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PiFinder Software v1.9.0 - Faster Solving and New Nearby Screen

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#1 brickbots

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Posted 19 March 2024 - 09:42 PM

Hello!  We've got a new software update (1.9.0) for the PiFinder which is available right now!  We've been focusing this release on 'Night Sky Serendipity'... that feeling of effortless exploration and un-expected discovery.  We're thrilled to introduce some great new features that will allow you navigate the night sky more quickly and discover new objects you may not have uncovered except for being in the right place at the right time!

 

The Nearby Screen -  Our new 'Nearby Screen' feature is your gateway to cosmic serendipity.  It's a list of nearby celestial objects that match your current catalog filters - be it globular clusters, planetary nebulae or obscure galaxies, that updates in real-time as you move your telescope around the sky.  Set your filters and let the PiFinder guide you to new wonders, complete with magnitude and essential details.  It also serves as a very easy way to ID any object you have in the eyepiece as it's sorted by closest object to furthest... and nothing is closer than the center of your eyepiece!

 

nearby_anim.gif

 

Faster and more Robust Plate Solving - With this update to the star detection and solving system, enjoy reliable solving with exposures as short as 0.2 seconds under bottle 2/3 skies - that's an astounding 5 solves per second! This update promises significant improvements across all sky conditions, effortlessly dealing with obstructions like trees and buildings.

 

Explore with New Catalogs - Delve deeper into our galaxy with the addition of the Barnard catalog of Dark Nebula and the RASC double star catalog. We are continuing to add new catalogs with each release so if there is something you’d like to see, Contact Us and let us know!

 

For full details on the release please see our Github page and for instructions for updating software, check out our documentation

 

 

 

Get a PiFinder

Make the most out of your next observing session with a PiFinder.  It's fully open source, so you can build one yourself as a fun weekend project!  

If you'd like to get a kit to ease your build, or are interested in a ready-to-observe built and tested unit, visit PiFinder.io and we'll get one shipped out to you in 2-3 days

 

As always, thank you so much to everyone who's sent in suggestion, requested catalogs, and especially contributed to the PiFinder software.  Please post here, PM me, or use the contact form at the link above if you have any questions.

 

Cheers and clear skies!


Edited by brickbots, 19 March 2024 - 09:43 PM.

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#2 John Rogers

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Posted 19 March 2024 - 11:30 PM

That is great news Rich!  I am going to update and try it out tomorrow night.


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#3 CHASLX200

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Posted 20 March 2024 - 06:05 AM

Looks like it gets better with time like a fine wine.


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#4 turtle86

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Posted 20 March 2024 - 10:25 AM

Just downloaded the new software update.  I briefly tried out the nearby feature last night and it works well!


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#5 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 21 March 2024 - 09:24 AM

I jusr received my PiFinder and it appears to already have software version 1.9.0 installed. Thanks Richard and crew!


Edited by Doug Culbertson, 21 March 2024 - 09:24 AM.

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#6 CHASLX200

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Posted 21 March 2024 - 06:23 PM

I jusr received my PiFinder and it appears to already have software version 1.9.0 installed. Thanks Richard and crew!

And you got rain coming tonite.


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#7 John Rogers

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Posted 21 March 2024 - 06:56 PM

And you got rain coming tonite.

Don't feel alone.  I upgraded the software without issue yesterday and it summoned the clouds on the west coast of California.


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#8 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 21 March 2024 - 08:20 PM

I jusr received my PiFinder and it appears to already have software version 1.9.0 installed. Thanks Richard and crew!

 

 

And you got rain coming tonite.

Yeah, we have rain coming , but maybe it will get rid of the smoke from the prescribed burning around here.

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#9 CHASLX200

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Posted 22 March 2024 - 06:02 AM

Yeah, we have rain coming , but maybe it will get rid of the smoke from the prescribed burning around here.

I never got a thing. Been 5 dry years now.



#10 turtle86

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Posted 22 March 2024 - 05:30 PM

Yeah, we have rain coming , but maybe it will get rid of the smoke from the prescribed burning around here.

 

We got quite a bit of rain here today too in the Orlando area.  Hope it gets rid of all the oak pollen we've had.


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#11 Bearcub

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Posted 24 March 2024 - 05:03 PM

This looks interesting. I am very dissapointed with my mount. It just has too many flaws. If i knew about this when i was looking for mount it would have affected my buying decisions.


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#12 CHASLX200

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Posted 24 March 2024 - 05:28 PM

We got quite a bit of rain here today too in the Orlando area.  Hope it gets rid of all the oak pollen we've had.

I could have bought 10 PI's and never got a drop. We got jack here.



#13 Deadlake

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 03:17 PM

If I wanted to use the PI on an SCT and APO I presume it would be the top mounting version.

 

How would I attach the PI to an SCT, a C11 for example.

 

Thanks



#14 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 04:51 PM

If I wanted to use the PI on an SCT and APO I presume it would be the top mounting version.

 

How would I attach the PI to an SCT, a C11 for example.

 

Thanks

You would need to replace the finder scope bracket with a Vixen/Synta type finder shoe. If the mounting holes on the C11 aren’t exactly on top of the OTA the base on the PiFinder can be swiveled to make it horizontal to the ground. I would get the flat version for a SCT. 


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#15 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 04:53 PM

It’s clear tonight and the moon rises late enough that it’s looking like I will finally get first light with my PiFinder! 


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#16 brickbots

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 07:22 PM

If I wanted to use the PI on an SCT and APO I presume it would be the top mounting version.

 

How would I attach the PI to an SCT, a C11 for example.

 

Thanks

 

You would need to replace the finder scope bracket with a Vixen/Synta type finder shoe. If the mounting holes on the C11 aren’t exactly on top of the OTA the base on the PiFinder can be swiveled to make it horizontal to the ground. I would get the flat version for a SCT. 

 

Yes, that's exactly right, thank you Doug!  For refractors and most SCT's having the PiFinder on top is a very convenient place as people tend to mount these low enough to look down into the focuser in the diagonal.  For larger SCT's like the C11, depending on the mount height, the flat version mounted on top may put the screen a bit out of sight and a left or right version might be better.  This is especially true if you tend to turn the diagonal off to the side and observe this way.


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#17 TayM57

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 11:56 AM

I've just added a third dovestyle shoe to my 8". Now I have one on my 8", 10", and 24".

 

 

I'm north of Moses Lake now, and hope to try out the new "Nearby" feature of the 1.9.0 software tonight!


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#18 vineyard

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 04:17 PM

Hello, I've been following this PiFinder with a lot of interest, and am about to press go on an order.  Just a couple of quick Qs pls.

 

1.  What is the status of EQ compatibility?  I know that the plate-solving of course finds itself anywhere and that the challenge is with the accelerometer and the movement directions.  It's not a deal-killer for me, but was just curious (would love to be able to use this on an old Vixen SP mount).

 

2.  I've seen the docs on the connectivity w SkySafari - is this two way (if I hit goto on a target from a list on SS on my phone, will that be sent to the PiFinder and will the PiFinder then tell me how to get there?  Or would it be better to export a list from SS to the PiFinder, and then just use the PF to hit goto?

 

Thanks!

 

[EDIT: I just saw on a different thread that Q2 is indeed possible: https://www.cloudyni...cts/?p=13212599 - that's me done then :) ]


Edited by vineyard, 31 March 2024 - 04:25 PM.

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#19 turtle86

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 06:51 PM

Hello, I've been following this PiFinder with a lot of interest, and am about to press go on an order.  Just a couple of quick Qs pls.

 

1.  What is the status of EQ compatibility?  I know that the plate-solving of course finds itself anywhere and that the challenge is with the accelerometer and the movement directions.  It's not a deal-killer for me, but was just curious (would love to be able to use this on an old Vixen SP mount).

 

2.  I've seen the docs on the connectivity w SkySafari - is this two way (if I hit goto on a target from a list on SS on my phone, will that be sent to the PiFinder and will the PiFinder then tell me how to get there?  Or would it be better to export a list from SS to the PiFinder, and then just use the PF to hit goto?

 

Thanks!

 

[EDIT: I just saw on a different thread that Q2 is indeed possible: https://www.cloudyni...cts/?p=13212599 - that's me done then smile.gif ]

 

Richard will be able to answer both of your questions far better than me, but as for your second question I can say that the connectivity with Sky Safari is definitely two way.  I pick an object from Sky Safari, hit goto, and the Pi Finder will show me where to point after I hit the A button. At the same time, I can also see on Sky Safari where my scope is pointed in real time, and I've found that I can find an object about as quickly simply by moving the scope while looking at my iPad mini.  I got to do some observing the last couple of nights and I've found that the Pi Finder and Sky Safari work very well together.


Edited by turtle86, 31 March 2024 - 06:54 PM.

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#20 brickbots

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 07:05 PM

Hello, I've been following this PiFinder with a lot of interest, and am about to press go on an order.  Just a couple of quick Qs pls.

 

1.  What is the status of EQ compatibility?  I know that the plate-solving of course finds itself anywhere and that the challenge is with the accelerometer and the movement directions.  It's not a deal-killer for me, but was just curious (would love to be able to use this on an old Vixen SP mount).

 

2.  I've seen the docs on the connectivity w SkySafari - is this two way (if I hit goto on a target from a list on SS on my phone, will that be sent to the PiFinder and will the PiFinder then tell me how to get there?  Or would it be better to export a list from SS to the PiFinder, and then just use the PF to hit goto?

 

Thanks!

 

[EDIT: I just saw on a different thread that Q2 is indeed possible: https://www.cloudyni...cts/?p=13212599 - that's me done then smile.gif ]

Hello Vineyard (I'm guessing a fellow wine aficionado?)

 

1. EQ Compatibility is under still looking for the right contributor to tackle the remaining maths related to the accelerometer.  You've got the current state of play just right.  There are a few people who have indicated they would be interested, but no firm time frame yet.

 

2.  Turtle86 did a good job of showcasing the two generally ways to use the PiFinder + SkySafari to find objects (Thank You!), and I think you found your answer as well in another thread.  But just to recap for anyone following along, you can select them in SkySafari and use the 'GoTo' button to send the coordinates to the PiFinder where you can see the PiFinder push-to instructions with degrees to move in Alt/Az, or you can watch the telescope location reticle in SkySafari as you move the scope to navigate to any particular object shown on the SkySafari screen.  With the ability to zoom in on SkySafari, you can easily maneuver the scope right to objects and get them into the center of the eyepiece.  I use both methods and it just depends on what I'm up to.  If I know just the object I want to find, I'll usually send it to the PiFinder and pick-up the push-to instructions there.  If I'm exploring a particularly rich area, with many galaxies or similar, it's easy to just keep an eye on the SkySafari screen and move from target to target

 

I'm happy to answer any other questions, just send them on through!  


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#21 vineyard

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Posted 05 April 2024 - 01:49 PM

Thanks both turtle86 & brickbots.  And yes Richard you're quite right about the fondness for vineyards and their products :)

 

I'm liaising with Mike as I'm in Europe.  Really looking fwd to this kit - it is exactly what I have needed for a long while so thanks for developing this!


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#22 Deadlake

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 03:12 PM

One question, for the PI I know there is a SQM meter package. Would it be possible to integrate into the finder as it would be great to be able to track how SQM varies with time and what objects where visaible?

Presume it’s just an additional sensor that needs to be connected to the PI for this to work?


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#23 brickbots

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 03:08 PM

One question, for the PI I know there is a SQM meter package. Would it be possible to integrate into the finder as it would be great to be able to track how SQM varies with time and what objects where visaible?

Presume it’s just an additional sensor that needs to be connected to the PI for this to work?

This is an area we are actively developing/working on and it should not require any additional hardware.  An image with known stars in frame (ideally with a dark image to subtract out sensor floor) should be enough to calculate SQM.  There are some interesting things if this can work reliable as it could be done passively as the PiFinder is used for pointing and assembled into a map covering as much of the sky dome as was observed during a session :-)




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