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Updating the AutoStar 497 mount controller with Ephemerides data

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#1 RichNH

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Posted 29 November 2023 - 09:47 PM

I've got a Meade LXD75 mount with an AutoStar 497 controller.  I used the ASU Autostar suite program to download a bunch of files that contain data for asteroids, comets & satellites.  Most of these data files came from celestrak.com/NORAD/elements...  Some of them came from www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/ephemerides/...

My problem is that it's tough to understand what kind of data is in each individual file. I do not think the controller has enough space to take everything, if fact I'd rather select specific objects to load into it, but which file do I load into the PC program used to populate the controller to get the specific objects I'm interested in?  I tried going to the servers themselves and what I found is that the txt files there seem to be in a different format than the files the ASU Suite downloaded.  The ASU Autostar Suite downloaded pipe-delimited files whereas the files I'm seeing on the servers seem to be tab-dlimited and with different data columns.  I'm guessing that everything has changed since I bought this scope.  But they still seem to be generating the files in the old format since I did download a bunch of files and at least some of them appear to have a date field which is current to this year.

If anyone has an idea where I can figure out which data is in which file (some of them can be deduced such as Soft16Cmt.txt from the minor planet center has comet data) I'd appreciate it.

Here's the list I downloaded:
Connected to Server: www.minorplanetcenter.net

Downloaded URI: /iau/Ephemerides/Distant/Soft16Distant.txt (11:17:21)
Downloaded URI: /iau/Ephemerides/Unusual/Soft16Unusual.txt (11:17:27)
Downloaded URI: /iau/Ephemerides/CritList/Soft16CritList.txt (11:26:39)
Downloaded URI: /iau/Ephemerides/Comets/Soft16Cmt.txt (11:40:52)

 

Connected to Server: celestrak.com
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt (11:27:05)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/stations.txt (11:27:14)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/visual.txt (11:27:16)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/active.txt (11:27:26)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/analyst.txt (11:33:58)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/weather.txt (11:34:02)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/noaa.txt (11:34:04)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/goes.txt (11:34:05)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/resource.txt (11:34:06)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/sarsat.txt (11:34:13)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/dmc.txt (11:34:17)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/tdrss.txt (11:34:17)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/argos.txt (11:34:19)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/planet.txt (11:34:19)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/spire.txt (11:34:28)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/geo.txt (11:34:32)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/intelsat.txt (11:34:55)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/ses.txt (11:34:58)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/iridium-next.txt (11:35:01)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/starlink.txt (11:35:07)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/oneweb.txt (11:38:56)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/orbcomm.txt (11:39:25)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/globalstar.txt (11:39:28)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/swarm.txt (11:39:32)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/amateur.txt (11:39:36)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/x-comm.txt (11:39:41)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/other-comm.txt (11:39:41)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/satnogs.txt (11:39:44)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/gnss.txt (11:40:25)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/gps-ops.txt (11:40:32)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/glo-ops.txt (11:40:33)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/galileo.txt (11:40:35)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/beidou.txt (11:40:36)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/sbas.txt (11:40:39)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/science.txt (11:40:40)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/geodetic.txt (11:40:43)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/engineering.txt (11:40:43)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/education.txt (11:40:45)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/radar.txt (11:40:46)
Downloaded URI: /NORAD/elements/cubesat.txt (11:40:47)

Clear and steady skies


Edited by RichNH, 29 November 2023 - 09:51 PM.

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#2 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 29 November 2023 - 10:26 PM

Gday Rich

You can tell the file type by the structure

The sites you downloaded from do have specific download pages where they dump data

preformatted for several different applications, and Meade is one of them.

Have attached a list of what each type looks like.

My PEC editor can also load and process files but in my app

you can load what files you want and then go through and delete the entries you dont want

and resave that ready for reimporting.

For many items like asteroids/comets, i just used to load the lot and sort by magnitude

and delete anything too dim to see.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

 

Comets
======
>> C_Soft16CMT
C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)                  |2000|19970329.5588 | 0.889902 |0.994969 |130.4090 |282.5416 | 89.3795 |-2.0 |10.0 | MPEC 2022-S20
P/1996 R2 (Lagerkvist)                 |2000|20260614.7044 | 2.586980 |0.314606 |333.4150 | 40.0086 |  2.6010 |11.5 |10.0 | NK 1615
P/1998 VS24 (LINEAR)                   |2000|20270906.3574 | 3.423798 |0.243319 |244.6508 |159.0370 |  5.0265 |13.0 | 5.0 | MPC 75703

 

Asteroids
=========
>> C_Soft16Unusual
   433 Eros          |2017 09 04.000|0.222589  |1.457940| 10.8276|304.3222 |178.8165 | 2000| 71.2803  |11.16| 0.46|   0.00
   719 Albert        |2017 09 04.000|0.546761  |2.639721| 11.5736|183.9180 |156.1166 | 2000|270.4557  |15.5 | 0.15|   0.00
>> C_Soft16Distant
   944 Hidalgo       |2019 04 27.000|0.660781  |5.740958| 42.5208| 21.4200 | 56.6508 | 2000| 13.0778  |10.77| 0.15|   0.00
  2060 Chiron        |2019 04 27.000|0.380449  |13.66912|  6.9467|209.2144 |339.8161 | 2000|165.0532  | 5.8 | 0.15|   0.00
>> C_Soft16CritList
  1915 1953 EA       |2014 05 23.000|0.570506  |2.544736| 20.3980|162.9641 |347.8218 | 2000| 81.2615  |18.97| 0.10|   0.00
  2135 1977 HA       |2014 05 23.000|0.503048  |1.599657| 23.0583|191.2315 |290.8540 | 2000|151.1483  |17.94| 0.15|   0.00

 

Satellites
==========
>> S_Stations
ISS (ZARYA)            
1 25544U 98067A   23041.89347980  .00021223  00000+0  38082-3 0  9991
2 25544  51.6429 234.0850 0008252 336.5890 162.9201 15.49822492382204
AEROCUBE 12A           
1 43556U 18046C   23041.44454008  .00107145  00000+0  15122-2 0  9991
2 43556  51.6304  93.2465 0002134 163.1359 196.9703 15.55736459256111
>> S_amateur
OSCAR 7 (AO-7)         
1 07530U 74089B   23041.47651203 -.00000031  00000+0  91866-4 0  9999
2 07530 101.9362  27.3543 0012036 307.0881 169.4828 12.53660957207531
PHASE 3B (AO-10)       
1 14129U 83058B   23040.71328062  .00000018  00000+0  00000+0 0  9996
2 14129  26.8870  57.2953 6035123 146.7455 272.6020  2.05868024270297

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#3 RichNH

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 05:13 AM

Thank you, I appreciate your response.  I just started this process of using my controller for asteroid/comet data and I'm sure it'll take a few days/weeks/months to fully comprehend all the aspects of this type of observing. 

You mentioned "PEC Editor" and I started to research that.  The mount I have is a Meade LXD75 and while I can run through a PEC train process for the controller I don't see any facility in the manual or on the controller which I can download the results so I think that capability might be something that came after my mount was purchased (2004).

This is an interesting area of astronomy, tracking the minor planets and such.  I'll be spending more time on it for sure over the coming months especially in the area of learning how to edit the lists.  Thank you again.



#4 MJB87

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 07:14 AM

Moving to a more appropriate forum.


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#5 DAVIDG

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 09:45 AM

One thing you might consider is to add a WIFI or Bluetooth adapter to your 497 and then use a program like Sky Safari to control your scope using  a phone or tablet  Sky Safari is update regularly via WIfi and has the asteroids, satellites  and comets in it and like I said their orbits  are update regularly along with new objects added.  So it  is very easily to select an object in Sky Safari  and then just tap GOTO to slew to it vs hunting through menu and trying to remember object ID's. on the 497.  I control all my scopes with Sky Safari along with all the scope at Mt Cuba Observatory were I'm the Director since it makes pointing the scope so easy.  Here is a picture of my home made Bluetooth adapter I made for around $20 for my 497. 

 

                             - Dave 

 

 

BT to RS232 adapter.jpg

 

   

 

               


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#6 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 03:22 PM

Gday Rich

You mentioned "PEC Editor"

It is an application i wrote for analysing and working with the data in Meade telescopes.

For 497s, if you run patched firmware, it can read and write the PEC data as well as

other EEProm based info interactively.

It can also read the user data like tours/asteroids/comets/satellites interactively

but that still requires download mode to write it back.

The older version is hosted on my defunct site

http://members.optus...om.au/johansea/

get the 4999 beta at the bottom and also the help files from the top

but the latest versions are in the IO sites files

https://groups.io/g/.../00_MyScopeApps

The older version will still work quite happily with a 497 and LXD75

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#7 RichNH

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 06:47 PM

One thing you might consider is to add a WIFI or Bluetooth adapter to your 497 and then use a program like Sky Safari to control your scope using  a phone or tablet  Sky Safari is update regularly via WIfi and has the asteroids, satellites  and comets in it and like I said their orbits  are update regularly along with new objects added.  So it  is very easily to select an object in Sky Safari  and then just tap GOTO to slew to it vs hunting through menu and trying to remember object ID's. on the 497.  I control all my scopes with Sky Safari along with all the scope at Mt Cuba Observatory were I'm the Director since it makes pointing the scope so easy.  Here is a picture of my home made Bluetooth adapter I made for around $20 for my 497. 

 

                             - Dave 

 

 

attachicon.gif BT to RS232 adapter.jpg

Actually I've had some success using Remote Desktop Connection to connect to the laptop that's running different pgms.  Your solution seems better though although I don't know if I'm intellectually up to working the actual electronics there.  Don't know too much about WiFi or Bluetooth adapters.  But I'll definitely add that to the list of what I need to look into.


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#8 Pepe Le Pieu

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 11:08 PM

Gday Rich

You can tell the file type by the structure

The sites you downloaded from do have specific download pages where they dump data

preformatted for several different applications, and Meade is one of them.

Have attached a list of what each type looks like.

My PEC editor can also load and process files but in my app

you can load what files you want and then go through and delete the entries you dont want

and resave that ready for reimporting.

For many items like asteroids/comets, i just used to load the lot and sort by magnitude

and delete anything too dim to see.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Hi Andrew,

I did this when you were helping me out in August getting my new Audiostar controller set up.

I did what you said re:comets data, sorted them by magnitude, deleted anything >13.0 magnitude and loaded to scope.

What I did notice was that the magnitude of the comets, as given by the HBX after they were loaded, were different to the magnitudes listed on the .txt file before sending to the scope. Comets were showing up on the HBX with e.g. mag +19, but on the .txt file they were < +13.

Any idea what the explanation for this is?

Is it observing site related?

Regards,

Rodney  


Edited by Pepe Le Pieu, 30 November 2023 - 11:09 PM.


#9 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 11:43 PM

Gday Rodney

 

Comets were showing up on the HBX with e.g. mag +19, but on the .txt file they were < +13.

 

I have never heard anyone ever mention this ( in over 20 years )

My app merely imports the data from the supplied text file and writes it to the scope

ie i do no processing other than to look for invalid data.

Would need to double check but hex x13 = decimal 19

so that may be part of it.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#10 Pepe Le Pieu

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 04:52 AM

Gday Rodney

 

I have never heard anyone ever mention this ( in over 20 years )

My app merely imports the data from the supplied text file and writes it to the scope

ie i do no processing other than to look for invalid data.

Would need to double check but hex x13 = decimal 19

so that may be part of it.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

lol

I'll take another, closer look at it when I update the comets and asteroid data again and report back.

What is the recommended timeframe to update comets, asteroids and satellite data for it to be accurately found on a goto in the LX90 - weekly? monthly?

Regards,

Rodney



#11 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 05:08 AM

Gday Rodney

Asteroids are pretty stable, so most people only do it for new comets or satellites ( ISS )

Up to you how often you want.

If you do load a comet/asteroid set and it shows dodgy numbers between Hbx and txt file

send them to me an i will see if i can replicate whats going on.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#12 DAVIDG

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 09:44 AM

Actually I've had some success using Remote Desktop Connection to connect to the laptop that's running different pgms.  Your solution seems better though although I don't know if I'm intellectually up to working the actual electronics there.  Don't know too much about WiFi or Bluetooth adapters.  But I'll definitely add that to the list of what I need to look into.

 There are commercially available WIfi and Bluetooth adapter for the Autostar 497 if you don't want to build your own.  Here is  a link to one of them https://astro-gadget...dapters/autofiĀ 

To control your scope I recommend that you use SkySafari PLUS  since it has all that you need. It goes on sales for usually under $10.  As I said it has all the asteroid, satellites and comets already in it plus it gets updated regularly and automatically.  Another feature is the the position of the planets and the Moon are correct .  The 497 uses a lookup table  for them and it is out of date and can't be updated.   SkySafari can also set the time, ,date and location using the GPS built into your phone or tablet so it turns scope into a GPS equipped unit.  

 

                  - Dave 


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