SkyX integration


#1

Is it possible to integrate SkyX into the SGP. I would like to use TSX for closed loop slew or at least plate solving. TSX works pretty well except automation. If SGP could run TSX, I would be very interested in purchasing. I just don’t want to run 4 different pieces of software to accomplish one thing.


#2

I am just starting with SGP. I am connected to TheSky which is linked to my mount. The mount is also connected to SGP. TheSky is now used mainly as a convenient graphical interface.

For example I just want move to bright star in another part of the sky. I then command a slew in TheSky but than sync and center with SGP. TheSky should update. I use Pinpoint but SGP
has two other free plate solve methods. That’s one the thing I like so far SGP does no use too much dependent software. You control almost all scope and imaging functions directly in SGP.
Most of other software is generally free so you don’t have to paid more than the 95.00 to test it.

There a few goodies in TheSky I would use. Image link is good but is not high on my list of feature asks. For example a couple competing automation packages allow easier transfer of position data using TheSky’s FOV indicator. However, SGP covers this function vary well using the framing wizard.


#3

In the same vein: is it (or could it be) possible to use TSX focusing from
SGPro? I find that with a good model, focusing (especially for narrowband
filters) is much faster with TSX then with SGPro.

 Mark

#4

It is not possible (at least right now). How is it faster? How does a good model contribute to better / faster focus? Just curious. Thanks…


#5

SGP already has close loop slewing built in through our Auto Center functionality. If we do eventually integrate with TSX it will be only as a plate solver and not as a “camera”, “focuser”, or “telescope”

Thanks,
Jared


#6

Hi Ken,

TSX focuses on stars of a specific magnitude. If one is in the FOV it will
focus, if not, it will first slew to one and then slew back. This makes
focusing with narrowband filters really fast - I just need to specify a
higher magnitude for the focus star. Now, normally this results in the
following sequence:

  1. slew
  2. plate solve, probably one correction plus another plate solve
  3. (Fast) focusing
  4. Slew
  5. Plate solve with probably one more correction plus another plate solve

By having a good model, you don’t need step 2 and 3. That makes it very
fast.

 Mark

#7

Ah, OK. I understand now. Thx for the clarification.


#8

… but it doesn’t seem to persuade you from integrating with it … ?


#9

It does not. Doesn’t mean I’m against it, just that it is a non-simplistic implementation and we have a lot of stuff on our plates. I have moved this to feature requests so folks can “me too” it or “like” it. Enough of that has been known to change our minds in the past.


#10

The issue is that TSX then needs to be the camera, focuser and telescope. Meaning were tying ourselves to an api that could and likely will change in the future to serve their needs. It means lots of support for us for very few users and even less benefits.

We’ve had bad experiences with this in the past. You could say that this is the main reason that Sequence Generator moved to Sequence Generator Pro (when we dropped support 3rd party controlled cameras). To me this would mean moving back in that direction. Which I do not like.

Which is why I can see using TSX as pure plate solver, but not an auto focuser.

Jared


#11

That’s a fair point too. I didn’t really think this all the way through (distracted by the weird crash issues at the moment).


#12

I’m not sure it needs to be that difficult. Instead of calling its own
focuser routine, could SGPro just call the TSX focuser routine. And expect
that on return from it, the scope is a) focused, and b) at the right
position. I routinely connect my camera and scope to both TSX and SGPro
when imaging. And as long as they don’t try to control them at the same
time, that works really well.


#13

Another option mstriebeck would be to ask SB to create a sequencing program for their software. I don’t think you gain anything for focusing (can you quantify that focusing via TSX is better than focusing via SGP?). Nor do I think their camera control routine is any better either.

You can use their modeling programs by turning off plate solving in SGP already. And, they’re very particular about allowing people into their software. I think it would be very difficult to support. Beyond the modeling aspect of TSX (which you can use currently), I don’t really see what TSX buys you over the advantages of just going ‘all in’ with SGP.

Maybe try quitting cold turkey with TSX and just give SGP a try. If it captures the same images, it doesn’t really matter right?


#14

SB provide a scripting interface to TSX that seems to allow some things. I use it to implement the TSX ASCOM driver but there are a lot of other functions available.

I don’t know if they provide what you want but it could be worth a look in the documentation.


#15

On Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 9:48 AM, mads0100 forums@mainsequencesoftware.com wrote:

mads0100 http://forum.mainsequencesoftware.com/users/mads0100
January 29

Another option mstriebeck would be to ask SB to create a sequencing
program for their software. I don’t think you gain anything for focusing
(can you quantify that focusing via TSX is better than focusing via SGP?).

Yes. It is MUCH faster - especially for narrowband filters. When I focus in
SGPro, I have to use a very long exposure time to make sure that I get a
good v-curve. For my 3nm filters that is 45 seconds(!!). In TSX, I can
focus on a high-magnitude star and the entire process (slew, focus, slew
back) takes less then 30 seconds! And it’s much more stable as it will
always focus on a known magnitude star.

Nor do I think their camera control routine is any better either.

You can use their modeling programs by turning off plate solving in SGP
already. And, they’re very particular about allowing people into their
software. I think it would be very difficult to support. Beyond the
modeling aspect of TSX (which you can use currently), I don’t really see
what TSX buys you over the advantages of just going ‘all in’ with SGP.

Maybe try quitting cold turkey with TSX and just give SGP a try. If it
captures the same images, it doesn’t really matter right?

I am using SGPro as my primary sequencing program and don’t want to give it
up. But some functionality in TSX is just better (for my use case) and I
would love to figure out how to combine the best of both,.


#16

Like I said, why not go to offsets? It’s repeatable and works. I use Astrodon 3-nm/Astrodon LRGB and I use filter offsets. It took me about an hour to figure out my offsets for my particular setup. I run 9 data points at 5-second exposures using my L filter. I think it takes about a minute to complete a focusing routine.

Do you have proof that your focus is more stable using a particular star versus taking a average of 100s of stars on a screen? I’m asking because I don’t know. I do know that moving to a new guide star takes time and that wrecks your reasoning above for why it’s important to focus your narrowband filters individually (time).

I understand the desire for the modeling aspect of TSX (if I owned a paramount).

Maybe re-evaluate what you need your software to do. I know SGP has issues focusing with long focal length obstructed telescopes (I’ve never used them yet) though so if that’s part of your problems with SGP, I completely understand.

Quitting cold turkey from MaximDL/FocusMAX/CCDAP was hard. Ultimately, SGP has proven to be significantly easier to use and gives me just as good of a product as far as I can tell. It took me a long time to accept what Ken/Jared always told me which was to fall in line with how SGP worked. I think if you gave Platesolve2/focus offsets/PHD2 a try, you’d find it works just as well as TSX.


#17

I have a medium focal length astrograph with 50% CO. SGP fails 40-50% of the time even when start it at perfect focus manually. It usually gets a close approximation with the a weighted average of the low points. I have to guess that this not the best method, however. The slightest change in settings will generate false low points and then it is going to be way off or failed run.

Also for me the full field focus method is extremely slow, not fast. I have a 4K x 4k sensor with a 50 second download time at bin one. Bin two is going to be to loose accuracy. A center subframe might speed it up but you still have the known limitations above. We do need a method or improvement of this one that fills needs of scopes with big COs.

I don’t think TheSky X or any external software is necessary.

It ends up being just something else communicating unnecessarily with SGP. This creates a whole lot headaches in other automation packages. I think the SGP developers totally see this as a potential problem. The developers can speak for themselves but I am guessing that given enough time they would not want any code unless it is 100% internal SGP.

Max


#18

I would prefer an alternative focus implementation in SGPro as I have similar problems. I’m not sure but could the problems be due to the inaccurate measurement of the out of focus doughnuts which happen on scopes with a large CO ?

If whole frame focusing fails twice in SGPro then I switch to SkyX and focus then transfer the settings - it’s quicker (albeit a nuisance) than doing a third run for a NB filter in SGPro. My QSI 583 also has a long download time for the full frame which means focusing can take a while whereas The SkyX FWHM implementation using a bright star and use of subframes mean I can average a number for each step setting and the repeatability does seem very good.

Would FWHM subframe focusing be something to consider as an addition to the SGPro armoury as an alternative even though it might require a slew and return (slew prior).

Robert


#19

I think the CO is the problem. I hear it works fine on refractors. I am not sure why whole image HFR fails with a CO. I see the number of stars recognized goes way down as it gets farther from focus.
I have a two degree field so there should be enough brighter stars to get a accurate measurement.

If it can’t be improved than another method needs to be added. One automation program required PinPoint to determine the targets. It must use a list of magnitudes somehow. Ideally you want brighter stars for narrow band. However, the most effective solution is to use one filter ( Lum etc) and do offsets. This way you just pick a magnitude range for the focusing filter.

This the only limitation of SGP for me currently. However, I am lucky focus is fairly stable with my scope. I can uses temperature compensation to tweak for the it without a full refocus.


#20

So what is different about focus max that it handles CO so gracefully? Couldn’t we implement ROI to reduce download times for people with older cameras?


www.mainsequencesoftware.com