Old 15-10-2014, 06:07 PM
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konstantinos75 is offline
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Plate solving advice needed

Plate solving is an advanced technique where the telescope will slew to exactly where it previously was to line up with the stars in a shot perfectly, so as to continue a shot or start again a new night, or multiple nights etc
I have at my disposal
• Skywatcher HEQ5 synscan Pro mount
• MaximDL
• Sky 6 professional software bisque
• Software bisque Tpoint
This is how I set my equipment for astrophotography.
1) Power on the mount; set skywatcher Synscan hand controller to “PC direct mode”
2) Start Sky 6 connect to the telescope with EQMOD ASCOM
3) Insert Tpoint in Sky 6 and map 6 bright stars near my target
4) Perform goto to the target
5) Use joystick to center my target
6) Start autoguiding and capturing with MaximDL

Imagine this; I take a fit image of M45 on the first night let’s call it “image1.fit”. Then I park the scope and don’t dismantle anything. The second night I want to slew the telescope exactly to M45 as it was previous night. Plate solving technique will help me do this. I capture “image2.fit”.
“Image1.fit” and “image2.fit” should be perfectly aligned to each other.
How I can do plate solving without get rid of my current software? I have heard about CCDautopilot but I am not sure… Also I have heard about Sequence Generator Pro… also not sure… All I am asking is to make plate solving in a easy way, like push here dummy , and make use of my current software.
Any advice is welcomed!
Thank you very much
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Old 15-10-2014, 06:29 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Astrotortilla can connect to EQMOD and I think it can use Maxim to aquire images. It's free and it will do what you want but if you already have plate solving features in Maxim then perhaps someone else can help you setting that up.
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Old 15-10-2014, 06:45 PM
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Amaranthus (Barry)
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You can use AstroTorilla - it is a standalone plate solver that will work in combination with any equipment (via File Open dialogue). It works extremely well. No need then to ever centre anything with a joystick ever again!

SGP uses an alternative solver - Elbrus, and can also connect to Astrometry.net (which is the engine used -- as a local copy -- by AstroTortilla).
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Old 15-10-2014, 07:28 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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I ended up with AstroArtV5, does plate solving much quicker than AT and is much cheaper than MaximDL.....
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Old 15-10-2014, 07:32 PM
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rogerg (Roger)
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I'm a little confused about your approach and perhaps understanding it will help you too.

Plate solving its self is just the process of matching an image to a database. What you seem to be after is plate solving together with re-slewing to original co-ordinates.

You seem to be trying to give the system an image from last night and match that location. I think instead you need to:
1) go-to desired co-ordinates
2) plate-solve and re-slew so that your telescope is now truely pointing at those desired co-ordinates.
3) take images.
4) packup.
5) start a new night.
6) repeat steps 1, 2 & 3.

Point is that you are slewing to co-ordiantes not to match an image, but you are slewing to co-ordinates with certainty so hence your images from multiple nights end up of exactly the same field.

The above can be achieved by using the software you have together with CCDCommander which is relatively inexpensive, but does still cost something. I'm not sure if it can be achieved without that, by using just Maxim + TheSky, but I don't think so
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Old 15-10-2014, 07:39 PM
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Amaranthus (Barry)
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Roger, you can solve on an image, slew to it, and then iterative re-solve/slew to centre a target using AT, so this option would work for the poster.
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:02 AM
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scagman (John)
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Hi Konstantinos,

I use the "image link" feature in The Sky X and don't know if the sky 6 uses "image link".
"image link" is a plate solver. So I would image on night 1 take image/s, then on night 2 I would slew to same target as on night 1, then open an image from night 1 in "image link" and plate solve that image. I can then click on the solved image and tell the mount to slew to the linked image and I'm now pointing at the same spot as the image from night 1 and can now start imaging on night 2 and my target should be framed as it was on night 1.
You should be able to do similar in Maxim.
Hope that makes sense.

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Old 16-10-2014, 05:38 PM
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Hi all

I have created this short tutorial which describes the steps I must follow to shoot the same target on multiple nights with a CCD camera. This tutorial is based on our discussion with Pinpoint.

Could you have a review of it? I need to test this on the field.


Last but not least, I have noticed PinPoint sometimes takes a long time to plate solve a fit image. I have to abort the operation. Any idea why this happen?

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Old 17-10-2014, 07:21 AM
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DavidTrap (David)
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Are you connecting to the mount via a serial cable plugged into the bottom of the synscan hand controller? If so, are you getting reliable plate solves? A mate had all sorts of trouble with plate solving using that connection, but when he changed to an EQ direct cable and removed the hand controller completely, it worked much more reliably.

Maxim will do what you are wanting to do. People forget it has a catalogue inbuilt, within the telescope tab. Search for M45, slew to that, recompose the image to what you're after and do your imaging run. The next night, unpark, load up one of your images, plate solve that and slew back to that location. It won't be perfect, so take a quick image, plate solve and resync your mount to the solved location. Now load up the M45 image again, plate solve and slew to the solved location again. As this will be a small slew only, it's usually spot on.

It is a lot of steps and flicking around through different windows/tabs in Maxim, but it works well once you get your head around it.


Last edited by DavidTrap; 17-10-2014 at 07:30 AM. Reason: Added a lot
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Old 18-10-2014, 06:08 AM
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I have have upgraded to full version of PinPoint.
I have found the reason why PinPoint takes long time and finally will not plate solve the FITs image.
After examining the FITs header I see RA/DEC parameters are missing.
This is because when I captured the image via MaximDL, I did not enabled the link to the telescope in the Observatory Control window of MaximDL. So the program did not put this info in FITs header.
After manually inserting it, now plate solving works fine and very fast using PinPoint.

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