Software - Kenthurst Observatory

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Original Setup



A typical imaging session comprises powering up the computer, dome, telescope and cameras and then bringing up the POTH (telescope and dome hub) screen on the computer. It is used to connect to the dome and, if necessary to bring it to it's home position. It is also used to remotely open the upper and lower dome shutters.  

Software Bisque's The Sky planetarium program is then started and connected to the telescope's serial port via the POTH hub. By clicking on a bright star shown on the computer screen the telescope slews to point to it and the slit of the Sirius dome follows automatically. During the imaging session the dome remains synched to the telescope even to the extent of making periodic adjustments during an extended, automated imaging session.

Diffraction Limited's MaxIm DL software is then started and connected to the Meade telescope via the POTH software hub (thus The Sky and the MaxIm  DL share the telescope's COM1 port) and also to the Canon DSLR and Meade DSI cameras. An image is taken through the Canon DSLR and MaxIM DL used to centre the star on the computer screen. A synch operation is then performed in The Sky. Focusing of the Digital SLR is then done using a Hartmann mask and by 400% magnification of images on the computer screen, using small faint stars.

The Sky program is then used to direct the telescope to go to the desired object for imaging.

Final alignment is done in MaxImDL which has controls for very precise pointing of the telescope. A guide star is found in the FOV and the MaxIM used to to do an initial guide. Position errors in pixels, are shown graphically on the computer screen. The Canon DSLR is then disconnected from MaxIm DL and connected to the ImagesPlus software program.
ImagesPlus then runs an automated multi-exposure imaging session which typically lasts for several hours. It is also used to download images from the DSLR and to set up the various camera setting.

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