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Seeking advice for fully automated planetary imaging setup


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Hi there! I am seeking for advice from you good people.

I want to create a setup for stargazing which is fully automated. Ideally every process like scope calibration, guiding, tracking, focusing and taking photos should be done through WiFi, preferably from an iPad tablet.

Planetary imaging is the main purpose. I don't really care about deep space imaging.

I want the whole setup to be rather cheap, small and light, at the expense of imaging quality.

I am a total noob (used to play with an ETX-70 lots of years ago), but I really need the functionality I have described above.

I am thinking of using the bellow components and kindly request that you correct/add to the list:

1) AstroFi 102

2) A ZWO camera suitable for planetary imaging (any ideas for less than or equal to $250)

3) An auto focuser and motor drive (any ideas)

4) Smth like an ASi air device?

Is a guider necessary for planetary imaging, by the way?

Do you think I am in the right path?

I still have not been able to really comprehend  the full picture. Is what I am asking for doable?

Thank you very much in advance!

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IMO you are not going to get what you want fully automated. Firstly, guiding is not required for planetary imaging so that makes it simpler in some ways. Focusing is not easy on planets so I tend to focus on a star first and then slew to the planet. Once you are set up and focused on the planet you will be taking short videos for stacking. Firstly use the field of view calculator and see what sort of image you are likely to get with your gear. You could probably pick up a second hand ZWO ASI224 for that sort of money.

Peter

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34 minutes ago, PeterCPC said:

IMO you are not going to get what you want fully automated. Firstly, guiding is not required for planetary imaging so that makes it simpler in some ways. Focusing is not easy on planets so I tend to focus on a star first and then slew to the planet. Once you are set up and focused on the planet you will be taking short videos for stacking. Firstly use the field of view calculator and see what sort of image you are likely to get with your gear. You could probably pick up a second hand ZWO ASI224 for that sort of money.

Peter

Can you please elaborate on the fov calculation procedure? Can you propose a sample configuration for my setup? Is the astrofi 102 a good option? 
 

Who does the driving, the astrofi or another component?

 

Total noob here. Sorry for any silly questions I have.

Edited by spaceboi
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At the top of the page there is Resources - click on that then FOV calculator then imaging and input details. This is what I got as, as you can see Jupiter is quite small. I am not familiar with the Astrofi102 but it looks like you control it with your tablet/phone. No questions are silly.

Peter

 

Capture.JPG

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Once you get all the main equipment sorted I think the cheapest way for automation would be a Raspberry Pi running Astroberry. You can connect to the Pi and control Ekos on a iPad using Safari.

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I am very familiar with rpi and Unix. My main concern is getting components that will work with each other. I still haven't figured out how everything is connected and who does what.

Assuming an AstroFi 102, and a auto focused, motor and camera do I need anything else?

In that case who does the driving? The astrofi mount which is WiFi capable and AltAz? What would the Astroberry do in such a setup?

 

Thanks

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Astroberry is just an astrophotography based desktop.

Main app is KStars/Ekos for automation and image capture. Connect mount, camera and focuser to the Pi and set up an equipment profile in Ekos. Ekos will use drivers to control everything.

 

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I am actually quite confused. I cannot find whether the astrofi 102 focuser can be motorised or not. Can you please propose a full setup (you already understand what i am looking for) that would be easy to assemble? I would like of the shelf parts for everything, if possible.

Thanks again.

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19 hours ago, MarkAR said:

Astroberry is just an astrophotography based desktop.

Main app is KStars/Ekos for automation and image capture. Connect mount, camera and focuser to the Pi and set up an equipment profile in Ekos. Ekos will use drivers to control everything.

 

Will the AltAz mount of the astrofi connect to the Pi? How is that physically achievable? ETH or WiFi? Or smth else?

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31 minutes ago, spaceboi said:

I am actually quite confused. I cannot find whether the astrofi 102 focuser can be motorised or not. Can you please propose a full setup (you already understand what i am looking for) that would be easy to assemble? I would like of the shelf parts for everything, if possible.

Thanks again.

You'll be best speaking to a vendor that sells the astrofi 102, they will be able to advise on how far you can go with it Re: automation. I'm not familiar with it, or automation to be honest. 

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The hardest thing about planetary imaging, given that you need along focal length setup, is actually getting a planet focused and centred in the field of view and in my experience GoTo doesn't cut it so automation  wont help and much manual twitching of buttons is required to get it centred.

Dave

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2 hours ago, spaceboi said:

Will the AltAz mount of the astrofi connect to the Pi? How is that physically achievable? ETH or WiFi? Or smth else?

Had a quick look at specifications and you might be able to connect via wifi or the optional handset.

Ekos does have some Celestron drivers, not sure which you would select in the profile though.

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I'm assuming your budget or something around a £1000 it might be very difficult to achieve a automated setup for that. I'd suggest getting a reflector with a long focal length, and a good quality Barlow. 

Planetary imaging automation is a myth, getting the focus right on planets is critical and most auto focus methods wouldn't get you anywhere close to required. 

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