Simulator for Plate Solving & Autofocus - Help needed


Hello together,

our local astronomy club is organizing each month a presentation for members and non-members. This time it is planned that 4 to 5 members are presenting some images and the astro imaging technics behind it. As I am (until now) the only one who is using SGPro I was asked, if I would like to make a short presentation of SGPro.

I decided to go for it and I would like to do a short demonstration of the most valuable feateres for me: Framing & Mosaic Wizard, Plate Solving and Auto Focus.

As the time is too short (and the weather too bad) it is not possible to record an imaging session by my own. Therefore I searched for the possibility to do a simulation.

For plate solving I found this thread:

but didn’t found a possibility for download the simulation (Note: I am using PinPoint as Plate Solver).

For Auto Focus I found this link:

but I couldn’t get it to run. I specified an image, but the image doesn’t change on moving the focus simulator in or out (as demonstrated in the provided video)
Any idea what I might doing wrong?

Thanks a lot for help and best regards



I never released a camera simulator that was useful for plate solving. I tried implementing an ASCOM camera driver that would hook up to a telescope driver to get a position and download a DSS image of the area around that position and present it as the camera image. It sort of worked but the problem was that it wasn’t reliable enough. Trying to get multiple images of almost the same area would often fail - I think maybe because the server objected to this sort of thing.

A simulator that’s not reliable is worse than useless.


Why not one of the videos showing it in action?



If you decide to go with a simulation, we can help a bit (this assumes usage of Pinpoint).

Open the about box and click the secret button (where the red arrow is pointing):

Then, after that, open this sequence:

In the Camera drop down, you should be able to see “Regression Camera” (selected). Click the settings button for the camera and you will see this:

You now need to set up the plate cam (a camera that will simulate the star field wherever the ASCOM telescope sim is pointing). In order to do this, you need a “blank” FITS file for Pinpoint to draw on. You can get that here:

Then, make your settings box look like this (pointing to wherever you downloaded that file):

Click OK, then click “AFCamera”. Here you will need to point to an AFPack. For this sequence, you can download and use this one:

Then, unzip and place in a folder (9 AF frames) and make your AF camera setting look like this (pointing to wherever you downloaded and unzipped the AF Pack):

Last bits:

PHD2 settings (clicking the PHD2 connect gear button) should look like this:

Pinpoint catalog: Go to the Plate Solve Tab and point the sequence to your GSC catalog

Imaging Directory: Point it to a valid directory on your machine

At this point you should be ready to run a completely simulated sequence (assuming PHD2 is running using the PHD2 sim).

Let me know if you have issues with this setup.

Solve and Sync in Simulation Mode

Hello Ken,

thank you very much for your support!

I have got the simulator running. I am still testing out the possibilities of the simulator and perhaps the one or other question will appear. But it seems that it is exactly what I have searched for.

@Buzz: Yes I also thought of using parts of available videos. But as it will be a public presentation (although not commercial) I think, if it would not be ok to cut out some parts of the available videos on youtube. For sure it would have been necessary to contact the owners of the videos.

Best regards



I did some videos last year which may be of some use. Feel free to use them.

The standard video of assembling my rig was in Quicktime and I need to convert it to a better format. The SGP ones are AVIs, so should be good.


Hello buzz,

thank you for allowing to use your videos!
They are very well done and showing the key features of SGPro in a very compact and clear way.

Best regards



no problem - there are some differences with the latest SGP versions but they show the power of the program


What!? @Reimer22 is right… these are awesome. Is there any chance we can link to them from our support page (with full credit to you of course)?

Can’t believe I had never seen them before…


Ken - you are most welcome. I was planning on revisiting them to update them to the latest SGP levels. If I do, I will overlay the videos so that they have the same URL.