ICEINSPACE
Most Read Articles
Moon Phase
CURRENT MOON Full Moon
99.4%
The Sun Now
Time Zones
Sydney*
5:29 pm
Perth
2:29 pm
Auckland*
7:29 pm
New York
1:29 am
Paris
7:29 am
GMT
6:29 am




  #1  
Old 07-10-2018, 08:00 PM
glend (Glen)
Registered User

glend is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Lake Macquarie, NSW
Posts: 4,950
Integration - the future of Imaging

I was reading a recent thread started by Atmos (Colin) about cameras, and it struck me that we still tend to think of imaging componentry as consisting of discrete items that we source (as our budgets allow) and put together to build a system that suits our needs and legacy equipment.
However, recent developments are pointing towards a systems integration approach that removes many of the headaches that many Newbies go through (ie the learning curve). I am thinking of the ASIAir product:


https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/product/zwo-asiair


which brings an advanced integration approach at a very low cost. Sure it won't suit everybody, but what ZWO is doing here is bundling up a system that would suit most new imagers who are just starting out. Once a Newbie gets a taste for a low cost integrated imaging solution, why would they tear their hair out (and burn cash) building one from scratch?
I think ZWO are thinking way ahead of some of their competitors, and as we saw with their CMOS cameras, they are driving strategic change in imaging.


The ASIAir feature set is impressive, and likely just the beginning of the drive for a fully integrated platform.

What is your view on the future of imaging technology and software integration?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-10-2018, 08:21 PM
Atmos's Avatar
Atmos (Colin)
Ultimate Noob

Atmos is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 5,777
I believe it was Meade that took the first step in this direction about a decade ago with their LS (Light Switch) series of 6-8” SCTs. They did okay but not great but they also didn’t implement it great, technology wasn’t in their favour at the price point they were going for I imagine.

Sky Watcher started doing this within a few of their mounts 5 years ago. There have been several integrated telescope systems on Kickstarter in the last few years, not sure if any have made it into the hands of the public yet though.

It’s has been bubbling a long for a while but this appears to be one of the best so far. Now if ZWO would make a small mount akin to the Star Adventurer then they’d have the perfect “beginners package” for wide field work. They have small astrographs, why not little low capacity mounts to go with them
ASI071, 50mm lens, ASIAIR and ASI-Mount
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 15-10-2018, 07:49 AM
Wavytone (Nick)
BigBanger

Wavytone is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Killara, Sydney
Posts: 3,488
I’ve seen ads for quite a few fully integrated automated small scopes that are imaging-only, but one thing stands out - they are totally incapable of being upgraded later on.

Typically operated from a properietary smartphone app, with an all-in-one scope+mount +camera. All the ones I’ve seen admittedly are very small about 3-4” aperture - backpackable even, but that also means pretty limited as to what they can do.

Low cost yes, but throwaways nonetheless. Target market is kids and beginners.

Meade and Celestron are also aware a significant percentage of scopes are sold to users who are keen at first but don’t want something that takes half an hour to assemble and another half hour of fiddling before it’s ready to observe. Most of these are used perhaps a half a dozen times at which point the owner loses interest or decides it’s all too hard and it spends the next 20 years in storage until someone rediscovers it. This imho was the target market for the Lightswitch and CPC scopes.

Last edited by Wavytone; 15-10-2018 at 07:59 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 15-10-2018, 11:26 AM
LewisM's Avatar
LewisM
Novichok test rabbit

LewisM is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Somewhere in the cosmos...
Posts: 8,729
Vixen offers a similar unit with their advanced unit for Starbook 10 - it permits direct autoguiding through the Starbook 10 handcontroller (mini computer), camera control, image display from a CCD, AVI play back etc etc. It's been around a while.

It does many other features too. I don't have it with my Starbook 10, and don't plan to, but nice to know if I want it, I can (it is around $900). None of the mounts Starbook 10 work with can be considered budget or beginner though by any stretch of the imagination.

I have ONE cable going to my laptop - and that is for the CCD and AG downloads (the AG runs through my CCD's inbuilt hub). The rest is done in SB10, or SkySafari running the SB10.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 15-10-2018, 12:47 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
BigBanger

Wavytone is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Killara, Sydney
Posts: 3,488
Just a few from the latest crop:
Evscope:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...-a-classical-t
Hiuni:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...goto-telescope
Unistellar:
https://unistellaroptics.com/unistel...mer-telescope/

Some of these just make me think - gawd how about you look up, with your own eyes - instead of putting all this technology in the way.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 15-10-2018, 01:35 PM
glend (Glen)
Registered User

glend is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Lake Macquarie, NSW
Posts: 4,950
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
Just a few from the latest crop:
Evscope:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...-a-classical-t
Hiuni:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...goto-telescope
Unistellar:
https://unistellaroptics.com/unistel...mer-telescope/

Some of these just make me think - gawd how about you look up, with your own eyes - instead of putting all this technology in the way.
I think you have missed the point. Look these types of system are certainly not what I was talking about in my original post. I agree there are plenty of toys around. The ASIAir is not in this sort of category, imho as it can work with some serious equipment, much of which is already available. It provides an integration layer. Take the rubbishing of the toys to another thread.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 15-10-2018, 02:00 PM
Stonius's Avatar
Stonius (Markus)
Registered User

Stonius is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 874
I looked at this before, but it only mentions compatibility with tablets and phones. I'm not going to want to do any serious astronomy with a tablet or a tiny phone. Maybe it would work with a laptop too, but I'm not going to spend the money to find out unless I hear other's good news stories.

Markus
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 15-10-2018, 02:51 PM
RickS's Avatar
RickS (Rick)
PI cult recruiter

RickS is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 10,578
Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
I think you have missed the point. Look these types of system are certainly not what I was talking about in my original post. I agree there are plenty of toys around. The ASIAir is not in this sort of category, imho as it can work with some serious equipment, much of which is already available. It provides an integration layer. Take the rubbishing of the toys to another thread.
The ASIAir is a bit of a toy too, IMO. I looked into using one with my Star Adventurer set up and came away unimpressed. Just off the top of my head... It has very limited storage, especially since it is designed to work with cameras that are likely to be taking lots of short subs. Another thing that disappointed me was that it only works with USB3 cameras but actually only does USB2. Also the CPU doesn't look like it will have the grunt to do much.

I'm sure they will make some improvements to the firmware over time but I think it will take better hardware to make it a workable proposition for wider acceptance.

Cheers,
Rick.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 15-10-2018, 03:10 PM
LewisM's Avatar
LewisM
Novichok test rabbit

LewisM is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Somewhere in the cosmos...
Posts: 8,729
I had heard mention they also only work presently with ASI/ZWO cameras - this could be incorrect, but their spiel seems to indicate as such, as well as limited compatibility with older ASI cameras. I suppose so long as you have ZWO cameras, all should be OK.

I note it does come with a 32GB SD card - should be ample storage for a night's work at least.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 15-10-2018, 06:45 PM
kens (Ken)
Registered User

kens is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 278
The integration is really provided by INDI running on the Raspberry Pi. You can run INDI on any Linux device and even on multiple devices. I run it on a Aaeon UP which has 64Gb EMMC and USB3. I’m hoping to offload the mount driver to a Raspberry Pi but I’m hitting issues with RF interference. This kind of DIY requires a bit of Linux knowledge but at least the code is not locked down. There are other turnkey options like Stellarmate. It’s unfortunate with the ASIAir that insufficient credit is given to the INDI developers who made it possible. The real value of ASIAir is in the IOS based client software that interacts through INDI.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 15-10-2018, 08:39 PM
Peter Ward's Avatar
Peter Ward
Galaxy hitchhiking guide

Peter Ward is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Shire
Posts: 6,221
On the imaging side of the fence SBIG offered self guiding, filter wheel and
camera control a generation ago (circa 1990's)

Sure they did not take telescope pointing and plate-solving on-board but various degrees of integration have been around for a while.....

TheSkyX (likely in its 20th generation by now..) finds, compensates for errors and tracks objects sublimely (including those in low earth orbit)

Things I'd like to see in the future: emCCDs with deformable AO for much less than the cost of a nice Benz.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 16-10-2018, 07:05 AM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
Registered User

AstroApprentice is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 187
SS-one Kodo

The SS-one Kodo controller is also trying to fill the integrated & portable niche - mount control, GOTO, camera control, autoguiding, dithering, polar alignment camera etc. It can be purchased as a package with an entry level EQ5 mount or run other mounts.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (eq5kodo.jpg)
52.0 KB18 views
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 16-10-2018, 07:54 AM
ChrisV's Avatar
ChrisV (Chris)
Registered User

ChrisV is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Sydney
Posts: 904
Seems like a good idea to me. And why should they support other camera brands? It's there to sell their product. Good luck to them.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 16-10-2018, 08:21 AM
tim.anderson (Tim Anderson)
Registered User

tim.anderson is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Cowra
Posts: 76
I recently purchased an ASIAir unit and I can confirm that it fulfils its specification. It manages an EQ8 and NEQ6 mount, autoguides, plate-solves in seconds, manages a filter wheel, controls imaging runs of any length, bridges to SkySafari for object acquisition and definitely cleans up cable tangles.

The USB2 capacity of the Raspberry Pi unit is not a limitation so long as the imaging camera has a DRAM buffer - I use an ASI1600, which generates ~30MB files and they download to the ASIAir storage in about three seconds, so virtually no delay in resuming the next capture.

Considering the complete lack of standardisation among astro manufacturers, it is not surprising that ZWO only guarantees to support its own equipment. Trying for an open platform would be a support nightmare.

The unit certainly does a good job for my style of imaging and for the equipment that I use. Thoroughly recommend it.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 16-10-2018, 08:29 AM
tim.anderson (Tim Anderson)
Registered User

tim.anderson is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Cowra
Posts: 76
I should have said the the only thing I can see that the ASIAir doesn't do is autofocus control. But since ZWO is rumoured to be about to release a motorised focusser, I daresay that feature will be available in a future software upgrade.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 17-10-2018, 02:32 AM
pmrid (Peter)
Ageing badly.

pmrid is online now
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: SE Qld
Posts: 3,029
The ASIAIR looks to me to be just a Rasberry Pi (probably 3B rather than a 3B+) with the usual mix of INDI and EKOS dressed up around a nice desktop - not unlike StellarMate. It's a headless unit by the look too. So it can sit at or on the scope with minimum extra wires. These units have a few major limitations though. But I like them anyway and can see that there will be more developments along this pathway. But this is not a revolutionary product. It's just an incremental development of some nice but existing technology.
Peter
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 04:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
FLI Cameras and Imaging Accessories
Advertisement
Interest Free Finance
Advertisement
SkyWatcher WiFi Adaptor
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
SkyWatcher 2018 Catalogue
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement