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JTWaters

Plate Solvers for BYE

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Good question.  Yes and no... sort of.  Let me explain.  

I have developed the module for both PlateSolve2 and PinPoint, not quite there yet for Astromtry.net ~ I just didn't have enough time to do it.  These modules are not yet integrated with the BYE/BYN source code.... but they do work, I use them regularly in another application I have developed for 10Micron mounts.

My biggest challenge now is where do I integrate such powerful tools in the BYE/BYN simple UI without scaring the novice astronomer.  One of my key design principal in BYE/BYN is to keep the UI simple an direct to the point.  That design principal has helped me over the years to keep the non essential feature request at bay... plate solving, IMO, is not one of those features and it needs to find its way in there eventually and sooner the better. 

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What about including it only in the Premium Edition as an add-on module.  Charge a few dollars $$$ for it.  Link it to the blank space to the right of the Settings icon.  I would purchase it.  

IMHO this would increase the marketability of BackyardEOS and Nikon.

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Yes that would be one place to put it.  As for charging for it... nope, nada, ziltch :)

One way I have been able to differentiate myself from other commercial package is my free upgrade path and UI simplicity.  I prefer to give free upgrades, including new features, big or small, as part of the free upgrade.  My business case is linear... free upgrade = more users = more user generated word of mouth = free marketing = more new net sales.

In other words I think free upgrades for new releases generates more revenue in the long by selling to new users rather than up selling new features to exiting and loyal customers.  I may be the odd ball here compared to other commercial package where they try to squeeze another $20 or so from their customers with upgrade cost.  I prefer to acknowledge  my customer's loyalty by saying thank you... here's a free upgrade.

I'm not saying I will always follow this path. Up until now I have been able to offer free upgrades and I have no plans to change this any time soon.

Thank you for the offer to pay a bit extra but a plat solving feature, I appreciate the gesture.

Regards,

 

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I've used Astrotortilla successfully in the past though it has on occasions locked up on me, so having plate-solving functionality built in to BYE, with the ability to adjust the telescope position would be a bonus, meaning one less program to run, competing for resources.  With regards to the UI, how about making the ASCOM panels configurable via Advanced Settings?  For example, I don't have a filter wheel or focuser so if the panels were optional I could de-select them and select panel(s) for plate-solving instead (excuse the crude mock-up attached).

 

Paul

BYE-tmp.jpg

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It has become rather common in AP Imaging to eschew any real Star Alignment effort, and instead use the Plate Solver Sync to do a "cheap-and-dirty" equivalent.

When Plate Solving works well, then this "Alternative to Star Alignment" works well...

(It's kind of like relying on the combo of PoleMaster and Aggressive PHD2 AutoGuiding as an alternative to a Accurate Polar Alignment...)

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I think that the ultimate answer is accurate and repeatable pointing beyond what slewing to a set of celestial coordinates accomplishes, regardless of the quality of the alignment.

To me it means being able to quickly and easily get back to the same field-of-view for multiple sessions so that when the images from those sessions are stacked that there are minimal pixels to crop to eliminate artifacts.

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:42 PM, astroman133 said:

I think that the ultimate answer is accurate and repeatable pointing beyond what slewing to a set of celestial coordinates accomplishes, regardless of the quality of the alignment.

To me it means being able to quickly and easily get back to the same field-of-view for multiple sessions so that when the images from those sessions are stacked that there are minimal pixels to crop to eliminate artifacts.

 

On 8/14/2019 at 7:46 PM, mdwetzel said:

Plate Solving used in a target centering or "center where I click in the image" operation that moves the mount iteratively, makes setting a composition fast and easy.

Mark W

Both these makes sense and it's in line with what I was thinking.  This will require a bit more leg work because this assumes that the coordinates of the target are known and currently there is no place in BYE/BYE to enter this data.  It's not complicated to do, it just needs a place to live in the simple UI as part of the plate solving workflow.

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Guylain,

Wouldn't what Mark suggests not really need coordinates?  I simply want to click on the target in an image frame that is then plate solved (either right away like Mark or from previous imagery like Rick).  You can then get the clicked coordinate based on the plate solve and the relative location of the click on the image. This gives a coordinate to send to the scope to slew and place that clicked location in the center of the field of view. It could be in a simple right click from the image viewer to 'Plate solve and slew' on any given frame.  A confirm before slewing would probably be prudent in case it gives something wacky.

You could also have a simple (and small) plate solve button that allows for entry of the coordinate on a pop-up (hate those but no other choice that I can think of).

Aaron 

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On 8/8/2019 at 5:22 PM, JTWaters said:

Astrotortilla hasn't been updated in a few years.  What other plate solvers work with BackyardEOS.

Astrotortilla was working fine two nights ago on my fully up to date W10 laptop.  BYE plays fine with it.

 

 

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Just because AT has not been updated does not mean that it doesn't work or has been abandoned. The code is open source so presumably any Python developer could make changes to it, as needed. Several years ago I had some ideas for improvements/ fixes/ enhancements to AT but did not want to try to learn Python. I wrote a version of AT in C# that I use for plate solving. It interfaces with a camera control program which I also wrote in addition to BYE/BYN. It also incorporates a database of NGC/IC objects so that it can slew to and center on any of those objects. It still works just fine but has not been changed in quite some time.

Personally, I like having the a plate solving solution that works with multiple types cameras (BYE/BYN, native camera APIs, ASCOM cameras). I would not be in favor of every camera program incorporating its own plate solving solution. This would not seem to scale well.

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Sorry if I am late to the Party - I only look here every couple of months to see if there has been any prog update. (Now for my two-penneth)

In North Britain, I have hardly seen a clear sky for getting towards three years.  Sunspots rule OK!

Getting the kit out into the drive; tracking an East star; then a South star; and a West Star;  two of which are shrouded in cloud; in a temperature below freezing ; dripping with condensation; and so on, feels like life is too short.  Without a pier; obscured view up to 35 degrees (trees and house), I would just like to get something close to alignment.  I'm never going to be worried about taking anything like one hour exposures!  

Although I have AstroTortilla set up, it is slow and often times-out before finding what I what it to point to.  (Works OK on stock photos).  My interest is plate solve PAlignmt - a subset of PSolve.  Something like Sharpcap (paid) apparently works with its advertisers ccd equipment, but not Canon.  Plus, I dont need all the paraphernalia that goes with SCap.   

For me, and yes I have read your company policy, I would be prepared to pay a supplement for anything PAlignmt.  And I do take the point that AM133 makes that one camera type inefficient use of time.

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AstroTortilla can be slow, if not optimally tuned. For example, if you have installed ALL of the astrometry data files and have set a Search radius of 180 degrees and set a large Scale Maximum value then you have not given AT any hints about the image scale in the picture or where in the sky the object may be.

By removing the unneeded data files (I just move them to a different folder on the same drive), connecting AT to my scope, and setting the some of the parameters wisely it takes me about 20 seconds to solve an image.

The most important parameters to change are:

Set ScaleMax to 2 times my field width
Set Search radius to 6 degrees
Raise the sigma value to reduce the number of stars to match

With a 5 second exposure a sigma value of 250 gives between 100 and 150 stars to match.

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Great Warrior AM133, thanks for the quick response. 

Without wishing to sound ungrateful, it may be my first post, but with ten+ yrs of scanning the heavens and processing photos, I'm probably one of the silent majority.  As a well qualified mech engineer, yes I have RTFMs re Tortilla. 

My wish is for a polar alignment set up incorporating a plate solving algorithm such as that used by SharpCap.  This would give me a (rapid setup and a) chance to reduce params for AstroTortilla. 

To respond:-  First off the puter I am using at the moment is an old IBM T43 (yes!).  Hence already v slow - only portable left. The last two puters, an Acer and a Flex 10 (lovely machine) are both deceased.  One down to open invite Scout Troops up the road and the other me (Flex 10).  Total dark is a curse as well as a blessing - but you know that.  All three have been v slow and often - cannot solve.  I am loathe to buy a dear puter with my track record.

Important thing to repeat, AT as is, solves from old photos. 

Scale min 0.4 Max 0.7 Canon 450d 8'' Lx20GPS. 

I have a 35 deg search due to my old 8'' Lx200 often being 'out' by 15 deg - Summer time or something.  Maybe now optic is mounted on an HEQ5Pro I could reduce search radius to say 10 deg or perhaps the 6 deg that you suggest.  The un-needed plate files have already been weeded out to the minimum. 

--sigma 70 --no-plots -N none -H 0.7 -L 0.4  -r --objs 100

5 and 10 and 20 sec exposures.  Maybe I should 'up the sigma' as you suggest.  If I ever see stars again I'll try it (yes here in 57+ deg North, GB I do negativity really well whilst shivering and directing the hair dryer). 

I'm working on sorting a remote viewing setup, hence a much more powerful indoor puter to do the processing. 

To repeat - I want / need is a quick polar alignment set up - half an hour and more drifting is no good.  SharpCap looks to be the PAlign best out there but I don’t need the other stuff provided. 

No doubt CCDware will only charge 250+ uS dollars when they sort that out themselves. 

Thanks for the suggestions - as above, I’ll make changes following good engineering practice - one at a time.  This shall give me a chance to reduce params for AstroTortilla. 

Sorry if it is a windy reply - ta again. 

 

Biscotte

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If your sole desire for Plate Solving is actually a Polar Alignment, then you have other alternatives than SharpCap - primarily PHD2 AutoGuiding Polar Drift Alignment and Static Polar Alignment routines.

PHD2 has the "Classic" Drift Alignment, but also a couple of Polar Alignment Tools based upon Positioning of the Polar-Area Stars within a Field of View about the same as that used by SharpCap.

Of course, you'll need a Guide Camera supported by PHD2 (almost all realistic Guide Cameras are supported).  But PHD2 is very forgiving of Old CPUs

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PoleMaster, and its clones, are quick Polar Alignment Tools.  But they are not the most accurate.  QHY claims Polar Alignment of 5 arcmin "up-to 30 arcsec".

With either Drift Alignment or the Celestron All-Star Polar Alignment, I've frequently had PAE of under 5 arcsec.  And on occasion under 2 arcsec.  (And, yes, that takes me 15-20min a night...)

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Thanks guys - I looked up Polemaster.

QHY Polemaster Electric Polar Scope With Adaptor £278.00.     And iOptron iPolar Electronic Polarscope  £199.00

Another appendage to an already weighty setup.  That plus more dovetails, wires power sources and connectors. 

The setup already looks like a Witch's kitchen, cooking octopi! So, err, no. 

Good news perhaps - I am told that the older versions of SharpCap (software working with guide camera - no extra hardware reqd) are free (and close enough for 'Government Work').  So that is my next port of call. 

BTW - already looked at PHD polar alignment and have been thinking about the AstroTortilla alignment.  All these thing need time to master. 

Biscotte

 

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