Date   

Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment

Dean S
 

I told her that and she said I should go ahead and give her some of the invoices of the more expensive items, and then she would give me a quote for them seperately as well.

----- Original Message -----
From: "ancient.sull" <ancient.sull@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 7:14 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment


--- In ap-gto@..., "Dean S" <dean@...> wrote:

I just spoke with my home owners insurance this morning, State Farm,
and she
said my observatory contents are included with the content coverage
of my
house. Cameras, telescopes, computers, etc.
I too insure with State Farm and probably everyone's policy is a little
different, but did you tell your agent a ball park dollar value for the
equipment?

Your agent may be thinking, "Oh, a camera or similar. Maybe $500"
not "$30,000 to $50,000 of mounts, cameras, computers, filters, etc."

Mine is insured but with a separate rider and an added premium based on
the total value.

Drew Sullivan



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Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment

ancient.sull
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Dean S" <dean@...> wrote:

I just spoke with my home owners insurance this morning, State Farm,
and she
said my observatory contents are included with the content coverage
of my
house. Cameras, telescopes, computers, etc.
I too insure with State Farm and probably everyone's policy is a little
different, but did you tell your agent a ball park dollar value for the
equipment?

Your agent may be thinking, "Oh, a camera or similar. Maybe $500"
not "$30,000 to $50,000 of mounts, cameras, computers, filters, etc."

Mine is insured but with a separate rider and an added premium based on
the total value.

Drew Sullivan


Re: Leaving as GTO mount outdoors

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Rick,

Here is a link to the Hanna City Remote Robotic Observatory, pics and plans:
I think that is what you were referring to as a BOX observatory.

http://www.mtco.com/~jgunn/

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Wiggins" <rickwiggins@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 4:34 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Leaving as GTO mount outdoors


Hi Morgan,
Have you seen the little boxes that some people have made? I wish I
had a link to them, but will attempt a brief description.

Imagine the closed position of a wooden box around just the top of
the pier and just big enough to cover the mount. The box comes in
two pieces that fit together with overlapping weather seals. It has
a round cutout in the bottom to fit around the pier and spring
loaded closer hasps to seal it tight when closed.

Another version has two flat pieces that fit together just below the
mount and around the pier to form the bottom of a box and then a top
hat box that fits over the mount and clamps to the bottom.

Top off the design with a 15 watt light bulb and some bottom vent
holes to allow minimum air flow and I think you have a winner. Even
better, cover the mount first in a nice warm, breathable, non-
hygroscopic blanket (i.e. Gore-tex fabric) first, then cover it.

Just another idea.
Thanks, Rick


Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment

Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi,
I will post the short version here. Please be aware that
the "Insurance Company" is rarely the company that actully writes the
policy and provides the protection. This and the following explains
the variation in coverage etc.
1. The consumer buys coverage from an individual or company.
2. The selling agent that we (the consumer) deal with may work for a
large insurance company (i.e. State Farm), a small company, or be
totally a one person operation.
3. The actual insurance policy is provided by an underwriter (the
actual insuring agency) and this is usually tranparent to the
consumer. This underwriter could be the large insurance company itself
or any one of hundreds of underwriters all over the world.
4. It is common for agents and companies to deal with multiple
underwriters to get the most appropriate and best deal for each
individual policy.
5. There are state and possibly other governing bodies that legislate
some restrictions in some areas.
This means that "State Farm is not State Farm" and you milage may vary.
The best advice is to check your policy, call around, and read any
policy very carefully. If you don't understand it, get a friend
(preferably an agent or broker) to help you understand the policy.

Getting insurance on observatories is difficult...more difficult of
off your residential property...and far more difficult if it is on
someone else's property.

I would be seriously concerned if your homeowner's policy did not
cover a modest amount of astronomy equipment (personal property kept
at home or traveling with you). If they don;'t cover this, what else
don't they cover?

I am not an agent and I am still looking for a good observatory
policy, but this is my current understanding.
Thanks, Rick


--- In ap-gto@..., "mizzou156" <mizzou156@...> wrote:

Hello,
Does anyone have the name of a good insurance company that will
insure mounts,
telescopes, ccd cameras, ect. Homeowners insurance won't cover it
and I would want full
replacement cost, should a loss occur. Any help would be
appreciated. Thank You


Re: Leaving as GTO mount outdoors

Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Morgan,
Have you seen the little boxes that some people have made? I wish I
had a link to them, but will attempt a brief description.

Imagine the closed position of a wooden box around just the top of
the pier and just big enough to cover the mount. The box comes in
two pieces that fit together with overlapping weather seals. It has
a round cutout in the bottom to fit around the pier and spring
loaded closer hasps to seal it tight when closed.

Another version has two flat pieces that fit together just below the
mount and around the pier to form the bottom of a box and then a top
hat box that fits over the mount and clamps to the bottom.

Top off the design with a 15 watt light bulb and some bottom vent
holes to allow minimum air flow and I think you have a winner. Even
better, cover the mount first in a nice warm, breathable, non-
hygroscopic blanket (i.e. Gore-tex fabric) first, then cover it.

Just another idea.
Thanks, Rick



--- In ap-gto@..., "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@...> wrote:

Hi Steve,
Would if I could but can't so...the best area is in the front of my
house, and the town won't allow any kind of shed in a front area.
So
my choice is to leave the mount out in an area of the garden next
to
the driveway that I will wall off from view with a dense hedge.
I'll
drop some footings in for the tripod feet (I use a Meade giant
field
tripod, very solid) and plant some kind of ground cover I can walk
on
or grass. Run electric to it from the garage, make a path for a
dolly
to bring the computer and other equipment out (maybe even the OTA,
not
sure whether I'll load it each time or leave it mounted and covered
too), and I can be set up, polar aligned and ready to go in 5
minutes...at least, thats the plan so far. I've got all spring and
summer to work it out. Its really to avoid the winter
setup/breakdown,
like you've done the the Out Haus.

Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Steve..." <astropix@> wrote:

I should have said "structure" rather than "shell".

You can see mine here....

http://www.starrynights.us/Equipment/Equipment.htm

Steve...

--- In ap-gto@..., "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@> wrote:

Hmmm...that's an interesting thought. What kind of hard shell
did
you
come up with? I have a C14 on mine so it would take a pretty
good
sized barrel or drum...
Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Steve..." <astropix@> wrote:

Morgan,

For a time, I kept my AP1200 with OTA in a bag. We had some
high
winds
and something flying in the air hit the OTA putting a dent
into
it.

So I recommend a hard shell rather than a bag. I believe
that
even
these newer padded bags would still sustain damage from a
flying
object.

Steve...

www.CCDNavigator.com


Re: Atmospheric Refraction, Tracking Accuracy and PulseGuide

Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Ray,
I don't want to start a e-mail flame here, but would like to pose a
theory (currently my belief based on years of separate guider use).

I believe that there are several possibilities for flexure.

One is that the configuration (permanent setup that is fixed and
never changes) will always exhibit the same amount of flexure when
pointed/placed in the same position. I believe that this is true
only in part, but I do beliueve that there are terms that will be
repeatable, again assuming a permanent rigid setup.

A second flexure term may be present as well. This one would be due
to flexure that changes with time. There are multiple sources for
such terms such as:
1. Loose components and screws ( I have noticed that the screws in
my dovetails may loosen over a couple of years time). Another source
that some people have is delrin tipped rings that hold the guide
scope. These flow and tend to change with time.
2. Temperature gradients in the components. Many setups are composed
of various material types, all of which have different coefficients
of thermal expansion that are non-zero. For example, the thermal
expansion in aluminum optical tubes is one of the reasons that we
must refocus periodically and it is so predictable over temperature,
that many of the automated programs allow temperature compensation
for focusing. This temperature factor causes flexure over
temperature ranges and is completely independent of pointing
position. I don't have a figure for this, as I have assumed that it
was below the "3dB" SNR point for my guiding error terms.

I believe that a well set up separate guider is nearly as good if
not better than some off axis guiders...especially for rigs below
2000mm FL. Well set up implies near zero mechanical flexure, other
than elastic metal bending (assuming use of thick rigid metals) and
thermal flexure. Many off axis guiders have enough components in
them to have their own internal flexure, and with a pickoff mirror,
that flexure can be amplified. I don't believe that flexure is a
dominant term in my tracking or guiding.

I do believe that you can model out the permanent flexure terms in
guiding with enough attention to detail in the software, so I am not
resisting that effort. I just wanted to point out that there are
still some terms that will exist after removing these terms. Let me
know what you think about this.

I look foward to your new software and multi-star guiders!
Thanks, Rick



--- In ap-gto@..., "Ray Gralak" <rgr@...> wrote:

Sorry but you had better go back and read what I typed. I never
said
flexure was not significant. I did say that it has to be modeled
out.
There is no way you can arbitrarily calculate the flexure of any
of
our amateur telescope systems without modeling their pointing on
the
sky. There are way too many variables.
I guess I don't understand then... because that's how the AP
software I have
been working on is going to work. It model's the telescope's
expected
position against the actual position. From that set of data (N
mapping
points across the sky) differential rates from many factors,
including
flexure can be used to correct both pointing accuracy and the
tracking rate.


-Ray


Re: Atmospheric Refraction, Tracking Accuracy and PulseGuide

Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Roland,
I will assume that your figure (regarding refraction-based tracking
errors) is correct for this reply. If so, then that error will be
the dominant error source in tracking assuming a well set up AP
mount. Only "Seeing" might exceed that error term. Therefore, if you
can eliminate or reduce this term, the guiding can be significantly
improved as the guide algorithm can be optimized to deal with the
remianing residual drifts, PE, and dominant guiding.

I agree with Roland, that eliminating any error term will improve
tracking and thereby guiding. I try to tune my guiding to deal with
my known error sources, so this will allow me to tweak my guiding
even more to get better results. And... when some new software tools
become available, and we can guide with multiple guide stars, we can
realy start to tune the guiding.

Thanks, Rick


--- In ap-gto@..., chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 4/4/2008 11:11:45 AM Central Daylight Time,
JunkMailGoesHere@... writes:


If the system as a whole is extremely well polar aligned and
moving with sub-arcsecond tracking accuracy inherently or with
PEC as
seen on the meridian at 0 Dec, the rate of change due to the
change in
atmospheric refraction over a five minute period most anywhere
in the
sky is completely negligible unless one is imaging at extremely
long
focal lengths.
Actually it's not negligeable at the arc second level. If you want
no drift
in Ra or Dec over 5 minutes time span, you will need to take
atmospheric
refraction into account and vary the drive rate of both axes.
Between the horizon
and 45 degrees elevation, you will have an average of 1.5 arc sec
drift in RA
per second of time if the drive is kept strictly at the sidereal
rate.

Rolando


**************
Planning your summer road trip? Check out AOL Travel
Guides.

(http://travel.aol.com/travel-guide/united-states?
ncid=aoltrv00030000000016)


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Leaving as GTO mount outdoors

Mark Clegg
 

Morgan,

I have had a AP1200GTO for 7 years now, kept in a observatory here at
my home since day one. The observatory has no heating or cooling,
just
a small exhaust fan to pull hot air out when the space reaches >100
degrees in the summer. The scope and mount are always near ambient
temperature, this seems to work well and means quick set-up times.

The only issues I have experienced during the past 5 years is a few
keypad resetting problems and several intermittent power problems.
All
of the problems I have seen were due to oxidation on the pin
connectors
on the electronics.

I would think twice about bringing the electronics (keypad and
control
box) into a heated space after an observing session during cold
weather, this will eventually create problems with the electronics
due
to condensation. These left in a out building or garage at near
ambient
would be best.

Most important.. I have found that reseating the pin connections on a
regular basis, every 3-4 months works best for me... is essential for
maintaining continunity at all electrical connections if the mount
remains in the elements (event if it is in a observatory). I also
check and clean all electrical connections at least once a year to
prevent intermittent problems.

Mark Clegg
Pittsboro, N.C.






--- In ap-gto@..., Morgan Spangle <msfainc@...> wrote:

I'm considering leaving my APO 1200 GTO outdoors over the winter,
so
that setup/knockdown time is lessened, and since I use it by
remote
control to image anyway. I'm in the Northeast, so we do get rain,
cold, and snow; I'd have a pretty good over bungeed to the mount
to
protect it, and could even keep a lightbulb going all the time to
keep moisture from accumulating under the cover. What's the
group's
opinion?


Morgan Spangle


Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment

observe_m13
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Dean S" <dean@...> wrote:

I just spoke with my home owners insurance this morning, State Farm,
and she
said my observatory contents are included with the content coverage
of my
house. Cameras, telescopes, computers, etc.

And as long as it is just a hobby there is no additional coverage
needed,
assuming it is enough overall. However to be safe I am looking into
adding
this as an addition to be absolutely sure there would be no hidden
exclusions.

Dean
www.doghouseastronomy.com
I too am insured with State Farm and this is also the case. As long as
the equipment is at home or in an enclosure on my property
(observatory) it is covered. There is contents coverage on my vehicle
insurance (State Farm again) and it is covered most of the time
against collision damage or theft. There is no coverage when I am
vacationing or at star parties, etc and the equipment is outside of
the vehicle or the vehicle is unlocked. In other words the coverage
will only come into effect if the vehicle and contents are damaged in
a vehicle collision or if there has been a verifiable break and enter.
Due to this, I have added a rider to the house insurance that covers
either one of two OTA's (AP Traveler or AP130) on a Mach1 mount and
Berlebach tripod for all perils with a low deductible. It is not
inexpensive yet it IS better than traveling without insurance
considering the replacement cost, and comes under the camera's and
optics category.


Hello,
Does anyone have the name of a good insurance company that
will insure
mounts,
telescopes, ccd cameras, ect. Homeowners insurance won't cover it
and I
would want full
replacement cost, should a loss occur. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You


Re: Insurance for astronomy equipment

S HEGGIE <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Something else I do is maintain a spreadsheet of serial #'s and market pricing for all items. I give this to my insurance company anytime something major changes. I don't want to get into a debate on the insured value of something that gets stolen. Also, I found out that when you say "camera" or "bicycle" they assume it is cheap - some items over a particular value (bicycle over $1000 for example) they want to see a copy of the receipt.

Stuart

From: "Dean S" <dean@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: <ap-gto@...>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Insurance for astronomy equipment
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 00:30:18 -0400

I just spoke with my home owners insurance this morning, State Farm, and she
said my observatory contents are included with the content coverage of my
house. Cameras, telescopes, computers, etc.

And as long as it is just a hobby there is no additional coverage needed,
assuming it is enough overall. However to be safe I am looking into adding
this as an addition to be absolutely sure there would be no hidden
exclusions.

Dean
www.doghouseastronomy.com





----- Original Message -----
From: "mizzou156" <mizzou156@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 12:10 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Insurance for astronomy equipment


Hello,
Does anyone have the name of a good insurance company that will
insure
mounts,
telescopes, ccd cameras, ect. Homeowners insurance won't cover it and I
would want full
replacement cost, should a loss occur. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You


------------------------------------

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see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links




Insurance for astronomy equipment

mizzou156 <mizzou156@...>
 

Hello,
Does anyone have the name of a good insurance company that will insure mounts,
telescopes, ccd cameras, ect. Homeowners insurance won't cover it and I would want full
replacement cost, should a loss occur. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You


Re: Leaving as GTO mount outdoors

tucstargzr
 

Hi Morgan,

How are your town ordinances in regards to "art"? You might be
able to make a stable pier which "transforms" into a Telescope Mount
at night while looking like (IE) Miniature Lighthouse by day.
Amazing what a box made from plywood can be painted to resemble or
how easy Stucco sticks to Styrofoam and chicken wire.

At night, you unbuckle/remove the top that protects your "Thermo-
Nuclear Concentrator".

I'm NOT advocating you try to hoodwink or defraud. Some city
halls/HOA are notorious for denying projects that have unfamiliar
names in them. While a small shed in the front yard is unattractive,
a small garage isn't.

Tom


--- In ap-gto@..., "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@...> wrote:

Hi Steve,
Would if I could but can't so...the best area is in the front of my
house, and the town won't allow any kind of shed in a front area.
So
my choice is to leave the mount out in an area of the garden next
to
the driveway that I will wall off from view with a dense hedge.
I'll
drop some footings in for the tripod feet (I use a Meade giant
field
tripod, very solid) and plant some kind of ground cover I can walk
on
or grass. Run electric to it from the garage, make a path for a
dolly
to bring the computer and other equipment out (maybe even the OTA,
not
sure whether I'll load it each time or leave it mounted and covered
too), and I can be set up, polar aligned and ready to go in 5
minutes...at least, thats the plan so far. I've got all spring and
summer to work it out. Its really to avoid the winter
setup/breakdown,
like you've done the the Out Haus.

Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Steve..." <astropix@> wrote:

I should have said "structure" rather than "shell".

You can see mine here....

http://www.starrynights.us/Equipment/Equipment.htm

Steve...

--- In ap-gto@..., "Morgan Spangle" <msfainc@> wrote:

Hmmm...that's an interesting thought. What kind of hard shell
did
you
come up with? I have a C14 on mine so it would take a pretty
good
sized barrel or drum...
Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Steve..." <astropix@> wrote:

Morgan,

For a time, I kept my AP1200 with OTA in a bag. We had some
high
winds
and something flying in the air hit the OTA putting a dent
into
it.

So I recommend a hard shell rather than a bag. I believe
that
even
these newer padded bags would still sustain damage from a
flying
object.

Steve...

www.CCDNavigator.com


Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Luca <darknrg@...>
 

Thanks Ray. I will follow your advice. I know there must be major
differences in the AP version and the full version, but can you tell me
which wizards I'm missing there?
I may decide to go with the full version, but 1st I'll learn how to use this
one, which may well be enough for my purposes.

Ciao

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Ray Gralak
Date: 07/04/2008 0.52.26
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hi Luca,

I would like to echo Wade's comments on the wizards. User feedback led me to
develop the Wizards in PEMPro to make it easy to get set up. If you see
other issues and/or have any ideas on how to make using PEMPro
simpler/better please let me know.

-Ray


-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
On Behalf Of Luca
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2008 3:29 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Well Wade, that is exactly what I meant when I said to Ray
that I did not
expect things I could read in the manual from this group!
Anybody can read a
manual, but what you shared with me is acquired only through direct
experience.

Although I still only have the "light" version of PemPro, the
one that comes
with the mount, I will follow all of the tips I will find in
my edition of
the software.

Really thank you a lot for the time you took to write these
lines: I'm sure
they'll save a lot, if not all, the aggravation of using a new tool.

Ciao Wade

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Wade Van Arsdale
Date: 06/04/2008 17.23.31
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Luca,
Here's the "view from the street" regarding PEMPro and startup tips,
from one long-time user of it (me):
1) First the obvious one which you already know: go over the
documentation thoroughly, then work through it again *as* you setup
your equipment.

2) Make SURE of your NCP alignment...put numbers to it. (See #3
below).

3) Use *all* the PEMPro setup Wizards to get a solid setup:
a) Mount Wizard
b) Calibration Wizard
c) Polar Alignment Wizard (you can back-check it with pointing model
analysis software such as T-Point, etc...I find a very strong
correlation between the numbers from PEMPro's Polar Alignment Wizard
when back-checking it with T-Point, so I know PEMPro's wizard works
well for polar alignment....I've verified it for myself!

Many beginning users who fail on PEMPro the first time through, do so
because they skip some of the wizards, or take shortcuts through
them. Don't do that. Plan on spending one whole session working
through them the right way. You will be rewarded with saved time and
frustration later if you will do this!

4) First time through on recording data, don't worry about the
"Advanced Configuration" options in PEMPro's mount setup. Just
leave that box UN-checked and use basic functions.

5) Pick a night with good seeing and record your data at *or longer*
on focal length than what you will actually autoguide at when
imaging. This improves accuracy of the data collection.

6) Record *A LOT* of cycles....I used 8 complete worm cycles for my
AP-1200 and got an incredible 0.5 arc-sec of playback PE error peak
to valley (4.4 arc-sec uncorrected) with no "Advanced Config"
settings or curve refinement being utilized! The more cycles (up to
a point) that you can get the more that seeing and mechanical noise,
wind, etc....are factored out of the data. While that is not a
guarantee that you will get same on your mount, recording a lot of
cycles usually will improve PEMPro (and mount PEC) performance.

7) Record your data on a target star located at DEC 00 and just
barely past (west) the meridian. This makes it easier to get "clean"
data without Declination factoring coming into play.

Do these things and you have a very good chance of making PEMPro
work well for you. The thing I am seeing with the AP-1200 mount
compared to some other brands I've been on (even some high-priced
ones) is the incredibly low reduction gear and motor "noise" of its
Swiss motors. This high-frequency, non-worm phase noise can really
kill good autoguiding, even if you have low periodic error on your
mount. The AP's I've seen just don't typically display this
problem like some other mounts do. This makes PEMPro work even
better on AP mounts specifically, compared to some other brands.

There is an old saying that I will attribute to Ron Wodaski...I think
that is where I first read it: "The best autoguide correction is
*NO* correction". I have found this to be very true in real-life
use, *especially* as you go to longer and longer focal lengths as
Ray pointed out. AP tools like PEMPro or PulseGuide certainly take
you much closer to this goal than not using them would.

I find that if seeing is bad it really doesn't matter WHAT you do,
just go with short focal lengths, visual astronomy, or stay home.
But when seeing is moderately-to-very good, and/or at longer focal
lengths, that is when these types of software tools really can make
a difference because they allow you to exploit in your images those
small sub-arc sec improvements that they bring into the mix.

Just my own opinion only, but I see improvement in my imaging frames
through better autoguiding when using either of those tools,
especially when seeing is good, that I don't see when NOT using
them.

Good luck!
Wade Van Arsdale
AP-1200
PEMPro V.2.0 Build 39
Little Rock, AR., USA

///////////////

--- In ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luca" <darknrg@...> wrote:

Not yet!

I agree it may sound stupid, but there are things that you
learn "by doing"
and I was referring to that extra information, if any. That's the
way I
intend these groups: to share experience: I have none with
PemProAP, so
anything will do for me!

But I promise I will read the manual as soon as I get to my
observatory and
to the pc where it is installed! I just thought I could get a
little head
start ;-)

Thanks Ray

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Ray Gralak
Date: 04/04/2008 22.45.58
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hi Luca,

Have you read the help file? :-)

-Ray Gralak
(author of PEMPro)

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
[mailto:ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> ]
On Behalf Of Luca
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 12:17 PM
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hello everyone,

I've decided that I will install and use PemProAP for my 1200
to improve its
tracking accuracy.
Any useful hint to a first time user? Information on how to avoid
the
steepest part of the learning curve?

Thanks for any help!

Ciao
Luca





















Re: Atmospheric Refraction, Tracking Accuracy and PulseGuide

Pawel Lancucki
 

Hi Guys

This is a very interesting thread, personally I have never attempted to
image beyond 1800mm FL so many of the challenges are quite new for me.

I believe there are systems with a built-in King rate which is a sort of
"sideral rate corrected for averaged refraction", and there are systems
which calculate the real King rate based on the object altitude over
horizon (the Hungarian-made Pulsar system used on Gemini and Montegra
mounts uses this one).

But in any case, the real-life refraction is a function of the location
elevation over the sea level, air pressure, humidity etc - way too many
factors for a simple drive system. These probably *could be* and are
factored in for large professional installations.

In any case, it would be interesting to compare guiding performance of the
same mount equipped with traditional constant-rate RA, King rate and
real-time King rate :-)

Clear skies

Pawel Lancucki
Warsaw, Poland


Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

r1300rs
 

Wade:

What a great review from a "users" standpoint That should take the fear out of using this
program to review and correct for your mounts PE.

Astronomers are the greatest folks when it comes to sharing personal mistakes and
experiences.

The Wizards are a great addition (along with the slick Polar Alignment tool).

I actually look forward to using it!

Rick Kuntz
cardiofuse observatory
Panama City, FL


Questar 7 OTA on 600E mount

Morgan Spangle <msfainc@...>
 

I just posted some pics of my new setup, a Questar 7 OTA on an AP600E
mount. The Q7 is a beautiful performer: it has enhanced silver
coatings like the new 50th anniversary scopes, and gives super high
resolution views of double stars and planets. The 600E is a new
acquisition; seems to be at the limiting edge holding this long focal
length (and heavy at 25lbs) OTA, but it seems to be doing fine under
good conditions - I've only had it out briefly as I await good weather
this week here near New York City.
Morgan


Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Ray Gralak <rgr@...>
 

Hi Luca,

I would like to echo Wade's comments on the wizards. User feedback led me to
develop the Wizards in PEMPro to make it easy to get set up. If you see
other issues and/or have any ideas on how to make using PEMPro
simpler/better please let me know.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
On Behalf Of Luca
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2008 3:29 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Well Wade, that is exactly what I meant when I said to Ray
that I did not
expect things I could read in the manual from this group!
Anybody can read a
manual, but what you shared with me is acquired only through direct
experience.

Although I still only have the "light" version of PemPro, the
one that comes
with the mount, I will follow all of the tips I will find in
my edition of
the software.

Really thank you a lot for the time you took to write these
lines: I'm sure
they'll save a lot, if not all, the aggravation of using a new tool.

Ciao Wade

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Wade Van Arsdale
Date: 06/04/2008 17.23.31
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Luca,
Here's the "view from the street" regarding PEMPro and startup tips,
from one long-time user of it (me):
1) First the obvious one which you already know: go over the
documentation thoroughly, then work through it again *as* you setup
your equipment.

2) Make SURE of your NCP alignment...put numbers to it. (See #3
below).

3) Use *all* the PEMPro setup Wizards to get a solid setup:
a) Mount Wizard
b) Calibration Wizard
c) Polar Alignment Wizard (you can back-check it with pointing model
analysis software such as T-Point, etc...I find a very strong
correlation between the numbers from PEMPro's Polar Alignment Wizard
when back-checking it with T-Point, so I know PEMPro's wizard works
well for polar alignment....I've verified it for myself!

Many beginning users who fail on PEMPro the first time through, do so
because they skip some of the wizards, or take shortcuts through
them. Don't do that. Plan on spending one whole session working
through them the right way. You will be rewarded with saved time and
frustration later if you will do this!

4) First time through on recording data, don't worry about the
"Advanced Configuration" options in PEMPro's mount setup. Just
leave that box UN-checked and use basic functions.

5) Pick a night with good seeing and record your data at *or longer*
on focal length than what you will actually autoguide at when
imaging. This improves accuracy of the data collection.

6) Record *A LOT* of cycles....I used 8 complete worm cycles for my
AP-1200 and got an incredible 0.5 arc-sec of playback PE error peak
to valley (4.4 arc-sec uncorrected) with no "Advanced Config"
settings or curve refinement being utilized! The more cycles (up to
a point) that you can get the more that seeing and mechanical noise,
wind, etc....are factored out of the data. While that is not a
guarantee that you will get same on your mount, recording a lot of
cycles usually will improve PEMPro (and mount PEC) performance.

7) Record your data on a target star located at DEC 00 and just
barely past (west) the meridian. This makes it easier to get "clean"
data without Declination factoring coming into play.

Do these things and you have a very good chance of making PEMPro
work well for you. The thing I am seeing with the AP-1200 mount
compared to some other brands I've been on (even some high-priced
ones) is the incredibly low reduction gear and motor "noise" of its
Swiss motors. This high-frequency, non-worm phase noise can really
kill good autoguiding, even if you have low periodic error on your
mount. The AP's I've seen just don't typically display this
problem like some other mounts do. This makes PEMPro work even
better on AP mounts specifically, compared to some other brands.

There is an old saying that I will attribute to Ron Wodaski...I think
that is where I first read it: "The best autoguide correction is
*NO* correction". I have found this to be very true in real-life
use, *especially* as you go to longer and longer focal lengths as
Ray pointed out. AP tools like PEMPro or PulseGuide certainly take
you much closer to this goal than not using them would.

I find that if seeing is bad it really doesn't matter WHAT you do,
just go with short focal lengths, visual astronomy, or stay home.
But when seeing is moderately-to-very good, and/or at longer focal
lengths, that is when these types of software tools really can make
a difference because they allow you to exploit in your images those
small sub-arc sec improvements that they bring into the mix.

Just my own opinion only, but I see improvement in my imaging frames
through better autoguiding when using either of those tools,
especially when seeing is good, that I don't see when NOT using
them.

Good luck!
Wade Van Arsdale
AP-1200
PEMPro V.2.0 Build 39
Little Rock, AR., USA

///////////////

--- In ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luca" <darknrg@...> wrote:

Not yet!

I agree it may sound stupid, but there are things that you
learn "by doing"
and I was referring to that extra information, if any. That's the
way I
intend these groups: to share experience: I have none with
PemProAP, so
anything will do for me!

But I promise I will read the manual as soon as I get to my
observatory and
to the pc where it is installed! I just thought I could get a
little head
start ;-)

Thanks Ray

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Ray Gralak
Date: 04/04/2008 22.45.58
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hi Luca,

Have you read the help file? :-)

-Ray Gralak
(author of PEMPro)

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
[mailto:ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> ]
On Behalf Of Luca
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 12:17 PM
To: ap-gto@... <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hello everyone,

I've decided that I will install and use PemProAP for my 1200
to improve its
tracking accuracy.
Any useful hint to a first time user? Information on how to avoid
the
steepest part of the learning curve?

Thanks for any help!

Ciao
Luca





















Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Luca <darknrg@...>
 

Well Wade, that is exactly what I meant when I said to Ray that I did not
expect things I could read in the manual from this group! Anybody can read a
manual, but what you shared with me is acquired only through direct
experience.

Although I still only have the "light" version of PemPro, the one that comes
with the mount, I will follow all of the tips I will find in my edition of
the software.

Really thank you a lot for the time you took to write these lines: I'm sure
they'll save a lot, if not all, the aggravation of using a new tool.

Ciao Wade

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Wade Van Arsdale
Date: 06/04/2008 17.23.31
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Luca,
Here's the "view from the street" regarding PEMPro and startup tips,
from one long-time user of it (me):
1) First the obvious one which you already know: go over the
documentation thoroughly, then work through it again *as* you setup
your equipment.

2) Make SURE of your NCP alignment...put numbers to it. (See #3
below).

3) Use *all* the PEMPro setup Wizards to get a solid setup:
a) Mount Wizard
b) Calibration Wizard
c) Polar Alignment Wizard (you can back-check it with pointing model
analysis software such as T-Point, etc...I find a very strong
correlation between the numbers from PEMPro's Polar Alignment Wizard
when back-checking it with T-Point, so I know PEMPro's wizard works
well for polar alignment....I've verified it for myself!

Many beginning users who fail on PEMPro the first time through, do so
because they skip some of the wizards, or take shortcuts through
them. Don't do that. Plan on spending one whole session working
through them the right way. You will be rewarded with saved time and
frustration later if you will do this!

4) First time through on recording data, don't worry about the
"Advanced Configuration" options in PEMPro's mount setup. Just
leave that box UN-checked and use basic functions.

5) Pick a night with good seeing and record your data at *or longer*
on focal length than what you will actually autoguide at when
imaging. This improves accuracy of the data collection.

6) Record *A LOT* of cycles....I used 8 complete worm cycles for my
AP-1200 and got an incredible 0.5 arc-sec of playback PE error peak
to valley (4.4 arc-sec uncorrected) with no "Advanced Config"
settings or curve refinement being utilized! The more cycles (up to
a point) that you can get the more that seeing and mechanical noise,
wind, etc....are factored out of the data. While that is not a
guarantee that you will get same on your mount, recording a lot of
cycles usually will improve PEMPro (and mount PEC) performance.

7) Record your data on a target star located at DEC 00 and just
barely past (west) the meridian. This makes it easier to get "clean"
data without Declination factoring coming into play.

Do these things and you have a very good chance of making PEMPro
work well for you. The thing I am seeing with the AP-1200 mount
compared to some other brands I've been on (even some high-priced
ones) is the incredibly low reduction gear and motor "noise" of its
Swiss motors. This high-frequency, non-worm phase noise can really
kill good autoguiding, even if you have low periodic error on your
mount. The AP's I've seen just don't typically display this
problem like some other mounts do. This makes PEMPro work even
better on AP mounts specifically, compared to some other brands.

There is an old saying that I will attribute to Ron Wodaski...I think
that is where I first read it: "The best autoguide correction is
*NO* correction". I have found this to be very true in real-life
use, *especially* as you go to longer and longer focal lengths as
Ray pointed out. AP tools like PEMPro or PulseGuide certainly take
you much closer to this goal than not using them would.

I find that if seeing is bad it really doesn't matter WHAT you do,
just go with short focal lengths, visual astronomy, or stay home.
But when seeing is moderately-to-very good, and/or at longer focal
lengths, that is when these types of software tools really can make
a difference because they allow you to exploit in your images those
small sub-arc sec improvements that they bring into the mix.

Just my own opinion only, but I see improvement in my imaging frames
through better autoguiding when using either of those tools,
especially when seeing is good, that I don't see when NOT using
them.

Good luck!
Wade Van Arsdale
AP-1200
PEMPro V.2.0 Build 39
Little Rock, AR., USA

///////////////

--- In ap-gto@..., "Luca" <darknrg@...> wrote:

Not yet!

I agree it may sound stupid, but there are things that you
learn "by doing"
and I was referring to that extra information, if any. That's the
way I
intend these groups: to share experience: I have none with
PemProAP, so
anything will do for me!

But I promise I will read the manual as soon as I get to my
observatory and
to the pc where it is installed! I just thought I could get a
little head
start ;-)

Thanks Ray

Luca

-------Original Message-------

From: Ray Gralak
Date: 04/04/2008 22.45.58
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hi Luca,

Have you read the help file? :-)

-Ray Gralak
(author of PEMPro)

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
On Behalf Of Luca
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 12:17 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] PemProAP: tips for a 1st time user?

Hello everyone,

I've decided that I will install and use PemProAP for my 1200
to improve its
tracking accuracy.
Any useful hint to a first time user? Information on how to avoid
the
steepest part of the learning curve?

Thanks for any help!

Ciao
Luca












Re: Atmospheric Refraction, Tracking Accuracy and PulseGuide

Muhammed Samir Kharusi
 

Interesting discussion! OK, let me explain my context. There are 2
major groups of users of AP mounts - the portable users and the fixed
observatory users. Others, like myself do both. My observatory is
hopelessly light polluted, but indeed I can easily fix things up to
do off-axis autoguiding. Portably, nothing kills enthusiasm faster
for the next weekend than just looking at the amount of luggage one
has to take to execute autoguiding in the boonies, away from mains
power. It is VERY pleasant to just take along a light mount, no PC
(power hog!), no autoguider, a DSLR (no 12v supply required), a light
OTA (eg camera lens) and drive away. My current portable kit weighs
under 15 kg all-in, including batteries. Very pleasant, but limited
to 400mm max focal length:
http://www.samirkharusi.net/skymemo.html
With an atmospheric-refraction-adjusted Mach1 I would expect to take
that up to 1200mm focal length at f5.6 for white-light imaging and
also be able to shoot narrowband, say at 600mm and f4. Problem with
narrowband in the boonies is that you need rather long subs to get
into a skyfog-statistics-limited regime, even at f4, say, 5+minutes.
It does not matter what the current limits are for the Mach1 without
PC-support in the boonies, but being able to push the envelope to the
next stage is what it's all about.

Fixed observattory users: I do not see any negatives in combining T-
point modelling concepts (inclusive of flexure) and PulseGuide
driving for when you wish to image at long focal lengths, say,
4000+mm. You may still autoguide, but you become much less dependent
on the guider, always a better starting point. The longer the focal
length, in my limited experience, the more you wish the autoguider to
minimise its nudges.

Portable imaging: If the PulseGuide corrections for atmospheric
refraction can be built into a future hand paddle (flexure and
pointing corrections are perhaps for a later generation) then
whatever the limits are today with your favorite AP-mount (2min subs
at 1200mm focal length?) will be extended when the atmospheric
refraction is included. These atmospheric corrections, as I envisage
things, do NOT have to be trained into the mount. They will be
already in the firmware. One can also train PEC (and T-point
inclusive of flexure) at home base and leave the PC and heavy
batteries, guider, etc at home. That, also, will be a great, good
thing. Depending on the focal ratio of your OTA you should indeed be
able to do narrowband imaging in the boonies unguided, at a focal
length that is not possible today, or similarly for white-light
imaging.
--- In ap-gto@..., "Samir Kharusi" <samirkharusi@...>
wrote:

OK, let us all admit that even a mount with perfect polar alignment
and
perfectly smooth gears, and a perfect RA drive, will still show
both RA
and Dec drift because the atmosphere refracts differently at
different
altitude pointing. I.e. perfect tracking at zenith would become
imperfect away from zenith, as Roland keeps pointing out. But, and
this
is possibly a very important BUT, the AP gto mounts can be pulse-
driven
usiing PulseGuide. Can this not be turned into a major advantage of
the
AP mounts vs all other mounts that cannot be pulse-driven? Surely
it is
not a major programming effort, ie just a software fix, to
calculate
the influence of atmospheric refraction at any alt and az and
provide
the correct pulses to bring the tracking ever closer to perfection?
Or
am I missing something?


Re: Atmospheric Refraction, Tracking Accuracy and PulseGuide

observe_m13
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Ray Gralak" <rgr@...> wrote:

Sorry but you had better go back and read what I typed. I never said
flexure was not significant. I did say that it has to be modeled out.
There is no way you can arbitrarily calculate the flexure of any of
our amateur telescope systems without modeling their pointing on the
sky. There are way too many variables.
I guess I don't understand then... because that's how the AP
software I have
been working on is going to work. It model's the telescope's expected
position against the actual position. From that set of data (N mapping
points across the sky) differential rates from many factors, including
flexure can be used to correct both pointing accuracy and the
tracking rate.


-Ray
OK, now it is I who doesn't understand. Now you are stating that this
operates exactly like T-point in that I say go here to the system.
Once it has gone to where it thinks it is supposed to go I say "Nope"
and move the scope to where the object actually is and enter that
point. After several iterations of this across the sky at various
points, a model of the telescope movement and pointing as a system is
created from which all sorts of things can be generated, including
variable tracking based upon where the object is located on the sky.
This is exactly what I have been saying all along. Without this
real-world pointing information you have no way of telling what the
system as a whole is up to. Yes, one can absolutely 'know' the RA and
Dec of an object at a certain time, and one can correct the expected
pointing based upon the calculated airmass refraction, but until one
matches the telescope system to the sky by n-point calibration, there
is no way that you can really tell where the telescope is pointing.
Once that multi-point calibration is complete you can use it to do
very accurate goto's as T-point does, or you can use that exact same
information to drive the axis variably to match the telescope system
movement, with all its errors, to the sky.