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edjrgibbs

Fully automated imaging software

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Apologies if this has been asked before but i'm looking to construct a roll off obsy (pending successful completion on a new house) and i'm looking at automated software. I have an HEQ5, Atik 414, Skywatcher autofocuser on my RC6, Hitec astro DC focuser and ZWO electronic filter wheel. After slewing and aligning I want an automated routine to do the following:

1. Focus using FWHM or similar

2. Take a series of exposures

3. change filter

4. Refocus and start another series of exposures

Software to stack and align LRGB into a TIFF would also be ideal but not critical.

I use APT but haven't fully grasped the full suite of options. Any thoughts on APT vs. Nebulosity vs. Sequence Generator Pro? The latter two are around the $100 mark so within budget. 

Thanks as always!

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If you're feeling brave try the Linux option of Indi\Kstars etc.

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Sequence Generator does all that, plus plate solving, as well as having tools like the framing and mosaic wizard (extra charge, but WORTH IT!), flats wizards, etc.

I can't comment on APT/Nebulosity but SGP is great utility.

 

Deep Sky Stacker is probably the most popular free utility to stack the images to a TIFF. Would recommend this guide : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Stacking-Images-Deep-Stacker-ebook/dp/B01LH49I7S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493814862&sr=8-1&keywords=deep+sky+stacker

(Shameless plug for Dave Eagle on here!!! :) )

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Thanks. I currently use DSS but its a faff for stacking and aligning LRGB. You have to stack and align each channel then take the master files and import them into PS. Its great for DSLR files but i've found its clunky for LRGB. I think Nebulosity may have a function to stack and align LRGB but not sure what the automation functions are like.   

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19 minutes ago, Dr_Ju_ju said:

If you're feeling brave try the Linux option of Indi\Kstars etc.

Argh... Not sure I can face Linux. 

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I dare say I will be berated for even suggesting this.....You could consider Maxim DL. I've been using it for several years and it does a great job in automated imaging, focusing and it can also be used to control your observatory etc. as well as pre-processing. When I purchased it, it was the must have tool, but I dare say there are others available now that do the job as well if not better. It's also fairly expensive I don't know how it compares with SGP in functionality or price. Maybe worth a look though?

Steve

Edited by SteveA

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ROFL, after the initial setup, its all done with GUI's...  and even the setup is well detailed in the "What works with Linux" thread....

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18 minutes ago, Dr_Ju_ju said:

ROFL, after the initial setup, its all done with GUI's...  and even the setup is well detailed in the "What works with Linux" thread....

Yeah but... Linux... Sorry, really struggled to get to terms with it about 10 years ago and haven't looked at it since. Maybe I should man up and give it another try!

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24 minutes ago, SteveA said:

You could consider Maxim DL. I've been using it for several years and it does a great job in automated imaging, focusing and it can also be used to control your observatory etc. as well as pre-processing. When I purchased it, it was the must have tool, but I dare say there are others available now that do the job as well if not better. It's also fairly expensive I don't know how it compares with SGP in functionality or price. Maybe worth a look though?

Steve

$99 vs $499

Although you don't get the same functionality in SGP, but you need to buy the Pro DL to get the CCD Imaging!

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Hello,

 

I have MAXIM DL and SGP & APT, and if I again would have wanted to invest money in Software for astronomy " again "!  I would only buy SGP:. and also APT.. :icon_albino:

 Cheers

Martin:icon_albino:

Edited by artem

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1 hour ago, edjrgibbs said:

Yeah but... Linux... Sorry, really struggled to get to terms with it about 10 years ago and haven't looked at it since. Maybe I should man up and give it another try!

I must say that things have changed in a huge way since then. Give linux mint a go. Nearly everyone I have got to try (live usb so no changes to current os) have been very suprised. 

In apt when you connect the focuser and setup your session in camera every time you ask it to change a filter it should automatically run autofocus.

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Blimey....just been looking at the SGP screen shots. It really makes Maxim look outdated doesn't it!

I seem to remember thinking the Maxim interface looked clunkey when I bought it 10 years ago and it's possibly not the most intuitive application...so maybe time for a change!?

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SGP will do everything that you need it to do........ I think that it's well worth it's price tag. There are glitches from time to time, but the SGP website has a very active and helpful forum where people are always happy to assist if there's any issues. I guess it can be a bit daunting to start with as is the case with all software, but I have to say that I wouldn't be without it now. 

 

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How would sgp and pixinsight compare to astroart for functionality. Price wise the first option would be nearer to £300 and astroart about £130 or would you still require pixinsight with astroart (if you wanted to use pixinsight that is). 

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As an established MaxIm DL user, for me and many others who have gone down the full observatory automation route, MaxIm DL in conjunction with CCD Commander or ACP  is the most comprehensive and powerful way of doing this - BUT my recommendation would be to take the SG Pro route as it is also feature rich, well supported by the developers and has a good following on the forums which means help when you need it. SG Pro doesn't currently suit me but that is simply because I specifically want MaxIm DL in my imaging solution!

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Looks like SGP is the preferred solution. I'll give it a shot when the obsy is built. Might also revisit Linux at some point. 

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Linux Mint is very easy to use - I even have a a friend aged 95 and she uses it without problems.  It's very much like Windows in it's GUI and so much faster.  It isn't just an operating system, it comes with all the usual extras such as browser (Firefox), email, office suite, accessories (calculator, notepad, ...) etc.  And it just works :)  Maybe the astronomy software is a little trickier but if you follow the online tutorials it's alright.  TBH I found much of the Windows software tricky to get going and set up properly and the Linux INDI/KStars/Ekos is logical and relatively straightforward, and it's FREE!

Edited by Gina
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I just got APT and really like it. I have had SGP for a while, and while most rave about it, I found it to be less than user friendly. I find APT to be easier to navigate. APT doesn!t appear to have automated meridian flip or allow for unattended automatic focusing which SGP does. But my mount doesn't require a flip, and I focus well enough with just temperature compensation with my Optec TCF-SI on both my refractor and SCT.

Derek

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