New NINA plugin for APCC now in beta: Astro-Physics Tools


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

On Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 11:55 AM, Ray Gralak wrote:
Can you provide a link to your zipped log files? (Please use the APCC Log zipper to zip up the ASCOM, APCC, APPM, and your PNT files).
Sure. The APCC files are large because it was a whole night run.  The model was built about 6:30pm local (EST) and the go-to for the slew-to-zenith sometime after 7:30am local (just after an unpark from park 2).  I spent the night guided, but guiding was really really good, so I do not think the model was invalid near the target, I think it actually helped. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1auH1GsWTWWUzoES3AAuMUIlXf8dmV-xq/view?usp=sharing

I also want to share this screen shot.  It's a small model made just to test the link with NINA the night before.  This is not the problem model. The reason I'm including is to show that the non-perp numbers are not wacky in a whole sky model.  The west is still worse than the east for some reason, but nothing like the huge numbers in the dec arc model. 



In retrospect I am not really surprised at what happened.  I think the dense but tiny model is being applied to other parts of the sky, where it is not valid (really not applicable).  In this case I had too few points (if you need 12) east, but I think the west pointing correction was so huge for the slew-to-zenith that it caused a flip (my meridian limits are at meridian).  

Assuming I didn't just do something wacky, there seem to be three possible mitigations: 

- Human avoids doing that (using a dec arc model for a slew to other parts of the sky)
- APPC somehow notices, and when pointing more than X degrees from the closest point ignores the model
- Provide a "turn off model corrections" function in the API and in NINA's sequence we can turn them off when done with a target. 

The second sounds ideal.  :) 

But... the chances of this being operator inflicted remain high, so I welcome your feedback. 

Linwood


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Linwood,

Can you provide a link to your zipped log files? (Please use the APCC Log zipper to zip up the ASCOM, APCC, APPM, and your PNT files).

I would like to take a look at what happened.

Thanks,

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2021 5:09 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] New NINA plugin for APCC now in beta: Astro-Physics Tools

On Thu, Nov 25, 2021 at 12:34 PM, ap@... wrote:


In other words, do we need to turn off the model when leaving the area of the sky covered by a Dec
Arc model, or does APCC do that on the fly by ignoring it?

So I think I can answer my own question. Last night I built a model for PacMan that covered maybe 60% of
its Arc. It modeled nicely, and had good tracking, and really good guiding (and yes, I realize it's probably
pointless to do a model and guide, but am experimenting to learn).

This morning I had NINA slew to zenith (which does a slew to ax 0/0/2 and dec 89/59/59 though not sure what
command it actually sends). The mount ended up on the wrong pierside and pointing off by maybe 10
degrees.

<https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/854531935660146718/913774035316391987/unknown.png>

I turned off pointing corrections and it went back to normal with another slew-to-zenith:

<https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/854531935660146718/913774291819036682/unknown.png>

I guess it is not surprising given the wacky large numbers in the model (though the model worked nicely for
that area of the sky).

The moral of the story for me - don't use a Dec Arc model well away from where you modeled.

Ray? Advice welcomed, did I do something else wrong, or is that basically the answer?

Linwood


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Linwood,

 

The Dec-Arc tracking rate model only calculates tracking rates, and the All-Sky pointing models handle pointing everywhere and tracking rates outside of the Dec-Arc tracking rate region.

 

That said, the pointing model requires at least 12 points on a pier-side to fill out the All-Sky pointing-model terms, so for fewer points than 12 on a pier-side, you probably should turn off the pointing correction (but leave on tracking rate correction). I will be putting in refinements that automatically do this in an upcoming build.

 

-Ray

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:35 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] New NINA plugin for APCC now in beta: Astro-Physics Tools

 

Thank you Dale, this looks to be incredibly useful for those who set up and tear down and do not want to build a whole sky model each night, especially those who image unguided.  

 

This brings up a question I guess is more for Ray about Dec Arc models in general.

 

Let's say I build a model for a target past meridian in the north west, load it, image a while.  The model only has points in that area, it tracks the target nicely. All good.   (Not hypothetical, I did it last night with Dale's plugin).

 

Now the model is still loaded, and I go to the East... I THINK there is no eastern sky model loaded so the model is ignored when I point to the eastern sky, right?  At least if I look in the model display that side is blank.

 

How about the south west, the model display shows a model for that area.  Is the decision to use/not only east/west, or if I now image the south west, way away from where I modeled by same pierside, is that model still used?  Or is it smart enough to notice it has no points near there, and not do any corrections in that area of the sky?

 

In other words, do we need to turn off the model when leaving the area of the sky covered by a Dec Arc model, or does APCC do that on the fly by ignoring it?

 

I ask because my model last night when I tried this was great in the area modeled, but had some wacky numbers in some of the model fields (that I expect if applied in other areas of the sky would be pretty far off because they were way different from my whole sky model).  

 

I was not smart enough last night to actually try tracking in another sky area to see if it applied corrections (IQ is inversely proportional to the number of dark hours you have been up).

 

I guess the 'right' answer is build a new Dec Arc model for the new area of the sky you want to go to.  😊

 

But is there a second choice, do we need to turn it off, or is APCC doing that for us implicitly?   Or is there a third choice?

 

Linwood

 


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

On Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 10:34 AM, michael mccann wrote:
Which one may ask: if doing two targets, run the two areas at the beginning or run the second just after the first target is done?
If doing it in NINA, You need to do it at the beginning of each target.  There's no provision in the (current) NINA sequencer to load a prior model (obviously a human could in APPM if you wake up for the event).  In other words your sequence: 

  do model 1 
  slew/center/whatever to set up target 1
  loop for this target's images
  finish target
  do model 2
  slew/center/whatever to set up this target
  loop for this target
  finish target
  park/done

The point is after the model completes it is active.  There's no provision to switch to a prior model. 

The really nice part about what Ray and Dale have done for unguided imagers is that all this is now easily set up in your sequencer, there's no need for the human to be awake when this second model is built, and since it is a localized model it builds quickly. Two nicely dense models for two separate targets might in total 15 minutes; an equally dense whole sky model might waste 1-2 hours.  There's a lot of efficiency in just modeling a part of the sky, especially for portable setups where you cannot reuse a single all-sky dense model. 

Linwood


michael mccann
 

Which one may ask: if doing two targets, run the two areas at the beginning or run the second just after the first target is done?

Cheers


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

On Thu, Nov 25, 2021 at 12:34 PM, ap@... wrote:
In other words, do we need to turn off the model when leaving the area of the sky covered by a Dec Arc model, or does APCC do that on the fly by ignoring it?
So I think I can answer my own question.  Last night I built a model for PacMan that covered maybe 60% of its Arc.  It modeled nicely, and had good tracking, and really good guiding (and yes, I realize it's probably pointless to do a model and guide, but am experimenting to learn). 

This morning I had NINA slew to zenith (which does a slew to ax 0/0/2 and dec 89/59/59 though not sure what command it actually sends).  The mount ended up on the wrong pierside and pointing off by maybe 10 degrees.



I turned off pointing corrections and it went back to normal with another slew-to-zenith: 



I guess it is not surprising given the wacky large numbers in the model (though the model worked nicely for that area of the sky). 

The moral of the story for me - don't use a Dec Arc model well away from where you modeled.   

Ray?  Advice welcomed, did I do something else wrong, or is that basically the answer?   

Linwood


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Thank you Dale, this looks to be incredibly useful for those who set up and tear down and do not want to build a whole sky model each night, especially those who image unguided.  

 

This brings up a question I guess is more for Ray about Dec Arc models in general.

 

Let's say I build a model for a target past meridian in the north west, load it, image a while.  The model only has points in that area, it tracks the target nicely. All good.   (Not hypothetical, I did it last night with Dale's plugin).

 

Now the model is still loaded, and I go to the East... I THINK there is no eastern sky model loaded so the model is ignored when I point to the eastern sky, right?  At least if I look in the model display that side is blank.

 

How about the south west, the model display shows a model for that area.  Is the decision to use/not only east/west, or if I now image the south west, way away from where I modeled by same pierside, is that model still used?  Or is it smart enough to notice it has no points near there, and not do any corrections in that area of the sky?

 

In other words, do we need to turn off the model when leaving the area of the sky covered by a Dec Arc model, or does APCC do that on the fly by ignoring it?

 

I ask because my model last night when I tried this was great in the area modeled, but had some wacky numbers in some of the model fields (that I expect if applied in other areas of the sky would be pretty far off because they were way different from my whole sky model).  

 

I was not smart enough last night to actually try tracking in another sky area to see if it applied corrections (IQ is inversely proportional to the number of dark hours you have been up).

 

I guess the 'right' answer is build a new Dec Arc model for the new area of the sky you want to go to.  😊

 

But is there a second choice, do we need to turn it off, or is APCC doing that for us implicitly?   Or is there a third choice?

 

Linwood

 


W Hilmo
 

This is great news.

Thanks for doing this!

On 11/25/21 6:41 AM, Dale Ghent wrote:
Hi all,

Some of you who have been using NINA, perhaps with my Utilities For Astro-Physics Mounts plugin, might be interested in a new plugin that will eventually supersede and replace that plugin. The new plugin is called Astro-Physics Tools, which is now available in NINA's plugin manager.

I've worked with Ray to develop some expanded capabilities for APPM that permits external applications (such as NINA, or others) to have tighter integration with the model creation process. This is especially handy when it comes to declination arc ("dec arc") models, as those are done within the context of imaging a specific target. So, first, let me extend my gratitude to Ray who has implemented an API for APPM in the current beta series of APCC Pro 1.9.2.x. His work is what has enabled this integration to be possible.

Now, about Astro-Phyics Tools itself:

I originally intended to drop the new APPM API code into the existing Utilities For Astro-Physics Mounts plugin but, as I continued to work on things and the API became quite capable, the plugin turned into a kind of Ship Of Theseus. Eventually, I came to think that this warranted it becoming its own, new plugin. Once APCC Pro 1.9.2 exits beta and becomes the current release version, Astro-Physics Tools will as well and my original U4APM plugin will be removed from the NINA plugin manager and no longer supported.

Astro-Physics Tools implements two model creation instructions: one for creating the classic all-sky models, and one for creating dec arc model. The dec arc model instruction will take the RA and declination of the target and, based on parameters that you configure in the plugin's settings, creates a dec arc model in APPM that is appropriate for it and launches APPM. APPM then creates the model and programs it into APCC, then the NINA sequence advances to the next instructions.

Full documentation on these instructions and the Astro-Physics Tools plugin are here:

https://daleghent.com/astro-physics-tools

As both this plugin and APCC Pro 1.9.2.x are both in beta release mode at this moment, using this plugin will require you to be conformable with that aspect, at least until both are promoted to a general release. The standard disclaimers apply, but any feedback and suggestions about Astro-Physics Tools - or its documentation - are always appreciated.

Thanks,
/dale



Dale Ghent
 

On Nov 25, 2021, at 10:23, Dean Jacobsen <deanjacobsen@...> wrote:

In looking through the documentation it certainly appears that you guys have created a very elegant way to do things.

I am presently connecting APPM to Sequence Generator Pro for the camera operation and the plate solving [PlateSolve2]. In my first read through of your Astro Physics Tools documentation I didn't see reference to plate solving [ I could have missed it] so I am assuming that the user needs to install and implement their plate solving method for APPM to use independent of Astro-Physics Tools and NINA, correct?
Yep. You do need to select and configure their desired plate solver in APPM. In the context of using NINA as the camera, the realistic options are ASTAP, TSX, or PinPoint. For NINA, our preference skews towards ASTAP, and APPM can utilize the same ASTAP installation that you use in NINA.

/dale


Dean Jacobsen
 

In looking through the documentation it certainly appears that you guys have created a very elegant way to do things.

I am presently connecting APPM to Sequence Generator Pro for the camera operation and the plate solving [PlateSolve2].  In my first read through of your Astro Physics Tools documentation I didn't see reference to plate solving [ I could have missed it] so I am assuming that the user needs to install and implement their plate solving method for APPM to use independent of Astro-Physics Tools and NINA, correct?
--
Dean Jacobsen
Astrobin Image Gallery - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/


Dale Ghent
 

Hi all,

Some of you who have been using NINA, perhaps with my Utilities For Astro-Physics Mounts plugin, might be interested in a new plugin that will eventually supersede and replace that plugin. The new plugin is called Astro-Physics Tools, which is now available in NINA's plugin manager.

I've worked with Ray to develop some expanded capabilities for APPM that permits external applications (such as NINA, or others) to have tighter integration with the model creation process. This is especially handy when it comes to declination arc ("dec arc") models, as those are done within the context of imaging a specific target. So, first, let me extend my gratitude to Ray who has implemented an API for APPM in the current beta series of APCC Pro 1.9.2.x. His work is what has enabled this integration to be possible.

Now, about Astro-Phyics Tools itself:

I originally intended to drop the new APPM API code into the existing Utilities For Astro-Physics Mounts plugin but, as I continued to work on things and the API became quite capable, the plugin turned into a kind of Ship Of Theseus. Eventually, I came to think that this warranted it becoming its own, new plugin. Once APCC Pro 1.9.2 exits beta and becomes the current release version, Astro-Physics Tools will as well and my original U4APM plugin will be removed from the NINA plugin manager and no longer supported.

Astro-Physics Tools implements two model creation instructions: one for creating the classic all-sky models, and one for creating dec arc model. The dec arc model instruction will take the RA and declination of the target and, based on parameters that you configure in the plugin's settings, creates a dec arc model in APPM that is appropriate for it and launches APPM. APPM then creates the model and programs it into APCC, then the NINA sequence advances to the next instructions.

Full documentation on these instructions and the Astro-Physics Tools plugin are here:

https://daleghent.com/astro-physics-tools

As both this plugin and APCC Pro 1.9.2.x are both in beta release mode at this moment, using this plugin will require you to be conformable with that aspect, at least until both are promoted to a general release. The standard disclaimers apply, but any feedback and suggestions about Astro-Physics Tools - or its documentation - are always appreciated.

Thanks,
/dale