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FOTOGRAFO

Telescope Control Software Not Sure What To Use

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TELESCOPE CONTROL SOFTWARE---NOT CERTAIN WHAT TO SETTLE ON

I have a Celestron 8" with AVX Mount and am pondering what Software to settle on for controlling the mount that I can use as I progress to a better scope and mount down the star-path.  I have a Windows based Laptop... a recent vintage with Windows 10  that I have dedicated for Astronomy Purposes but, I am not certain what software package I want to work with controlling the mount. My primary interest is astrophotography.  I have a Stellarvue 80mm APO Triplet  on order and plan to move to a Losmandy Mount sometime next year.  I have fooled with Sky Safari Pro on my Mac's for some years now however, that software was purposed to operate in the OS X environment.  For someone interested in Astrophotography, what are the options for quality Mount Control?

Regards,

 

Don

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Cartes du Ciel is free,  reliable and works very well with my CGEM mount.  

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Hello Don.

Here are a few more free apps to look at.

1. Stellarium (with Stellariumscope app)

2. kstars (with Ekos and Indi)

3. N.I.N.A.

4. Skysafari usin the Wifiscope app (lets Skysafari work via the laptop without a wifi device or Skywire cable)

I have used all (on a Windows 10 laptop) except N.I.N.A. since I now use Mac only apps.

Fivel

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I have ASCOM drivers installed, then use EQMOD for mount control, Cartes du Ciel for targeting and PHD2 for guiding.

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13 hours ago, MartinB said:

Cartes du Ciel is free,  reliable and works very well with my CGEM mount.  

Thank you for information.

 

Don

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4 hours ago, Fivel said:

Hello Don.

Here are a few more free apps to look at.

1. Stellarium (with Stellariumscope app)

2. kstars (with Ekos and Indi)

3. N.I.N.A.

4. Skysafari usin the Wifiscope app (lets Skysafari work via the laptop without a wifi device or Skywire cable)

I have used all (on a Windows 10 laptop) except N.I.N.A. since I now use Mac only apps.

Fivel

Thanks for the detailed reply, I appreciate your inputs.

Don

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3 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I have ASCOM drivers installed, then use EQMOD for mount control, Cartes du Ciel for targeting and PHD2 for guiding.

Thanks for your remarks. I have been reading about ASCOM standards and software applications. 

Regards,

Don

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7 minutes ago, FOTOGRAFO said:

Thanks for your remarks. I have been reading about ASCOM standards and software applications. 

Regards,

Don

I am pretty good at computers and programming. I've even written and OS and basic interpreter for a home made computer in assembler.

I couldn't make head nor tail of the ASCOM documentation, it's appalling and impenetrable.

Just install it and the programs written by brighter minds than mine will do their work.

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16 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I am pretty good at computers and programming. I've even written and OS and basic interpreter for a home made computer in assembler.

I couldn't make head nor tail of the ASCOM documentation, it's appalling and impenetrable.

Just install it and the programs written by brighter minds than mine will do their work.

I think that the statement is ,IMHO, not 100% true  - Ascom is pretty simple to install (normal Windows) and there are some very good YouTube stuff  about (not forgetting SGL) - OK the Doc and Video's are out of date a bit but the basic's are all there.   CS is a very helpful guy and is often on this site correcting peoples problems - He is now trying to do some Astro  for himself I believe - long deserved !!  🙂

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Another vote for KStars / Ekos.  All free and it works great.

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On 25/10/2019 at 13:34, stash_old said:

I think that the statement is ,IMHO, not 100% true  - Ascom is pretty simple to install (normal Windows) and there are some very good YouTube stuff  about (not forgetting SGL) - OK the Doc and Video's are out of date a bit but the basic's are all there.   CS is a very helpful guy and is often on this site correcting peoples problems - He is now trying to do some Astro  for himself I believe - long deserved !!  🙂

Honestly, visit https://ascom-standards.org/About/Index.htm

As far as I can tell there isn't actually, anywhere on the site that explains what ASCOM is in simple language for a non-programmer.

This is the main introductory text:
 

Quote

 

"What is the ASCOM Initiative?

The ASCOM Initiative is a loosely-knit group of developers and astronomical instrument makers that work together to bring vendor-independent and language-independent plug-and play compatibility between astronomy software and astronomical instruments on Windows (and soon Linux and MacOS) computers. ASCOM stands for the Astronomy Common Object Model.

See the pages listed on the left for more information about ASCOM. See the Frequently Asked Questions section for info on using drivers and tools in the ASCOM Platform."

 

 

Yes you can just download the ASCOM Platform and use it, but most people do because they are told that's what they need to do. But a basic understanding of what it does and why would be a huge help when things go wrong. It would be nice if the main page said something like:

"The Ascom Platform is a collection of computer drivers for different astronomy-related devices. It uses agreed standards that allow different computer programs ('apps') and devices to 'communicate' with each other simultaneously. This means that you can have things like mounts, focusers, cameras and filter wheels all controlled by a single computer, even with several computers sharing access to those resources. For example you can use one program to find targets and another to guide your telescope, with both of them sharing control of your mount at the same time."

I happily renounce any copyright in that paragraph so the Ascom team can adapt remix and correct it to their satisfaction if it would be helpful to add it to the Ascom website 🙂

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Only if the equipment and/or drivers will talk to each other under ASCOM. :rolleyes:

But whatever the problem if is NEVER EVER ASCOM's fault. :rolleyes:

It is ALWAYS user error because ASCOM users are ALWAYS drooling idiots.  :rolleyes:

Or the independent and/or commercial driver authors [expecting something to work under ASCOM] are ALWAYS drooling idiots. :rolleyes:

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Ah! That explains my problems.  Drool ... drool ... drool ... drool ...

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NINA, APT for capture and target location, PHD2 for tracking and CdC for star map. I think eqmod should work on your mount but not 100%.

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44 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Ah! That explains my problems.  Drool ... drool ... drool ... drool ...

Does your ASCOM talk to PHD2? Mine won't.

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16 hours ago, Rusted said:

Does your ASCOM talk to PHD2? Mine won't.

Yes. It does. My problems were more to do with device disconnections and computer lock ups. That might have been down to the fact that I run Windows 7 as a virtual machine on my MacBook.  

So recently  I have been trialling KStars/EKOS/INDI in my MacBook OS. I have found it to be far more stable, and easier to recover from when it does fall over. I'm not suggesting it is inherently more stable. Just more stable than ASCOM was in the way I was using it. 

Now that I'm in a position to compare the two control applications I can say there are certain features I like in both. I like the plate solving and polar alignment procedures in KStars/EKOS which are not available (I think) by default in ASCOM. 

Having said that ASCOM's visual method for polar aligning is good too, and certainly adequate for guided imaging.

I also like the fact that ASCOM allows for the use of a gamepad to adjust the mount when standing at the scope looking through the eyepiece. This makes it very much easier to use ASCOM for visual astronomy.  There are ways of doing this with KStars/EKOS but they're no where near as convenient. 

Edited by Ouroboros
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Why not embrace Celestron's own CPWI for Windows?

It is free, dedicated to Celestron scopes, uncomplicated and works great. You can connect to laptop by cable or use a Celestron WiFi dongle. 

 

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Cos I've got kit from lots of vendors and I wouldn't trust Celestine kit nor want to be locked in to a single vendor. 

Ascom, alpaca and indi are fab.

 

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People are confusing ASCOM with actual "client software" that does something. ASCOM (and INDI) are protocols which other software uses to talk a common language.

So its correct to say what software uses the ASCOM or INDI protocol( standard ) but they do not "provide" anything on their own. For that you need to look at the Client software to see what "standard" they use. Some software ,e.g. CCDCIEL and APT, now use either or both standards.  CCDCIEL/APT etc are the glue that makes it all work.

Sharpcap ,which is limited to using the ASCOM standard,provides both Platesolving and Polar alignment - both of which are inbuilt in Sharpcap.

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9 minutes ago, stash_old said:

People are confusing ASCOM with actual "client software" that does something. ASCOM (and INDI) are protocols which other software uses to talk a common language.

So its correct to say what software uses the ASCOM or INDI protocol( standard ) but they do not "provide" anything on their own. For that you need to look at the Client software to see what "standard" they use. Some software ,e.g. CCDCIEL and APT, now use either or both standards.  CCDCIEL/APT etc are the glue that makes it all work.

Sharpcap ,which is limited to using the ASCOM standard,provides both Platesolving and Polar alignment - both of which are inbuilt in Sharpcap.

I think the confusion stems in part at least from the fact that whilst ASCOM and INDI are protocols, they're also the names used for the (only?) software packages that implement those protocols (though nothing stops someone writing one that implements the same protocol but is called something different) and interface with the hardware.

So, here for example: https://github.com/indilib/indi the software that implements the INDI protocol is called the "INDI Core Library".

James

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Would it be a stretch to suggest that ASCOM is a universal translator for manual workers around the globe?
With the universal translator being carved in stone by Gloogre/Alfibetto.
Brought down from the mountain, at hideous expense and put on display in a museum of antiquities. 
While the "foreign" workers are proving to be of highly variable quality, skill level and ability.
Many of whom use figures of speech, colloquialisms and slang in everyday life. :biggrin:

As in: Me no speekee dee P H D 2-ee.  :icon_scratch:

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10 hours ago, stash_old said:

People are confusing ASCOM with actual "client software" that does something. ASCOM (and INDI) are protocols which other software uses to talk a common language.

So its correct to say what software uses the ASCOM or INDI protocol( standard ) but they do not "provide" anything on their own. For that you need to look at the Client software to see what "standard" they use. Some software ,e.g. CCDCIEL and APT, now use either or both standards.  CCDCIEL/APT etc are the glue that makes it all work.

Sharpcap ,which is limited to using the ASCOM standard,provides both Platesolving and Polar alignment - both of which are inbuilt in Sharpcap.

One of the confused here! 🙂  In my defence I'd say it's confusing because it really is confusing. Thankfully for the terminally confused, once one has waded through installing all the  ASCOM, EQMOD, EQASCOM gubbins it then paddles away seamlessly (hopefully) beneath the Cartes du Ciel, PHD2 etc etc software that one actually uses to control things with. I must say it took me a while to get my head around it all.

The planetarium application KStars comes bundled with EKOS and INDI. This gives them a more integrated feel perhaps but one is aware that they are in fact independent things. I'm no expert though. I stumble along (just about) using the top-level apps to do my astronomy rather than fully understand what's going on underneath. 

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So, basically, ASCOM is alien technology. Which nobody understands except "the gods who live in the sky." :alien:

And, they won't deign to come back down to earth to explain why it doesn't always work for we "mere mortals." :blush:

As in: No speekee dee P H D 2-ee.  :icon_scratch:

Or, "It's Friday, so we are going to [arbitrarily] reverse the Declination Drive direction of rotation because mere mortals don't deserve our highly advanced technology!" :alien:

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