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Sequence generator Pro sounds fantastic - is it?


Fordos Moon
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Yes, I am a big fan of SGP.

I use it for semi-automated imaging and it works well. It's not idiot-proof to set up, but it goes a long way to simplify a necessarily complicated process.

It can plate-sole either your own images or third-party images, but that is a fairly small part of the integration that it can offer. Well worth £65 IMHO.

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Yes, I am a big fan of SGP.

I use it for semi-automated imaging and it works well. It's not idiot-proof to set up, but it goes a long way to simplify a necessarily complicated process.

It can plate-sole either your own images or third-party images, but that is a fairly small part of the integration that it can offer. Well worth £65 IMHO.

Many thanks. I think my concern is now I have gone from a Canon DSLR to the Atik460EX, how much smaller the field of view is, possibly making it harder to match up targets from one session to another, and also to pinpoint the exact bit of the target I want to image in the first place!

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I too use SGP and think it's fantastic. The UI is far from ideal and is confusing at first but once you've got it up and running it is superb.

Tonight (if weather allows) I'll power up the scope, unpark it and click "resume sequence" in SGP. SGP will then automatically:

-Slew the scope

-Plate solve and centre the target

-Start the guider

-Change the filter

-Autofocus

-Continue the sequence from where it left of i.e. from number six of ten luminance frames.

It's worth £65 just to watch the automated meridian flip.

Edited by wuthton
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Many thanks. I think my concern is now I have gone from a Canon DSLR to the Atik460EX, how much smaller the field of view is, possibly making it harder to match up targets from one session to another, and also to pinpoint the exact bit of the target I want to image in the first place!

Agreed that's why you should

1. Make a framing mask in APT (or whatever capture software you use).  This is so you can get your rotational orientation of the sensor to match for the next session

2. Save the target as a bookmark in AstroTortilla so you can go back to it.  Just plate solve to get the scope pointing exactly where CdC says it should be then slew to your bookmark.  Simples!!!!!!

Not sure if you can do these things in SGP.  As I said in another thread, all seems a little overly complex in that program to me. 

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Agreed that's why you should

1. Make a framing mask in APT (or whatever capture software you use).  This is so you can get your rotational orientation of the sensor to match for the next session

2. Save the target as a bookmark in AstroTortilla so you can go back to it.  Just plate solve to get the scope pointing exactly where CdC says it should be then slew to your bookmark.  Simples!!!!!!

Not sure if you can do these things in SGP.  As I said in another thread, all seems a little overly complex in that program to me. 

Thanks Kirkster! I will look into the framing mask abilities of Atiks's Artemis, and try to work out what you mean in sentence 2 - presume AstroTortilla is something else to download, and CdC...that one's got me!

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Thanks Kirkster! I will look into the framing mask abilities of Atiks's Artemis, and try to work out what you mean in sentence 2 - presume AstroTortilla is something else to download, and CdC...that one's got me!

When you set up a bookmark in AT it allows you to slew the scope precisely to the position it was in the previous night.

Yes, Astrotortilla is a free plate solving program as is CdC (Cartes du Ciel), a startchart program.  All free.

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SGP makes use of "cygwin" which is the same engine that AstroTortilla uses for it's plate solving.

You don't need to download it either - if you have an internet connection, you can plate solve online - all from within SGP.

And SGP allows you to pause the sequence and return to it at a later point - slewing, plate-solving, focusing before it does so.

It's a great bit of software for the money. You'll need a 3rd party guiding tool - favourite is PHD2 as SGP uses the server PHD server and will stop guiding when it needs to slew (or flip) and then restart the guiding automatically.

You can also download a trial edition while you test out its capabilities.....

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I have something on my wall of my obs that says 'If it works leave it alone' - You can imagine why that sort of note was put there.......... too many times I fiddled with things that worked and then hey presto.... they didn't work any more. Is that a sensible approach and aide memoir or a barrier to progress?

I had everything working with Maxim, I didn't use plate solving as I didn't feel that I needed it. I could get to a target easily night after night using Als reticule. I had to go out and do my own meridian flips, which was OK really, they didn't take long. I would focus at meridian flip as well in the hope that the focus would get me through the rest of the night.

What use would SGP be to me? And of course, mindful of my mantra, I didn't want to break anything!! This had been working for me for over 2 years as well, so if it's not broken ......

Someone locally tried SGP and raved about it and a couple of other mates rated it too. They were on hand to help out if it didn't work so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try ..... Sorry for the ramble, but I guess I had to set the scene, I didn't NEED it! Everything worked fine!

Plate solve and the framing wizard - Fantastic. I select an image and then an area within that image that I want to look at and press a button - With my 1.6m scope I get to that point exactly, night after night. No more struggling with framing or trying to work out what part I am looking at and where I want to go.

Auto meridian flip - Wow!!! No more getting up in the morning (in the cold in winter!) to flip it. It will flip at the right time and get me back to the right place with accuracy.

Target and filter change - I can change targets as one disappears and change filters if I fancy at will.

Auto focus - I had to bite the bullet and buy an auto focuser as I was no longer getting up to flip and my focus was not holding all night - I was throwing away subs. So now I have it set to refocus at every 1 degree temperature change - All night it runs this as and when - I get a full night of in focus subs.

This software has been a revelation frankly. I go to bed and wake up in the morning to a parked scope, warmed up camera and a hard drive full of subs. It has worked well and I am really pleased with it.

I was reluctant to try it because it used PHD and I'd not used that for years as I'd not got decent guiding out of it. That proved to be unfounded, the guiding is working fine. There have been teething problems, mostly all settings related. There's a lot to take in and many tick boxes to think about. I did find that it didn't work too well under 2 circumstances but whether they are related I'm not sure. 1) When a BRIGHT star is on frame, that really messed with my focus and my plate solving. 2) Full moon - The same as the other point, but it could have been due to my target.

So I suppose the big thing is whether I like it enough to stick with it? ........... You bet!!! I have become an armchair imaging. Fire it all up and then return to the sofa and run it all from there via team viewer. It has been an eye opener and a frustrating experience for a few outings, but I wouldn't go back now. A brilliant piece of software that I have confidence in to produce the goods every time. 

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I have something on my wall of my obs that says 'If it works leave it alone' - You can imagine why that sort of note was put there.......... too many times I fiddled with things that worked and then hey presto.... they didn't work any more. Is that a sensible approach and aide memoir or a barrier to progress?

I had everything working with Maxim, I didn't use plate solving as I didn't feel that I needed it. I could get to a target easily night after night using Als reticule. I had to go out and do my own meridian flips, which was OK really, they didn't take long. I would focus at meridian flip as well in the hope that the focus would get me through the rest of the night.

What use would SGP be to me? And of course, mindful of my mantra, I didn't want to break anything!! This had been working for me for over 2 years as well, so if it's not broken ......

Someone locally tried SGP and raved about it and a couple of other mates rated it too. They were on hand to help out if it didn't work so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try ..... Sorry for the ramble, but I guess I had to set the scene, I didn't NEED it! Everything worked fine!

Plate solve and the framing wizard - Fantastic. I select an image and then an area within that image that I want to look at and press a button - With my 1.6m scope I get to that point exactly, night after night. No more struggling with framing or trying to work out what part I am looking at and where I want to go.

Auto meridian flip - Wow!!! No more getting up in the morning (in the cold in winter!) to flip it. It will flip at the right time and get me back to the right place with accuracy.

Target and filter change - I can change targets as one disappears and change filters if I fancy at will.

Auto focus - I had to bite the bullet and buy an auto focuser as I was no longer getting up to flip and my focus was not holding all night - I was throwing away subs. So now I have it set to refocus at every 1 degree temperature change - All night it runs this as and when - I get a full night of in focus subs.

This software has been a revelation frankly. I go to bed and wake up in the morning to a parked scope, warmed up camera and a hard drive full of subs. It has worked well and I am really pleased with it.

I was reluctant to try it because it used PHD and I'd not used that for years as I'd not got decent guiding out of it. That proved to be unfounded, the guiding is working fine. There have been teething problems, mostly all settings related. There's a lot to take in and many tick boxes to think about. I did find that it didn't work too well under 2 circumstances but whether they are related I'm not sure. 1) When a BRIGHT star is on frame, that really messed with my focus and my plate solving. 2) Full moon - The same as the other point, but it could have been due to my target.

So I suppose the big thing is whether I like it enough to stick with it? ........... You bet!!! I have become an armchair imaging. Fire it all up and then return to the sofa and run it all from there via team viewer. It has been an eye opener and a frustrating experience for a few outings, but I wouldn't go back now. A brilliant piece of software that I have confidence in to produce the goods every time. 

Thanks so much Sara - a fantastic and inspiring review!!

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I have something on my wall of my obs that says 'If it works leave it alone' - You can imagine why that sort of note was put there.......... too many times I fiddled with things that worked and then hey presto.... they didn't work any more. Is that a sensible approach and aide memoir or a barrier to progress?

I had everything working with Maxim, I didn't use plate solving as I didn't feel that I needed it. I could get to a target easily night after night using Als reticule. I had to go out and do my own meridian flips, which was OK really, they didn't take long. I would focus at meridian flip as well in the hope that the focus would get me through the rest of the night.

What use would SGP be to me? And of course, mindful of my mantra, I didn't want to break anything!! This had been working for me for over 2 years as well, so if it's not broken ......

Someone locally tried SGP and raved about it and a couple of other mates rated it too. They were on hand to help out if it didn't work so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try ..... Sorry for the ramble, but I guess I had to set the scene, I didn't NEED it! Everything worked fine!

Plate solve and the framing wizard - Fantastic. I select an image and then an area within that image that I want to look at and press a button - With my 1.6m scope I get to that point exactly, night after night. No more struggling with framing or trying to work out what part I am looking at and where I want to go.

Auto meridian flip - Wow!!! No more getting up in the morning (in the cold in winter!) to flip it. It will flip at the right time and get me back to the right place with accuracy.

Target and filter change - I can change targets as one disappears and change filters if I fancy at will.

Auto focus - I had to bite the bullet and buy an auto focuser as I was no longer getting up to flip and my focus was not holding all night - I was throwing away subs. So now I have it set to refocus at every 1 degree temperature change - All night it runs this as and when - I get a full night of in focus subs.

This software has been a revelation frankly. I go to bed and wake up in the morning to a parked scope, warmed up camera and a hard drive full of subs. It has worked well and I am really pleased with it.

I was reluctant to try it because it used PHD and I'd not used that for years as I'd not got decent guiding out of it. That proved to be unfounded, the guiding is working fine. There have been teething problems, mostly all settings related. There's a lot to take in and many tick boxes to think about. I did find that it didn't work too well under 2 circumstances but whether they are related I'm not sure. 1) When a BRIGHT star is on frame, that really messed with my focus and my plate solving. 2) Full moon - The same as the other point, but it could have been due to my target.

So I suppose the big thing is whether I like it enough to stick with it? ........... You bet!!! I have become an armchair imaging. Fire it all up and then return to the sofa and run it all from there via team viewer. It has been an eye opener and a frustrating experience for a few outings, but I wouldn't go back now. A brilliant piece of software that I have confidence in to produce the goods every time. 

I tried the demo and just got well confused, so gave up. All my stuff works the way it is! 

Arrg ... I am a PHD2, APT, Astrototilla, guy...  Now I am being tempted...

Arrg, but I know I need to bite the bullet on this as I just got a focus motor.

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This software has been a revelation frankly. I go to bed and wake up in the morning to a parked scope, warmed up camera and a hard drive full of subs. It has worked well and I am really pleased with it.

Great write-up Sara!

Though, if you lived in sunny Lancashire you would wake up to find the observatory full of rain/snow/cats*

I can't imagine what it must be like to live in a country where you can go to bed and leave the obsy open!   #jealous

*Delete as applicable

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How well does the autofocus routine work in SGPro, does it compare well enough to focusmax?

As I understañd it SGPro will not interface with focus Max and it requires pinpoint full for plate solve.

Ray

The focus has to be somewhere near for SGP to focus correctly. In some regards it is meant to be superior to FM, as it uses a range of stars from all parts of the image, rather than a single star.

Plate solving can be done using Pinpoint, Elbrus or Astrometry.net (either online or on a local server). I use Astrometry using a local server and it works very well. SGP also have an automatic installer for both Elbrus and Astrometry which makes the installation very, very easy.

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Thanks for that information, I currently use Astrotortilla for my plate solving, I assume that I would have to adopt one of the other options if I'm using SGPro.

Could you explain the use of a local server a little more, I have used the online astrometry so I am assuming that a local sever function would mean downloading the maps in the same way as astrotortilla!

Are my assumptions correct?

Ray

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Thanks for that information, I currently use Astrotortilla for my plate solving, I assume that I would have to adopt one of the other options if I'm using SGPro.

Could you explain the use of a local server a little more, I have used the online astrometry so I am assuming that a local sever function would mean downloading the maps in the same way as astrotortilla!

Are my assumptions correct?

Ray

As far as I can tell, AstroTortilla is just a simple front end to the astrometry.net command line. If SGPro can use the command line to invoke Astrometry.net then you should be good (I certainly hopeso as my 10 year old toughbook is not going to cope with me running a web server as well as everything else ;)

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Could you explain the use of a local server a little more, I have used the online astrometry so I am assuming that a local sever function would mean downloading the maps in the same way as astrotortilla!

Are my assumptions correct?

Hi Ray, yes it's similar, but a whole lot easier in SPG. If my experiences with AT are typical (no reason to suggest that they are!) then it depended on the weather, which way the wind blew, what you had for dinner and if you had recently met a black cat to see if it would work or not. Plus the installation is, shall we say, messy with having to configure command lines. With SGP, they have developed an installer which makes the installation of the plate-solving files not much more than a couple of button presses. The only bit that you have to do it to select the correct index files to download.

Alternatively, you can just let SGP connect to the internet and use the online solver.  Both work well.

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I can't get my head around the Maths in the intructions for calculating step size .

The manual quatoes " Assuming that moving 1000 steps moved the focuser 40mm then you know that your focuser moves 4 microns (0.004) per step"

I came out with a different result:

1mm= 1000 microns

40mm= 40000 microns

40000 divided by 1000 (steps)= 40

Therefore 1 step = 40 microns and not 4 as stated by the manual.

Is this correct or am I completely off track?

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