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Success with BYN & ASTAP, mostly, none with AT



So, I download the pre-release of BYN (2.1.1 RC3), installed ASTAP for plate solving, upgraded cygwin for Astrotortilla(AT), installed the SP1 of ASCOM 6.5 as suggested by the groups.io regarding At not working and actually had a moderately clear night where I could actually see windmills to tilt at! I had really no luck with AT at all, although my own ignorance may be to blame. Should I actually connect the mount in BYN as I did for ASTAP? It seemed to me that AT, when it worked, directly controlled the mount without invoking BYN. However again given my inexperience, perhaps that was the real reason AT has been failing all along. Just another "i" to dot.

Anyway, ASTAP was not without issues. I'll  attach the log here in case it may help. I got error messages from time to time that Cartes du Ciel could not be reached, the mount was disconnected etc., but after I got used to the workflow, and restarted everything 2-3 times,  everything seemed to work, with one exception. I could not get ASTAP to plate solve correctly for M31, Andromeda Galaxy. Stars yes, including Pleiades, and M110, M31's neighbor. I still do not understand that. M31 does not entirely fit in the FOV of my C8 even with the 0.63FF/FR, so perhaps that's it?

So the workflow that usually worked was (after connecting the mount to BYN within the program)

1. Enter target in CDC and Slew to it.

2. In Advanced Mode settings in the lower right of BYN, click the arrow next to the dropdown that lists the planetarium program, in my case CdC. This acquired the RA/DEC as well as the object name.

3.The ASTAP path had already been selected and the program location listed in "ASTAP executable " location, so next step was to tap "Center"

Usually after 1 or 2 quick circuits of the 3 tries listed got the image centered within the 100 pixels listed, although never for Andromeda, M 31

If it is useful the objects I intended to solve for in the event they are not listed in the log are as follows together with the times:

21:01 Capella - solved OK

21:11 M31 - did not locate object

21:25 NGC 1432 - solved OK

21:32 M 31 again - not located

21:38 M 110 solved OK then I took lots of Lights, Darks etc.

So that's it. Relieved I actually got plate solving to work. Thank you BYN!


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No I did not. When I began, I attempted to setup ASTAP to solve and actually tried it a few times, even with pictures I had taken. It's not a very friendly situation since the plate solving and stacking seem to be blended together and it's not intuitive what's what. I quickly yielded to BYN which of course knows how to "deal with" ASTAP. There are more fields in ASTAP than anyone should need to deal with. Frankly it put me off and did not want to deal with it.

I'll give it another try when a clear night permits. If it still bombs out I'll look into posting it over there. The only real difference I could see was that Andromeda spills out the sides of my FOV, unlike everything else I attempted to image. To have M 110 perfectly centered quickly (and just a bit of M 31 peeking in the corner) yet the program not being able to find it seems extraordinary.

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Yes I understand; I thought it might not be of much use, -  just thought I'd take a belts and suspenders approach. In looking over the questions posed by users who have experienced various issues on Sourceforge/astap, failure to solve for certain image properties or settings are not unknown and seem to be at the root of many inquiries.

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So I received several replies from han.k the developer of ASTAP. In one message he mentioned that the latest version, 0.9.452 has improved features that may be relevant to this issue. My question has not been posted on the sourceforge website so I will quote his relevant passage here; (xxxxx?) is what I think he meant to say.

"Most problems with previous ASTAP version was with global (globular?) clusters.  The
Gaia contain a big portion of the global (globular?) cluster stars but they are so
close (together?) that an earth based telescope can not separate them. This should
be mostly fixed in the last (latest?) ASTAP versions. Deep space galaxies
including M31 should be no problem because the don't contain many
visible MilkyWay stars."

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