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Automated Obs

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In the gallery section of this site is a picture of M51, the whirlpool galaxy.  It was the fist picture I managed to take that looked to me to be quite good.  I first took the RGB frames then at about midnight I went to bed leaving the scope and camera collecting luminance images.  Form that night I have been convinced that the further away I am from a scope the better the images have been!

With increased computerisation of scope amateur astronomy is generally moving in the direction of increased automation.  However building and running an automated scope is still a massive challenge.

As with any complex task best to tackle it in smaller parts.

  • Scope must be integrated with the control system.  With modern scopes this is relatively easily achieved.

  • I choose to use a dome to protect the scope.  This needs to point in the same direction as the scope and open and close.  A run off would have been easier!

  • Weather detection.  It might be necessary to close up in a hurry should it start raining

  • To image a camera is needed, as are filters, guider, automated focusing.

  • Then a control program is needed to bring it all together and execute an observing plan.

There are commercial solutions to all of the above.  Sadly there still are bugs and shortcomings that seam to need tackling on an observatory by observatory basis.  In this section I will describe progress so far

 

Dome
Rain
Scope
ST8
sxv
Focus
Emulators
Software

 

 

leaf

The Poor Meadow Dyke Galleries are now open.  

THE GALLERIES

 

 

See the full range of Atik cooled CCD cameras for astronomy on the Atik Website

 


Copyright 2006 Steve Chambers. All Rights  Steve@pmdo.com

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