Re: APCC PRO - New to APPM and Pointing Model

Jack Huerkamp


There is a lot of good info in the APCC PRO manual.  Although I have been using APPC Standard for years, on Saturday, I printed out the PRO manual and started going through the entire book.  I got about 60% through it on Sunday during the clouds and rain.  Today I will take over where I left off and try to be ready for the next clearing to try what I learned. 

I am not an astrophotographer; instead I am into what is called EAA or Electronically Assisted Astronomy.  I prefer the term I coined years ago – CAO – camera assisted observing.  I use MallinCams to assist me in my live observing and allow me to see more and in color than I could with my aging eyes.  So instead of those gorgeous, wide field astrophotographs I have seen posted by members, I am more into looking for detail in those faint fuzzies.  So I will be using my VRC-16 at f/6 or f/8 to observe and share with others the live views on my computer screen.

As far as plate solving, I have been using All Sky Plate Solver.  It requires me to capture a JPG or FITS image and feed it into the program to calculate where the scope is pointed.  It is not automatic like other programs out there.  I have been working with Richard Wright of Software Bisque to incorporate the MallinCam SkyRaider cameras into The Sky X camera plugin, and he has successfully done so for most of them.  Since TSX does allow for plate solving, I will start using it with APCC PRO to do so.

As far as which camera will I be using, that will very with the target selected.  I have an array of cameras ranging from 17.6mm through 43.3mm diagonal sensor size and 1.7MP through 26MP.  I can calculate the pixel scale, image area and rotation angle for each for use in APPM.  With the smaller size and resolution camera, binning will not be needed.  With the larger sensor camera, I will use one of the digital binning options available to reduce the time needed to plate solve.

And after yesterday’s analysis of the first 60% of the manual, I now know how to set the meridian and horizon limits.  That will be the first things.

Thanks for your assistance.

Yours truly,



Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192



30.37N  89.76W


All of us get lost in the darkness.
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars.

………………………………….Neil Peart





I, like you, was a user of APCC Standard for years. Learning to use the Pro version and APPM was no problem at all. 

You definitely want to use the same imaging equipment you will be using on a regular basis on the mount as you are modelling the characteristics not only of the mount, such as pointing, but more importantly of how your optics and sensors change across the sky as the scope/mount combination moves. 

What program do you use for plate solving your CCD images?  You will need a program that supports this feature and can interact with APPM or otherwise have a native astrometric solver such as Pinpoint installed (this is my option). There’s a tab in APPM where you set these parameters up.

What camera do you have mounted on your 16” RC? Do you know the pixel scale, rough image area and rotation angle? You will need to enter these in the relevant tab for APPM.  If your fov is narrow, you may want to use a star catalog with sufficient stars for your plate solves to be accurate enough so that your model is as exact as possible. Also if your sensor is large, you want to bin it at 2x2 at least and perhaps just use 1/2 or 1/4 of its area for the actual images and plate solves so that the whole modelling process doesn’t take too long. APPM will
allow you to test your plate solving settings with a sample image before you start modelling. 

Try first a small model (20 points or so) just to see everything works. And the acquiring and solving of
your images goes smoothly. 

Also, as a user of APCC, do you have your meridian AND horizon limits set and enabled? You want to make use of these to do the modelling taking advantage of CW up positions etc. APPM allows for these to be enabled (including safe slews). 

Read the APPM quick start guide though. It’s a subsection of the APCC application and not too long. 

In my case, with a permanent setup, I ended doing a 130 point model and was immediately able to image unguided at 1300mm (peanuts for your RC!) getting nice round stars. Both for an 1100 and 1600GTO. 

Good luck!



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