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FLO

IKI Observatory - The journey so far...

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Sorry this has taken longer than expected but we lost some progress over the Christmas and New Year period waiting for all of the gear to arrive over in Spain.

If you've not seen this before, check out the introduction to this project and what equipment we are using here: 

So the kit arrived in Spain a few weeks ago now. Dave and Colin at PixelSkies (https://www.pixelskiesastro.com) got straight to work on setting it all before realising, we had missed a couple of bits... d'oh!

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We sent over the extra bits and took the opportunity to also install a Hitec Astro MHP v4 for our USB hub and power control.

Colin and Dave have done an immense job of setting it all up and cabling it all:

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Since then Dave has been incredible, they setup a Windows 10 machine for us and Dave has installed all the software we will be using, configured everything ready to use, polar aligned and modelled the mount, calibrated PHD, calibrated the Lakeside focuser, setup Cartes Du Ciel, ASCOM, 10Micron Software and all the profiles etc.. in SGP.

It really does feel like cheating and the knowledge the guys have is vast so within no time at all, we were given the login details for the machine.

Dave then spent a couple of hours with Grant running through the startup / shutdown procedures and how to get photons rolling in.

We've not received any special treatment, just the same level of service PixelSkies and IC Astronomy provide to all of their customers so hats off to you guys it has been a huge help to have your support in getting everything going.

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Where are we now?

The equipment is commissioned and the software is installed we are spending the next few weeks kicking the tyres of everything and tweaking a few bits and pieces ready to open this up more widely.

Next step will be to open this up to the community and work on a target list for the coming months and to start sharing the data.

A website is in the pipeline to act as a repository for all the data, peoples results and to keep posting updates on progress etc..

Watch this space :D

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Impressive indeed. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Will be interested in how the 104 compares to the Esprit 100 and others.

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The whole system looks quite 'heavy duty',

I wonder if this offers a queuing system for user requests in a batch pipeline? Eg. I submit a request for Jupiter in color, focusing, two minutes of stacking high resolution video, then release the observatory for the next request?

N.F.

 

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Hi,

I've not been doing much in the way of imaging recently, so I've only just got wind of this project, which seems to me incredibly exciting, it's a serious piece of kit.

One question, the 10 Micron mount is AFAIK capable of non-guided long exposure imaging, but there is an off-axis guide camera fitted. What's the reason for this?

Looking forward to 'first light' being posted.

StevieO

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On 23/07/2020 at 22:03, StevieO said:

Hi,

I've not been doing much in the way of imaging recently, so I've only just got wind of this project, which seems to me incredibly exciting, it's a serious piece of kit.

One question, the 10 Micron mount is AFAIK capable of non-guided long exposure imaging, but there is an off-axis guide camera fitted. What's the reason for this?

Looking forward to 'first light' being posted.

StevieO

Possible that it allows you to dither for one. 

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Just wondering what is holding this up, is it the weather, or technical problems and Coronavirus? 

Carole 

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Posted (edited)

I have been imaging in Castillejar all summer and my kit is next to theirs. It maybe that @FLO have been too busy with orders to process their images.

Regards Andrew 

Edited by andrew s

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Posted (edited)

Purely out of interest, @FLO, what is the reason for having the Hitec MHP V4 and also using the Lakeside focuser control box?  Does the hub not include a focus controller meaning you can do away with the lakeside one?

I use Pegasus hubs and my Lakeside focuser plugs straight in to it, negating the need for the additional controller, and I thought the Hitec hub had the same capability?

Not saying it is wrong to do it the way it is, would just be interested in the rationale of doing so as I could well be missing an important feature of the controller.

Edited by RayD

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51 minutes ago, RayD said:

Purely out of interest, @FLO, what is the reason for having the Hitec MHP V4 and also using the Lakeside focuser control box?  Does the hub not include a focus controller meaning you can do away with the lakeside one?

I use Pegasus hubs and my Lakeside focuser plugs straight in to it, negating the need for the additional controller, and I thought the Hitec hub had the same capability?

Not saying it is wrong to do it the way it is, would just be interested in the rationale of doing so as I could well be missing an important feature of the controller.

I've been imaging for years with a MHP (the one with 5 USB ports) and a MHP compact with Lakeside focusers and it's worked perfectly. I only use the hand control when I forget to rack in the focuser when storing the telescope!

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1 hour ago, Anne S said:

I've been imaging for years with a MHP (the one with 5 USB ports) and a MHP compact with Lakeside focusers and it's worked perfectly. I only use the hand control when I forget to rack in the focuser when storing the telescope!

Thanks, Anne.  Yes, I have the original MHP (the plastic one with 3 USB ports) and this runs the focuser no problem.  I don't doubt there is a reason for keeping the lakeside controller as well, would just be interested to know the reasoning as it seems like another largish box to house and USB device to go wrong.  However, these guys know an awful lot more about the subject than me, so I'm sure they wouldn't use it unless it was necessary.

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Could be just for manual override or maybe the max /min limits.

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34 minutes ago, MarkAR said:

Could be just for manual override or maybe the max /min limits.

I set 0 position via the Ascom driver when first starting. After that I change it to the last position used to keep the step count correct. If the focuser is moved manually you lose the 0 position unless you start again from scratch.

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On 23/07/2020 at 22:03, StevieO said:

Hi,

I've not been doing much in the way of imaging recently, so I've only just got wind of this project, which seems to me incredibly exciting, it's a serious piece of kit.

One question, the 10 Micron mount is AFAIK capable of non-guided long exposure imaging, but there is an off-axis guide camera fitted. What's the reason for this?

Looking forward to 'first light' being posted.

StevieO

 

14 hours ago, Adam J said:

Possible that it allows you to dither for one. 

I think the 10 Micron mounts need a complex weather station setup for air mass / refraction data. Only ASA can do encoder guiding without needing a weather station as they do a local model for the specific run.

The ASA mount can dither while encoder guiding.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, DaveS said:

I think the 10 Micron mounts need a complex weather station setup for air mass / refraction data.

Not that complex Dave, only human intervention is plugging it into the control box 😂

I could do a model to track just one object but have never bothered, still running on the model I did a couple of months ago.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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