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NINA - ASTAP crossover... Sayonara Astrometry.net

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#1 PIEJr

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 09:48 AM

So Astrometry.net failed me last night. I simply could not solve and return results. I wasted probably an hour on it.

I've used it for years and years now. And was always happy with it. But it simply seemed to stall and not solve the image, not even single star images.

My WiFi was working fine, good Internet access, too. So, it wasn't a bug there.

 

So, I changed over to ASTAP and downloaded the "50" file of stars (Large, but not ridiculous). BINGO! Solved fast and easy!

I would hope so since it rooted out a big chunk of Real Estate in my laptops SSD. Nearly a Gigabyte.

Probably worth it though. The star library lives in my laptop and not off on the web somewhere that leaves me standing in line for some distant computer to come around and solve my image.

OK, I'm a convert. It does work fast. Even after the Meridian Flip.

 

Still wonder what happened to Astrometry though. It acted like its servers were shut down.

Oh well, Sayonara Astrometry.net, I never did like waiting in line.

I found the Charmin of solvers. Ahhh.

 

In the past, I felt it better to let Astrometry store the files for solving. I felt I was letting them worry about the maintenance for the libraries.

Onward with a new (to me) Millenium Falcon for Plate Solving.



#2 afd33

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 09:53 AM

ASTAP has almost always worked perfectly for me and quick too. Astrometry was always hit or miss on the speed. Sometimes it would take an hour, other times maybe a minute. I did notice this morning one of the people I follow on Astrobin posted something at like 2AM, and at 6 when I saw it, it was still platesolving.


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#3 cjarvis64

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 10:01 AM

ASTAP is amazing, but I have had issues using it at longer focal lengths (1370mm).  PlateSolve3 has been working better at these longer focal lengths, however it is slower.



#4 PIEJr

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 10:09 AM

ASTAP has almost always worked perfectly for me and quick too. Astrometry was always hit or miss on the speed. Sometimes it would take an hour, other times maybe a minute. I did notice this morning one of the people I follow on Astrobin posted something at like 2AM, and at 6 when I saw it, it was still platesolving.

Interesting. So maybe it wasn't just me then. I always blame myself first.

Astrometry has always worked reasonably well for me.

But now I've got a taste of the good stuff I will most likely stay with ASTAP.

From what I've gathered, ASTAP recently updated their star catalogs. So, what I downloaded (D50) was released in March 2024.

It did solve impressively fast for me.


Edited by PIEJr, 28 May 2024 - 10:10 AM.


#5 gmiller123456

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 10:57 AM

I've always edited used ATAP as the first plate solver and Astrometry.net as the blind solver. A slow ASTAP solve is still generally faster than the fastest Astrometry.net solve.
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#6 PIEJr

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 11:03 AM

I've always edited used ATAP as the first plate solver and Astrometry.net as the blind solver. A slow ASTAP solve is still generally faster than the fastest Astrometry.net solve.

I've always had those the opposite, but now have ASTAP, and ASTAP. 1st and 2nd.

I was quite impressed with ASTAP. But it was the first time using it last night. blush.gif



#7 Ruediger

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 03:04 PM

ASTAP is amazing, but I have had issues using it at longer focal lengths (1370mm).  PlateSolve3 has been working better at these longer focal lengths, however it is slower.

I am using ASTAP from 1m up to 4m FL and a solve rate close to 100%. From my experience I see no problem with long FL. Vice versa. 


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#8 archiebald

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 05:30 PM

SSD / HDD space is so cheap nowadays having all the necessary files offline is the only sensible solution in my opinion.  Did it with EKOS on my Rasp Pi + external SSD, now doing it with NINA.  Fast and simple.


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#9 cjarvis64

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Posted 30 May 2024 - 02:12 PM

I am using ASTAP from 1m up to 4m FL and a solve rate close to 100%. From my experience I see no problem with long FL. Vice versa. 

Not sure what the problem is then. Maybe its my scope-camera combination that it doesn't like. I've since added a 0.75 reducer to my setup so maybe I'll try it again.



#10 ButterFly

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Posted 30 May 2024 - 07:28 PM

Not sure what the problem is then. Maybe its my scope-camera combination that it doesn't like. I've since added a 0.75 reducer to my setup so maybe I'll try it again.

astap is a little picker about star shapes, but give it the right focal length, and slightly longer exposure times, and it should work fine even without your reducer (which is effectively shortening needed exposure time anyway).  When are stars are reasonably round, and the focal length is about right, both astap and platesolve 3 are just as quick as each other.

 

Because of the pickier star shape requirements, I have found platesolve 3 much better at super short focal lengths when trees and buildings get in the way.  Astap picks up many of the edges there are stars, and fails, whereas platesolve 3 just powers through them, even if it picks up some of the edges as stars.

 

A good diagnosis tool for whether your exposure is too short, with either, is to use the main programs to see which stars it detects, and to also show the cataloged stars.  If there are many cataloged stars that it didn't detect in your images, try a slightly higher exposure time.



#11 archiebald

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Posted 30 May 2024 - 08:52 PM

Not sure what the problem is then. Maybe its my scope-camera combination that it doesn't like. I've since added a 0.75 reducer to my setup so maybe I'll try it again.

Something is definitely not right there.

 

I was out a couple of nights ago looking to shoot the North American Nebula which was just coming over the horizon as I was doing my PA.

 

Just for s**s and giggles I made my first slew and plate-solve attempt when the nebula was only around 5-6degrees over the horizon, looking through light pollution & haze so absolutely no stars were visible to the naked eye, and even if they had been, they were largely hidden behind a forest of power cables - of course fully expecting it to fail.

 

My flabber has never been so gasted when it only took two shots to zero in on the target!!  Could not believe it to be honest, so I had to do it again and got the same same result.

 

Mind you, it took me another 90 minutes before I could start shooting my sequence......and about another 30 for the clouds to start rolling in.   bangbang.gif .

 

Anyhoo, I was mightily impressed.

 

This was using IMX571 sensor,  0.8 reducer (so 344mmFL) and with the D80 database (the BIG one)


Edited by archiebald, 30 May 2024 - 09:02 PM.


#12 arrowspace90

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Posted 02 June 2024 - 03:11 PM

With NINA and ASTAP, I seldom get a plate solve on the first try.  It always fails, and then it sits for 90 seconds, I suppose to let the rig sit still.  

 

Usually, it works after that.  If it still doesn't, I have learned that my rough focus was probably too rough, and I try again.  IMO, the visual display in NINA is not that great.  It's not always easy to tell how in focus your stars are.  Lately I have been using the star notation to try and go by the HFR numbers getting smaller instead.  

 

Perhaps my 6 year old EQ6R Pro is too jumpy at this point.  I sure wish there was a place to have the EQ checked out and tuned up.



#13 Ruediger

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Posted 02 June 2024 - 03:21 PM

A good focus is required for ASTAP to work well. Otherwise fuzzy stars might get interpreted as Galaxies and get sorted out in the solving process. It is a good idea to go for minimal HFR.



#14 archiebald

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Posted 02 June 2024 - 05:33 PM

A good focus is required for ASTAP to work well. Otherwise fuzzy stars might get interpreted as Galaxies and get sorted out in the solving process. It is a good idea to go for minimal HFR.

In my case, the first thing I do as soon as the stars are bright enough is a focus run, before polar alignment or anything else.  After that, all seems to follow easily.  Are there some people doing it differently then?



#15 PIEJr

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Posted 03 June 2024 - 09:41 AM

Well, 7 nights later ASTAP is still knocking it out of the park.

And not only that with plate solving, PHD2 is going to guiding much, much faster than ever before. Not sure what is up with that, or if it has any correlation with ASTAP.

I just know that I sure was wasting a lot of time before.

I've been imaging in the Southern sky of my location lately.

Now that plate solving is so much faster it's giving me time to play with other things, like exposure times.

 

Ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong! ASTAP for the win!


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