APCC - APPM - and ASTAP


Jack Huerkamp
 

I downloaded and installed the latest version of APCC PRO on my observatory computer and also installed ASTAP and the H18 database.  Since it is raining and not predicted to clear for almost a week, I wanted to become familiar with ASTAP and its plate solving capabilities before attempting an APPM run.  I tried loading PNG images previously captured with the camera and scope I will be using to do the APPM run into ASTAP, and I consistently get "No solution found.  I then upload the image into astrometry.net and quickly get a plate solve.  I tried lowering the maximum number of stars to use.  I tried changing the Field of View height.  I tried changing the Radius search area.  Nothing I changed in ASTAP yielded a successful plate solve.

Has anyone else been successful in using ASTAP to do plate solving while doing an APPM run?  If so, what did you have to do to get ASTAP to work for you?

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

[tried file images]


Has anyone else been successful in using ASTAP to do plate solving while doing an APPM run?  If so, what did you have to do to get ASTAP to work for you?


There’s two halves to your question, one is about using ASTAP with APPM.  I’ve done that, using NINA as a camera, and it works great, never misses.

 

The other is using file images (e.g. as a simulator).  I tried it with survey images and never got it to work reliably.  I don’t know why – scale (scale changes?, distortion, saturation, stretched vs linear… it just didn’t work.

 

Here are the settings I used last night with NINA that worked beautifully:

 

Camera: Bin 2, duration 3s, full frame (this is an ASI6200MM Pro).  I use these settings for both 540mm on a 4” refractor and 2800mm on a C11.

 

Plate Solve: ASTAP, Max solve 10s, x and Y scale = 1.39 (more on this), scale tolerance 30%, refine = yes, last as hint = yes

 

ASTAP Plate solve settings (on plate solve tab): Number of stars 1000, radius 5, min star size 0, tolerance 0, speed default, downsample default.

 

For the scale, I switched last night from 2800mm to 540mm and forgot to change scale.  It still worked.  My guess is it somehow solved anyway, then adjusted the scale on its own as the ‘refine’ was set.  But you should set the scale (unbinned though).

 

But while it works 100% of the time, I set up and tried NINA’s simulator which uses sky survey, and despite playing around with settings, I never got it to work reliably.  No idea why, decided I didn’t care so long as it worked in real life.  I’d be curious if people do get it to work with the sky survey.

 

Note that on failure it can be set to save the failed image (Setting, Plate solved images, choose failed or all, they go in C:\Users\username\Documents\Astro-Physics\APPM), and you can try running ASTAP manually and see what it does (run it, file, load fits, when it appears hit solve).   If it is not working at all, hit the SIGMA symbol, look under Alignment at the “Star database used” and make sure it is H18.   And/or the error messages may give a hint.

 


Jack Huerkamp
 

Thanks.  I have printed out your settings and will check ASTAP to see what values I was using.  Hopefully once it clears and try it out on real stars.  If it works on real stars, I don’t really care if it does not work with pre-captured images I try to plate solve.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2021 1:05 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

[tried file images]


Has anyone else been successful in using ASTAP to do plate solving while doing an APPM run?  If so, what did you have to do to get ASTAP to work for you?

There’s two halves to your question, one is about using ASTAP with APPM.  I’ve done that, using NINA as a camera, and it works great, never misses.

 

The other is using file images (e.g. as a simulator).  I tried it with survey images and never got it to work reliably.  I don’t know why – scale (scale changes?, distortion, saturation, stretched vs linear… it just didn’t work.

 

Here are the settings I used last night with NINA that worked beautifully:

 

Camera: Bin 2, duration 3s, full frame (this is an ASI6200MM Pro).  I use these settings for both 540mm on a 4” refractor and 2800mm on a C11.

 

Plate Solve: ASTAP, Max solve 10s, x and Y scale = 1.39 (more on this), scale tolerance 30%, refine = yes, last as hint = yes

 

ASTAP Plate solve settings (on plate solve tab): Number of stars 1000, radius 5, min star size 0, tolerance 0, speed default, downsample default.

 

For the scale, I switched last night from 2800mm to 540mm and forgot to change scale.  It still worked.  My guess is it somehow solved anyway, then adjusted the scale on its own as the ‘refine’ was set.  But you should set the scale (unbinned though).

 

But while it works 100% of the time, I set up and tried NINA’s simulator which uses sky survey, and despite playing around with settings, I never got it to work reliably.  No idea why, decided I didn’t care so long as it worked in real life.  I’d be curious if people do get it to work with the sky survey.

 

Note that on failure it can be set to save the failed image (Setting, Plate solved images, choose failed or all, they go in C:\Users\username\Documents\Astro-Physics\APPM), and you can try running ASTAP manually and see what it does (run it, file, load fits, when it appears hit solve).   If it is not working at all, hit the SIGMA symbol, look under Alignment at the “Star database used” and make sure it is H18.   And/or the error messages may give a hint.

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com


Jack Huerkamp
 

I received this from Han, the author of ASTAP after sending him one of my PNG images and the astrometry.net solve of it:

Hello Jack,

It solves see attached screenshot settings.

Enter an estimate position ( ra=1.5, dec 30)  in the viewer or double click on RA and enter M33.

field of view (height) is 0.42 degrees or put this on auto

Use H18 star database since your field of view is small.

un-check calibration.

Note you can go fully blind by entering the search range of 180 degrees. You could also set FOV on auto but that takes time so better enter 0.42degrees for your system.

Clear skies, Han"

I tested ATPAS with several images this morning and it did solve them if I put in a rough RA and Dec position.  I assume that will not be an issue while running APPM as the mount's position will be indicated in APCC and I could feed the position into ASTAP for the purpose of plate solving.

I hope my logic is accurate as I hope to try an APPM run as soon as the skies clear.

Yours truly,

Jack Huerkamp


 

That's great to hear Jack

What was the issue that you fixed - was it your image scale settings?


Jack Huerkamp
 

Brian,

 

Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2021 11:44 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

That's great to hear Jack

What was the issue that you fixed - was it your image scale settings?


Virus-free. www.avg.com


 

Thanks Jack

I wasn't aware ASTAP was able to do all sky solving by fiddling with the settings, so that's an interesting add

On Mon, Oct 4, 2021 at 10:19 AM Jack Huerkamp <Mallincamusa@...> wrote:

Brian,

 

Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2021 11:44 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

That's great to hear Jack

What was the issue that you fixed - was it your image scale settings?


Virus-free. www.avg.com



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

  • Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

No,  you should not need to, the RA/DEC should be provided by the connection to your mount and/or by the FITS headers (not completely sure which, they both provide it).

 

If you were doing this running the simulator you should also connect to the same simulator in APPM and NINA.  Both NINA and APPM should have a connection to the (same) mount.

 


Roland Christen
 

During simulation is the mount actually pointing to the object? How would you know if it was done indoors during the day?

Roland


-----Original Message-----
From: ap@... <ap@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Oct 4, 2021 12:23 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

Jack Huerkamp wrote:
 
  • Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.
 
No,  you should not need to, the RA/DEC should be provided by the connection to your mount and/or by the FITS headers (not completely sure which, they both provide it).
 
If you were doing this running the simulator you should also connect to the same simulator in APPM and NINA.  Both NINA and APPM should have a connection to the (same) mount.
 

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Roland Christen wrote:

 

  • During simulation is the mount actually pointing to the object? How would you know if it was done indoors during the day?

 

 

When I do it, I use the real mount and a camera simulator that downloads sky surveys.   I pick objects current “out” in daylight, so no time shenanigans.

 

The mount actually slews, etc. does everything as usual (with or without an OTA, usually without).

 

The sky survey download is generated based on the coordinates the mount shows, and you can set a tolerance (e.g. tell it to be off by 50” or whatever).  This lets you throw a bit of error into the mix, however it prevents you from reliably syncing since it then consistently stays off about that much.

 

I THINK that the ASCOM telescope simulator will all do the same, but have not tried that.

 

I’ve had very good luck debugging issues like meridian flips doing it all in daylight.  I generally avoid plate solving, an definitely avoid auto focus runs since the simulated images are always in focus.

 

Linwood

 


Jack Huerkamp
 

Roland,

 

I was not trying to run the mount during the day using APCC.  I was attempting to learn how ASTAP works by feeding into it previously captured images and solving for them in the program.  Initially every solve I attempted failed and I contacted Han at hnsky.org.  He was able to make suggestions on things to set up in ASTAP and once I did so, the images I fed into the program did solve.

 

Now that I know that ASTAP works with images produced with my scope/camera combo, I will try doing a APPM run as soon as it clears.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roland Christen via groups.io
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2021 12:31 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

During simulation is the mount actually pointing to the object? How would you know if it was done indoors during the day?

 

Roland

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: ap@... <ap@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Oct 4, 2021 12:23 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

  • Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

No,  you should not need to, the RA/DEC should be provided by the connection to your mount and/or by the FITS headers (not completely sure which, they both provide it).

 

If you were doing this running the simulator you should also connect to the same simulator in APPM and NINA.  Both NINA and APPM should have a connection to the (same) mount.

 


--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Virus-free. www.avg.com


Jack Huerkamp
 

I was not running the mount at all.  I was inside my house running ASTAP in stand alone mode on my home computer to become familiar with it.  According to the ASTAP site, it is possible to solve images by feeding them directly into the program.  That is what I was trying to do, and no matter what image I fed into the program, it failed to solve.  That is when I contacted Han at hnsky.org and he provided things to try to get the images to solve – and they did. 

 

Once I am out in the observatory and running ASTAP with APPM on my mount, scope and camera, hopefully all will work as designed.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2021 12:24 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

  • Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

No,  you should not need to, the RA/DEC should be provided by the connection to your mount and/or by the FITS headers (not completely sure which, they both provide it).

 

If you were doing this running the simulator you should also connect to the same simulator in APPM and NINA.  Both NINA and APPM should have a connection to the (same) mount.

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com


Ron Kramer
 

PNG files won't have the data (RA DEC) that FITS headers contain. 
Yes ASTAP is best and fastest.  Yes works with NINA and APPM.
I had some hiccups - I think bin2 was the answer.  APPM model is the best thing I've done for my Mach1. I no longer have to guide at all.  Tested up to 1000 second exposures.  I use to get trails or elongated stars over 40 seconds. 


On Mon, Oct 4, 2021 at 2:29 PM Jack Huerkamp <Mallincamusa@...> wrote:

I was not running the mount at all.  I was inside my house running ASTAP in stand alone mode on my home computer to become familiar with it.  According to the ASTAP site, it is possible to solve images by feeding them directly into the program.  That is what I was trying to do, and no matter what image I fed into the program, it failed to solve.  That is when I contacted Han at hnsky.org and he provided things to try to get the images to solve – and they did. 

 

Once I am out in the observatory and running ASTAP with APPM on my mount, scope and camera, hopefully all will work as designed.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

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

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2021 12:24 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC - APPM - and ASTAP

 

Jack Huerkamp wrote:

 

  • Mainly image scale, but putting a rough RA and Dec into the boxes so that the program did not have to search the entire sky helped a lot.  I assume that when running APPM with ASTAP, I will see the target RA and Dec and then I will be able to input them into ASTAP to help refine the plate solving.  I will find out once the skies clear here in SE Louisiana.

 

No,  you should not need to, the RA/DEC should be provided by the connection to your mount and/or by the FITS headers (not completely sure which, they both provide it).

 

If you were doing this running the simulator you should also connect to the same simulator in APPM and NINA.  Both NINA and APPM should have a connection to the (same) mount.

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com