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Old 14-05-2021, 01:35 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Astro with a Mac

I've been looking at a couple of MacMini's. There is an i5 model selling on FB which seems to be reasonably suited. So I thought that rather than my usual tricking of rushing in feet first I might as around to see if anyone out there has found success running their mounts, CCDs, FW, OAG guide cam etc using one of these - or similar.

Peter
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Old 14-05-2021, 02:07 PM
glend (Glen)
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Certainly not a mainstream approach to imaging. What is the attraction?
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Old 14-05-2021, 02:25 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Certainly not a mainstream approach to imaging. What is the attraction?
The main attraction is that these are not Windows and have fewer inherent susceptibilities. Over the years, I have developed a real dislike for Windows and have not yet been able to get a Linux system I can work with. Apple is more a last resort than an attraction. So if it can be done, Iíd like to look into it.
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Old 14-05-2021, 02:35 PM
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Nikolas (Nik)
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RAM RAM RAM and SSD will transform the mac mini.
As for software Pixinsight and Astropixel processor are the go to processing softwares for the mac. Also Photoshop etc.
If you want to do acquisition then that's a little harder unless you use an ASIAIr and bluestacks As the mac doesnt have the ASCOM support that windows does.
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Old 14-05-2021, 03:54 PM
AdamJL
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inherent susceptibilities. .
*scratches head*
The NT kernel is absolutely rock solid. Industry leading

Good luck with your endeavour but I think youíre making a rod for your own back and missing out on a lot of choice

That said, some of Mac mins really do sip power (like the NUCs) so thereís that
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Old 15-05-2021, 01:24 AM
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redbeard (Damien)
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https://www.macobservatory.com/mac-astronomy-software/

A start.

Good luck
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Old 15-05-2021, 08:33 AM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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I prefer doing everything on a mac, and really dislike the lack of intuitive user friendliness of windows.

That said for many years I missed out on automation for capture.
I used Nebulosity/Sky Safari/PHD which enabled capture, mount pointing & guiding, but no autofocus or plate solving.

Moving into automation, I understand that the Sky-X is mac based and does everything but is VERY expensive. Cloudmakers produce mac friendly capture software, but it's incompatible with my focuser and they have no plans to make it so. (I asked!)

That eventually led me to Stellarmate/Kstars/Indi initially on my mac - does everything but I couldn't get it to platesolve. Eventually purchased a Raspberry pi, loaded the Stellarmate OS and viola! Automation almost perfect.

The developer Jasem is hands on helpful too - there is still a niggle with coding my focuser but we're almost there. Platesolving is a breeze, the images are sharp, filter changes are ok, built in multi star guiding is great and the mount happily does a meridian flip, parks itself etc.

My buddies all use Voyager on a NUC without any issues, and although it's tempting it's windows only. I'm happy to work through the last issue with my focuser as the Stellarmate software is almost as user friendly as my mac.
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Old 15-05-2021, 08:50 AM
SB (Chris)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmrid View Post
I've been looking at a couple of MacMini's. There is an i5 model selling on FB which seems to be reasonably suited. So I thought that rather than my usual tricking of rushing in feet first I might as around to see if anyone out there has found success running their mounts, CCDs, FW, OAG guide cam etc using one of these - or similar.

Peter
Hi Peter
I run all my astro on a Mac and Ipad. I use AsiAir for controlling acquisition and use a Mac Mini M1 for processing. I use Affinity on the Mac. Stacking takes around less than two minutes and image processing is enjoyable. I also have a good Windows machine with Imaging and stacking software but Affinity has made that redundant. The new Mac M1 processor is very powerful and the box never gets hot! I would like to have Nina on the Mac however (could use parallels) but Iím happy with current setup and ease of use.
Chris
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Old 15-05-2021, 09:55 AM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
*scratches head*
The NT kernel is absolutely rock solid. Industry leading

Good luck with your endeavour but I think youíre making a rod for your own back and missing out on a lot of choice

That said, some of Mac mins really do sip power (like the NUCs) so thereís that
The inherent susceptibilities I was referring to are those in the Windows OS that are constantly being manipulated by hackers and the like. And the issue with Linux is not with the kernel but the number of my peripherals that EKOS/INDI don't recognise.
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Old 18-05-2021, 06:53 PM
jamespierce (James)
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I am a 30 year unix / linux / OSX veteran... I have recently given in and use a windows 10 pro machine dedicated purely for astro. It's not impossible on OSX but it's certainly harder, especially if you want to lean into serious automation. Also the vast bulk of supported and common drivers.

Doesn't stop the foul language every time windows decides to automatically install an update and reboot despite my every effort to stop this happening. Totally maddening.

If you are determined for a Mac approach... TheSkyX and Pixinsight is certainly a path for semi automation.
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Old 20-05-2021, 08:26 AM
JohnF (John)
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Thanks for the info as I have gone to that Fobdden Fruit computer, If i can get mine going again. Waiting for a New SATA cable for the HD.
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Old 21-05-2021, 05:24 PM
Craig_
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I do all my astro on a Mac - except it is running Windows 10 in Bootcamp. Works perfectly in that configuration for me.
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Old 22-05-2021, 09:42 AM
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xthestreams (Paul)
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In my experience a Mac with KStars/Ekos/INDI will work great if you’re not running it on top of the OTA, otherwise a Linux based Raspberry Pi running StellarMate is awesome.

The SkyX is another worthy alternative, but driver support can be challenging and no automation. I was using EKOS for a year before “giving up” but that had more to do with wanting better automation support for cloud detection, pausing and resumption, the data from Ekos is as good as anything I’ve seen as Andy mentioned.

I’ve recently moved to Voyager on Windows and it’s reminded me why I left Windows and MSFT 20 years ago - there’s so much cruft and backward support for legacy ideas built into the OS that it’s by far the least reliable of the three setups I’d run (Linux, MacOS and Windows) - there’s surely a reason why most professional observatories run UNIX/Linux for pretty much everything.

Final point, if you plan to run your computer on top of tour OTA/mount then Apples otherwise brilliant idea of building the AC-DC power conversion into the Mini becomes an impediment, I’m no keen on the idea of running 240v cables through the mount!

So as much as I’d like to say Mac, Raspberry Pi for the win.
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Old 08-06-2021, 07:05 PM
Kareta (Katrin)
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Originally Posted by xthestreams View Post
In my experience a Mac with KStars/Ekos/INDI will work great if youíre not running it on top of the OTA, otherwise a Linux based Raspberry Pi running StellarMate is awesome.
I agree. I don't have any problems using it in such way.
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Old 13-07-2021, 10:13 AM
zeddee (Zed)
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concur

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I agree. I don't have any problems using it in such way.

Kstar/Eikos: YES. Concur with this if anyone is still looking for info or solution. After all sorts of hassle with trying to run with various apps on PC/Mac, buying a Pi3 and running Kstar/Eikos on mount is the best investment Ive made. Remote connect through wifi (ac) over VNC on machine of your preference.



My hassles are now related to slightly under-powered ZeqCM35 mount and old USB2 ASI120 guide camera. The mount is mechanical limitations that Ive learned to live with and fine tune to (proper solution out of current budget . The ASI120 was dropping frames (common ASI USB2 issue) I got around by using narrow field of interest crop in the tracking.


Now working on home made focuser.
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