Re: [MaxImDL] Questions concerning MaxPoint and Meade LX200 classic


Jan 8, 2004

 


----------------------------

#9724 Jan 8, 2004

Hi,





I am currently writing software to automate SN-hunting with a LX200

classic. Image acquisition is done with Maxim, telescope control with

custom written software because I find the ASCOM-interface does not

supports all the features available with the LX200. However I can easily

mix the two interfaces and fe do pointing with ASCOM and other specific

functions with my own code.

I have 2 problems, pointing accuracy and tracking. Tracking can be dealt

with by using a FR or binning. Pointing accuracy cannot.



That's were Maxpoint could make a difference.

A number of questions:



1) do any of you have experience with MaxPoint and LX200 ? How good is it

?

2) what is included with Pinpoint LE? Can I use Pinpoint LE to do a manual

position solve of the image ? (function Solve Plate) I'd like that because

then I can really verify I am on target and have a closed loop system.

3) to use MaxPoint with a program I develop. Do I have to call an object

in my code like with Maxim to start the control panel (and start

correction)? Or is there a way of applying the correction without putting

the control program on the screen? I could not find that in the manual...

4) How are corrections applied ? I suspect an offset is added/substracted

to the goto-position ? Is the telescope synchronised with every GOTO or is

it kept strictly in the software on the PC ?





Regards,





Maarten Vanleenhove





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#9727 Jan 9, 2004

Maarten Vanleenhove wrote:

> 1) do any of you have experience with MaxPoint and LX200 ? How good is it?



We have a small dome with an 8" LX200 Classic that we use for software

testing. Naturally the vast majority of the development testing for

MaxPoint was done with that setup.



Using an Apogee KX260 (512x512 20 micron pixel) our field of view was 17

arc-minutes. On this telescope, any slew over about 30 degrees made the

target object miss the chip entirely. Using MaxPoint, the target was

typically 1-2 arc-minutes from the center of the chip.

> 2) what is included with Pinpoint LE? Can I use Pinpoint LE to do a manual

> position solve of the image ? (function Solve Plate) I'd like that because

> then I can really verify I am on target and have a closed loop system.



LE lacks the "PlateStars" object that lets you get information on stars

identified in the field. It also doesn't come with Visual PinPoint,

which allows you to search for asteroids, generate MPC reports, etc.

The basic astrometric calculations work, so you can indeed to a manual

position solve.

> 3) to use MaxPoint with a program I develop. Do I have to call an object

> in my code like with Maxim to start the control panel (and start

> correction)? Or is there a way of applying the correction without putting

> the control program on the screen? I could not find that in the manual...



The simplest thing to do is to link to the exposed MaxPoint.Telescope

object. On the other side, you can have it link to a Telescope object

that you expose. The control panel will appear, but you can just

minimize it.

> 4) How are corrections applied ? I suspect an offset is added/substracted

> to the goto-position ? Is the telescope synchronised with every GOTO or is

> it kept strictly in the software on the PC ?



The corrections are applied using a coordinate transformation. All

positions that are sent to the telescope are converted. All positions

that come back from the telescope are reverse-transformed.



Doug



---------------



Doug George

dgeorge@...



Diffraction Limited

Makers of Cyanogen Imaging Products

www.cyanogen.com



25 Conover Street

Ottawa, Ontario,

Canada, K2G 4C3



Phone: (613) 225-2732

Fax: (613) 225-9688



---------------



----------------------------

#9728 Jan 9, 2004

Thank you for this very good explanation !





regards,





Maarten Vanleenhove





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#9729 Jan 9, 2004

If you consider your time to be worth something you will better off just buying ACP and Pinpoint and you could be doing SN-hunting tonight. Those products are the culmination of years of effort and lots of feedback from users who do asteroid and SN hunting. ACP will use the ASCOM interface to control the telescope and it has features like consistent approach and pointing corrections that will make your LX200 point to the required accuracy. I don't know what LX200 command you want to use that's not currently in the ASCOM telescope interface but I would be willing to bet that ACP can achieve better pointing using the current ASCOM software than what you will come up with. ACP uses the MaxPoint engine to determine the pointing corrections. I got at least about 25 MPEC's this year doing NEO follow-up work and I'm using ACP to place my telescope on the targets. I set my pointing tolerance to 30 arcseconds so ACP commands the scope to move to the target....plate solves the target using the PinPoint engine...then make a correction move if my scope is more than 30 arcseconds away from the target.



Anyways...good luck if you continue your software effort.



Gil Jones

> -------- Original Message --------

> Subject: [MaxImDL] Questions concerning MaxPoint and Meade LX200

> classic

> From: "Maarten Vanleenhove" maarten_vanleenhove@...>

> Date: Fri, January 09, 2004 12:50 am

> To: MaxImDL@yahoogroups.com

>

> Hi,

>

>

> I am currently writing software to automate SN-hunting with a LX200

> classic. Image acquisition is done with Maxim, telescope control with

> custom written software because I find the ASCOM-interface does not

> supports all the features available with the LX200. However I can

> easily

> mix the two interfaces and fe do pointing with ASCOM and other specific

>

> functions with my own code.

> I have 2 problems, pointing accuracy and tracking. Tracking can be

> dealt

> with by using a FR or binning. Pointing accuracy cannot.

>

> That's were Maxpoint could make a difference.

> A number of questions:

>

> 1) do any of you have experience with MaxPoint and LX200 ? How good is

> it

> ?

> 2) what is included with Pinpoint LE? Can I use Pinpoint LE to do a

> manual

> position solve of the image ? (function Solve Plate) I'd like that

> because

> then I can really verify I am on target and have a closed loop system.

> 3) to use MaxPoint with a program I develop. Do I have to call an

> object

> in my code like with Maxim to start the control panel (and start

> correction)? Or is there a way of applying the correction without

> putting

> the control program on the screen? I could not find that in the

> manual...

> 4) How are corrections applied ? I suspect an offset is

> added/substracted

> to the goto-position ? Is the telescope synchronised with every GOTO or

> is

> it kept strictly in the software on the PC ?

>

>

> Regards,

>

>

> Maarten Vanleenhove

>

>

> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

>

>

>

>

---------------

>

> Yahoo! Groups Links

>

> To visit your group on the web, go to:

> groups.yahoo.com/group/MaxImDL/

>

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> MaxImDL-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

>

> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

> docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/







----------------------------

#9731 Jan 9, 2004

The software I am writing is doing it's own target selection, generates a

database of targets with priority indicator, cloud detection with alarm,

very good exception handling and so on ....

It does a lot more then ACP ever will. ACP is a good product and so is

Pinpoint. But I just like the extra control of writing your own software.

Besides, I will be solving plate coordinates with PP Light provided with

MaxPoint so ther is no difference here. Pointing will already be good with

MaxPoint. All what PP will do is verify (to see is believe)

I'll be basically doing the same, but my way. I already had the

telescope code from a previous project so rewriting something that works

would be undesired. Perhaps I'll convert everything to Ascom in a later

stade. Thanks to scripting interface from Maxim, PP, Ascom it is very easy

to write your own program. A GOTO fe is one line of code...

Thank you for sharing your experience. How do you create your target

lists?





Maarten Vanleenhove







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#9732 Jan 9, 2004

Well I was just making sure you knew about those products because you will spend a lot of time to get your project done. I'm a software engineer so I'm perfectly capable of producing my own software to do a lot of things but I have to evaluate what's worth my time. If there's already something out there that does most of what I want then I will use it and lobby the author for any new features I would like. You could just write the target selection software and have it generate the plan as an input to ACP. Cloud detection with alarm sounds like it could be a stand alone application also. You might be doing a few things that ACP doesn't but making the statement that "It does a lot more then ACP ever will." isn't valid. That's like me writing my own camera control program and then stating that it does more than MaxImDL. Your software will work for your little setup but ACP has to work with a ton of different cameras and telescopes. If you look at all the different features available in the plans theres a ton of stuff going on.



My target lists are created for me for what I like to do:

cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/NEO/ToConfirm.html

There's no objects listed there today.



You can look here to see a record of some of my contributions to science last year:

newton.dm.unipi.it/cgi-bin/neodys/neoibo?sites:G90;obs;1;200



I get the IAUC's so I'll keep a look out for your supernova discoveries. Do you have your obs. code yet?



Gil Jones





> -------- Original Message --------

> Subject: RE: [MaxImDL] Questions concerning MaxPoint and Meade LX200

> classic

> From: "Maarten Vanleenhove" maarten_vanleenhove@...>

> Date: Fri, January 09, 2004 8:51 am

> To: MaxImDL@yahoogroups.com

>

> The software I am writing is doing it's own target selection, generates

> a

> database of targets with priority indicator, cloud detection with

> alarm,

> very good exception handling and so on ....

> It does a lot more then ACP ever will. ACP is a good product and so is

>

> Pinpoint. But I just like the extra control of writing your own

> software.

> Besides, I will be solving plate coordinates with PP Light provided

> with

> MaxPoint so ther is no difference here. Pointing will already be good

> with

> MaxPoint. All what PP will do is verify (to see is believe)

> I'll be basically doing the same, but my way. I already had the

> telescope code from a previous project so rewriting something that

> works

> would be undesired. Perhaps I'll convert everything to Ascom in a later

>

> stade. Thanks to scripting interface from Maxim, PP, Ascom it is very

> easy

> to write your own program. A GOTO fe is one line of code...

> Thank you for sharing your experience. How do you create your target

> lists?

>

>

> Maarten Vanleenhove

>

>

>

> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

>

>

>

>

---------------

>

> Yahoo! Groups Links

>

> To visit your group on the web, go to:

> groups.yahoo.com/group/MaxImDL/

>

> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

> MaxImDL-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

>

> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

> docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/



----------------------------

#9760 Jan 12, 2004

Gil Jones: > If you consider your time to be worth something you will better off just

> buying ACP and Pinpoint [...]



Thank you, Gil. I appreciate the kind words :-))



Maarten Vanleenhove: > The software I am writing is doing it's own target selection, generates

> a database of targets with priority indicator, cloud detection with

> alarm, very good exception handling and so on ....It does a lot more

> then ACP ever will.



Interesting, but think the last sentence is a bit unfair. How can you know

what I have planned for upcoming releases? And since you can write your own

scripts, there is no limit to what ACP + your custom script(s) can do, in

that sense.



At least you have ASCOM compatibility and time-tested mature control code

for both the imager and the telescope. Why re-invent that wheel for the Nth

time :-)



If you separate target selection from sequencing the instruments, I believe

that ACP will handle the latter for you just fine. And if you need special

features, you can always write your own sequecing script and take advantage

of the built-in features of ACP plus its library of hundreds of functions.



Tenagra Observatopries, for example, is using ACP as the sequencer on their

instruments. Dr. Paulo Holvorcem has written a very sophisticated scheduler

front-end for ACP, called TAO, which generates ACP plans. Tenagra has

acquired a huge number of SNe and Minor Planet search images.



OK, I've gone on enough...



-- Bob







----------------------------

#9761 Jan 12, 2004

Hey Bob,





Of course you are right ! ACP & PP are great products. But quite frankly I

find purchasing software these days a bit expensive. If you add up

everything it is a considerable amount of money and you still have a lot

of customizing to do to get things your way. As you are a developer

yourself I don't have to explain why writing own software is more flexible

the buying a package. You are right about ASCOM though ... it is better to

use that functionallity, but I already had the entire control set from

Meade programmed from a previous project.

I have my own vision on target selection and exception handling which

cannot be found in commercial software. I want a flexible program that is

able to recover from errors.

So my basic point of view was to buy the components such as camera

control, Maxpoint, ..... and write own software to link up everything in

one interface.

It is the same with building a telescope. You can buy one (the easy way)

or you could build on yourself.

There's always more satifaction in using something you build yourself...

Anyway, I've already learned a lot of things by doing this projects so it

has been worthwhile already.



Regards,





Maarten Vanleenhove





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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