65 degrees? I'm assuming the handcontrol did not have this issue? 

 

If you can't get  version 0.21 of Stellarium to work for you, you might want to try the previous version, or alternatively give Cartes du Ciel a shot. I've been using CdC for scope control for years on a couple of different mounts, and it uses less in computer resources than Stellarium. 

Using Stellarium, I was limited in altitude, the virtual handset using SynScan was also limited.

 

If I may suggest 'SchoolMaster: Install all necessary software onto a Windows 10 Pro 'PC' that can be configured to, and left at the chosen EAA instrument setup.  A dedicated computer for astronomy use (only) would be ideal. 

Then inside using a second 'PC' run Windows Remote Desktop, preferably on a local only wireless network meaning no internet connection.  This will connect to, command, and receive camera images for "share screen" Zoom broadcasting.  If distance and signal strength is a problem you may need to configure a mount wireless router that can receive and transmit a better signal. 

 

With this arrangement the mount PC will do it's astro things independently from your Zoom/control/internet computer.  For my use the desktop wireless connects to the mount PC (running a USB powered wireless router), and the internet link via ethernet to the www router.

 

Your telescope "window" becomes one of many you would want to refer to during zoom.  It's camera view among others like one of the instrument outside or of an assistant helping inside.  These all can be an arranged mosaic on Zoom share screen, highlighted as needed, minimized when not.  Production complexity to your skill level although simple is a good thing.  Scripting and pre-recorded features can help content flow or "on-air" glitches.

Good luck and clear skies.

Thanks for that suggestion.

 

One step at a time.  I'll get the Zoom going when I have the rest of it working, but the idea of a 'dedicated' computer (and spare or two) is a great idea



#30 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:05 PM

+1 with Errol for CdC versus Stellarium. I’ve been observing via EAA for 3 years now with CdC and recently tried Stellarium since the screen graphics are so much nicer than CdC… but Stellarium keeps crashing my computer so I switched to the ‘Angle Mode’ of Stellarium. This fixed the ‘screen blackouts’ I got with the basic Stellarium but then the application started crashing when connecting with my mount. At first I thought it was an incompatibility with my mount but I am hearing of more problems with Stellarium so I’m dropping that application  - life’s too short.

 

EAA is complicated enough for a beginner so, if you must use a planetarium program instead of your mounts hand control,  switching to CdC probably makes since while you are creeping up the learning curve. (Sticking with the mount’s hand control, together with Sharpcap plate solving, makes more sense though until you know what you’re doing pretty well ). CdC telescope control works well and is easier to figure out. Also, in all this, don’t  ignore the ultimate truth that you absolutely must have the latest Ascom Platform and latest Ascom drivers for all your gear that you expect to connect and use via Ascom. 

Gary

Gary and Errol

 

As you suggest, so I will do :)  CdC it is.

 

I'll need to do this on my own Laptop.  Taking the school's laptops to the Tech people so I can get software loaded is too painful.

 

I'm an educator, learning curves is what I do.


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#31 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:22 PM

How it happened, I do not know, but the altitude limit in SynScan was set to 63 degrees, from it's default of 75.

 

Productive struggle is a term we use for pushing on and learning from adversity.  That's where most good learning comes from.  You learn very little if it works perfectly the first time.  Yes, it's frustrating for me, but I'm learning a lot and learning to trouble-shoot my self.  Thanks to you all for helping encourage me.



#32 alphatripleplus

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:49 PM

How it happened, I do not know, but the altitude limit in SynScan was set to 63 degrees, from it's default of 75.

 

 

I didn't even know there was an altitude limit setting by default. I'l keep that in mind if I ever go back to trying Stellarium for telescope control.



#33 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:56 PM

I have CdC running on my personal laptop.  It works and is 'tracking' Andromeda.  I have a spot on the wall (REMOVABLE) for due N and horizontal, so I can work with things in the sky, inside and during daylight (air conditioned and bug-free too)

 

I have to learn how CdC works for selecting targets, but  I'm well ahead of where I was.  The change to CdC has taken less than an hour to get something going.

 

now I need to install ASTAP.

 

A3+  Where in Georgia.  I taught in both Atlanta and Augusta.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 12 June 2021 - 01:58 PM.


#34 alphatripleplus

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:02 PM

Have fun trying CdC and ASTAP. It might take a bit of time to get ASTAP set-up and working, but if you want to try it all at once, good luck.

 

 

 

 

A3+  Where in Georgia.  I taught in both Atlanta and Augusta.

 South of Atlanta... very near where they film The Walking Dead.



#35 GaryShaw

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:04 PM

If ASTAP goes awry, Astrotortilla is what I use and it was a breeze to set up. Take care to set up the right indices per your FOVs though. 
Gary



#36 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:12 PM

Just how much sniggering was there with the 'good luck' :)

 

I'm only going to load it and all the components, since I removed Astrotorilla.  I have zero plans to use ASTAP until I know a WHOLE lot more.

 

I'm planning to use planetarium software for some basic teaching, so it makes sense to me to become more fluent and to use it as a bridge from the classroom to the sky, which I why I'm taking this route.  When I'm putzing around by myself, I'm just using the SynScan for alignment and finding things, especially since Stellarium was having issues.



#37 SchoolMaster

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:16 PM

If ASTAP goes awry, Astrotortilla is what I use and it was a breeze to set up. Take care to set up the right indices per your FOVs though. 
Gary

I'm following nic35's advice for ASTAP from an earlier post.  If I have issues, I can move back to Astrotortilla.



#38 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 07:59 AM

Too much cloud last night (from my porch, great from the backyard, but the screen is in the way), so I'm learning CdC.  Have to recall all the 'old' names so I can find things, Alpha Lyrae for Vega, and so on.  Unfortunately my Atlas is at school and because I'm moving to a bigger space, it's all packed away under other boxes.

 

CdC does provide reliable Telescope control via ASCOM, I just need to learn it.  One challenge is the 'night color'.  I mentioned earlier that I have significant colorblindness.  One issue is very few working red receptors, so the redder something is, the harder it is for me to see it.  This makes driving at night through an unfamiliar town 'exciting' because I cannot see the red traffic lights unless there is a significant yellow (green) component to the light.  It also means I cannot see red shooting reticles in most video games and that sucks.  I need to adjust the night color for CdC to have more of a color other than red so I can see it.

 

I'm working through the documentation and hope to find the information I need.

 

UPDATE:  I have found the CdC setting for Common Star names to be displayed.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 13 June 2021 - 10:32 AM.


#39 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 10:30 AM

I've decided that one issue is my laptop.  It's wonderful, but running this software on a 15" 4K touchscreen is very difficult, especially the Planetarium software, where it is very difficult to select the target I want with my fingers and the text and icons are so small.

 

I have my previous laptop (4 years old) which I use for CAD and slicing with my 3D printers.  It has a trackball and 1080p resolution, and I think it will be more user-friendly for me.  I'm also reconsidering Astrotorilla.  It interfaces directly with ShapCap, I think, what a bout ASTAP?

 

I'm going to install the following on this old computer, in the following order:

 

ASCOM platform

Astrotorilla

SynScan Pro App

SynScan ASCOM interface

SharpCap

Cartes du Ciel

 

and see how that works out.



#40 alphatripleplus

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 10:45 AM

  I'm also reconsidering Astrotorilla.  It interfaces directly with ShapCap, I think, what a bout ASTAP?

 

 

ASTAP, just like AstroTortilla, can be used with SharpCap - I use ASTAP that way most of the time. It can also be used as a standalone application on images you have already saved, or with some other capture software via ASCOM.

 

Sometimes it is easier to configure ASTAP parameters through the standalone ASTAP.exe, including the FOV parameter, which is persistent -: The next time you call ASTAP  from another program, it will use the value of the FOV parameter from the last time ASTAP was run. This can take some getting use to, as SharpCap does not let you set ASTAP parameters directly.



#41 astrohamp

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 12:11 PM

SchoolMaster:  you are going to need a bigger monitor.

 

I switch my logitech k830 bluetooth keyboard (mouse pad) between several laptops/computers. It is my keyboard of choice when operating off-grid and remote on only solar charged battery power. 



#42 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 12:20 PM

ASTAP, just like AstroTortilla, can be used with SharpCap - I use ASTAP that way most of the time. It can also be used as a standalone application on images you have already saved, or with some other capture software via ASCOM.

 

Sometimes it is easier to configure ASTAP parameters through the standalone ASTAP.exe, including the FOV parameter, which is persistent -: The next time you call ASTAP  from another program, it will use the value of the FOV parameter from the last time ASTAP was run. This can take some getting use to, as SharpCap does not let you set ASTAP parameters directly.

OK.  I'll try both!  I wonder which one will be easiest?



#43 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 12:26 PM

SchoolMaster:  you are going to need a bigger monitor.

 

I switch my logitech k830 bluetooth keyboard (mouse pad) between several laptops/computers. It is my keyboard of choice when operating off-grid and remote on only solar charged battery power. 

Bigger monitor vs logitech keyboard does not compute.  What am I misunderstanding?  Laptops have what they have.  I also have a 17" laptop from 10 years ago, but it's my legacy Vista machine.  I have a nice 3K ultrawide on this home desktop, but the GTe WiFi cannot reach from the porch to here.

 

I've gotten my back-up laptop working and I'll try that tonight, and I'm getting more comfortable with CdC.  I have the scope tracking M42 as a test.



#44 GaryShaw

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 12:53 PM

OK.  I'll try both!  I wonder which one will be easiest?

When doing plate solving with Sharpcap, it is immaterial which plate solving host you use since you never open it or use it directly. After a slew, you just hit Sharpcap’s plate solve button and everything works automatically from there. Just set up Sharpcap’s Plate solving setup every time to automatically look for your plate solving application. 

 

You just need to be careful to download the correct Sky indices based in the FOV of each of you scope/camera combinations. If you have a setup that needs a reducer, that would likely be a factor as well but I have a simple newtonian setup and don’t have to fret over that. 



#45 GaryShaw

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 01:00 PM

Bigger monitor vs logitech keyboard does not compute.  What am I misunderstanding?  Laptops have what they have.  I also have a 17" laptop from 10 years ago, but it's my legacy Vista machine.  I have a nice 3K ultrawide on this home desktop, but the GTe WiFi cannot reach from the porch to here.

 

I've gotten my back-up laptop working and I'll try that tonight, and I'm getting more comfortable with CdC.  I have the scope tracking M42 as a test.

Screen size is purely a matter of preference. I use a Lenovo laptop from work when I’m sitting at the scope. When I observe remotely, I have the headless Intel Nuc. Controlling everything at the scope and can observe from inside using my 27” iMac or a pc with slightly smaller screen. You can also hook up a second larger, usb monitor to the laptop. Sharpcap let’s you select dual monitor mode and places the target image on the second screen and organizes ( a bit chaotically actually) all the controls on the laptop screen. Some folks swear by 4K monitors when remotely observing inside. I bet that’s nice, but it’s still a matter of preference. 
Gary



#46 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 01:58 PM

When doing plate solving with Sharpcap, it is immaterial which plate solving host you use since you never open it or use it directly. After a slew, you just hit Sharpcap’s plate solve button and everything works automatically from there. Just set up Sharpcap’s Plate solving setup every time to automatically look for your plate solving application. 

 

You just need to be careful to download the correct Sky indices based in the FOV of each of you scope/camera combinations. If you have a setup that needs a reducer, that would likely be a factor as well but I have a simple newtonian setup and don’t have to fret over that. 

I have a cheap 0.5 reducer, but I expect that the f/4.9 102mm achromat I'm working with won't need it (but will be needed by the Maks) .  Besides, plate solving is about three stations further down the track from here.



#47 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 02:02 PM

Screen size is purely a matter of preference. I use a Lenovo laptop from work when I’m sitting at the scope. When I observe remotely, I have the headless Intel Nuc. Controlling everything at the scope and can observe from inside using my 27” iMac or a pc with slightly smaller screen. You can also hook up a second larger, usb monitor to the laptop. Sharpcap let’s you select dual monitor mode and places the target image on the second screen and organizes ( a bit chaotically actually) all the controls on the laptop screen. Some folks swear by 4K monitors when remotely observing inside. I bet that’s nice, but it’s still a matter of preference. 
Gary

Yes.   astrohamp's two computer solution seems great.  I run a computer-building elective for Middle School students, so assembling and configuring a dedicated 'Astro' headless computer is certainly doable.

 

At the moment, I'm trying to use the equipment I have at my 'summer palace', that I can mess with freely without having to work through the school's Tech Department.



#48 GaryShaw

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 02:15 PM

I wasn’t really pushing a two computer approach right now. It seems premature. I was just commenting on screen options and assuring you that screen size is, and should be, a non- issue when you’re starting out in EAA. There’s plenty enough to deal with so strive to keep it simple and start building up ‘observing with Sharpcap’ time. That’s absolutely key.
Gary


Edited by GaryShaw, 13 June 2021 - 02:16 PM.


#49 bips3453

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 04:36 PM

... but running this software on a 15" 4K touchscreen is very difficult, especially the Planetarium software, where it is very difficult to select the target I want with my fingers and the text and icons are so small.

 

Windows should allow you to use the laptop at a lower resolution (UHD or FHD). I would try that first. 



#50 SchoolMaster

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 06:02 PM

Windows should allow you to use the laptop at a lower resolution (UHD or FHD). I would try that first. 

Yes, I could do that.  It's the machine I use for Zoom meetings too and I'm lazy about switching back and forth.  The touchscreen interface more of a bugaboo for me.  I normally work on a 27" or 35" monitor, so I would miss the real estate and the multiple windows I have open.  My 'old' computer is handling things well at the moment.

 

Gary

 

Storm building in the gulf, so 10/10th cloud in Tampa ATM.  Figures,  I do appreciate the help and support.  I'm ready to try and capture something, when the sky clears.

 

UPDATE:  No sky for the next day or so.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 14 June 2021 - 08:24 AM.



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