Date   

Re: using a Simulator

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Derek S wrote:

 

  • I would like to spend some time learning my mount in the comfort of my office(the real reason is the RV is in the shop, so I am stuck at home.)  Any is there a document somewhere on how to do this?  I have been using sharp cap and the skyX so for, but would like go move to APCC and NINA(I think).  I assume that the mount on a tripod is all of the hardware I need and I can use the ascom camera simulator, I think.

    Any pointers or suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Plagued by bad weather for two months I have done this quite a bit, and it is both easier and harder than you might think.

 

I use NINA and APCC, so what I do is set up a NINA profile for “simulator” so as not to mess up my usual profile as I go back and forth.  In your case you might just start one with the idea of migrating it later.  Each profile has all the equipment and other settings like focal length, options choices, etc.

 

In APCC I do it live, as it really does not need anything different for indoor/simulation and outdoor.

 

APPM is different, come back to that…

 

Skipping details like configuring APCC as there’s a ton of info on that….

 

Start APCC first (doesn’t have to be, simpler, easier to see what happens).

 

In NINA, set up equipment for the NINA Simulator Camera.  Here’s an annoying aspect – you have to hit setup and configure it for the sky survey each time you use it, it reverts to something else.  You can then do things like filter wheel, rotator, focuser, etc. if you really want to but are not needed; there are simulators for all.

 

I recommend NOT trying to use the guider in daylight, even though in principle it also has simulators.  Other stuff like weather, etc. as you like.

 

I also recommend now you choose daylight objects, i.e. do NOT try setting the time to the middle of the night.  I did that once, things got really wacky.  Just use stellarium or some such to pick targets (obviously invisible) that are up now.  The camera simulator will automagically download images of those objects when you take an image, based on the RA/DEC of the mount at that moment (you can even build in pointing errors in the camera setup).

 

In theory you can set all this up to do plate solving but in reality I have never had much lock solving the simulator images.  Once in a while it works, often it does not.  I tried TSX also, same result.  Maybe I had something set up wrong, however what I do is build test sequences and leave out any auto-focus (that just won’t work as it relies in getting out of focus images back), and leave out any center, center-and-rotate, auto-center after flip and similar functions.  Stick to slew only, nothing that requires a plate solve.   Or… try plate solve if you want to, but it’s rather boring for sky survey images if it works.

 

I’ve tested meridian flips a lot in that mode, and I would think you could work out all the horizon, meridian limits, even things like counterweight up slews and tracking if you want.

 

APPM: Because I couldn’t get sky surveys to plate solve, I never got APPM to work at all in daylight.  Your mileage may be different.   Now in actual dark, it works great using NINA as a camera, and using ASTAP as a plate solver – just last night every single point worked first try.  You could try it with the NINA simulator, and even if plate solving fails, at least you know you have the connection working.  But it’s not like you need a model the first time(s) you are out.

 

Some things, like NINA’s polar alignment, won’t really work (I mean, moving the mount won’t change anything), though there’s a lot of exploring you can do.

 

But remember, every time you disconnect the camera, if you want to use the sky survey, you have to set it up again next time you connect.

 

Oh… all this presumes you are using version 1.11 (Nightly or Preview edition).  Which is worth using.  I wouldn’t even start with the released or beta version, the nightlies are technically unstable, but a heck of a lot of people use them every night.

 

Final thought: just in case, it is most useful if you do all this where you can see the mount, and hit emergency stop or stop or just yank the power if it goes nuts.  Also, I’d recommend leaving the clutches a bit loose just in case you do end up colliding with the tripod/pier as you are experimenting, things then slip nicely and do no harm (but you need to properly follow the manual to correct the position afterwards).

 

Ask questions, a lot of us are without clear skies, so we are probably doing similar indoor stuff!

 

Linwood

 


Re: MACH2GTO Price increase

Cheng-Yang Tan
 

Hi Karen,
   Does this mean that the Mach2 is going to be or in production?

cytan

On Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 06:13:33 PM CDT, Karen Christen <karen@...> wrote:


You are correct, Eric.  Due to a variety of factors, including materials and production costs, we did make price modifications to the Mach2GTO and the 1600GTO late last week.  The 1600GTO’s in particular had not been changed in over 5 years.  We still feel both of these mounts are an excellent value.

Karen

AP

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Eric Weiner
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 5:04 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] MACH2GTO Price increase

 

I’m not sure exactly when this occurred, but I just noticed the Mach2 price jumped up a bit. Was there a design mod, or was this simply due to materials/manufacturing cost increases?

I see the 1600GTO prices are now posted as well. How do these compare against the previous run prices? I’m only asking for reference. Price increases are to be expected periodically for any product. 


--
Karen Christen
Astro-Physics


using a Simulator

Derek S
 

Hi,

I would like to spend some time learning my mount in the comfort of my office(the real reason is the RV is in the shop, so I am stuck at home.)  Any is there a document somewhere on how to do this?  I have been using sharp cap and the skyX so for, but would like go move to APCC and NINA(I think).  I assume that the mount on a tripod is all of the hardware I need and I can use the ascom camera simulator, I think.

Any pointers or suggestions would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Derek


Re: MACH2GTO Price increase

Karen Christen
 

You are correct, Eric.  Due to a variety of factors, including materials and production costs, we did make price modifications to the Mach2GTO and the 1600GTO late last week.  The 1600GTO’s in particular had not been changed in over 5 years.  We still feel both of these mounts are an excellent value.

Karen

AP

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Eric Weiner
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 5:04 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] MACH2GTO Price increase

 

I’m not sure exactly when this occurred, but I just noticed the Mach2 price jumped up a bit. Was there a design mod, or was this simply due to materials/manufacturing cost increases?

I see the 1600GTO prices are now posted as well. How do these compare against the previous run prices? I’m only asking for reference. Price increases are to be expected periodically for any product. 


--
Karen Christen
Astro-Physics


MACH2GTO Price increase

Eric Weiner
 

I’m not sure exactly when this occurred, but I just noticed the Mach2 price jumped up a bit. Was there a design mod, or was this simply due to materials/manufacturing cost increases?

I see the 1600GTO prices are now posted as well. How do these compare against the previous run prices? I’m only asking for reference. Price increases are to be expected periodically for any product. 


Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Shailesh Trivedi
 

Ray,

It has been cloudy and rainy in Sacramento last few days (yeah we need the rain in California). I will first try the Plate Solve and Recal before proceeding further. 

Thanks,

Shailesh


Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Ray Gralak
 

Shailesh,

I was trying to make the point that even permanent piers can shift, especially if placed in soil with any amount of clay. For example, it's common here in California, where clay soil is abundant, that as the clay gains or loses water the clay expands or contracts. This can happen very quickly. Because of this, cracks can form in sidewalks and exterior (and interior) walls in homes. Clay soil can even unlevel homes, so a pier can be easily affected. So despite your pier being solid, the ground around it might shift and move the pier. I hope that makes sense?

That said, it could be that the mount's polar alignment has shifted for another reason (e.g. alignment changed when the mount bolts were tightened).

BTW, did you perform the Plate Solve and Recal in APPM? If so, did it help? If not, something physical in your setup may have changed. If so, you could do another APPM run and compare pointing terms to see what has changed.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Shailesh Trivedi
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 8:25 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Thanks Ray.

If the ground shifts in the matter of a few days or weeks, my setup is no good. I have used it with longer FL
eg 1200mm and other scopes even up to 1650mm FL for many years with no issues in models, though not
APPM model but Tpoint on another Bisque mount that I no longer have, so I am down to AP1100 with AE (I
am glad have the AP1100 with user installed AE). In summary, the concrete is not cracked, and to the best of
my prior data points noted, the 10inch steel pier I have is also rigid on rebar reinforced concrete.

I will redo a better PA (seeing and clouds permitting) and then redo the model just to be sure.

Thanks,

Shailesh






Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Shailesh Trivedi
 

Thanks Ray. 

If the ground shifts in the matter of a few days or weeks, my setup is no good. I have used it with longer FL eg 1200mm and other scopes even up to 1650mm FL for many years with no issues in models, though not APPM model but Tpoint on another Bisque mount that I no longer have, so I am down to AP1100 with AE (I am glad have the AP1100 with user installed AE). In summary, the concrete is not cracked, and to the best of my prior data points noted, the 10inch steel pier I have is also rigid on rebar reinforced concrete.

I will redo a better PA (seeing and clouds permitting) and then redo the model just to be sure.

Thanks,

Shailesh





Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Ray Gralak
 

Thank you Ray. I have a permanent pier in concrete that has been set up since 2013, so I do not believe it
shifts, especially since I have constructed it with steel Rebars in concrete.
There are two types of concrete: concrete that is cracked, and concrete that hasn't yet cracked. :-)

Yes, the ground can shift in a permanent setup like yours. Just not as quickly.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Shailesh Trivedi
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 6:37 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Thank you Ray. I have a permanent pier in concrete that has been set up since 2013, so I do not believe it
shifts, especially since I have constructed it with steel Rebars in concrete.

Shailesh


Re: Reflection in image

Robert Chozick <rchozick@...>
 

I think the reflection pattern and size would be different if it were one of the extension tubes. 


On Sep 27, 2021, at 3:11 PM, Martin Magnan <martin.magnan@...> wrote:

Hello

"t-thread extensions  + t-thread to 2 inch adapter + 2 inch extensions + CCDT67"

I once had a very similar setup and the internal reflection was caused by a "shiny" adapter. The problem was solved by flocking the inside of the adapter with black hockey tape.

Martin


Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Shailesh Trivedi
 

Thank you Ray. I have a permanent pier in concrete that has been set up since 2013, so I do not believe it shifts, especially since I have constructed it with steel Rebars in concrete.

Shailesh


Re: PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Shailesh,

I ran a 290 point APPM model last Friday and am having trouble centering to a target (I am off by several
degrees). Ray suggested "Plate Solve and Recal" in APPM, but I noticed something odd in looking at the
Model numbers. The polar elevation is -600 something arc seconds and the polar azimuth is -300 something,
see attached.
Provided polar alignment has not shifted, the model will compensate for polar alignment errors in both pointing and tracking.

I said "provided" because some people have noticed that settling in the ground can cause measurable changes in polar alignment.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Shailesh Trivedi
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2021 8:27 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] PA Error what is acceptable for 530mm FL & 2.1arc sec/pix

Hi,

I ran a 290 point APPM model last Friday and am having trouble centering to a target (I am off by several
degrees). Ray suggested "Plate Solve and Recal" in APPM, but I noticed something odd in looking at the
Model numbers. The polar elevation is -600 something arc seconds and the polar azimuth is -300 something,
see attached.

I know that APPM is expected to correct for PA errors, but for a 530mm FL and image scale of 2.1 arc sec
per pixel, is this error too much?

I prefer to dial it down to less than 10 arc sec, but the night I did my PA with PEMPRO, I was chasing the
seeing in suburban Sacramento.



Please shed light. thanks.

Shailesh


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

 

Hi Linwood

nice to hear your success

>>> if you have an all sky model, should you check the DEC Arc tracking anyway?

it's an optional feature, but yes I suggest you check it. It's a "tracking improvement" feature. The worst that happens is your guiding doesn't improve, and you can disable it


Brian 



On Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 6:06 PM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:
Ok, it's another one of those "surprise, it did what it said it would" posts, but... first really clear night since i got the mount (2 months ago). First real model where I could get the whole sky.

NINA and ASTAP used, 79 points, 79 good, none failed, 32 minutes (about 2.5 points per minute) with a C11 @ 2800mm, ASI6200MM bin 2, 3 sec exposures.  Polar aligned with NINA's new tool.

With light winds (gusting to 5mph with a big dew shield on it), PHD2 over 200 seconds shows RMS error of 0.46" -- with guiding OFF (Guiding Assistant). 

First slew across half the sky plate solved to 20" by 1" off.

Many thanks to Dale, Ray and whoever else helped with the NINA/ASTAP integration.  I can't get my camera to work reliably with APPM directly, and I really didn't want to use TSX, so this is a terrific combination, and at least to me seems quite fast.  Not sure I NEED a model but it is nice to know I can build one reasonably fast.

I'm now imaging and guiding at 0.31" RMS despite the light wind (prior mounts almost any wind with that big dew shield was a mess). All that with a non-locked mirror as well.

So I do have one question: if you have an all sky model, should you check the DEC Arc tracking anyway?  (I realize the model is not really important since I'm guiding, but trying to learn in case I want to ever image unguided. )

So anyway, thanks again for all that made the new integration work!

Linwood



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Bill Long wrote:

 

  • Definitely best to encounter a problem before paying a load of money to fix it. :) 

 

Despite vendor wishes to the contrary.  😊

 

Of course, it presumes the wisdom to notice a problem.  Something I worry about at times.

 

  • I have always assumed the numbers on one side being different than the other were due to orthogonality issues or a slight pier imbalance. Ray would know better though. 

 

I stare at the numbers and even if I know a definition, I lack the context to know if it is actionable.  E.g. is 113 Tube Flexure, for a C11 on an AP1100 grossly awful or really good or somewhere in between?   (Or maybe more to the point are any of these actionable intelligence about one’s setup; maybe the answer is problems show up elsewhere, this is not a good place to look).

 


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

Bill Long
 

Definitely best to encounter a problem before paying a load of money to fix it. :) 

I have always assumed the numbers on one side being different than the other were due to orthogonality issues or a slight pier imbalance. Ray would know better though. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of ap@... <ap@...>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2021 6:33 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE
 

Bill Long wrote:

 

  • Its a little bit different of a ballgame with SCT's though. I think with an external focuser and the mirror locks engaged you can mitigate the flop issue that can cause problems.  

 

Other than a need to refocus after long slews, it really is more of a theoretical problem than one I notice.  I spent a lot of time researching external focusers (and rotators and tilt adapters) and just decided to wait until I was sure I had a problem that needed fixing.  Frankly with talk of focuser sag (I have a fairly heavy camera) on some of them, and others that eat up too much back focus, indefinite delays on others, and the price tag on some … Well, waiting for the problem to become more evident.


Though speaking of which, do the numbers here like flex or east vs west values speak to how much mirror flop occurred during all that slewing?   I won’t pretend to understand the implication of the specific numbers below.

 

 


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Bill Long wrote:

 

  • Its a little bit different of a ballgame with SCT's though. I think with an external focuser and the mirror locks engaged you can mitigate the flop issue that can cause problems.  

 

Other than a need to refocus after long slews, it really is more of a theoretical problem than one I notice.  I spent a lot of time researching external focusers (and rotators and tilt adapters) and just decided to wait until I was sure I had a problem that needed fixing.  Frankly with talk of focuser sag (I have a fairly heavy camera) on some of them, and others that eat up too much back focus, indefinite delays on others, and the price tag on some … Well, waiting for the problem to become more evident.


Though speaking of which, do the numbers here like flex or east vs west values speak to how much mirror flop occurred during all that slewing?   I won’t pretend to understand the implication of the specific numbers below.

 

 


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

Bill Long
 

Its a little bit different of a ballgame with SCT's though. I think with an external focuser and the mirror locks engaged you can mitigate the flop issue that can cause problems.  


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@...>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2021 6:23 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE
 
With the encoders and a good model your reliance on guiding will be a lot less.  The guider wont have to work as hard to keep the course.  I’ve stopped guiding at all with my Mach1 using 50 point models at short focal length (530mm). 

On Sep 27, 2021, at 6:06 PM, ap@... wrote:

Ok, it's another one of those "surprise, it did what it said it would" posts, but... first really clear night since i got the mount (2 months ago). First real model where I could get the whole sky.

NINA and ASTAP used, 79 points, 79 good, none failed, 32 minutes (about 2.5 points per minute) with a C11 @ 2800mm, ASI6200MM bin 2, 3 sec exposures.  Polar aligned with NINA's new tool.

With light winds (gusting to 5mph with a big dew shield on it), PHD2 over 200 seconds shows RMS error of 0.46" -- with guiding OFF (Guiding Assistant). 

First slew across half the sky plate solved to 20" by 1" off.

Many thanks to Dale, Ray and whoever else helped with the NINA/ASTAP integration.  I can't get my camera to work reliably with APPM directly, and I really didn't want to use TSX, so this is a terrific combination, and at least to me seems quite fast.  Not sure I NEED a model but it is nice to know I can build one reasonably fast.

I'm now imaging and guiding at 0.31" RMS despite the light wind (prior mounts almost any wind with that big dew shield was a mess). All that with a non-locked mirror as well.

So I do have one question: if you have an all sky model, should you check the DEC Arc tracking anyway?  (I realize the model is not really important since I'm guiding, but trying to learn in case I want to ever image unguided. )

So anyway, thanks again for all that made the new integration work!

Linwood


Re: It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

Joseph Beyer
 

With the encoders and a good model your reliance on guiding will be a lot less.  The guider wont have to work as hard to keep the course.  I’ve stopped guiding at all with my Mach1 using 50 point models at short focal length (530mm). 

On Sep 27, 2021, at 6:06 PM, ap@... wrote:

Ok, it's another one of those "surprise, it did what it said it would" posts, but... first really clear night since i got the mount (2 months ago). First real model where I could get the whole sky.

NINA and ASTAP used, 79 points, 79 good, none failed, 32 minutes (about 2.5 points per minute) with a C11 @ 2800mm, ASI6200MM bin 2, 3 sec exposures.  Polar aligned with NINA's new tool.

With light winds (gusting to 5mph with a big dew shield on it), PHD2 over 200 seconds shows RMS error of 0.46" -- with guiding OFF (Guiding Assistant). 

First slew across half the sky plate solved to 20" by 1" off.

Many thanks to Dale, Ray and whoever else helped with the NINA/ASTAP integration.  I can't get my camera to work reliably with APPM directly, and I really didn't want to use TSX, so this is a terrific combination, and at least to me seems quite fast.  Not sure I NEED a model but it is nice to know I can build one reasonably fast.

I'm now imaging and guiding at 0.31" RMS despite the light wind (prior mounts almost any wind with that big dew shield was a mess). All that with a non-locked mirror as well.

So I do have one question: if you have an all sky model, should you check the DEC Arc tracking anyway?  (I realize the model is not really important since I'm guiding, but trying to learn in case I want to ever image unguided. )

So anyway, thanks again for all that made the new integration work!

Linwood


It works! NINA, ASTAP, Model, new AP1100AE

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Ok, it's another one of those "surprise, it did what it said it would" posts, but... first really clear night since i got the mount (2 months ago). First real model where I could get the whole sky.

NINA and ASTAP used, 79 points, 79 good, none failed, 32 minutes (about 2.5 points per minute) with a C11 @ 2800mm, ASI6200MM bin 2, 3 sec exposures.  Polar aligned with NINA's new tool.

With light winds (gusting to 5mph with a big dew shield on it), PHD2 over 200 seconds shows RMS error of 0.46" -- with guiding OFF (Guiding Assistant). 

First slew across half the sky plate solved to 20" by 1" off.

Many thanks to Dale, Ray and whoever else helped with the NINA/ASTAP integration.  I can't get my camera to work reliably with APPM directly, and I really didn't want to use TSX, so this is a terrific combination, and at least to me seems quite fast.  Not sure I NEED a model but it is nice to know I can build one reasonably fast.

I'm now imaging and guiding at 0.31" RMS despite the light wind (prior mounts almost any wind with that big dew shield was a mess). All that with a non-locked mirror as well.

So I do have one question: if you have an all sky model, should you check the DEC Arc tracking anyway?  (I realize the model is not really important since I'm guiding, but trying to learn in case I want to ever image unguided. )

So anyway, thanks again for all that made the new integration work!

Linwood


Re: APCC Temperature readings

S Berrada
 

Hi,

Based on my limited research, it seems that temperature will have a bigger impact on refraction than barometric pressure - this is because of the magnitude and rapidity of change.

Both are important to input in APCC, but accurate temperature seems the most important.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_refraction

 

Refraction increases approximately 1% for every 0.9 kPa increase in pressure.  Similarly, refraction increases approximately 1% for every 3 °C decrease in temperature

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