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Autoglassman

Windows based apps on MacOS

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Hi Everyone, evening to you all,

I have looked on the forum and searched the internet for a simple answer but yet to find one so am asking the question in the hope that someone or many people have experience or is experiencing this and has an answer. I have purchased the new iOptron’s CEM70g mount along with tri-pier, I’m using MacOS for operation but there are limited softwares available for certain operations. I have heard that Parallels is and can be used to run the windows based programs. My questions are;

Which software/s do you use for imaging, capturing and processing (pre & post)?

Which do you use for iPolar (or other polar alignment?

Which do you use for iGuiding or other guiders?

Last but not least, can windows based apps be used via Parallels on MacOS without the need for downloading the current Windows OS?

I appreciate everyone has there own preferences so am expecting a broad answer but it will aid me in making my mind up.

Currently I have already downloaded and can use on the MacBook,

ZWO Asistudio, Phd2, SkySafari Pro 6, Indigo server, FireCapture and oaCapture.

I have downloaded but cannot use,

IOptron iPolar software, IOptron ASCOM driver.

Via Indigo or Zwo asistudio, I can open and use the iPolar.

As always your help, advice, knowledge and experiences will be gladly welcomed, thank you all in advance.

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I started the same way but quickly just got a cheap second hand windows laptop (do you really want that mac out there in the dew), all the software is free and I downloaded chrome and use the mac on the sofa via chrome remote to control the windows laptop that runs everything.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Astrosharkey said:

I started the same way but quickly just got a cheap second hand windows laptop (do you really want that mac out there in the dew), all the software is free and I downloaded chrome and use the mac on the sofa via chrome remote to control the windows laptop that runs everything.

Wow, didn’t even think of that one! Interesting option, thank you. The idea was, as the Cem70g has built in WiFi as well as a long usb cable, I would mainly be inside remotely controlling it. Same concept but without the third party windows laptop if you get my meaning.

Edited by Autoglassman

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I use KStars/Ekos for capture and automation, Pixinsight for all processing. Both running native on Mac.

KStars/Ekos also works with PHD2 and is often used on a Raspberry Pi as a server for remote control so you can stay warm inside. Connecting vie WiFi or ethernet cable.

Pixinsight might seem expensive but it's very powerful and in the long term cheaper than a PhotoShop licence.

 

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@Autoglassman    I also only use a MacBook for all my astronomy. 

Which software/s do you use for imaging, capturing and processing (pre & post)?

I use KStars/EKOS/INDI  As planetarium software to control my SKyWatcher mount, interface with the guider and image camera. KStars/EKOS/INDI will control a whole range of different astronomical devices including mounts, cameras, focusers, observatories etc.  It’s free.  It also does plate solving to align the mount. 

Which do you use for iPolar (or other polar alignment?

KStars/EKOS includes an polar alignment procedure using the guide camera and plate solving.  It’s very efficient and accurate. Last time I used it I got within 7” of the pole. 

Which do you use for iGuiding or other guiders?

Guiding software is included in KStars. It’s not quite as fancy as PHD2, but it works fine. PHD2 is available for Mac anyway. 

Last but not least, can windows based apps be used via Parallels on MacOS without the need for downloading the current Windows OS?

Windows is used as a virtual machine within Parallels. So you have to buy and install a copy of Windows. It works fine. That’s how I did my astronomy on my Mac for several years - running all my Astro software in Windows 7 on my Mac. When Microsoft ended support for Windows 7. I discovered that it had become possible to do just about everything on the Mac, which hadn’t been so easy to do when I started a few years ago. 

What I don’t know is whether KStars works with iOptron mounts. I don’t  see why it shouldn’t. But that’s what I would try and find out first if I were you. In fact I’d be very interested to know the answer because I have been looking at some of the lighter iOptron mounts as a portable mount.  

Hole that helps. :) 

 

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Posted (edited)

I forgot to add I also post process using Pixinsight on the Mac. 

I’m now thinking of removing Parallels and Windows from my MacBook. It will free up a lot of space. 

Edited by Ouroboros
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Posted (edited)

If you want to also consider other free or less expensive processing options there is siril for stacking and startools for processing

Edit. The above are native

Edited by happy-kat
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For the capture and control side of things then +1 for KStars / Ekos It is one of the best applications available and is constantly kept unto date and adding new functionality.  Runs on Mac, Windows and Linux systems.  Oh and its FREE.

https://edu.kde.org/kstars/#download

For post processing PIxinsight and Astro Pixel Processor and PS are the leading packages IMHO but they are NOT Free.

If you want free then DSS, GIMP and a few others come to mind.

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20 hours ago, Autoglassman said:

 

 

ZWO Asistudio, Phd2, SkySafari Pro 6, Indigo server, FireCapture and oaCapture.

I have downloaded but cannot use,

IOptron iPolar software, IOptron ASCOM driver.

Via Indigo or Zwo asistudio, I can open and use the iPolar.

As always your help, advice, knowledge and experiences will be gladly welcomed, thank you all in advance.

How did you get FireCapture to run on MacOS?  That sounds rather hopeful.  I can use AS!2 and ImPPG via WINE on MAC OS Catalina.

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I use two Raspberry pi's running IndigoSky (one for the mount, one for cameras), and the CLoudmakers apps for telescope control and imaging.

Polar alignment  with PHD2 (Polar Drift Alignment is what I have used, but there are two other tools in PHD2).

For post-processing I have most recently been using Siril, and then final tweaking in Affinity Photo.

All these are MacOS native apps.

/callump

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9 hours ago, Owmuchonomy said:

How did you get FireCapture to run on MacOS?  That sounds rather hopeful.

I will get this confirmed and let you know

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Posted (edited)

I just installed  the Bootcamp partition on my MBP and bought a copy of Win7 Pro for £20.00 on EBay to put on it, runs all windows stuff and saves to external ITb USB3 disc.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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I decided it was always going to be an uphill struggle (I do have parallels on a fast mac - 2018 macbook pro) but I decided it was easier to just get a windows box, do you enjoy pain ? Macs are great but fact is most astronomy software is windows, once you give and go over to the dark side in then your opportunities really open up

So choices are either

  1. cheap laptop
  2. DIY mini pc solution etc - would support remote control
  3. Pay the money and just buy an Eagle and bits - does support remote control from inside

I chose the latter

 

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On 29/07/2020 at 01:44, Davey-T said:

I just installed  the Bootcamp partition on my MBP and bought a copy of Win7 Pro for £20.00 on EBay to put on it, runs all windows stuff and saves to external ITb USB3 disc.

I have also done this with my MBP as the internal SSD is too small, I got an external 1TB USB3 flash card. I have put Windows 10 on it and at the moment is still in it's trial period. I will perhaps buy a licence once full darkness returns and the clouds actually clear off for once. It is also my backup development environment for work should any kind of local lockdown comes into force.

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Highly recommend an RPi4 and Astroberry which includes KStars and EKOS.  Very easy to use and leaving a £45 RPi out is much more appealing than an expensive laptop.  You can then control it from a computer or tablet and you can now subscribe to EKOS live whether or not you use the Stellarmate OS so remote operation is a doddle too.  I have found that a good 20000mAh power bank (such as you would use to charge a phone) is sufficient for me to power the RPi with both the imaging camera + filter wheel and the guide camera also.  This is very appealing as I am looking to get my set up as portable as possible so I can escape the light pollution at some point :) 

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I keep seeing references to RPi for astronomical kit control.   It sounds very interesting but I’m a bit flummoxed as to where to start. I assume it is sited outside with all the kit, connects to the mount, cameras, focusers etc etc and then communicates wirelessly with the control computer.  In other words in acts as a middle man.  Whereas at the moment I’m wired directly to everything over 5m long USB cables.  Is that about the size of it? 

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1 hour ago, Ouroboros said:

I keep seeing references to RPi for astronomical kit control.   It sounds very interesting but I’m a bit flummoxed as to where to start. I assume it is sited outside with all the kit, connects to the mount, cameras, focusers etc etc and then communicates wirelessly with the control computer.  In other words in acts as a middle man.  Whereas at the moment I’m wired directly to everything over 5m long USB cables.  Is that about the size of it? 

Yes pretty much.  The RPi runs what is called headless, ie without a monitor runs as a server.  So, you just use a browser and type in the web address (for Astroberry it is usually astroberry.local) and from there you can take full control of the RPi to run KStars, EKOS etc.  This is a screenshot of my PC with the browser open and controlling the RPi running in full screen.  As you can see to all intents and purposes it is as if the RPi is just plugged into the monitor directly. 

I would say it acts more than as the middle man also as the computer you are running the browser on does not control the RPi in anyway as such; the RPi runs all the hardware and software directly.  So, you could use the PC to set up and schedule an imaging routine then turn it off and the RPi would go about the imaging sequence automatically at a preset time.  It will control the mount, find and full align the target, take all the sub frames, control the filter and also the focuser if one is present etc.  Really very clever.

As for setting up EKOS the second screenshot shows the profile creation tool.  Literally just pick your kit off there, plug it all in to the RPi and hit connect and that's it.  Way less faff than Ascom IMO. 

546997243_2020-08-10(1).thumb.png.d096c5e2a509533c77db12bb3aa55524.png450333751_2020-08-10(5).thumb.png.f1bfccf06e4caa2b1f510adcc6bdf811.png

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Ah OK, @dannybgoode. I’m still sort of wondering exactly what the advantage is over some kind of dumb relay system. My MacBook connects to everything with exactly the same KStars application. The limiting thing being that I’m tied to being within 5m of my set up. Presumably the RPi allows for wireless connection, which means you might control everything from the house, or indeed anywhere. 

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2 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Ah OK, @dannybgoode. I’m still sort of wondering exactly what the advantage is over some kind of dumb relay system. My MacBook connects to everything with exactly the same KStars application. The limiting thing being that I’m tied to being within 5m of my set up. Presumably the RPi allows for wireless connection, which means you might control everything from the house, or indeed anywhere. 

Yes exactly that. So long as it’s on the same WiFi network as the control device you’re not limited to the length of a piece of wire. Also you can power down any computers, go to bed and get up in the morning and the RPi will have done its thing. I have quite a long garden so it’s just hugely convenient to be able to just plonk my mount wherever I want and to control it from the comfort of my desk. 
 

It is also preferably, IMO at least, for portable operations. I’d much prefer to take that with me and an iPad than my laptop. For portable ops the RPi acts as a WiFi hotspot so you can just connect the iPad straight to it. 
 

And yes, full remote ops are possible as well so the scope could be installed anywhere in the world and controlled. Sure you could do that with a normal pc also but RPi’s are just so cheap :)  

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Got it!  I’m warming to the idea of a slice of Raspberry Pie. 

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Have you thought about partitioning the hard drive at all? I have a MacBook Pro (2012 version but upgraded RAM and SSD) and I have both Mac OS and Windows OS on it. You can do this using boot camp assistant on the Mac, it talks you through everything. I now use one half of the hard drive for telescope stuff (windows) which means I can use all the free processing apps to that work only on windows and the other for work type stuff (MAC). It’s worked really well for me so far, Highly recommend 

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On 28/07/2020 at 07:10, Ouroboros said:

@Autoglassman    I also only use a MacBook for all my astronomy. 

Which software/s do you use for imaging, capturing and processing (pre & post)?

I use KStars/EKOS/INDI  As planetarium software to control my SKyWatcher mount, interface with the guider and image camera. KStars/EKOS/INDI will control a whole range of different astronomical devices including mounts, cameras, focusers, observatories etc.  It’s free.  It also does plate solving to align the mount. 

Which do you use for iPolar (or other polar alignment?

KStars/EKOS includes an polar alignment procedure using the guide camera and plate solving.  It’s very efficient and accurate. Last time I used it I got within 7” of the pole. 

Which do you use for iGuiding or other guiders?

Guiding software is included in KStars. It’s not quite as fancy as PHD2, but it works fine. PHD2 is available for Mac anyway. 

Last but not least, can windows based apps be used via Parallels on MacOS without the need for downloading the current Windows OS?

Windows is used as a virtual machine within Parallels. So you have to buy and install a copy of Windows. It works fine. That’s how I did my astronomy on my Mac for several years - running all my Astro software in Windows 7 on my Mac. When Microsoft ended support for Windows 7. I discovered that it had become possible to do just about everything on the Mac, which hadn’t been so easy to do when I started a few years ago. 

What I don’t know is whether KStars works with iOptron mounts. I don’t  see why it shouldn’t. But that’s what I would try and find out first if I were you. In fact I’d be very interested to know the answer because I have been looking at some of the lighter iOptron mounts as a portable mount.  

Hole that helps. :) 

I have just replaced my iMac (old) with a new MacBook Pro, I am trying Windows 10 on it with Parallels and I struggle to load a Windows driver form my ZWO AS120MC. They don't recommend macOS for the 120MC but the native driver does actually allow the camera to work on OS X and I would have thought that there's no reason why I wouldn't get it to work on the VM. I am trying to fathom out how to instal the W10 driver and I just can't find it when the installer has run. (In the VM this time).

I have been lazy for years by using MacOS for many years and I been battling with an old Win7 Dell machine. The operating system is clunky and won't even support the track pad properly. It's too bad to use outdoors in the cold and dark - it just confuses me. I thought a faster, bigger machine like the new MBP would help but it seems you have to get down and dirty with command lines, even in 2020 with Windows. 

As you do all your astro stuff, I guess you have loaded drivers for all sorts. Is it really as fraught as it seems to be?

 

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1 hour ago, sophiecentaur said:

I have just replaced my iMac (old) with a new MacBook Pro, I am trying Windows 10 on it with Parallels and I struggle to load a Windows driver form my ZWO AS120MC. They don't recommend macOS for the 120MC but the native driver does actually allow the camera to work on OS X and I would have thought that there's no reason why I wouldn't get it to work on the VM. I am trying to fathom out how to instal the W10 driver and I just can't find it when the installer has run. (In the VM this time).

I have been lazy for years by using MacOS for many years and I been battling with an old Win7 Dell machine. The operating system is clunky and won't even support the track pad properly. It's too bad to use outdoors in the cold and dark - it just confuses me. I thought a faster, bigger machine like the new MBP would help but it seems you have to get down and dirty with command lines, even in 2020 with Windows. 

As you do all your astro stuff, I guess you have loaded drivers for all sorts. Is it really as fraught as it seems to be?

Sorry I don't think I'll be much help.  I just download the drivers and hope they look after themselves, which mostly they have I assume if a device works!  If it doesn't I'm usually stumped.  :)  You might get a better response posting your specific question in the relevant forum.   

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