New Features in
CCDAutoPilot 4.0 Basic
Enhanced User Interface
Based on the experiences of CCDAutoPilot's hundreds of users, the interface has been enhanced to minimize errors, maximize information and make it easier to set up your sessions. Its intuitive workflow steps
you through the process of creating complex imaging sessions with point and
click ease. New utility windows are provided with useful information, calculators, reminders and options appropriate to the section of your planning and session setup. The help system has been enhanced with a completely new section of imaging techniques and topics.
Automatic Color Combine Ratio (G2V) Measurement
One push of a button measures your color combine ratio with a G2V star that is automatically selected when used with TheSky6 or later. Without TheSky,you can manually point your telescope to a suitable star for equally automatic measurements. No taking of images, stacking, importing into another program, etc. The color combine ratio obtained is extinction-corrected as if you had taken the data at the zenith. No further extinction correction is needed.
Automatic Camera Measurement
One push of a button measures your camera read noise and, if set up properly, your camera's conversion gain. Another button and your sky glow is measured. With this data, you can determine optimal sub-exposure times, camera cooling and even the number of dark frames needed.
One-Click Setup Procedure
CCDAutoPilot 4.0 further simplifies your system setup
with one-click ease. You can define and measure your color combine ratio, optimize dithering and measure your camera performance with one click as well. Once you system is setup, you will never need to
recalibrate your autoguider or rotator for any target you want to
image unless you change the configuration of your imaging system.
Boltwood Cloud Sensor Support
Full support for either a local or networked Boltwood cloud sensor (or equivalent) is
included via an independent thread. User selectable options for a cloudy condition include
either aborting the run or waiting for a specific period of time for
the clouds to clear. In the latter case, the run continues when the
Boltwood reports clear conditions.
Predictive Auto-Guiding Technology
Once initialized, CCDAutoPilot will calculate guiding parameters independently of a simple calibration routine for optimal guiding. No more worrrying about mount hysteresis or guide vector assymetry. No matter where you point
your telescope CCDAutoPilot will determine the best guiding
parameters for your imaging system. Predictive guiding supports
camera relays, DirectGuide, MicroGuide and, for AO users, automatic mount bumping calibration. And, it works with your optional manual or automated rotator at
any position angle.
Automatic Guide Exposure
Set your minimum and maximum guide exposure and your desired guide star level and CCDAutoPilot does the rest, adjusting the guide exposure to get your desired signal level.
Integration with TheSky6
CCDAutoPilot 4.0 seamlessly integrates with
TheSky6 allowing you to work interactively with TheSky to select,
frame and manage imaging targets. See when your targets rise, set
and transit the meridian as well as user definable altitudes for
starting and ending exposures. Twilight conditions are reported for optimal session planning.
Integrated Auto Guider Calculator
The CCDWare guide calculator is now incorporated
into CCDAutoPilot. Additionally, the guide calculator minimum and
maximum move as well as aggressiveness may be directly loaded into
CCDSoft via a single click. The calculator will automatically
determine whether camera relays, DirectGuide or MicroGuide is
being used and will calculate and load the optimal settings accordingly.
Advanced Pointing Technology
When you slew to an object, CCDAutoPilot,
confirms that you are at the exact coordinates you indicated in your
target list. If there is any error in your pointing, CCDAutoPilot
will correct your telescopes pointing. If desired, a pointing error tolerance can be specified for more demanding pointing precision.
Automatic Guide Star Recovery
A passing cloud, cosmic ray hit or gust of wind
can potentially ruin a nights imaging run. With AGSR technology,
CCDAutoPilot will detect a missing guidestar, recenter your target,
and continue the imaging session. New technologies are employed in
Version 4.0 that greatly improves the chances of reacquiring your
Seamless Rotator Control
CCDAutPilot supports manual and automatic control
of the Optec Pyxis, RCOS PIR, Astrodon TAKometer and soon the ASCOM standard. Rotate
your FOV indicator in TheSky6, right click on your target and select
slew. You rotator will now rotate to the precise Position Angle in
the sky. No more fumbling with rotator positions vs actual position
SkyStar allows you to focus on stars outside your
field of view and return to your target with arc-second accuracy.
SkyStar has been improved so that it works with both CCDSoft and
TheSky6 as well as with Pinpoint. In addition, SkyStar will ensure
your focus star is always in the center of you FOV for precise
on-axis focusing. SkyStar is unique in that it is the only
off-target focusing routine that allows you to plate solve with a
filter other than the filter you use for focusing.
CCDAutoPilot provides many new focus options to
ensure your exposures are as sharp as ever. If using parafocal
filters, you can now select which filter you will use for focusing,
select when to focus during multi-filter imaging sessions and
program initial FocusMax exposures for each filter to save
valuable imaging time. You can even specify a temperature change at which to schedule a focus.
Reusable System Profiles
Once you have CCDAutoPilot configured for your
imaging system, you can save your system profile for each imaging
configuration you use. This allows you to characterize many imaging
configurations and save them for later use, thus eliminating the
need for re-initialization of your system. Alternate system profiles can be loaded by simply clicking on them.
Enhanced Target Lists
Target lists now include your calibration frame settings so you can plan your entire evening's data acquisition and apply it to your system in one move. Perfect for remote observatories!
And Many More Improvements and Additions
See the online help for more details
New Features in
CCDAutoPilot 4.0 Professional
CCDAutoPilot can optionally notify you by email or text message to your cell phone of the start of a session, the start of your target acquisition and completion of the session. It can even email the session log as an attachment.
Control File Interface
Using a simple text file, CCDAutoPilot 4.0 can be controlled by external applications to pause, resume or abort a run. Integrity of the controlling application is also provided. Additionally, notifications of control events can be sent via email or text message to your cell phone.
Enhance Cloud Sensor Monitoring
If desired by the user, CCDAutoPilot will abort a session upon high humidity, excessive wind and various forms of Cloud Sensor measurements. Again, email or text message notification is optionally possible.
Calculated Color Combine Ratio
Once your color combine ratio is measured, CCDAutoPilot will track each sub-exposure's altitude and provide an extinction-corrected color combine ratio for each target's set of exposures.
CCDAutoPilot supports multiple targets. Easily
select targets using TheSky's built in databases of millions of
objects. Interactively select your targets using TheSky's FOV
indicator to frame and rotate your objects exactly where you want
them. Seamlessly image targets at any rotation angle, on either side
of the Meridian with either your fork or equatorial mount. Additional information is provided in the utility windows to assist in target planning.
Powerful Multi-Target Importers
Creating complex target runs for astrophotography
and survey work is easily accomplished using CCDAutoPilot's powerful
import features. Using CCDNavigator, many additional catalogs are available for target selection with easy importing into CCDAutoPilot. Support for Text, CSV, Starry Night, ACP Planner
and ACP Survey plans allow you to import targets from almost any
application or database.