SGP Planetarium Software Integration


#1

I would like to propose a new feature that would allow SGP to work with common Planetarium Software (Cdc, Stallarium, Starry Night, etc.) to perform a “Closed Loop” slew to objects selected in the Planetarium Software. The process now is to look at the planetarium software to find an object in the part of the sky I have access to from my back yard, go to SGP’s Framing and Mosaic Wizard and type in the name of the object and add it to my observing plan, and then trigger the Slew and Center routine to slew to the object and use SGP’s Plate solving functionality to center the object.

This process works, but would be much nicer if there was tighter integration with the planetarium software so that you could select the object and have the coordinates sent directly to SGP to Slew and Center and optionally add object to the imaging plan. Similar functionality exists in TSX using their Closed Loops Slew. But to work you have to disconnect the Camera from SGP and connect it to the TSX and then once the Close Loop Slew completes, disconnect camera from TSX and reconnect in SGP. You then have to use the F&M Wizard to add the object to the observing plan. I have had issues disconnecting and reconnecting my ATIK camera with different software.

I see other software like APT are starting to integrate planetarium software into their imaging software. It would be nice if SGP could add this capability as well. To be able to keep all your equipment connected to SGP while performing a “closed loop” like slew would be really awesome. Although there is a current work around, it would be great to use planetarium software to cruise around the sky to different objects while directly leveraging SGPs awesome Slew and Center functionality.

Just my two cents.

Andrew J


#2

While not as nice as what you describe, you can simplify the process. Select and copy the RA/Dec coordinates in your planetarium program, then create a new dummy target in SGP and paste the coordinates into it. Then right click on the target and select center here.


#3

You can use WIFI Scope or SGP itself.

Under the Telescope tab of the control panel there’s an option to check…Allow external control of telescope. If you make note of your computer’s IP address you can connect and control your scope from another that’s on the same network. I believe it is port 4030 and no matter what kind of mount you have call it a Meade LX200GPs.

Search the Help file for “Sky Safari” to see more information.


#4

Hi Steve.

Thanks for the reply. I already have that turned on which is how I can connect both TSX and SGP to my mount at the same time. However, this doesn’t help me with the Camera which is needed for plate solving. Plus SGP does not know to which object I slew to until I add it to a target.

Andrew J


#5

DesertSky.

Thanks for the suggestion. I guess that would save the step have having to use F&M Wizard to create a new target. However, still a multi-step process and not type of type of “click and go here” integration I was hoping for. I am sure the list of SGP enhancements is long, but I for one would at least like to see this added to the list.

Andrew J


#6

The Framing and Mosaic Wizard will likely give you more context about what you’re attempting to do than a planetarium program. Have you tried it? I haven’t used or needed an actual planetarium program in about 5 years.

Thanks,
Jared


#7

Not sure what you’re trying to do. I use worldwide telescope client and can look around and click and the scope goes to it dead on. I can center clicking on it for proper crop. Are you saying you then want the coordinates to enter into the target field of a sequence? I can’t say I’ve tried that, but I’d think it surely could fill in with current coordinates? If not it should.


#8

Hi Jared. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Yes, as I mentioned in my initial post, I use the Framing and Mosaic Wizard almost every time I slew to a new object. However, what the F&M Wizard doesn’t allow me to do is see where the objects are located in the sky and if it is in a part of the sky I can image.

I use TSX to visually see if an object is located in the part of the sky I can image. I can then either have TSX slew to the object or go to SGP and setup a target for the same object and run SGP’s Slew and Centering routine. My point was this a lot of steps. Not an problem if you are only planning on imaging one target for the night, but if you want to slew around to different objects to see if they are good candidates based on their location and seeing conditions it quickly becomes a pain. I can, and often do, use TSX’s Closed Loop Slew to get an image centered on my 2000mm focal length scope. However, this requires disconnecting the camera from SGP, connecting it to TSX, perform the Closed Loop slew, disconnect the Camera from TSX, reconnect it back to SGP, add object to my imaging list, re-center the object in SGP, and then start imaging. All the while trying to avoid shocking the camera if cooling is already turned on.

I just thought it would be handy if SGP was able to communicate with TSX or any other planetarium software so that you can visually pick target and have SGP Slew and Center it automatically. However, it would appear from the responses that I am the only one who thinks it would be useful. I have to wonder why TSX and APT would bother implementing this type functionality if no one uses it. I will either learn to live with the multi-step process or move on to another solution.

Andrew J


#9

Hi Andrew,

Sounds like you and I have a similar “workflow” going on. In my case I’m using an iPhone app called Observer Pro (it allows you to map your horizon from the observing location and then shows you targets based on transit and takes obstacles into account. Some of us can’t get to a totally empty flat field all the time). Once I select likely candidate targets I put them into the DSO-Browser website to play with.

Final step is to setup a new sequence in SGP using the Framing wizard. All these steps I’m doing days in advance now.

One thing I’m super jealous of the SkyX ‘s ability to Center and track a comet , I def cannot afford that kind of setup right now though :wink:

Depending on your gear: one thing I did in the past and might start doing again, is setup stellarium scope. This little utility will not only allow you to command slews from stellarium, but more importantly will sync a crosshairs on the map of where your mount is pointed. Before I had all my gear I used this in conjunction with Astrotortilla when I was lining up targets using my DSLR on a skytracker.

I do like the idea of being able to pick the targets off of the larger “map” view and then (zooming in to scope FL) getting a F&R wizard window to do the “final” rotation and framing. Then again, the software seems to be setup more for the mindset of planning the night ahead. I suspect that quite a few of us get busy, see that the forcast looks good for tonight all of 20 minutes before setup time and say “oh man I gotta go!” :wink:


#10

When I evaluated a good automation tool last year, I fell in love with a lot of APT’s features which I’m missing in SGP, like that simple localhost connection to CdC. But the sequencer of SGP is unbeatable and that’s why I’m here :wink:
CS, Andreas


#11

This kind of thing has been requested several times in the past but the developers have always been reluctant to implement this.

Similar requests in the past have asked for the current ASCOM coordinates to be used as the target coordinates, the workflow being that they were previously set from a slew command in a planetarium program.

Whilst I still think this would be a useful thing to have, I now set the target coordinates by copying them from CdC, then pasting them into the target coordinates, which is pretty neat.


www.mainsequencesoftware.com