AstroScheduler: una tipica sessione di ripresa

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L’appetito vien mangiando ed avendo AstroScheduler in fase beta, posso cominciare a divertirmi. Ho iniziato quindi a riprendere, in notti diverse, la galassia IC342 nella Giraffa. Le riprese sono concluse, ma non sono state ancora elaborate. Ci tenevo però a farvi vedere il log di una notte di osservazioni automatiche di AstroScheduler.

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Being AstroScheduler now in Beta version, I may start to have fun with it. I began to image, in different nights, the galaxy IC342 in Camelopardis. The imaging session on this galaxy is completed, but the image is not processed yet. However I wanted to show you a log of a full automated night of imaging by  AstroScheduler.

[160926 22:25:28.825] Script D:\workspace\AstroScheduler_Standalone_0.32\IC342_RGBLH2 opened 
[160926 22:25:30.530] # Messa a fuoco su: 03 46 01 67 12 04 
[160926 22:25:30.532] # Target 1: 03 46 49 68 05 43 IC342 
[160926 22:25:30.534] @ 2016-09-26 22:25:30 
[160926 22:25:30.536] Time is now 
[160926 22:25:34.538] mount on 
[160926 22:25:34.543] Mount connected 
[160926 22:25:38.546] maximccd on 
[160926 22:25:40.766] Maxim Link Enabled 
[160926 22:25:44.769] maximccd temp -15 
[160926 22:25:44.789] Temp Setpoint configured 
[160926 22:25:48.791] maximccd cooleron 
[160926 22:25:48.795] CCD Cooler On 
[160926 22:25:52.798] maximccd mount on 
[160926 22:25:52.804] Mount linked to Maxim 
[160926 22:25:56.807] fmax on 
[160926 22:25:57.818] FocusMax Connected 
[160926 22:26:10.947] mount park off 
[160926 22:26:11.225] Mount Unparked 
[160926 22:26:15.232] mount track on 
[160926 22:26:20.760] Mount tracking 
[160926 22:26:24.769] waiting 5 
[160926 22:26:29.788] Time elapsed 
[160926 22:26:34.625] # Vai al target 03 46 49 68 05 43 
[160926 22:26:34.627] mount gotoeq 03 46 49 68 05 43 
[160926 22:26:42.874] Mount slew to AR:03:46:49 Dec:68:05:43 
[160926 22:26:46.887] maximccd image L 4 0 30 solve.fit 
[160926 22:27:33.075] Image captured and saved 
[160926 22:27:37.078] solver nearsync solve.fit 2000 21.6 
[160926 22:27:56.637] Center found at AR: 03:46:48 Dec: 68:05:35 
[160926 22:28:00.641] mount gotoeq 03 46 49 68 05 43 
[160926 22:28:03.997] Mount slew to AR:03:46:49 Dec:68:05:43 
[160926 22:28:07.999] maximccd image L 4 0 30 solve.fit 
[160926 22:28:54.188] Image captured and saved 
[160926 22:28:58.190] solver nearsync solve.fit 2000 21.6 
[160926 22:29:17.693] Center found at AR: 03:46:48 Dec: 68:05:39 
[160926 22:29:21.695] mount gotoeq 03 46 49 68 05 43 
[160926 22:29:25.116] Mount slew to AR:03:46:49 Dec:68:05:43 
[160926 22:29:35.529] # configura autoguida 
[160926 22:29:35.536] guider expose 2 
[160926 22:29:35.561] Guide exposure done 
[160926 22:29:39.564] waiting 5 
[160926 22:29:44.574] Time elapsed 
[160926 22:29:48.575] # guider calibrate 2 
[160926 22:29:48.578] guider track 2 
[160926 22:29:48.629] Guider Tracking 
[160926 22:29:52.631] stable 30 0.3 2 
[160926 22:30:26.863] Guiding stable 
[160926 22:30:30.865] lamp off 
[160926 22:30:30.894] IR Lamp OFF 
[160926 22:30:34.897] maximccd nimage 12 R 2 0 300 ic342_r_ 1 2 
[160926 23:41:18.365] All Images captured and saved 
[160926 23:41:22.369] maximccd nimage 12 G 2 0 300 ic342_g_ 1 2 
[160927 00:51:49.549] All Images captured and saved 
[160927 00:51:53.555] maximccd nimage 12 B 2 0 300 ic342_b_ 1 2 
[160927 02:02:29.467] All Images captured and saved 
[160927 02:02:33.469] maximccd nimage 9 L 1 0 690 ic342_l_ 1 2 
[160927 03:54:45.541] All Images captured and saved 
[160927 03:54:49.543] maximccd nimage 6 H 2 0 1200 ic342_h_ 1 2 
[160927 05:59:38.269] All Images captured and saved 
[160927 05:59:42.273] guider stop 
[160927 05:59:42.282] Guider Stopped 
[160927 05:59:46.283] lamp on 
[160927 05:59:46.302] IR Lamp ON 
[160927 05:59:50.303] # Ora si chiude 
[160927 05:59:50.304] @ 2016-09-27 05:59:50 
[160927 05:59:50.306] Time is now 
[160927 05:59:54.308] maximccd mount off 
[160927 05:59:54.311] Mount unlinked from Maxim 
[160927 05:59:58.313] mount park on 
[160927 06:00:41.618] Mount Parked 
[160927 06:00:45.631] mount track off 
[160927 06:00:45.651] Mount stop tracking 
[160927 06:00:49.654] mount off 
[160927 06:00:49.657] Mount disconnected 
[160927 06:00:53.658] fmax off 
[160927 06:00:53.772] FocusMax Disconnected 
[160927 07:10:53.449] warmup 5 300 
[160927 07:11:13.875] Warmup Done! 
[160927 07:11:17.878] maximccd cooleroff 
[160927 07:11:17.883] CCD Cooler off 
[160927 07:11:21.885] maximccd off 
[160927 07:11:22.060] Link Disabled 
[160927 07:11:30.074] shutdown now 
[160927 07:11:30.264] All disconnected  
[160927 07:11:38.451] killprocess AstroMaxGuide.exe 
[160927 07:11:38.573] AstroMaxGuide.exe killed 
[160927 07:11:42.574] killprocess MaxIm_DL.exe 
[160927 07:11:42.713] MaxIm_DL.exe killed 
[160927 07:11:46.716] killprocess FocusMax.exe 
[160927 07:11:46.853] FocusMax.exe killed 
[160927 07:11:50.854] killprocess temma.exe 
[160927 07:11:50.993] temma.exe killed 
[160927 07:11:54.995] killprocess POTH.exe 
[160927 07:11:55.115] POTH.exe killed 
[160927 07:11:59.117] Session Completed! Good Night!

AstroScheduler: a different approach to astroimaging

Let’s state it clear: the year 2016, at least in Italy, is one of the worse years weather-wise. It is already mid-September and the number of total integration I did this year is so scarse that I may barely process one or two images, not more.

But I didn’t sit down in front of the PC simply waiting for a better weather forecast: I exploited these later months in order to start mass coding a new exciting software, that I hope it will be helpful for all of you as much as it is useful and fun to develop to me.

I am talking about AstroScheduler. What is it? It is basically an application that falls in the cathegory of the so called “system integrators”. its role is to be able to execute an entire night of imaging from dusk to down autonomously.

Being a system integrator, AstroScheduler relies on other application in order to perform different tasks, in particular it exploits:

  • Maxim DL for imaging and autoguiding
  • Focusmax (the latest freeware version) for focusing
  • Any ASCOM mount for telescope positioning
  • The offline version of Astrometry.net, thanks to the ASPS tool, for plate solving

As a system integrator, AstroScheduler relies on the fact that all the above applications are already working fine to you when you do your typical (manual) imaging session.

In the future I plan to support PHD2 as guiding application. Other applications’ support may be suggested by the users or potential users alike.

One thing is sure: AstroScheduler was born as a personal need so it reflects my needs, but it will be up to you if and what AstroScheduler will support and implement in the future.

If there is anyone that would like to be in the beta-tester program please let me know. The ideal beta-tester should be able to use AstroScheduler and test all its features in almost any clear night, in order to speed up the testing phase.

The User Interface I decided to implement is very simple, no bells or twistles. The reason is that, in my experience giving the user many possibilities of customizations and display information leads to confuse rather then give more control of what we are using.

AstroScheduler’s main feature is that you don’t need to run AstroScheduler to be able to program your night session. You may just open the Notepad application and write the meta-commands supported by AstroScheduler anytime and anywere you want. You then only need to open the script file into AstroScheduler and let hit the “Play” button.

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And this is a sample of the script file. This is an actual script that I used during the last Star Party at Saint Barthelemy to image the emission nubula Sh2-155 in Cepheus.

@ 2016-00-02 21:45:00
# Messa a fuoco su: SAO20281 22 51 23 61 41 49
# Target: Sh2-155 22 56 48 62 37 00
mount on
maximccd on
maximccd mount on
fmax on
# Determina la posizione iniziale
maximccd image Luminanza 1 1600 60 solve.fit
solver blindsync solve.fit 450 5.2
# Vai alla stella di messa a fuoco 22 51 23 61 41 49
mount gotoeq 22 51 23 61 41 49
maximccd image Luminanza 1 1600 60 solve.fit
solver nearsync solve.fit 450 5.2
mount gotoeq 22 51 23 61 41 49
waiting 15
maximccd image Luminanza 1 1600 60 solve.fit
solver nearsync solve.fit 450 5.2
mount gotoeq 22 51 23 61 41 49
# Messa a fuoco
fmax focus
# Vai a Sh2-155 22 56 48 62 37 00
mount gotoeq 22 56 48 62 37 00
maximccd image Luminanza 1 1600 60 solve.fit
solver nearsync solve.fit 450 5.2
mount gotoeq 22 56 48 62 37 00
waiting 15
maximccd image Luminanza 1 1600 60 solve.fit
solver nearsync solve.fit 450 5.2
mount gotoeq 22 56 48 62 37 00
guider expose 3
waiting 5
guider calibrate 3
guider track 3
stable 60 0.2 3
maximccd nimage 24 Luminanza 1 800 600 sh2-155 2 3

I’ll explain the commands later on, but I think it is already quite readable.

Feedback is appreciated as usual!

DitherMaster EOS Utility


I have just uploaded a new version of DitherMaster for EOS Utility. It covers some feature requests that I got from users of the previous version. You may downloaded as usual from the Software section of SkyMonsters.
As usual I welcome any comments or suggestions.

Ho appena caricato nella sezione software di SkyMonsters l’ultima versione di DitherMaster per EOS Utility. Va a coprire alcune richieste di feature da parte di utenti della versione precedente.
Come sempre attendo i vostri commenti e suggerimenti per migliorare DitherMaster.

MaxPHD 3.0.0


I’ve just uploaded a new version of MaxPHD.
In this release:
– completely redesigned the GUI, adding some counters instead of the status window.
– status messages have been moved at the bottom of the window
– it is possible to program a filter wheel of up to 8 filters
As usual I welcome your feedback.

Ho appena inserito sul mio sito una nuova versione di MaxPHD.
In questa versione:
– ho completamente ridisegnato la GUI, aggiungendo alcuni contatori al posto della finestra dei messaggi di stato
– i messaggi di stato sono ora visualizzati in fondo alla finestra
– é possibile ora programmare una ruota portafiltri ad 8 posizioni. Nel caso abbiate una ruota portafiltri con un numero inferiore di filtri, semplicemente ignorate i Filter # superiori a 4.
Come sempre attendo vostri suggermenti.

DitherMaster EOSUtility 2.2.1


I released version 2.2.1 of DitherMaster for EOS Utility. In this minor release I deleted the drop down box where the user could choose which camera was connected. Now the Camera is automatically recognized.Moreover there was a small bug due to the fact that in the US market some camera models where introduced with a different naming then in other parts of the worlds, so DitherMaster did not recognize them.
Download the new version here: http://skymonsters.net/software/DitherMaster_EOSUtility_2.2.1.exe


Ho rilasciato la versione 2.2.1 di DitherMaster per EOS Utility. In questa versione ho cancellato la drop down box dove l’utente sceglieva il modello di fotocamera connesso. Ora la Canon EOS viene riconosciuta automaticamente e connessa a DitherMaster tramite la sua EOS Utility. Ho inoltre fissato un baco per cui gli utenti americani di DitherMaster non potevano connettere la propria camera per via del diverso nome dato negli USA allo stesso modello.
Scaricate la nuova versione da qui: http://skymonsters.net/software/DitherMaster_EOSUtility_2.2.1.exe