The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Cameras, telescopes, focusers and other hardware
Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 27 Oct 2021, 19:42

I will be using AA8 for Capture, Guiding, and pre-processing, no problem there.

My Planetarium of choice is Cartes du Ciel, which communicates perfectly with my mount, an HEQ5 Pro Synscan, which I control via EQDirect/EQmod.

To Plate Solve for alignment purposes, I intend to to use SharpCap, which can 'drive' the mount via ASCOM, and thus centre an object in the field of view.

Back in the day (pre 2014), I used AA3, AA4, and AA5, but of course they did not have Plate Solving capability.

Now having AA8, can I use its Plate Solving capability, in the same way as Sharpcap. That is to say, having initiated its Plate Solving Function, will it centre the object in the fame. Assuming of course that Cartes du Ciel points the mount somewhere near the chosen object.

Also, Sharpcap requires "All Sky Plate Solver" to be installed, to use as a reference database.

What would AA8 use for its Plate Solving data base.

Dunmunro
Posts: 125
Joined: 10 Jan 2019, 01:11

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dunmunro » 27 Oct 2021, 21:10

Dave_S wrote:
27 Oct 2021, 19:42
I will be using AA8 for Capture, Guiding, and pre-processing, no problem there.

My Planetarium of choice is Cartes du Ciel, which communicates perfectly with my mount, an HEQ5 Pro Synscan, which I control via EQDirect/EQmod.

To Plate Solve for alignment purposes, I intend to to use SharpCap, which can 'drive' the mount via ASCOM, and thus centre an object in the field of view.

Back in the day (pre 2014), I used AA3, AA4, and AA5, but of course they did not have Plate Solving capability.

Now having AA8, can I use its Plate Solving capability, in the same way as Sharpcap. That is to say, having initiated its Plate Solving Function, will it centre the object in the fame. Assuming of course that Cartes du Ciel points the mount somewhere near the chosen object.

Also, Sharpcap requires "All Sky Plate Solver" to be installed, to use as a reference database.

What would AA8 use for its Plate Solving data base.
AA8 has a built in star chart, but that is not included with the demo. However the plate solving engine and it's stellar database is built into the demo, along with the full camera and mount control capability, so you can use the free demo to experiment with your existing equipment.

AA8 has a very accurate plate solve assisted goto and centring built in via the mount control interface, download the demo, install it and then press on the Help Icon->Contents->Telescope Control->Center for full info on how it all works.

I haven't been able to use AA8 yet, but with AA7, I start the polar aligned mount from the home position (no need for any alignment stars), I then use AA7 to issue a goto command to my first target. After the goto completes I then take a ~10 sec exposure with my imaging camera, then click on the goto platesolve button. AA7 then plate solves the image, determines the actual location of the image field, computes the goto command needed to accurately center the field on the target object, and then issues the goto command to the mount. Typically the target will be centred to within ~20 arc seconds after the 2nd goto completes; so within ~60 seconds from the home position my scope is centred on the target!

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 29 Oct 2021, 08:47

Dunmunro wrote:
27 Oct 2021, 21:10

AA8 has a built in star chart, but that is not included with the demo. However the plate solving engine and it's stellar database is built into the demo, along with the full camera and mount control capability, so you can use the free demo to experiment with your existing equipment.

AA8 has a very accurate plate solve assisted goto and centring built in via the mount control interface, download the demo, install it and then press on the Help Icon->Contents->Telescope Control->Center for full info on how it all works.

I haven't been able to use AA8 yet, but with AA7, I start the polar aligned mount from the home position (no need for any alignment stars), I then use AA7 to issue a goto command to my first target. After the goto completes I then take a ~10 sec exposure with my imaging camera, then click on the goto platesolve button. AA7 then plate solves the image, determines the actual location of the image field, computes the goto command needed to accurately center the field on the target object, and then issues the goto command to the mount. Typically the target will be centred to within ~20 arc seconds after the 2nd goto completes; so within ~60 seconds from the home position my scope is centred on the target!
Thank you for your response, much appreciated.

I now have the full version of AA8, and will give it a go, at the next opportunity.

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 29 Oct 2021, 11:19

Another question, sorry.

I note that there are several catalogue options, None, GSC/GSCACT,UCAC2/3, UCAC 4, GAIA DR2 (comp), and UCA 5. Which of these, if any, should I select?

If I select anything other than "none", the program "flags up" File Not Found

Iver
Posts: 55
Joined: 08 Jan 2019, 04:32

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Iver » 29 Oct 2021, 16:00

you should have received a copy of GSC and GAIA did you select the folder to where you have the files saved ?
Iver

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 30 Oct 2021, 16:04

I found the GAIA 'zip file' in my downloads, and unopened.

Thinking back, I never installed it, as at the time I did not have any intention of using Plate Solve in AA8, but just for capture, guiding, and pre-processing. I then just forgot about it.

I will now copy the file onto the observatory laptop.

I do not appear to have a copy of the GSC anywhere.

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 30 Oct 2021, 16:38

I have now installed the GAIA folder in C:/users/dave/documents/GAIA (comp), and can now see it in AA8 -Tools- Star Atlas.

I don't have the GSC anywhere.

Dunmunro
Posts: 125
Joined: 10 Jan 2019, 01:11

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dunmunro » 30 Oct 2021, 18:40

Dave_S wrote:
30 Oct 2021, 16:38
I have now installed the GAIA folder in C:/users/dave/documents/GAIA (comp), and can now see it in AA8 -Tools- Star Atlas.

I don't have the GSC anywhere.
The GSC is a subset of GAIA and is not included with AA8, AFAIK.

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 30 Oct 2021, 22:38

Dunmunro wrote:
30 Oct 2021, 18:40
The GSC is a subset of GAIA and is not included with AA8, AFAIK.
Do I interpret what you say as that the GSC is a integral part of the GAIA file ?

Dunmunro
Posts: 125
Joined: 10 Jan 2019, 01:11

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dunmunro » 30 Oct 2021, 23:09

Dave_S wrote:
30 Oct 2021, 22:38
Dunmunro wrote:
30 Oct 2021, 18:40
The GSC is a subset of GAIA and is not included with AA8, AFAIK.
Do I interpret what you say as that the GSC is a integral part of the GAIA file ?
The GAIA catalog has far more stars, going to a deeper magnitude with more accurate astrometry, than the GSC and it therefore includes almost all the stars that are in the GSC. There would be no point in having the GSC and GAIA at the same time.

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 31 Oct 2021, 13:10

Thank you. Decision made then, I'll stick with GAIA. :)

Dave_S
Posts: 16
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: The Plate Solving function in AA8.

Post by Dave_S » 01 Nov 2021, 10:09

Interesting??. Last night I tried using the GAIA catalogue in AA8 to Plate Solve, and it it couldn't find the co-ordinates for the stars in the frame, so the plate solve failed.

Switched over to Sharpcap, which uses the "All Sky Plate Solver" application, and it found the co-ordinates for the same frame, and completed the Plate Solve.

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