Advanced Scheduling


#1

Currently SGP allows a very basic scheduling of sequences.
I can define a start time and an end time but not a day…

With my setup currently i monitor some asteroids and some galaxies for Supernova research.

I think can could be useful a more complex scheduling.
If all night were clear my “program” is quite simple

On odd days i have a specific sequence for supernova research with 5-10 targets (M1 from 20 to 21, m2 from 21 to 22 and so on for all night), on even days i monitor asteroids, on new moon LRGB

The observatory is remote, and i don’t have good internet connection all days (depends on how much snow in the near mountains, sometimes happens is not reachable for a couple of days…
The problem is that now i have to manually select the sequence file and manually push start button every evening before sequence starting… and for asteroid is more complex because target must be updated with new asteroid coordinates from day to day…

Supernova research is not a porblem, the galaxy will not noticeably move from it’s coordinates for a couple of million of years… But for asteroids i have to create different sequences, with updated coordinates different day by day… It’s not a problem to create manually multiple sequence with updated coordinates (in a couple of hours i can create about a month of sequences) but i have to manually start the correct sequence for each day end could be source of errors…

Every sequence will have as usual the equipment profile options selected.

Could be useful if i could schedule for example the entire month and then SGP with Safety monitor opens or not opens the roof… if for example it’s raining, safety monitor reports unsafe and don’t open the roof, next day, new sequence file with updated coordinates… and so on


Planning Assistant -- future dates
#2

I agree completely. Unfortunately we are a ways from that type of scheduling right now.

What you are describing is essentially wrapped up in Bob Denny’s ACP Expert. Might want to give that a look.

http://acp.dc3.com


#3

I had a chance to try acp… it’s a good product but probably too much for my needs and lack of some features of SGP (like all frame HFR focus)…

I think should not be much difficult to add a date in the “target” window… or maybe i could try to schedule via windows scheduled tasks… but there is any command line switch maybe to close SGP or to start a specific sequence file?


#4

You’re right. That said, SGPro had dates for two years, but there was strong resistance against using them so we removed them in favor of a “time only” approach. The way we have it now seems to be satisfactory to most users.


#5

Another approach is to use a scripting engine to write a program to control your observatory and SGP over a series of nights. I have written such a program using the scripting engine AutoIT to control my observatory for a single night. Extension to multiple nights would be straight forward.

I create the target sequence for the night in 2 different SGP sequences, one for my RASA 11" main scope which does the targeting/plate solving/PHD2 control, the other for the piggybacked SV100 which has the same target list and end times for each target and just takes images all night. With this setup I take images all night long on both scopes. This works because I do not dither, since there is no coordination between the 2 cameras. Not really a problem. One image on the second instance of SGP is ruined at the transition between targets. If the timings were coordinated, you would still lose some imaging time on one of the cameras. Dithering is not necessary if you use the Cosmetic Correction feature of the Batch Preprocessing Script in PixInsight.

I can start the script at any time during the day and it will automatically control the dome and both copies of SGP for the entire night without any intervention. It keeps track of the weather, powers on all devices and opens the dome an hour before astro dark, opens the 2 Sequences and connects the cameras a half hour later, and starts the control Sequence running 15 minutes before astro dark. Only if the weather is clear. If not clear, it starts this sequence when it does clear. If overcast occurs during the imaging session, it closes the dome, and when it later clears it opens the dome. Shutdown in reverse order is fully automatic.

The script in its current state is functional when I don’t have hardware failures. Some nights it has run perfectly. Other nights it has failed due to inadequate control of error conditions related to my hardware. The most frequent of these is my SBIG 8300M has a bad habit of hanging with the filter wheel stuck in the moving status, so no addition images can be taken on that camera. However, the large scope and camera, which is using the control copy of SGP is continuing to run all night. I am working on detecting this particular failure with the script so it can automatically recover from this hardware error. Other hardware irregularities with the dome control have successful recovery routines.

The script writes a log summarizing all significant events during the run, like startup and shutdown processes, dome opens/closes, and weather changes.

There are many enhancements that I will be adding as time permits.
Anyone who would like to check out the script, as is, is welcome to.


#6

Dear @jmacon, I am so interested on you script, could you share the code? I would like to take a look on it because I am in a process of automate my site too and I think could help me a lot.

thank you in advance


#7

Hi, I am also very interested in your automation script and would like very much to get a copy. I am also trying to set up an automated observatory, automation is the only route I can take due to health constraints so anything that makes the control side easier is very welcome.

Regards, Hugh


#8

Sure, what is your email address?


#9

Hi carballada, if you send me your email address I can email you the files.


#10

Hi carballada,

If you still want a copy my script, you will need to send me your email so I can send it to you.

Jerry


#11

Hi Jerry,

yes, I am still interested, my email is carballada@gmail.com

thank you in advance


#12

I’d settle for intelligent scheduling.

I have limited FOV , basically can only image eastern sky to meridian.

So I image multiple targets each night over several nights.

It’d be nice, since my target sequences are pretty routine (say, 20x300 Ha, 12x300 OIII, 12x300 SIII), to jusg plug in targets and SGP figures out right times based on my horizon and FOV. Like Astroplanner.

Then I can have a list of 30 targets, and SGP bounces around as targets become avail over the month and image until each particular target sequence is complete. With a setting that limits # of targets each night.


www.mainsequencesoftware.com