Planetarium software


Shailesh Trivedi
 
Edited

Does anyone have a recommendation? The Sky X vs Maxim DL?

I used to have a Paramount MX (PMX) which I have sold in lieu of AP1100 with AE and a soon expected Mach2.

I used The Sky X with camera addon and Tpoint on my PMX, but now that I do not have this mount, I am inclined to help the PMX buyer transfer the TSX license. I would like to know what the good folks here use on AP mounts with or without APCC.

Options I am considering

1. Continue TSX with Tpoint +  camera add on or use the imaging edition from Bisque
2. Use MaximDL, but not sure if it is as good as TSX. I especially liked the "closed-loop slew" in TSX; I don't know if Maxim DL has the equivalent of closed-loop slew, and if the planetarium sw of Maxim DL as good. I have heard of auto meridian flips of MDL and multi-star auto-guiding, plus integration with ACP. 

Thoughts?

Shailesh


Dale Ghent
 

Hi Shailesh,

It's note really clear as to what your goals are. Is it to use a planetarium app to drive the mount around the sky for visual and occasional light astrophotography use, or are you looking for something that's primarily for automated astrophotography that can also lean on a planetarium app for target coordinates and such?

On May 27, 2021, at 19:07, Shailesh Trivedi <strivedi@brightfeathers.com> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Does anyone have a recommendation? The Sky X vs Maxim DL?

I used to have a Paramount MX (PMX) which I have sold in lieu of AP1100 with AE and a soon expected Mach2.

I used The Sky X with camera addon and Tpoint on my PMX, but now that I do not have this mount, I am inclined to help the PMX buyer transfer the TSX license. I would like to know what the good folks here use on AP mounts with or without APCC.

Options I am considering

1. Continue TSX with Tpoint + camera add on or use the imaging edition from Bisque
2. Use MaximDL, but not sure if it is as good as TSX. I especially liked the "closed-loop slew" in TSX; I don't know if Maxim DL has the equivalent of closed-loop slew, and if the planetarium sw of Maxim DL as good. I have heard of auto meridian flips of MDL and multi-star auto-guiding, plus integration with ACP.

Thoughts?

Shailesh


Shailesh Trivedi
 

Hi Dale,

Thanks for reading my post. My goal is to use a planetarium app primarily for astrophotography with a path to automation and occasional light viewing. 

Shailesh


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

>Hi Dale,

>Thanks for reading my post. My goal is to use a planetarium app primarily for astrophotography with a path to automation and occasional light viewing. 

I’m not Dale, but will offer 2 cents as a TSX user.  TSX is an unusual package, in some ways, in that it is Planetarium, camera control, guider, and session manager wrapped up in one.  There are some others of these, mostly older software.

 

Perhaps because it is a bit of everything, it is not the best at any one.  In my mind, PHD2 for example is a better guiding program, with a lot more flexibility.

 

I find it better to build up a collection of best-of-breed tools and use them for what they do.  For me a planetarium software is mostly to identify targets I may want to image, find rise/transit/set time, altitude, etc. I then use a session manager (NINA) to actually execute what I plan, as it handles meridian flip (something TSX doesn’t do at all), coordinates flips and dithering with exposure, can do multiple targets in sequence based on time or altitude or exposure counts, etc.  So my planetary software at most feeds a coordinate set to NINA, then it is done.  (NINA has a limited set of planetarium features to help with framing/rotation as well as rise/set/transit times).

 

I’m not pushing NINA (though I like it), there are others like that – Voyager for example, or the venerable APT.

 

Personally I like Stellarium as a planetarium software but to me that’s mostly a function of screen appearance and one’s subjective taste – once you decided it is just a planning tool, it is easier to pick Planetarium based on UI and appearances more so than mount integration.  In fact, I do not even tie Stellarium to my mount (though it can).

 

The ability to plug and play different tools for different purposes is one success story in the otherwise pretty fractured astrophotography ecosystem, which can’t agree on much of anything else, from thread size to terminology to how to measure backfocus.  Pick the best of each, rather than a compromise that does it all.

 

Linwood

 


Shailesh Trivedi
 

Thanks Linwood, good thoughts. I currently have TSX with camera add on and Tpoint add on, and I agree with your thought that PHD2 is a better autoguider.


Andrea Lucchetti
 

My experience with skyx and camera addon it is very positive. I use it with ccdautopilot for automation. It worked well with the paramount and it works perfectly with the mach2.  Skyx has also one of the best solver in my opinion. Andrea


Shailesh Trivedi
 

Hi Andrea,

My experience is positive for camera addon and Tpoint addon, but autoguiding is a bit hit or miss at higher focal lengths; for example when I use it with Astrodon MMOAG on my TEC 180FL at 1134mm focal length, even if I find several stars and with perfect polar alignment of my PMX on a permanent pier, the autoguiding performance was suboptimal and the star would be lost often. When I switched to PHD2, I got consistently better star shapes, with no star lost issue, and hence better overall images.

Shailesh


Andrea Lucchetti
 

Shailesh,
That’s quite interesting.
With the PMX you can use direct guide in skyx.
As you probably know the setting are very different from normal guiding but when done usually works very well. I used to ha e a Tec 140 with FF @1016mm, and in 10 years I’ve never had a guiding issue. But I am happy you found an alternative that works for you. Andrea 


Dale Ghent
 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but T-Point will not give you tracking modeling when using it with a non-SB mount, correct? Point modeling doesn't really amount to much in astrophotography when there are things like closed-loop slews (as TSX terms it, others just call it centering) that will fix any post-slew pointing error. You do want tracking modeling, however, and s far as I'm aware, only APCC+APPM will give you that with A-P mounts.

I'm a contributor to NINA so it's obvious where my personal preferences lay and what my likely suggestion is going to be. But whatever you choose to use, I *highly* *highly* suggest using APCC+APPM over T-Point now that you've moved over to Astro-Physics hardware. The good news is that you ought to have two licenses for APCC Pro if you purchased your two mounts new from A-P or one of their dealers.

On Jun 2, 2021, at 13:41, Shailesh Trivedi <strivedi@brightfeathers.com> wrote:

Thanks Linwood, good thoughts. I currently have TSX with camera add on and Tpoint add on, and I agree with your thought that PHD2 is a better autoguider.


Roland Christen
 


there are things like closed-loop slews (as TSX terms it, others just call it centering) that will fix any post-slew pointing error.
Just want to remind those who use MaximDL. They have an easy centering routine that I use when framing an image. Instead of doing a plate solve and centering an object, sometimes I want to frame the object away from the center for composition purposes. In MaximDL you simply point to the place in the image that you want centered (Point Here), and the mount automatically centers on that position. There may be nothing there to plate solve on, but you can center your image anywhere you want.

MaximDL also has plate solve with centering, but I never bother with it.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Dale Ghent <daleg@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Wed, Jun 2, 2021 3:19 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Planetarium software

Correct me if I'm wrong, but T-Point will not give you tracking modeling when using it with a non-SB mount, correct? Point modeling doesn't really amount to much in astrophotography when there are things like closed-loop slews (as TSX terms it, others just call it centering) that will fix any post-slew pointing error. You do want tracking modeling, however, and s far as I'm aware, only APCC+APPM will give you that with A-P mounts.

I'm a contributor to NINA so it's obvious where my personal preferences lay and what my likely suggestion is going to be. But whatever you choose to use, I *highly* *highly* suggest using APCC+APPM over T-Point now that you've moved over to Astro-Physics hardware. The good news is that you ought to have two licenses for APCC Pro if you purchased your two mounts new from A-P or one of their dealers.


> On Jun 2, 2021, at 13:41, Shailesh Trivedi <strivedi@...> wrote:
>
> Thanks Linwood, good thoughts. I currently have TSX with camera add on and Tpoint add on, and I agree with your thought that PHD2 is a better autoguider.
>







--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Shailesh Trivedi
 

Rolando,

MaximDL is appealing to me for multi star autoguiding and a path to ACP.

Without plate solve how do you go to the same place over multiple sessions?

Shailesh


Shailesh Trivedi
 

Dale,

I already use APPM for my AP1100GTO. Once I get my AP Mach2 (hopefully soon), yes, I will have two licenses then.

Shailesh


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

  • Just want to remind those who use MaximDL. They have an easy centering routine that I use when framing an image. Instead of doing a plate solve and centering an object, sometimes I want to frame the object away from the center for composition purposes. In MaximDL you simply point to the place in the image that you want centered (Point Here), and the mount automatically centers on that position. There may be nothing there to plate solve on, but you can center your image anywhere you want.

 

One of my favorite aspects of NINA is you can do that inside of NINA, it will load images from various internet sources (or just annotated maps if you are offline), and then you can frame on top of them, moving the center AND the rotation.  Then it has a “manual rotator” so that when it centers the mount, it will prompt you to rotate the camera by saying “turn 30 degrees clockwise” and iterate until you get it to whatever level of accuracy you want.  So not only can you get good framing from real photos (without trying to take a sub – that might not really show much detail), you can replicate the position AND rotation night after night.

 

The integration of both a planetarium (i.e. generated star maps) and actual sky survey images is awfully handy when you are trying to frame things nicely if your field of view is close to the target size (sadly I often have tiny tiny targets and a great wide field of view, but that’s another story of aperture envy 😊 ).

 

Honestly I would take the change as an opportunity to download trials of all the key contenders and experiment a bit, see what you like best.  There is no single right answer.  It’s kind of like asking “what’s the best food”.  


Roland Christen
 

I point and click on the same position each session.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Shailesh Trivedi <strivedi@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Wed, Jun 2, 2021 3:44 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Planetarium software

Rolando,

MaximDL is appealing to me for multi star autoguiding and a path to ACP.

Without plate solve how do you go to the same place over multiple sessions?

Shailesh

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Worsel
 

I use Cartes du Ciel (CdC) for GoTo.  CdC integrates well with ASCOM to A-P ASCOM Driver and APCC. 

With CdC, I use a similar process to Roland for centering elsewhere from the desired object.  Particularly handy for multiple objects, e.g. galaxy clusters.  I just pick a star at the desired center point, slew, and plate solve with local version of astrometry.net.  I write down the star ID and I can use it multiple sessions. 

CdC and AN are both free and robust

"Cheap" Bryan