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johninderby

Starsense Explorer Stand Alone Conversion

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As far as I recall you have one more (different) code on (or in) the box. I believe that's what they might ask to confirm you are the product owner. Email registration is a good security anchor as well. But the email may change too.

Edited by AlexK

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The other code seems to be for some other software, not bothered to load that tho. Registration doesn't ask for any code, just model and purchase date along with your email address. Can't recall if it asked for home address and I only did that last night lol.

Just went back to the web page, doesn't even ask the specific model so they've no clue if you have an LT70 or DX model

image.thumb.png.89ed2127fa2d8d267a8101769fa72f00.png

Edited by DaveL59

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Just trying it out here at work- probably the worst skies you can imagine- can make out maybe 3 stars just naked eye, and it’s struggling a bit not surprisingly- have to keep moving it around to find some sky it can lock on then it almost finds mars but can’t plate solve again.  The fact it doesn’t quite make it though are a bad omen for my iphone imu 😞 Unfair test really as my usual site isn’t as bad. Blimey the mount/tripod on this thing are super twitchy! That’s probably not helping.

Oh and you’re right about BJs too Dave- it’s soft round the edge of field on all eps, though sharp enough in the centre 

Mark

Edited by markse68

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oh yeah, like jelly on a plate 😄 

Moon maybe isn't helping as that part of the sky is very bright and seems hazy up there tonight too.

edit - any dewing issues? I notice my shed windows are all misted up already.

Edited by DaveL59

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looking at the moon earlier just naked eye and there was a huge halo effect around it and a lot of shimmer in the stars, so I've not bothered to set up to observe. With the shed windows already misted I expected seeing wouldn't be great and one kitty came in not long ago all damp so  probably a good decision 🙂 

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This thread is meant to be about using the Starsense explorer software standalone and I can’t wait to get my bracket from the printers and mount it on my dob but I just wanted to share my first proper experience with the software and the LT114 bird jones thing I bought as a donor.

OMG! this is amazingly brilliant! I just had a couple of hours and so much fun it’s hard to believe. This thing is much more than just a replacement dsc or setting circles. I would just browse around familiar constellations then a messier would pop up on the screen- click and centre it and there it was- I found things I’ve never seen with my bigger scope or even thought to look for. It’d make an incredible educational tool and it will definitely be educating me! I can’t quite get over how well it worked and how amazing it is 😃 The fact it was strapped to a crappy bj didn’t matter one jot- it found me Uranus in an area of sky I could see no stars in at all the sky was so poor tonight! Only a couple of times did it fail to lock but then it’d take a second attempt at it and get the plate solve. It only seemed to take a couple of seconds to get the lock each time and when slewing actually the phone imu did a pretty good job most of the time.

There was a little bit of offset in the targeting  despite multiple re-centring but it wasn’t too bad. I think that may be from the tilt of the phone holder putting the optical axis quite low in the camera frame- probably lens distortion throwing it out a bit. Maybe they could add some manual tweakability to get it perfect.

This is really very cool

Mark

PS why on earth would they design a scope and mount that couldn’t reach zenith?!? 🤦‍♂️

 

 

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it is quite a surprise how well it works using just a smartphone isn't it 🙂 

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3 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

it is quite a surprise how well it works using just a smartphone isn't it 🙂 

It is! I could see it’s potential and had high hopes but i was grinning from ear to ear last night actually using it 😊 Last time i was so excited about something astro was when i figured out how to use the setting circles on the telementor but this is another level! I enjoy the thrill of the chase of finding things the old fashioned way but sometimes it can be very frustrating under light polluted skies and i think being able to find things quickly like this and being able to browse the heavens like this will be really fun :)

Thinking about it some more, it should be possible to fine tune the offset by manually offsetting the target while doing the initial alignment process- will give it a go.

Mark

Edited by markse68
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oh I figured on my LT70 that I can hit zenith via a cludge - drop the tripod leg height on one leg when the scope is as far as it'll go. Not ideal or too stable but then the small  frac is pretty lightweight. Not sure how well that'd work on the light-bucket versions 😉 

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1 hour ago, markse68 said:

It is! I could see it’s potential and had high hopes but i was grinning from ear to ear last night actually using it 😊 Last time i was so excited about something astro was when i figured out how to use the setting circles on the telementor but this is another level! I enjoy the thrill of the chase of finding things the old fashioned way but sometimes it can be very frustrating under light polluted skies and i think being able to find things quickly like this and being able to browse the heavens like this will be really fun :)

Thinking about it some more, it should be possible to fine tune the offset by manually offsetting the target while doing the initial alignment process- will give it a go.

Mark

I've been nothing but impressed with this technology too Mark.

My 8" Dob has sat in a corner of the summerhouse and largely unused for the last 2 years or so because with our light pollution I've preferred using GoTo as I feel that I get more out of observing that way.

However, using the converted SSE I've rediscovered the joys of the Dob and I'm loving the extra clarity that the 8" aperture is giving me compared to my 100mm and 120mm Fracs, though they will continue to be my choice for planetary as the tracking us so convenient.

The views I had of M36, M37, M38, M27 and M57 were so much clearer than with the ED120 with the halo of M57 jumping out at me.

Being used to SkySafari I find the cut down interface a bit limiting as I normally use SS to record my observations, but I'm still mighty impressed.

Really enjoyed reading your first light report as I could feel your enthusiasm.

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26 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Being used to SkySafari I find the cut down interface a bit limiting as I normally use SS to record my observations, but I'm still mighty impressed.

Hi Ade, I didn’t mention the interface did I- it is limited compared to full blown SS I agree and would be nice if they eventually did a plug in for SS- that would be really great, but I do really like the interface. It is a quality product and doesn’t have the feel of a toy like it could have been. Sure it has sky tours etc but it has a serious look- a proper tool. I really like the way they’ve done the trail of chevrons directing you to target and how it starts wide angle then zooms in as you approach closer. It does have the usual SS bug bears like refusing to find things if you type them in a way it doesn’t like eg it wouldn’t find bodes or bode insisting on bode’s. Otherwise it’s really great i think :) Really looking forward to getting it on my Dob

Mark

Edited by markse68

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15 minutes ago, markse68 said:

Hi Ade, I didn’t mention the interface did I- it is limited compared to full blown SS I agree and would be nice if they eventually did a plug in for SS- that would be really great, but I do really like the interface. It is a quality product and doesn’t have the feel of a toy like it could have been. Sure it has sky tours etc but it has a serious look- a proper tool. I really like the way they’ve done the trail of chevrons directing you to target and how it starts wide angle then zooms in as you approach closer. It does have the usual SS bug bears like refusing to find things if you type them in a way it doesn’t like eg it wouldn’t find bodes or bode insisting on bode’s. Otherwise it’s really great i think :) Really looking forward to getting it on my Dob

Mark

Don't get me wrong Mark, I do like the interface and the chevrons indicating the direction to target, the movement of the bullseye across the scree as you move the Dob and then the zooming in on screen as you get closer to zeroing in on target.

It's absolutely spot on for the intended market, nice and simple so that users don't feel daunted by the interface.

But, because it looks similar to SkySafari I tend to forget what app I'm using then go looking for buttons that don't exist in the SSE app.  This is more to do with user error than a fault with the app.

I do hope that this technology will be added to the full blown SkySafari potentially as an add on purchase in time, but in the meantime it's a great tool for observing from home when I can't be bothered with setting up on the EQ mount so the Dob will go back to being my grab and go setup for taking advantages of quick breaks in the cloud.

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Aww! Great find indeed! Flimsy, but unequal sized prisms are so rare that I'd get one anyway and retrofit into a custom 3DP design.

(Got two. There is another smaller magnetic model as well) 

It might even have a non-straight flip angle making it even better than Celestron mirror (unless the vignetting is bad).

Edited by AlexK

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Are they using a double reflection to non-invert the image though? I think it needs to be inverted for the software to work doesn’t it?- at least i think i read it doesn’t work without the mirror 🤷‍♂️

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ahh true, could be erecting, doesn't say in the descriptions for sure, could be an prism arrangement of some sort. Oh well, seemed like a nice easy way at first glance. 

Yep to the inverted image, for the app it'd need to be hence a mirror or a regular porro prism works fine with it, but aiming the phone camera direct to the sky doesn't.

Edited by DaveL59

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My 3D printed bracket arrived and i’m pretty excited about it 😃

Made a few booboos- the prism securing screw head didn’t reach the prism- doh 🙄 so i had to cut an oversize washer for it but the prism seems a good fit and now quite secure. And I seem to have got the picatinny dovetail angle slightly wrong despite taking extra care to get it right 🙄 so it was a very tight fit but it did go in and tight is good- right? ;)

The actual phone mounty bit could have been a touch tighter- the phone is very easy to fit and secure from falling but can slide a little till the protruding lens stops it but some tape on the flat side should help there. 

Anyway it works :) No vignetting and it feels pretty solid. Bit tricky to take a pic of phone with phone so you’ll have to believe me 😉

Now to try it out under the stars :)

Mark

378C2E5C-B6A0-4364-9DC3-479AAF88A9CE.jpeg

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See- no vignetting :)528F3DD3-650B-407D-A4F8-0F0B7476F180.jpeg

D3DC7C93-713E-439F-903B-EC3D39D65FC7.jpeg

B68677B8-ECAD-4CA1-AD2F-59379F3894D7.jpeg

It fits onto the weaver/picatinny rail i already have- in place of the red dot3E9FFC8C-FF90-4C5D-BA21-683636F0A0BA.jpeg

5A9113B1-26E7-4CEC-B78E-5A5C7163ABED.jpeg

and just peaks out over the rim of the OTACEF2EA95-0000-44B0-8D05-82A4CDEE6CAB.jpeg

Edited by markse68
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14 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

ahh true, could be erecting, doesn't say in the descriptions for sure, could be an prism arrangement of some sort. Oh well, seemed like a nice easy way at first glance. 

Yep to the inverted image, for the app it'd need to be hence a mirror or a regular porro prism works fine with it, but aiming the phone camera direct to the sky doesn't.

The prism casing shape looks weird on photos indeed, so it could hide a roof prism.

By the way, I had an idea once to investigate if it's possible to force the Android camera into the mirrored mode by default to fool the app on that . I.e. using root tweaks, or tweaking the camera API library (I'm Android software engineer).

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2 hours ago, markse68 said:

My 3D printed bracket arrived and i’m pretty excited about it 😃

Looks cool indeed!

Minor mistakes are easy to fix in the plastic post-printed with a heat gun, or/and addressed if necessary in the v2. That's the beauty of the home printer: repeat until 100% satisfied (I would remove that brass insert along with the nylon screw as soon as you confirm the best fit position and lean the one-side-full-edge-latch design).

But why you have resorted to the half-way-only printed case? Isn't that an obvious mechanical design defect?

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5 minutes ago, AlexK said:

By the way, I had an idea once to investigate if it's possible to force the Android camera into the mirrored mode by default to fool the app on that . I.e. using root tweaks, or tweaking the camera API library (I'm Android software engineer).

That would be cool and make it much less hassle for people to use without the big camera bracket Celestron supply but sounds like a lot of work!

BTW do you know which android phones would be best suited hardware wise to run this app as fast and optimally as possible (I guess that would mean best low light camera performance and imu)

Mark

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1 minute ago, AlexK said:

Looks cool indeed!

Minor mistakes are easy to fix in the plastic post-printed with a heat gun, or/and addressed if necessary in the v2. That's the beauty of the home printer: repeat until 100% satisfied (I would remove that brass insert along with the nylon screw as soon as you confirm the best fit position and lean the one-side-full-edge-latch design).

Thanks Alex, it’s not home printed- SLS isn’t really a home print solution as the machines are big expensive complicated and messy! But the quality of the final print is worth it I think- very tough and aesthetically pleasing. I did think about having the prism clip in but I figured it’d be better to have it removable for cleaning and for if it got really wet, to dry it. A production version would probably be better glued in as that would also seal from moisture ingress.

5 minutes ago, AlexK said:

But why you have resorted to the half-way-only printed case? Isn't that an obvious mechanical design defect?

Not really 😉 Making it full length would have doubled the cost (not cheap) and this way the phone is easier to remove. The camera lens assembly protrudes from the body on this iphone (7) and that locates in the hole it sees through to the prism- that and the springy clip side rails hold it pretty securely. I just added a small pad of heli-tape which helps by gripping the back of the phone, completely eliminating any free play from the tolerances- should be good to go i hope. Of course we are literally inside a cloud here tonight though 😡 so will have to wait for first light.

Mark

C55CFA6D-CA24-4D9C-A59A-6842B4E99C7F.jpeg

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1 minute ago, markse68 said:

That would be cool and make it much less hassle for people to use without the big camera bracket Celestron supply but sounds like a lot of work!

BTW do you know which android phones would be best suited hardware wise to run this app as fast and optimally as possible (I guess that would mean best low light camera performance and imu)

Mark

That's not much work, just time to research camera API implementation and the way to hijack its calls when necessary.

I believe that best Android smartphones for the CSSE tasks flawless support are Samsung models listed compatible with the Samsung Gear VR technology. They have the best positional sensors (usually both accelerometers and gyroscopes) installed to support seamless virtual reality performance. That's because from the user's point of view the performance of the pointing with the CSSE software depends most heavily on the accuracy of the Push phase. Other phases can have a lag of a couple of seconds due to the busy CPU/RAM/ROM but if you have to repeat the Push after the second field scan you lose that time twice. As an added benefit compatible phones have faster hardware for 3D rendering.

I'm still using the old Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone in the GearVR headset when commuting for hours in the tour bus. The virtual 100+" computer screen in front of me feels being bolted to the concrete wall and I'm jumping in front of it on potholes of California freeways :D Exceptionally good sensors!

Camera seems to be least important. As soon as it's clean and has no severe distortions should work.

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3 minutes ago, AlexK said:

Camera seems to be least important. As soon as it's clean and has no severe distortions should work.

interesting- i’d have thought a fast camera would be beneficial as particularly in light polluted skies I think the exposure times need to be quite long- any saving there would make the thing more responsive though I get what you’re saying about imu response and accuracy

Mark

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1 minute ago, markse68 said:

interesting- i’d have thought a fast camera would be beneficial as particularly in light polluted skies I think the exposure times need to be quite long- any saving there would make the thing more responsive though I get what you’re saying about imu response and accuracy

Mark

The lens speed would be indeed beneficial to some good extent, however the CSSE plate solving is leveraging true stacking of video, so if there is not enough light it might decide to double the stacking times (more frames, more deconvolution time, which is still just additional several seconds in a worst case) and then either command you to proceed with pushing on success or report a failure but in the latter case you have saved on the Push time. The stacking base increase equals to improving the lens' speed proportionally, thus the latter is not that crucial.

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