Telescopes / Mounts
Connecting and Setting Options:
Telescopes are selected and connected on the Sequence Window in the equipment group box.
Options can be set when the telescope is in a disconnected state by clicking the icon. These options will vary by manufacturer. For ASCOM telescopes this will bring up the ASCOM properties dialog for the selected telescope. This properties dialog is generally where the COM port is specified as well as other device dependent information.
To connect the telescope click on the connection icon . Once connected the icon will change , click this icon to disconnect.
Telescope Control Panel:
Description: The Control Panel provides control of the Telescope / Mount. Many of these controls are also duplicated in the Telescope Control Module and the Focus Target Module. These values can also be preset by using a profile or by opening a sequence.
- Current Position: Displays where the telescope is pointed in Right Ascension and Declination.
- Time to (this field will read "Meridian" if you are not using automatic pier flipping or "Pier Flip" if you are)
- Meridian: displays amount of time until the scope will be at the meridian given the scopes current position.
- Pier Flip: displays the amount of time until a pier flip will occur if using "Use Auto Meridian Flip". This is only given for the active target.
- Telescope Nudge: Allows the telescope to be moved in each axis. Vertical buttons are for Declination, Horizontal are for Right Ascension.
- Note: If the telescope is connected to SGPro and these buttons remain disabled, it is likely that your Telescope ASCOM driver does not support nudge outside of its own software (meaning it does not allow for 3rd party software like SGPro to nudge).
- Note: Mounts only support a few ranges of movement speeds. If you ask for a selected rate and it appears to suddenly change to a new value, Sequence Generator is attempting to match your value with the closest value that your mount supports. If your mount is not connected when these values are set, then the rate match will occur when the mount connects.
- Hi/Lo Speeds: Changes the slew speed in degrees per second.
- Reverse N/S & Reverse E/W: When enabled the N/S buttons will be changed to S/N. Same for East/West.
- Telescope Park / Unpark: Allows you to park or unpark the mount (depending on current state)
- Set Park: Clicking this button allows you to set the park position of the telescope to its current position (assuming it is supported by the driver). If a dome is connected, SGPro will optionally allow you to set the park for the dome at the same time.
- Target Markers: Used for manually focusing when the target frame doesn't contain a sufficient star for focusing use. Here you can define a focus target and your imaging target. Using the "Go" button, you can easily navigate between the two (think of them as bookmarks). See Frame and Focus with Nudge and Setting Focus and Target Positions.
- Set Focus/Target Position: Used to get the current position from the telescope and set that as the Focus or Target location. For instance to set the Focus position slew to the focus star and then click "Set". Now when you need to focus click "Go" to get back to that same location.
- Telescope Options
- Park when sequence completes: When checked, this option will disable your autoguiding and send a park command to your mount when all events in the sequence are complete. Selecting this will de-select "Stop tracking when sequence completes".
- Stop tracking when sequence completes: When checked, this option will stop the mount "in-place" when the sequence terminates. Selecting this will de-select "Park when sequence completes".
- Allow external control of telescope: When checked, this option will allow for external control of the telescope via applications like SkySafari. See the section below for more information on how to use and configure Sky Safari.
- Use Auto Meridian Flip: Checking this will allow you to perform a meridian flip during a sequence based on a set of criteria which can be found in the Meridian Flip Options dialog by clicking the "Set" button:
- Minutes Past Meridian to Flip: Input the number of minutes past or before (negative values) the meridian to invoke a meridian flip during a sequence (one degree is traversed in 4 minutes). Not all telescopes allow for setting of SideOfPier. For these telescopes it is best to always use a positive value. Also, as a general note, if you are flipping after the meridian (a non-zero positive value is in this field), you are responsible for ensuring two things:
- Your gear will not collide with a tripod or pier if it tracks to this position
- Your ASCOM driver will allow the mount to track this far past the meridian (if it will not, then this trigger will never fire and a flip will never occur). Each ASCOM driver is unique in the way they allow or set meridian limits. Please consult your driver's author or driver's group for more specific information on this.
- Wait For Meridian: Used to pause the next frame if a meridian flip would occur during that frame. This will ensure that the meridian flip happens when the "Degrees Past Meridian to Flip" is hit. For mounts that have a very narrow area that they can reach from both sides of the pier this setting is highly useful. For instance if a meridian flip would occur in 5 minutes and your next frame is 10 minutes, then this will cause the sequence to wait and not start another frame until after the meridian flip.
- Pause Before Meridian Flip: Will pop up a dialog before the meridian flip is executed.
- Auto Center After Meridian Flip: When checked, the meridian flip process will run Auto Center using a pre-flip image as the reference to get you accurately centered. The Scope Centering parameters can be setup in the Plate Solve tab.
- Pause Before/After Auto Center: Pops up a dialog box after Auto Center is complete and waits on the user to continue. This is useful if you need to move counterweights after a meridian flip.
- Rotate camera: If this option is checked, the camera rotator will rotate the camera 180 degrees during an automated meridian flip. It should be noted that, when the telescope is on the west side of the mount, the actual angle entered that target's settings will be used. When the telescope is on the east side, the target's angle + 180 degrees will be used. This means that if you choose to simply perform a rotate option (not associated with a flip) and the mount is on the east, the camera will rotate to the target's angle + 180 degrees. If you use this option, be you must be careful to specify an an angle in the target's settings, this option will not rotate the camera 180 degrees from the current position (before the flip).
- Auto meridian flip auto-close delay: Sets the time in seconds for the Auto Meridian Flip dialog to stay open after a successful meridian flip.
- Sync Behavior: Specifies how syncs will be sent to the telescope
- Sync: Syncs the mount whenever a sync is requested. This is the default value and should be used for the majority of mounts
- Offset: Syncs the mount for Solve and Sync but for Auto Center and Center Here an Offset will be computed to more accurately slew the scope. This is useful for some mounts that do not like syncs to be very close together.
- None: Mount will not be synced under any condition.
- Mount settling time: The time it takes your telescope to settle after a slew has completed. This value is currently only used during the "Auto Center" and "Center Here" processes (this will essentially be the delay between slewing and taking next image).
- Scope Focal Length: This is an optional field. If you enter a value here, the FITS header "FOCALLEN" will be written to your sequence images
Using Sky Safari (for iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android):
In order to control a telescope connected to Sequence Generator Pro via Ski Safari, open telescope settings and enter the following configuration parameters (iPad pictured below):
- Auto-Detect SkyFi: This option will allow SkySafari to attempt to find the server in SGPro.
- SkyFi Name: When using auto detect this should be set to your machine's hostname.
- IP Address: The IP address of you machine
- Port Number: The Port number for the listener
- Set Time & Location: Recommended to set to OFF. Setting this to ON will update your scopes time and coordinates what that of your device's. If you already have a pointing model setup this may cause it to reset or to be skewed.
- Readout Rate: Reduce this number if Sky Safari seems too sluggish when connected.
- Scope Type: Regardless of the scope you are using, this should be set to "Meade LX-200 GPS"