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What Imaging Sequence Software do you use and Why ?


What Imaging Sequence Software do you use and Why ?  

74 members have voted

  1. 1. Poll: What Imaging Sequence Software do you use ? If you can it would be good to post which you have tried and what you like and do not like. I guess many will have tried several and will have good reason to use what they currently rely on, whist others, similar to myself, use the one they first tried because it works and they know their way round it so are frightened to try any other.

    • Sequence Generator Pro
      11
    • APT (Astro Photography Tool)
      17
    • N.I.N.A (Nighttime Imaging 'N' Astronomy)
      13
    • Backyard EOS
      1
    • Maxim DL
      1
    • EKOS
      16
    • Nebulosity
      0
    • Backyard NIKON
      0
    • IRIS
      0
    • Images Plus Camera Control
      0
    • Sofortbild
      0
    • Astronomer Control Panel
      1
    • Gemini Controller Software
      0
    • AstroImager
      0
    • Voyager
      8
    • ASAIR
      1
    • Other - Please post below what you use
      5

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  • Poll closed on 31/08/20 at 22:59

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Ekos on StellarMate for me. 
I got back in to AP during lockdown and when I logged back in here I noticed people talking about the Raspberry Pie. I thought they were talking about dessert until I looked in to it 

It is a bit of a steep learning curve if like me you don’t have a clue but worth the effort. 6 years ago I remember having multiple programs open on an ageing laptop trying to get them all to work together. Wasn’t fun. 

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for me it's EKOS on an RPI4. I use Stellarmate. It's a pre-installed and pre-configured image with all the software included, so you just need to put it on an microSD card and you are done. I sta

I started with APT many years ago when I had my first DSLR, and found it superb and still like it, but then I wanted to be able to have the PC on the mount and just the one wire from mount to power, a

I also started with APT many years ago.   I moved to running Astroberry on my RPi4 which gives you Stars / Ekos already installed. I access it remotely from my Laptop using OpenVNC over

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Ekos on StellarmateOS on a pi 4gb. I use it because I wanted something I could leave out with the rig that wasn't my laptop. I also liked the idea of being able to use the rig away from home without requiring a large power supply, the pi + mount etc use enough without adding a laptop, so being able to control the rig from my phone seemed like a nice feature.

I'm also an advocate for open source, so other than the mobile app part being proprietary, the rest being open source appealed to me.

Edited by Endolf
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Another one here for Kstars/EKOS on the PI4 4GB running on the Astroberry image. I have tried most of the others mentioned starting with BackYardEOS back in 2012 with a Canon DSLR, APT etc and still looking at NINA. While I realise that SGP is a very popular piece of software I could never really get to grips with it. 

There is one thing that EKOS cannot do. It cannot control my EOS400D bulb via a Shoestringastronomy DUSB box so I switch back to APT for that or simply use an intervalometer. Later Canon DSLRs work fine though using USB shutter release. I don't think an INDI driver exists for the DUSB box.

I like not having a laptop outside all night and the PI4 suits me fine. I remote control it indoors using KStars running on a Windows PC although it can run without any external control. I don't use the wireless link and have it connected to my network using a LAN cable for reliability. As I don't have a permanent observatory software like ASA is not an option for me. Maybe if I win the lottery who knows 🤔 

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11 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

SGP, which I have to use with a Moravian camera, drives me frantic with its constant interfering. I don't want to read a ruddy manual in order to find out how to file this capture in that directory. Sorry, I'm a dinosaur, but anyone writing a capture program should look at Artemis Capture and shut up. Rant over.

Olly

Olly, did you ever look at the SIPS package that comes with the Moravian cameras?
It is not too dissimilar to Artemis in it’s basic form, and can do a no frills run as you describe.

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5 minutes ago, tomato said:

Olly, did you ever look at the SIPS package that comes with the Moravian cameras?
It is not too dissimilar to Artemis in it’s basic form, and can do a no frills run as you describe.

No, the camera isn't mine but maybe I'll ask its owner about this! Thanks.

Olly

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When using my Canon 70D or M6 MkII I use BYEoS - it's stable, well laid out and a joy to use - I love it!

When using my ASI1600 I use an ASIair; it has transformed an imaging session. Yes it has a few shortcomings (like I'd like to be able to input filters manually when I use a manual filter changer) but I can live with the interventions I need to make. It also works with my 70D but sadly not with my M6.

I now use SGPro only for taking calibration frames! Like @ollypenrice I find it's constant interference and "deciding what is best" in what I'm trying to achieve infuriating. It used to be my main imaging software when I first started four years ago but I have lost so much time with crashes or just trying and failing to use features like autofocus that I gave up.

Adrian

 

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Rather like CNC, I am a trifle concerned about making myself a redundant part of the process.

I use Sharpcap, which isn't really a sequencing program at all. I would insist on Shapcap's level of camera and accessory control and ease of use...

The main thing I would want from a sequencer program? Aside from the obvious - take X subs Y-seconds using Z-filter of this target then... with autofocus and platesolve.

For me it is recovering from guiding failures.

The greatest weakness of PHD2 is that if the star is lost it typically sends the mount off on a little adventure, rather than staying put waiting for the star to reappear. Quite why it does this, I cannot fathom. My solution is to stop guiding, recenter using CDC and wait for the guide star to reappear and restart guiding.

So my 'ideal'  sequencer would include guiding and detect the mount moving more than a tiny amount off target, recentre and stay put until the guide star was recovered, then start a new frame.

It would also have some very easy ways to input mount/sky area limits. For example, at home a meridian flip is pointless except when right up near the zenith.

Also useful would be a 'focus alert' for manually focused scopes telling me it needs checking but not stopping everything.

 

I have noticed that SharpCap is really very stable in its camera connections, but PHD2 can lose the guide camera and need a restart or the guide camera unplugging before it will recognise it again (despite Sharpcap being able to find it).

I suppose what I hope for is that Sharpcap will add in a basic sequencer and perhaps guiding as well...

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1 hour ago, fireballxl5 said:

MaxImDL v6 for my main fixed rig and ASIair (with the Pro HW) for my travel setup. Both are great pieces of software. 

Yes.. Maxim (v5 & 6) has worked fine for me even with the guiding issues they went through a while back, ACP was robust enough to recover most of the time.. surprisingly. For those not aware.. ACP uses MaximDL for capture. So if you go ACP route you also need MaximDL 💰

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3 minutes ago, Sp@ce_d said:

Yes.. Maxim (v5 & 6) has worked fine for me even with the guiding issues they went through a while back,

Did they fix it then after years spent denying it was a problem ? I use Maxim for capture but gave up because of guide star lost issues when I could see it quite clearly, changed to PHD and never tried Maxim guiding again.

Dave

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INDI/Ekos on a Rock64 single board computer for me. This season I'll hopefully even say goodbye to phd, and do the guiding in Ekos (multi star guiding). I use microsoft remote desktop to connect to the sbc that runs everything. By not using Ekos/Kstars on my laptop, losing wifi won't break anything during a session.

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5 hours ago, Davey-T said:

Did they fix it then after years spent denying it was a problem ? I use Maxim for capture but gave up because of guide star lost issues when I could see it quite clearly, changed to PHD and never tried Maxim guiding again.

Dave

Well.. that's the thing.. I got to a "stable" config at v6.11 & never updated "if it ain't broke". So, the guiding on a bad pixel thing I never had issues with.. did some darks & fed it them. I did see guide star lost on a few occasions.. very few & ACP just worked through it.. resetting/restarting as ACP controls the guiding. If if did give up it just moved on to another target, so I never lost out but that's ACP dealing with it. I use an OAG so multi star guiding didn't really cut it anyway.. hard enough finding one sometimes! I never had the repetitive issues others reported but I never really used Maxim on its own so maybe ACP masked a lot of that. They say its all in the past anyway. I'm looking at having to upgrade it if I want to upgrade ACP as the latest version doesn't work with mine... so it better work! There seems to be talk of it finally supporting multi imagers/scopes (master/slave) in the pipeline too which I believe could be supported with ACP. As an aside, I'm intrigued with Voyager but as far as I can make out it doesn't have a Scheduler which is the real strength of running ACP.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have normally used Artemis but have dabbled with SGP and Maxim DL. Recently I switched to CCDCiel which I find very good for controlling all my devices, sequencing and plate solving. I connect to EQMOD through Carte du Ciel and so far it all works well. My only gripe is CCDCiel does not allow multiple configurations for different setups although you can save different shortcuts to different instances of the programme.

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I use CCDCiel.  I like it for several reasons.  It really appears to be rock solid.  I have managed to crash it once in about 16 months.  Even then, I just restarted it and everything just carried on.  It operates as a true independent client to either Indi or Ascom servers (or both at the same time!).

I like the way that it communicates with Cartes du Ciel.  After it platesolves, it can display the current image frame in Cartes du Ciel, so I know precisely where I am imaging.  For multi night sessions I usually have the first night's image as a background image in CdC.  Once the frame is precisely over the background image, I know that the camera is centred and rotated correctly.

 

In the past I've used Artemis, APT, CCDSoft, and I got on with them all.

I tried Ekos, but I didn't get on with it.

@ollypenrice,  I'm using CCDCiel with a Moravian G3 16200, and it works fine.  I tried SIPS, and all I can say is that they really shouldn't have bothered.

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45 minutes ago, mallorcasaint said:

 My only gripe is CCDCiel does not allow multiple configurations for different setups although you can save different shortcuts to different instances of the programme.

 

This puzzles me.  Have you set up different profiles?

 

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Not specifically directed at astrophotography applications, but my experience is:

Some choices about software are made because of the environment you wish to work in -- Windows, MacOS or Linux, for example.  For example, Windows does my head in and I've been a UNIX/Linux user/programmer/administrator for thirty-five years, so I'm always going to want to take the easy choice and look for applications that run there (or write them myself).

And because people "think in different ways" there will always be those who want to achieve the same as an existing piece of software, but find the way it works counter-intuitive and therefore write their own.  There are those who write software driven by the desire to create something that is specifically different in some way or to "scratch a particular itch" they have.  Or manufacturers who want to try to lock people into their hardware by writing their own applications.  Often these actually end up with very similar functionality because once they acquire a sufficiently large user-base people want pretty much the same things.

Finally there are the people I consider the bane of modern software development: those who duplicate the functionality of an existing system just to make something "new".  Regularly meaning it's exactly the same as something else, usually with extra, and completely unnecessary, eye-candy.  I'd suggest this is a predictable consequence of a society that has taught itself to value novelty over almost anything else.  Conversations with these people generally go along the lines of:

" Use this software.  It's new!"
"I'm quite happy with what I have, thanks."
"But this is better because it's new!"
"I'm used to what I have and what you're suggesting doesn't do anything any better."
"Of course it's better!  It's new!"

I would happily have these people shot.  Reinventing the wheel just to come up with a wheel that is the same as the old one with a different badge on is such a complete waste of time and energy, but seems to happen on an unpleasantly regular basis these days :(

James

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19 hours ago, don4l said:

 

This puzzles me.  Have you set up different profiles?

 

You can only set one profile for each instance of the programme. So basically you have you save a windows shortcut that will open each configuration. There is nowhere within the software to save or load configurations or profiles.

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19 hours ago, JamesF said:

" Use this software.  It's new!"
"I'm quite happy with what I have, thanks."
"But this is better because it's new!"
"I'm used to what I have and what you're suggesting doesn't do anything any better."
"Of course it's better!  It's new!"

Ah yes, the people who wrote the new Firefox for Android...

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2 hours ago, mallorcasaint said:

You can only set one profile for each instance of the programme. So basically you have you save a windows shortcut that will open each configuration. There is nowhere within the software to save or load configurations or profiles.

I wonder if you are on an out of date version...?

Click "Edit" -> "Devices setup" and the following screen appears:-

CCDCiel.thumb.jpg.e028693e0032ebb1b78039d5d9440d9f.jpg

There is a "New" button (hidden by the drop down above) that allows new profiles to be created.  The red arrowed button then allows you to select which one you want to use.

 

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On 29/08/2020 at 23:43, don4l said:

I wonder if you are on an out of date version...?

Click "Edit" -> "Devices setup" and the following screen appears:-

CCDCiel.thumb.jpg.e028693e0032ebb1b78039d5d9440d9f.jpg

There is a "New" button (hidden by the drop down above) that allows new profiles to be created.  The red arrowed button then allows you to select which one you want to use.

 

Many thanks. I hadn't realised that and have now set up several profiles for my varying configurations.

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