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Old 18-10-2020, 01:44 PM
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Unattended all night imaging

Had my first successful all night unattended session with Voyager last night. Due to my very limited horizons I have created a script that waits for the object to clear the eastern tree line then stays on the object until is is within 40 mins of the meridian (where more trees in the property next door block the entire west view). Then it slews back to the east and waits for the next target. From twilight to dawn I managed to capture 5 objects and ~ 120 LRGB subs in total.

The script manages equipment connection and camera cool down and warm up with timing determined by Astronomical twilight. Focusing, platesolving and guiding also taken care of throughout the night. I've also got my Arduino weather station providing cloud, wind, rain and light inputs that suspend things if a threshold is crossed.

Not having to supervise the automation software and ability for it to recover from lost guide stars is a major breakthrough for me. Hopefully I can get a lot more imaging time (and more sleep) during the week with this approach.
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Old 18-10-2020, 02:12 PM
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Hi Peter, wow that is impressive to say the least, well done.
.
Some years ago I used to image as well and spent many long hours at the helm so to speak, which i did enjoy i might add.

Do you think something is missing while your rig dose all the work and your not there. just asking, other than that fantastic achievement to get it all happening like you said

Leon
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Old 18-10-2020, 02:20 PM
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Do you think something is missing while your rig dose all the work and your not there. just asking, other than that fantastic achievement to get it all happening like you said

Leon
The way it was meant I was not spending much time using the equipment during the week.

At least this way I will end up getting more value out of it and can spend the time processing while it is looking after image capture.
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Old 18-10-2020, 03:32 PM
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Yep fair enough, enjoy, one hell of a way to do it i suppose.

Leon
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Old 18-10-2020, 04:08 PM
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Hi Peter you've described my nirvana... I'm heading that direction but until I manage to find some way to make my set up permanent I probably won't have the motivation to get there. As it is having restarted this hobby after a long hiatus I am amazed at just how much automation is possible. I have an eagle pc for the scope with auto focusser and dew control and have enjoyed many an evening imaging from deck or lounge room. I use APT which I've got very familiar with.Voyager looks great. If it works with aot that would be great. Otherwise ill have to go and learn SGP. And a weather station that's something I'll need to... next couple weeks looks a washout weatherwise tho!
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Old 18-10-2020, 05:53 PM
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Hi Robert. I've got a pretty basic pool pump shed with a flip top roof. Apart from having to manually open and close the roof and remove the dustcap from the scope almost everything else is now automated. I built my own arduino weather station and wrote some VB code to allow it to talk via ASCOM. It is actually remarkably easy to do and a lot less cost than the commercial units.
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:31 PM
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Great to hear Peter,

I was using Voyager last night and with the passing high cloud, I was delighted when it recovered from a lost guide star. Much better than my previous experience with CCD Commander - if anything failed, it just proceeded onto the next action in the script.

I'm hoping Voyager evolves into an alternative for ACP Scheduler. It does intelligent scheduling, chooses the most suitable target (based on position in the sky and a host of other criteria) from a list without you having to script the entire run each evening. The market needs alternatives and ACP has had a monopoly on that task for a while. (This is for the school observatory I help to run, not my own setup unfortunately - my own gear will remain a temporary setup for the foreseeable future)

Would love to hear about your Arduino Weather Station - any chance you'd write it up as a project for others? I really enjoy mucking around with that stuff, but have no real idea about coding.

DT
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:33 PM
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I get scared with an unattented meridian flip. One night and I'd end up in rehab.
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
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I get scared with an unattented meridian flip. One night and I'd end up in rehab.
Just needs some faith, trust and Pixie dust - to quote Tinkerbell

Provided you've got the software parameters setup and reliable plate solving, it's a non-event.

DT
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Old 18-10-2020, 08:02 PM
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Great to hear Peter,

I was using Voyager last night and with the passing high cloud, I was delighted when it recovered from a lost guide star. Much better than my previous experience with CCD Commander - if anything failed, it just proceeded onto the next action in the script.

I'm hoping Voyager evolves into an alternative for ACP Scheduler. It does intelligent scheduling, chooses the most suitable target (based on position in the sky and a host of other criteria) from a list without you having to script the entire run each evening. The market needs alternatives and ACP has had a monopoly on that task for a while. (This is for the school observatory I help to run, not my own setup unfortunately - my own gear will remain a temporary setup for the foreseeable future)

Would love to hear about your Arduino Weather Station - any chance you'd write it up as a project for others? I really enjoy mucking around with that stuff, but have no real idea about coding.

DT
David,

I agree the recovery is a real strength. I've never successfully left things unattended with either of the other options I've tried.

There is quite a lot going on with Voyager developments. It might not be up to ACP standard however there is this in the making:

https://forum.starkeeper.it/t/my-ast...g-planner/1985


Re the arduino project...take a look at this thread:

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=178965

If you are interested in going down that path I have quite a bit of detail around my cloud model that I can share and there is also information on how some of the commercial units have approached this in the public domain if you know where to look. Funnily enough I stumbled across some work by Idso for mine and I later learned some of the commercial units went down a similar path.

I had not done any coding since Fortran in secondary school however you can teach an old dog new tricks...Google is your friend Visual Studio and VB.net is pretty intuitive and I got some fantastic help from a fellow IIS member to resolve a nagging issue.

Peter.
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Old 18-10-2020, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiweb View Post
I get scared with an unattented meridian flip. One night and I'd end up in rehab.

It took me a couple of nights to get the bugs smoothed out when I was using SGP, then another couple to fettle settings when I switched to Voyager to get the setup playing nicely (In effect all I had to do was delay the flip a bit further past the meridian to be dead sure the AZEQ would land west of the meridian after pointing and cone error etc)

The first night I used my new CEM70G I took a deep breath and went to bed as soon as it was up and running properly. Six hours of data between two targets and a flawless flip in the middle of both of them. Once you have your cable management sorted out and so long as you have your plate soling working well, unattended flips become a completely unremarkable part of the night. I used to sit up and watch it flip early on!
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:07 PM
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Both nights that I've left my scope to run (no flipping involved) from low east to meridian I've had dreams that the telescope caused the house to flood very badly.
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_4059 View Post
David,

I agree the recovery is a real strength. I've never successfully left things unattended with either of the other options I've tried.

There is quite a lot going on with Voyager developments. It might not be up to ACP standard however there is this in the making:

https://forum.starkeeper.it/t/my-ast...g-planner/1985


Re the arduino project...take a look at this thread:

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=178965

If you are interested in going down that path I have quite a bit of detail around my cloud model that I can share and there is also information on how some of the commercial units have approached this in the public domain if you know where to look. Funnily enough I stumbled across some work by Idso for mine and I later learned some of the commercial units went down a similar path.

I had not done any coding since Fortran in secondary school however you can teach an old dog new tricks...Google is your friend Visual Studio and VB.net is pretty intuitive and I got some fantastic help from a fellow IIS member to resolve a nagging issue.

Peter.
Thanks Peter,

The cloud sensor looks a bit beyond my capabilities, but interesting nonetheless.

As for that voyager thread, by predicting the best target to image at a certain time at night, they're halfway to what ACP Scheduler does.

One I was interested in implementing was having goals for a target, and automatically writing or adjusting a Voyager sequence to try to meet those goals within the time allowed by any given night. However, I decided to put that off for now as I assume that’d be a replication of what’s coming in Voyager Advanced.

I've seen a few comments like this one that suggest Voyager Advanced might be what I'm after for the school observatory.

DT
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:59 PM
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Well I'm pretty rusty on PI but I'm keen to share some results so here goes. NGC1365 captured unattended with Voyager over four nights.

The thing I'm most happy with about this image is I normally wouldn't bother with this target due to the very limited window I have due to trees. This one is 32x5min L and 16x2min RGB binned 2x2.

The big version is now here:
https://astrob.in/full/p3rwei/0/

Thanks for looking
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Last edited by peter_4059; 20-10-2020 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 18-10-2020, 10:17 PM
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Nothing rusty there!

DT
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Old 19-10-2020, 07:12 AM
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well all the talk of programming and various programs is beyond me at the moment but your cant argue with the result from that barred spiral nebulosity popping out. I love the pool pump shed observatory idea... with my tiny 10x10m backyard something like that could still work!
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Old 19-10-2020, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_4059 View Post
Well I'm pretty rusty on PI but I'm keen to share some results so here goes. NGC1365 captured unattended with Voyager over four nights.

The thing I'm most happy with about this image is I normally wouldn't bother with this target due to the very limited window I have due to trees. This one is 32x5min L and 16x2min RGB binned 2x2.

Thanks for looking
Impressive. Just shows it works.
PS: it needs more green.
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Old 19-10-2020, 11:35 AM
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The ultimate dream.
Great job.
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Old 19-10-2020, 02:46 PM
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Really great pic Peter

You have mastered PI with those results

Was that captured with the QSI 683 and the 10inch?

Cheers Geoff
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Old 19-10-2020, 07:17 PM
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Nice NGC1365 Peter.
I like the idea of Voyager, i am using NINA but i have to keep getting up every 2 hours to check that it is all still working.


jack
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