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Posts posted by AllanJ

  1. Having been getting used to using Affinity Photo 1.8, it suggested  updating to 1.9.  However, I could not get it to work. I started a post on the Affinity forum, had a reply with somebody with the same problem, then another post gave the solution which said it seems to be a rather common issue on notebooks with integrated Intel graphics cards. You have to make sure you have the latest (Jan 2021) driver from Intel installed. So I discovered  Intel's Driver and Support Assistant (very straightforward to use), and now version 1.9 appears to work fine.


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  2. I haven't been to any star parties since I sold my old motorcaravan and decided that after hiring twice that I didn't like these new fangled vans with all their lights. But I have been thinking about making a visit to Shrewesbury for non-astronomical reasons sometime, so if your get-together goes ahead I might be able to join you for a short catch-up. 

  3. I decided some months ago that I wasn't going to come this year. It hasn't been the same since I sold my old motorcaravan (bought a Lunt solar 60 with part of the proceeds) and arrived twice in hired vans. Just not the same. Any lingering doubts have been dispelled by the weather. So best wishes to all.


  4. Getting back to basics on this thread, here's my experience of venturing into Linux for the first time, which may or may not help other potential new users. I did have some slight acquaintance with Unix years ago.  I have an old Samsung N150 netbook, Atom processor that I used to use for browsing, TeamViewer (indoors) linking to my laptop connected to imaging kit (outdoors), and for occasional HEQ5 mount control and DMK41 solar imaging. It could never be called speedy, but with Windows updates it made watching paint dry a quick fire pursuit. Rather than send it to recycling, I gave Linux a go.

    I found a recommendation that Lubuntu would be optimal for my  N150 netbook, so after a test booting from usb I went the whole hog and wiped out Windows to give Lubuntu a clean install. It works a treat, boots up quickly and doesn't use up half the CPU just existing. It came bundled with Firefox, also Software Center  is handy.

    I put TeamViewer on successfully, that justifies the netbook's continuing use.

    I installed Stellarium from Software Center, but the recent versions use OpenGL which is not supported by my Atom-based netbook, so I uninstalled it.

    Next was KStars with INDI (I had never heard of INDI before).  It took a bit of effort – including a fresh Lubuntu install when I cocked up somehow, but I got it running. I am able to control my HEQ5 mount – although it did go a bit wild at first.

    I also installed Skychart / Cartes du Ciel, which I normally use for mount control. However, it was unable to connect to the INDI server, and its recommendation to launch INDIstarter was not helped by my being unable to install INDIstarter. 

    Camera control so far has been hopeless. In  KStars nothing has connected except the netbook's inbuilt camera.  I have tried  ATIK Titan and 314 , Canon DSLR  and DMK41 (I have read about problems with Imaging Source drivers).  Incidentally, if anyone knows what the KStars Device Manager icon that looks like a blue telephone means, I'd like to know.

    I also tried CCDCiel, but couldn't get anywhere with that.

    I have no idea if these problems are to do with the limitations of the netbook, or if I have failed to install something or another.

    I did manage to have some success with a DSLR using the Entangle  app, but doubt if I'll want to use it.

    One minor achievement was writing a small script for the screen. Various packages have window panels that are not adjustable. The netbook's resolution is 1024x600, and while in Windows I could change this to 1024x763 for Skychart, etc, I found a better solution in Lubuntu with a .sh  script  to allow panning across the screen to give me 1040x763 without compressing the display. I just click the script to execute it.  The command is:

    xrandr --output LVDS1 --mode 1024x600 --rate 60 --fb 1024x763 --panning 1024x763

    (a second script reverts it to normal)

    GIMP works fine.

    Conclusion so far – limited success, could do better.

  5. Pile of kit building up downstairs. Bringing HEQ5, ED80 and elderly modded DSLR, plus Lunt solar for those balmy, sunny days. Picking up and packing hired motorcaravan on Thursday afternoon, planning to get to Lucksall about lunchtime Friday  (unlike last year, when a later pickup meant I arrived in the dark when you were all curried up and Michael had started the quiz). Visited Majestic Wine this morning to top up my supply of "The Astronomer" Shiraz.

  6. Neil, I used PHD2 (free) comet tracking. One way to get the tracking data is through Skychart - Cartes du Ciel  (free). Load the latest comet data under Setup > Solar System >Comet and then locate the comet. Right click on the comet will give some ephemeris data, but this is not quite what you need for mount tracking. Click Setup > Manage Tool Box Script.  Table of mostly empty lines with F keys numbered. Click on an empty line and select the bit with PHDguiding. Assuming you are guiding in PHD2, then in PHD2 select Tools > Comet Tracking. Back in CdC, click the Connect button then left click on the comet. The rates should be displayed in both CdC and PHD2.

    However, when I tried this the other night, it tracked far too fast. But I think this may be because I had not defined the focal length and pixel size in PHD2 - I'll be trying that next time I get a clear night.

    So, I used Rate Training in PHD2, which is not that difficult, and I did a series of images, 5 minutes each, that I manually stacked. I think I could still have tweaked the rate a bit better, but I need some clear skies.

    My image is attached,





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  7. Hello Mick, Up till now, Astrotortilla only works with Nebulosity 2/3, so I keep both versions 3 and 4 on my computer, and it works a treat, especially once you set the appropriate scale minimum/maximum and search radius.  However, reading your post I wondered if there is now a Nebulosity 4 friendly fix - and yes, there is a beta driver for Nebulosity 4 as an ASCOM camera. I've installed that, but haven't tested it yet. I found the link to it here:


    So I have copied the relevant post from that site, a user named ejd wrote this post:

    There is a fundamental change to way to use Astrotortilla with Nebulosity. This arises from the fact that as from Version 4 Nebulosity can act as an ASCOM camera in itself. This is explained on Page 95 of the new manual for Version 4. If you're connected to a camera in Nebulosity (by a Native driver or by an ASCOM driver) you can have other software connect to Nebulosty as if it were an ASCOM camera. So, anything that can talk to an ASCOM camera can talk to Nebulosity in the same way. To do this you'll need to install the Nebulosity ASCOM Camera Driver and the ASCOM platform. So assuming you have the ASCOM platform already installed you need to also install the Nebulosity ASCOM Camera Driver which can be found here:
    http://stark-labs.com/depot/beta/Nebulosity ASCOM Driver Setup .exe

    The link should take you directly to the ASCOM Driver Setup executable. Once you have downloaded the driver, you can startup Nebulosity and select whatever camera you use as the frame solving camera. Then in ASTROTORTILLA under Camera select from the drop-down box "ASCOM Camera" and under setup you should now find available in the drop-down box an option called "ASCOM Camera Driver for Nebulosity". Now when you use ASTROTORTILLA is automatically goes to Nebulosity and controls capturing the image in the usual way. This process works well for me and obviously negates the need to make changes to ASTROTORTILLA everytime a new version of Nebulosity is released. By the way, although the manual for Version 4 is not available on the downloads page (possibly should be), it is put in your Program Files (x86)/Nebulosity4/ folder when you install version 4. Lots of great information.

    I'm also glad I found ejd's post, because now I have the manual for Nebulosity 4.

    Incidentally, I use Astrotortilla in conjunction with Cartes du Ciel to home in on my target (sync and re-slew), so it helps to start both of those using "Run as administrator". I always do my first run of Astrotortilla when the scope is parked in my Home position - celestial north - then it is much faster once I slew to  find my target with a small search radius.



  8. I bought a 17ah powerpack from Halfords 3-4 years ago. It does what I need for astronomy 12v cigar socket and usb no problem. Then I tried to jump-start a vehicle with it. Nothing, nada, zilch. A fault in the device. Halfords don't sell those ones any more. So if you have a jump starter, might be worth checking to see if it delivers any current at all through the clips, just in case.


  9. Got home in my hired motorcaravan this afternoon. A sunny day, light traffic and the wonderful autumn colours made for a rather pleasant drive. Sadly, no pictures of the sky, even though I waited with my dripping wet dslr until midnight last night. I did take one photo in my motorcaravan, though. A small consolation.





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  10. Having sold my old motorcaravan that hardly ever left the driveway except for SGL star parties, I am picking up a hired motorcaravan (must keep it tidy, must keep it clean) this afternoon and hope to arrive before dark. Curry and quiz night, yum.

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