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AutoAligning Software for CPWI

Software Accessories Astrometry Astrophotography Celestron Planetarium
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#1 Jackey

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    AutoAligning Software for CPWI

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 08:58 PM

Hello everyone! 
I developed an app capable of performing alignment the same way as the StarSense Autoalign accessory, just from the main camera and with a much more flexible distribution of alignment points. 

I believe the big benefit is that it uses the main optical axis and not the secondary guider scope. 
Below is a screenshot:

AutoAligner.jpg

The way it works is that you connect your Camera and CPWI-compatible telescope, then below you define the alignment point distribution and click auto-align.
Using the aligning options requires you to get to the alignment menu in CPWI first. Then you don't select the alignment targets in CPWI but switch to my application and run the automated alignment procedure.

The "Solve and add current location" plate solves and adds the current point to the alignment model.

Auto Align function will automatically go through all the defined points, plate solve them, and add to the model if solving was successful. 
During the auto-alignment process, the dots will change color- the current dot turns yellow when the processing starts, and then turns red or green depending if plate-solving was successful.
The circle presenting point distribution is pointing south by default (as our telescopes do when we start alignment with CPWI) but the view can be flipped with the "Flip" checkbox if someone needs it oriented north. 

The azimuth shift option changes the azimuth degree, which can be useful if you have a mount on a wedge and a long optical train - in my case when the telescope is pointing exactly north on high azimuth the camera could hit the mount during slewing, so I decrease the azimuth by a few degrees so that my camera is safe. 
For non-ASCOM cameras, you can use the  "From Photo" tab to provide the image file rather than downloading it from the ASCOM camera. 

AutoAligner4.jpg

 

 
If you already have plate-solving results from other software, you can manually add the coordinates of the current point at which the telescope is pointing at that moment.
AutoAligner3.jpg

 

 
Plate solving is done using ASTAP, so you need to provide its path and parameters like search radius, exposure time, and FOV in the settings window. 
AutoAligner2.jpg

 

 
 

 

The application requires CPWI to be up-to-date, as it uses ASCOM SlewToAltAz command which was only recently added. I can work on support for older versions if needed, it would probably only require to calculate Ra/Dec coordinates out of alt/az, which should not be a big problem.  

I tested that recently on my Evolution mount with C8 and ASI1600MM on the back and it managed to align my telescope without any issues. I am able to align my telescope super precisely now when using it on a balcony with a very limited FoV.

As this is an early development version, please keep a close eye on your telescope when testing and be ready to push the emergency stop button in case it starts behaving the unexpected way. 
If someone would be interested giving this app a try and giving me some feedback, I would be very thankful. 
Please contact me in PM to obtain the executable.  

Keep up the good job guys!
Clear skies!
 

Attached Thumbnails

  • AutoAligner.jpg
  • AutoAligner2.jpg
  • AutoAligner3.jpg
  • AutoAligner4.jpg

Edited by Jackey, 08 February 2024 - 09:02 PM.

  • redtag and Kanis92 like this

#2 PeterAB

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 03:30 PM

Where do I go download this software?   It looks interesting.

 

Peter



#3 Jackey

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 09:43 PM

I think it will be the best to add a google drive link here:
https://drive.google...?usp=drive_link
I am accepting all the requests to access as soon as I notice :)
Good luck with your alignment!



#4 Mitchell Duke

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 02:41 PM

Count me in! I will test it on the CGXL.

#5 Jackey

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 01:55 PM

Thank you all for the interest so far! I'm looking forward to hear about your experience :)



#6 Mitchell Duke

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 10:35 AM

Thank you all for the interest so far! I'm looking forward to hear about your experience :)


I tried to download it just now but its still asking for your aporoval.

#7 Mitchell Duke

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 12:02 PM

Got it! I will try it when the skies clear.

#8 Jackey

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Posted 22 February 2024 - 07:43 PM

Thank you everyone for the interest, I hope you have better weather than I do;) 



#9 ultramaddie

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 11:49 AM

Hi Jackey! This looks great, I can’t wait to give it a shot with my AVX. Can you upload the code to GitHub as well? :)

#10 ButterFly

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 02:28 PM

Very similar to PlateAlign (latest version here).

 

Add some kind of a star chart to help users see where the selected points are on the sky.  It helps to see where the obstructions are, so users don't waste time trying to solve in a tree!




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