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Good morning from Phoenix, Arizona

First, a quick introduction. My name is Hamza Touhami and I created Hyperion Astronomy to bring a new face to the representation of PRISM into the English-speaking community.

I had purchased PRISM PRO for $499, sometime around 2015, for my personal use from PRISM America ( my predecessor ) and used it for years. After I became aware of a decline in Prism's representation over time, I decided to take the reigns and start a venture of my own. I felt Prism was an incredible software with massive potential, something to impressive and instrumental to let die out in America.

As an amateur astronomer myself, I have had many frustrations with the market coming up: Lack of support, lack of video tutorials, fragmentation of software packages, steep learning curves, short trial periods and the list is long. Since I took over, I have implemented the following for Prism users:

  • Increased the trial period from 45 days to 80 days, which is close to 3 months. Knowing that there were/are many of my fellow astronomers who are dealing with some really inclement weather all year long.
  • Dropped the price of all three products : Lite from $299 down to $149, Pro from $499 down to $349 and the Advanced from $800 down to $499. Please understand, I did not lower Prism's prices because I didn't believe I couldn't sell it at Prism America's existing prices. I KNEW it could, Prism is an impressively powerful software with an absurd amount of features and is capable of serving a wide range of our customers needs. I did this to make Prism more affordable across the board.
  • Recorded and published more than 25 video tutorials to YouTube, covering a range of many subjects. I made the decision to do this precisely because other companies just haven't provided this kind of help, and I felt that my customers deserved this advantage. I think I need at least another 30 videos to cover all topics...and more to spare. Currently my remote observatory is under construction but is near completion, once it is finished I will resume making videos.
  • Offer one on one help with customers, beyond emails and help on the forum. I also use remote control software to help my customers get going. This is a business model that I plan to grow on, and carry on, throughout my time as a Prism representative.

Me belief is that the customer should have ample avenues to be successful and I strive to provide all the necessary help for them...YOU, to succeed.

As to why PRISM is not known, I can state a couple of reasons here:

  1. It has been developed, since the 90s, by a French physicist named Cyril Cavadore ( www.alcor-system.com ) who worked at the ESO. Cyril decided to bring professional astronomer tools to amateur astronomers. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Prism users in the French speaking community. Unfortunately, Cyril was unable to break through a language barrier to bring Prism to America, on his own.
  2. My Predecessor ( Prism America ) tried to promote the software within the states, but was not successful in attracting enough attention for one reason or another. One can say that the language barrier had again played a role here. This is where, and yet another reason why, I have entered into Prism's re-birth so to speak as I am a French speaker myself.

 

To conclude, I hope I have answered all your questions here. I hope my input comes with acceptance and is helpful to everyone.

 

Cheers and clear skies to all.

 

P.S: The attached image was taken from the Atacama Desert using only PRISM for automation and completely UNGUIDED. There is not autoguider on that system whatsoever. PRISM also generated the pointing models for the NOVA120 mount.

M83.png

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Wow Hamza, what a beautiful image!

I'm going to look at your software and see how it fits my needs, do you have a forum for discussing technical issues and advice?

Have a link to your YouTube Videos?

Thanks for taking your time to reply to this subject.

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Thanks John, here are the links:

 

Youtube Videos Tutorials: Apologizes here, It seems I have to link to a video rather than my channel so here is an hour long tutorial about automation in PRISM. Other videos are available at the same link as well.

Forum: http://www.prism-astro.com/forum_us/index.php

I made an account here at SGL to be accessible for questions, please do not hesitate.

 

Thanks a lot and clear skies t all.

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I was about post about Prism to ask what users think. Support is there at the moment and questions are answered very quickly.

I think the 80 day trial period is very good. Although the way the weather is you could go 80days without a good night to try it under the stars.

At the moment I think you can only have two machines with the software installed. I think for me three machines would be good. Mini PC in the OB, Desktop for processing, and a laptop as a backup and for when I am working away from home.

I have asked about the duel imaging camera setup. This is only available in the Advanced version at the moment. I know not everyone wants to run dual imaging rig but a DSLR piggyback on the main scope running within the one application may be of interest to a lot more users.

Has anyone started on the free trial? What are your first impressions?

Graham

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Hamza for the extra info, I haven't signed up and downloaded yet, just wanted to check that we can setup multiple equipment profiles and set up individually?

Does the equipment need to be connected to set up

Is there a choice of platesolving or are you aligned to a preference.

Can I also ask if you can use PHD2 as an option for guiding?

Thanks.

Edited by Jkulin

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Hamza

A very nice image.

Can I ask what software was used in the prossesing. Priism I see has some prossesing tools built in.

Graham

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17 hours ago, Jkulin said:

we can setup multiple equipment profiles and set up individually?

You bet, this can be done by saving all the parameters of the software in a single file, you can have multiple setups.

 

17 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Does the equipment need to be connected to set up

Not at all, but it is recommended to allow PRISM to pull information such as focuser step size from the driver

 

17 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Is there a choice of platesolving or are you aligned to a preference.

You bet, we have two local plate solvers: a narrow and very FAST solver as  well as an allsky (50% of the visible sky): with known parameters or blind. Also, we have full support for Astrometry.net local and remote. I have a fully detailed write-up about how to setup an offline version here: How to setup Astrometry.net offline

 

17 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Can I also ask if you can use PHD2 as an option for guiding?

No, PRISM is entirely self-contained and standalone. In my remote observatory, all I have installed is: PRISMv10, ASCOM and my equipment drivers. This is one of PRISM's most powerful features, it absolutely needs now other software, none!

 

7 hours ago, Fellside said:

Hamza

A very nice image.

Can I ask what software was used in the prossesing. Priism I see has some prossesing tools built in.

Graham

You absolutely can! I have acquired the image from Chile using Mr. Bob Sandness' equipment (14.5" newtonian + Nova120+QSI532) then pre-prcessed it with PRISM ( of course). The post-procesing was done by my good friend Stuart Forman with Pixinsight. The image was published here : Photographing Space IOTW. PRISM has a complete set of pre and post processing tools built in, we also provide a full set of export options to continue working on your images in another software package such as Photoshop or Pixinsight.

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5 hours ago, Hyperion Astronomy said:
23 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Can I also ask if you can use PHD2 as an option for guiding?

No, PRISM is entirely self-contained and standalone. In my remote observatory, all I have installed is: PRISMv10, ASCOM and my equipment drivers. This is one of PRISM's most powerful features, it absolutely needs now other software, none!

Thanks Hamza, so does Prism have a guiding software built in then? The reason I ask is that you demonstrate the above image with no guiding using the NOVA120, but sadly many of us don't have mounts as good as that so need to guide?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Thanks Hamza, so does Prism have a guiding software built in then? The reason I ask is that you demonstrate the above image with no guiding using the NOVA120, but sadly many of us don't have mounts as good as that so need to guide?

You bet, PRISM has multiple autoguiding function, you can guide using:

1. star centeroid (conventional autoguiding) : calculated to 1/100th of a pixel

2. Multiple stars : The entire image using FFT intercorrelation

3. Slit guiding

4. It supports Sharplock

5. It supports adaptive Optics

 

PRISM has EVERYTHING you need, it is all built in.

Edited by Hyperion Astronomy
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Hi Hamza,

Having evaluated PRISM in the past I can definitely say that it's a very capable and comprehensive product and your support is very good!

Maybe you have already discussed this with the SGL admin team in which case please ignore this line but I just wanted to say that if you have not then it would definitely be a good idea to see what posts are allowed as I think there are strict rules with regards to posting about commercial products as a vendor.

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Posted (edited)

Yes likewise I am actually currently evaluating it and whilst comprehensive, I am finding the layout not very intuitive and a bit dated in feel at the moment, but I'm happy to concede that this is probably just because it is new to me and unfamiliar. 

As noted by @AngryDonkey I think this type of post will go against the CoC for SGL so probably not allowed, but I think there are a few of us trialling it, so no doubt there will be some threads appearing soon enough.

Edited by RayD

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Whilst evaluating I have been looking for an automated meridian flip procedure but can't find anything.  This isn't to say it isn't there as I am currently using it connected but not live (in my workshop).  Is there a fully automated meridian flip procedure or does this require user intervention?

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31 minutes ago, RayD said:

As noted by @AngryDonkey I think this type of post will go against the CoC for SGL so probably not allowed, but I think there are a few of us trialling it, so no doubt there will be some threads appearing soon enough.

Hyperion Astronomy has not approached us but we we are re-evaluating our approach to software vendors developing and supporting their product at SGL so let us see how this runs out for now. 

:police:

 

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1 minute ago, admin said:

Hyperion Astronomy has not approached us but we we are re-evaluating our approach to software vendors developing and supporting their product at SGL so let us see how this runs out for now. 

:police:

 

Excellent, makes good sense.

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Dear Admin

i have used the contact form to send you a message earlier right after I told AngryDonkey (sound advice by the way) that I would. I think it is a timing issue. I am here to support this community an am also trying to do it across the continents.

Coming up as an amateur astronomer myself, I did also notice the lack of direct help so the community feels there is an actual presence to support them is cardinal in my opinion. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Hamza, interesting astro' program, just one query, do you do all this single handed ? I only ask as there have been a couple of cases in recent times of astro' software / hardware suddenly being unsupported due to the demise of the sole owner / designer.

God forbid anything should happen to yourself but just wondering if you have a backup plan ?

ATB

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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20 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Hi Hamza, interesting astro' program, just one query, do you do all this single handed ? I only ask as there have been a couple of cases in recent times of astro' software / hardware suddenly being unsupported due to the demise of the sole owner / designer.

God forbid anything should happen to yourself but just wondering if you have a backup plan ?

ATB

Dave

Great question Dave. Cyril Cavadore of Alcor-system.com has been developing PRISM since the 90s and as you can see, it is in version 10 now. 

We have a solid partnership in a way that he supports the French speaking countries and I take care of the English speaking ones. He has worked for European Southern Observatory as a CCD engineer and is fluent in English as well. 

We have taken a divide and conquer approach to support as many people as possible across the world. I have made over 25 video tutorials to explain most of the features and will make a lot more when we are done with NEAIC/NEAF.

If this is allowed, I have written a post about him on my blog: Meet the developer.

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2 hours ago, RayD said:

Whilst evaluating I have been looking for an automated meridian flip procedure but can't find anything.  This isn't to say it isn't there as I am currently using it connected but not live (in my workshop).  Is there a fully automated meridian flip procedure or does this require user intervention?

Hi Hamza, I think you might have missed what Ray I asked so have quoted it as it is really important and I am just about to install the trial.

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28 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

Hi Hamza, I think you might have missed what Ray I asked so have quoted it as it is really important and I am just about to install the trial.

Thanks John you beat me to it :thumbright:

Just be aware, and others too, because the plate solver is built in to this programme, the download is big (around 587MB from memory) so watch your data if you're limited.

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Thanks. Meridian flips are handled in the automatic observation (automation in prism) and it is a rather simple procedure. One thing of note here: the driver of your mount must be set up properly for your equipment. Let’s take an example. Imagine that you want to perform a meridian flip at the meridian ( or time 0), you just tell prism to stop 5 minutes of time before the meridian and go 5 minutes after the meridian to intercept the object. What will happen is that PRISM will stop 5 minutes before the limit you set, then asks the mount to go 5 minutes after. At this point, as soon as the slew command is given, your driver will flip the meridian. 

Prism will position the scope 5 minutes after the meridian and stop sidereal tracking to wait for the object. At the intersect, resumes tracking, plate solves, refocuses( if you wish) and resumes imaging. 

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3 minutes ago, RayD said:

Thanks John you beat me to it :thumbright:

Just be aware, and others too, because the plate solver is built in to this programme, the download is big (around 587MB from memory) so watch your data if you're limited.

Apologies, I am on a plane to NEAF and it is hard to juggle things on a phone :icon_biggrin:

indeed, the GSC-ACT catalog is built in and is very good for wide to medium FOVs. I have the USNO and UCAC4 on my site if you wish to grab them from the download section. These are massive. 

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2 minutes ago, Hyperion Astronomy said:

Thanks. Meridian flips are handled in the automatic observation (automation in prism) and it is a rather simple procedure. One thing of note here: the driver of your mount must be set up properly for your equipment. Let’s take an example. Imagine that you want to perform a meridian flip at the meridian ( or time 0), you just tell prism to stop 5 minutes of time before the meridian and go 5 minutes after the meridian to intercept the object. What will happen is that PRISM will stop 5 minutes before the limit you set, then asks the mount to go 5 minutes after. At this point, as soon as the slew command is given, your driver will flip the meridian. 

Prism will position the scope 5 minutes after the meridian and stop sidereal tracking to wait for the object. At the intersect, resumes tracking, plate solves, refocuses( if you wish) and resumes imaging. 

That's great news, thanks Hamza.

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2 minutes ago, RayD said:

That's great news, thanks Hamza.

You’re welcome. There is also an hour long video tutorial explaining everything about automation in prism in the tutorials section for your reference. 

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10 minutes ago, Hyperion Astronomy said:

You’re welcome. There is also an hour long video tutorial explaining everything about automation in prism in the tutorials section for your reference. 

I have looked Hamza but am trying to run the programme simultaneously also so I can get a feel of it.  It is getting used to the different naming convention.  Just one quick question if you don't mind, I see you have auto-focus options for time and for degrees of slew, but is there an option for temperature change i.e. perform auto-focus with every 1 degree of temperature change?

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