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TPoint

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tedcrampton Posted: 10-10-2018 4:11 AM

Hello

I am a scientist/engineer with a love of astronomy but never previously had the time or resources to indulge in a telescope.

Now I am retired and have both. BUT I am disabled and can not bend and move around very easily.

I have built up a system based on a remote pulsar dome with an EQ6 pro mount, Celestron C11 telescope, two ZWO cameras, a tetrad finder with a miniature low light hd camera to remote view through the finder ; all controlled by an IMAC some 30 feet away running TheSkyX Pro.

Everything works beautifully BUT if I loose alignment for any reason I find if difficult to then enter the dome and realign. I read up and researched the Celestron StarSense device and thought it might be the answer. BUT It will NOT connect to the computer until after alignment. The computer therefore can not tell the dome where to be, therefore alignment won't work?

 

My alignment process starts off with the moon and once aligned on this I can normally manage a few stars - but of course the moon is not always available and In the right place at the right time.

I would be grateful for any suggestions. I have considered T point but I presume it needs a degree of correct alignment to be able to start. 

Thank you in advance 

Ted

 

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Posts 3,183
Software Bisque Employee

tedcrampton:
…never previously had the time or resources to indulge in a telescope…. Now I am retired and have both.

Happy to hear it!

tedcrampton:
Everything works beautifully BUT if I loose alignment for any reason I find if difficult to then enter the dome and realign.

Are you losing alignment during a session? If you slew back to the last-good position, is the pointing still good there, or has it gone "all out of whack"? Is the alignment worse with a more distant slew, or especially one involving a flip of the mount? Have you locked down your C11's primary mirror so that it isn't flopping around?

tedcrampton:
I have considered T point but I presume it needs a degree of correct alignment to be able to start.

As long as you have repeatable pointing errors (not ~random, such as a flopping mirror), TPoint should be able to make a big improvement in your pointing. You don't really need to have a close alignment to start collecting pointing samples for TPoint; you just need to be able to capture an image through the telescope that has enough discernible stars for an astrometric solution to be found (that is, the celestial coordinates of the center of the image to be determined). Provided your imager's field is at least 10 arc-minutes across, that shouldn't be a problem.

While you should be able to do pretty well with your EQ6, upgrading to a Paramount MYT would also be an improvement. Among other reasons, its homing feature makes it possible to maintain a high degree of pointing accuracy across sessions.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 5

Thankyou Brian

Alignment stays ok during a session.

crossing the meridian things do deteriorate.

the mirror is not locked - I will investigate this but the C11 is about 6 years old and I don’t know if it can be done easily.

the main issue is or has been during the observatory build and loosing alignment due to changing cameras or other hardware. I do plan to get a UPS.

I really want alignment done automatically or easily done remotely as my condition will deteriorate and so my ability to look through an eyepiece will diminish.

The C11 with the two cameras has a small field of view. I do not have a guide camera but the C11 does have a fitting for one. Would it be ok to fit a guide scope and camera to it to feed T Point with data if the guide scope is very well aligned to the C11?

 

many thanks 

Thank Crampton

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,183
Software Bisque Employee

tedcrampton:
the main issue is or has been during the observatory build and loosing alignment due to changing cameras or other hardware.

That's something the TPoint Add On can help you with. Since you have a permanent installation (the polar alignment doesn't vary between sessions), after switching gear, you could do a small (6-point) recalibration run and be back in business.

tedcrampton:
I really want alignment done automatically…

Yes, with TPoint, calibration runs can be automatic. You can also use the Closed Loop Slew option, which automatically attempts to slew to a target, captures an image and performs an Image Link (the astrometric solution I previously mentioned) to learn where the telescope is really pointed, then slews once more to correct for any offset and takes a final image with the target nicely centered. But that's not really necessary with a good TPoint model and repeatable system. 

tedcrampton:
The C11 with the two cameras has a small field of view.

What is the field, in arc-minutes? Or what model ZWO cameras are you using, and at what focal ratio(s) are you working?

tedcrampton:
Would it be ok to fit a guide scope and camera to it to feed T Point with data if the guide scope is very well aligned to the C11?

You could, but the resulting TPoint model would really be for the guide scope, so the pointing accuracy for your main imager would be reduced. It would be better to collect the calibration data with your main imager.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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