FEATURES
PROGRAM SETUP FEATURES
One-Click Initialization
  • Enter Imaging System Parameters
  • Select Control Programs
  • Initialize and Characterize
  • Reusable System Profiles for Multiple Configurations
  • Heuristics used for Accurate Session Planning Times
     
Application Independence
  • Camera Control via CCDSoft, MaximDL and
  • Camera Control via TheSkyX Camera Add On (Professional Edition)
  • Telescope Control via TheSky6 Pro, TheSKyX Pro or ASCOM
  • Focus Control via CCDSoft @Focus2, FocusMax or PlaneWave AutoFocus
  • Rotator Support for ASCOM, RCOS PIR, Astrodon TAKometer or via TheSkyX.
  • Dome Control Support for ASCOM,including Pier-Tech's AOCS, AutomaDome and Digital Dome Works
  • Artificial light source support for flat fields. Integrated support for the Flip-Flat/FlatMan.
     
Plate Solving Support
  • Support for TheSkyX, TheSky6/CCDSoftV5 WCS Astrometry and PinPoint
  • User Definable Catalogs and Expansion
  • User Definable Sub Frames, Filter, Exposure Time and Bin Mode
     
Boltwood Cloud Sensor Support
  • User selectable options for cloudy conditions.
  • Auto-resume on clear condition.
  • Now with network Support.
  • Full multi-threaded operation to reduce CPU overhead.
     
Telescope Pointing Corrector Support
  • Software Bisque T-Point
  • Diffraction Limited MaxPoint
     
Comprehensive Support System
  • Context Sensitive Help Files
  • Tooltip Suggestions for Controls
  • Automatic Web Update for New Features
  • Online Help in Web and Pdf format
  • Support Forum
     

One-Click Tools
Filter Focus Offset Measurement
  • Select Reference Filter
  • Set Number of Measurements
  • Offsets automatically entered
RGB Ratio Calculator
  • One-Click G2V Ratio Measurement
  • Select Filters
  • Automatic G2V star selection with TheSkyX or TheSky6
  • Manual G2V star selection with ASCOM or TheSkyX or TheSky6
  • Extinction-corrected flux and ratio measurement
     
Sub-Exposure Calculator
  • One-click camera gain measurement
  • One-Click camera read noise measurement
  • One-click sky glow measurement
  • Calculate sub-exposure duration
  • Determine camera operating temperature, number of dark frames
     
Guider Calculator
  • Enter Maximum Error
  • Enter Maximum Allowable Movement
  • Calculates Minimum and Maximum Move
  • One-Click Entry for Maxim Camera Relays and MicroGuide
  • One-Click Entry for CCDSoft Camera Relays and DirectGuide
     
System Tests
  • Telescope Park Test
  • Rotator Movement TEst
  • Dome Movement Test
  • Dome Shutter Open and Close Test
  • Guider Alarm Test
  • Telescope Tracking On and Off Tests
  • Email Test
     

TARGET SELECTION FEATURES
Flexible Target Input
  • Enter Target Name, RA, DEC, and PA Manually
  • Retrieve Target RA DEC and PA from FITS Files
     
Integration with TheSkyX and TheSky6
  • Add Targets from TheSkyX/TheSky6 Database
  • Retrieve Target RA, DEC, and PA from TheSkyX/TheSky6 FOVI
     
Target Management
  • Slew to Any Target in the Target List
  • Edit Target Information
  • User Selectable Target Start Times
  • Precision Slew with optional user-specified tolerance
  • Session Start Time Can be Based Either on a Specific Start time or a Time Relative to Sunset
     
Target Information
  • View Rise, Set and Transit Information for Any Target
  • User Definable Altitude Display for Object Start and Stop Times
  • Moon Rise and Set Times
  • Sun Set and Rise Times
     

MULTIPLE TARGET FEATURES
Multiple Target Import & Export
  • Import Targets from CCDNavigator
  • Import Targets from CSV Text Files
  • Import Starry Night Observation Plans
  • Export Target Lists to CSV text files
     
Target List Management
  • Sort Targets by Name, RA and DEC
  • Move Targets Up and Down in Target Lists
  • Specify Optional Start Time for Each Target
  • De-Activate Targets for Imaging Runs
  • Options are provided to either turn off tracking or park the telescope during idle periods between targets.
     
Reusable Target Lists
  • Save and Load Target Lists
  • Share Target Lists with Other Imagers
  • Target Lists Contain Name, RA, DEC, PA, Start Times and Light Exposures for Each Target in the List as well as calibration frames.
     

MOSAIC FEATURES
Integration with TheSkyX/TheSky6
  • Setup Mosaics in TheSkyX/TheSky6 Using the Mosaic Feature
  • Mosaics can be of Unlimited Size
  • User Definable Overlap
  • User Definable PA
     
Mosaic Wizard
  • Import Mosaics from TheSkyX/TheSky6 as Targets
  • User Definable Light Frames Across all Panels
  • Select to Image All Panels or Portions of Mosaics
  • Save and Load Mosaics
     

FOCUSING FEATURES
Focus Methods
  • SkyStar Off-target Focusing Technology
  • Focus on Brightest Star in Field of View
  • Focus on a Star Located at X, Y in FOV
  • Support for FocusMax AcquireStar
  • Support for @Focus2
  • Support for Maxim Focusing
     
Focus Options
  • Support for Temperature Compensation
  • User Definable Minimum Altitude for Focusing
  • Periodic Focus at User Definable Timing
  • Periodic Focus upon user definable temperature change
  • Focus Through Fixed Filter for Parafocal Filters
  • User Definable Focus Offsets for Each Filter
  • FocusMax Exposure Times for Each Filter
  • Support for Up to 10 Filters
  • Focus at Session Start
  • Focus Immediately
     
SkyStar Focusing
  • Off -Target Focusing for Best Results
  • Stops AutoGuider
  • Finds Suitable Focus Star Outside FOV
  • Provides On-Axis Focusing for Best Performance
  • Slews Back to Target and Corrects Slew
  • Re-acquires Guide Star and Restarts Guiding
  • Allows Plate solving with a Filter other than the Filter You use for Focusing.
     

TRACKING AND GUIDING FEATURES
Guiding Methods
  • Self Guided Camera
  • Off Axis Guider
  • External Guide Scope
  • Unguided Imaging
     
Predictive Auto Guiding
  • After System Initialization There is No Need for Guider Recalibration Night After Night
  • Predicts Best Guiding Options at Any Location in the Sky
  • Works with Rotators at Any Angle
  • Supports Manual Rotation of Camera without re-initialization.
  • Automatic Guide Star Selection in the guider's FOV
  • Automtic Guide Star Exposure
     
Automatic Guide Star Retrieval
  • Guarantees Guide Star Stays on Guide Chip
  • User Definable Guide Cycles Before AGSR Activates
  • Re-centers Object when Guide Star Not Detected
  • Optional Audible Alarm
     
Fully Automated Meridian Flips
  • Supports Systems With and Without Rotators
  • Flips German Equatorial Mount When Object Transits
  • Optional Rotates Camera 180 Degrees
  • Optional Telescope Sync After Meridian Flip
  • Automatic Guide Star Selection After Meridian Flip
  • Optional Focus After Meridian Flip
  • User Definable Flip Delay
  • Optional Abort Target at Meridian (with programmable delay to track past meridian)
     
Dithering
  • User Definable Dithering Amount Between Exposures
  • Suggests dithering, based on system parameters
  • Enhanced or Random Dithering
  • Intelligent Exposure Restart Allowing Dither to complete and Auto-Guiding to Reach User Definable Threshold.
     
Guided Imaging Options
  • Enhanced or Random Dithering
  • User Definable Guide Exposures for Each Filter
  • User Definable AO Guide Box Size
  • User Definable Guide Window Size
  • Optional Guider running through filter changes for photometry
     
Unguided Imaging Options
  • Enhanced or Random Dithering via Telescope Moves
  • Suggests dithering based on system parameters
  • Realign Object at a User Definable Time Periods
     

LIGHT FRAME EXPOSURE FEATURES
User Defined Light Series
  • Templates for easy data input
  • Up to Eight Light Series per Target
  • Repeat Light Series for Each Target
  • User Definable Guide Exposure Delay
  • Optionally Focus Before Each Light Series
  • User Definable Number of Exposures, Filter, Bin Mode and Exposure Time for Each Light Series
  • Accurately Predict Light Frames Session Time
  • Compare to Target Ephemerides
     
Exposure Management
  • Light Exposures Placed in User Defined Sub-directories
  • Default File Names Generated Automatically Including Target Name, PA, Side of Meridian, Filter, Bin Mode and Exposure Length.
     
Multiple Target Exposure Management
  • Drop Down Box to Select Target To Assign Exposures
  • All Targets can have any Combination of Exposures
  • Update Any Targets Light Exposures
  • Apply a User Definable Light Exposures to All Targets with One Click
  • Saved Targets Lists Contains all Light Exposures Information for all Targets
  • Save, Load and Share Target Lists
     
Mosaic Exposures
  • Define a Light Series for All Panels of Mosaic with One Click
  • Choose to Image Only One Filter or Multi Filters for All Panels
  • Image Separate Color Channels on Different Nights for Best Color Balance
  • Save, Load and Share Mosaic Target Lists
     

DARK AND BIAS FRAME FEATURES
User Defined Dark and Bias Frames
  • Templates for easy data input
  • Up to Eight Dark and Bias Series per Evening
  • Repeat Dark and Bias Series
  • User Definable Number of Exposures, Filter, Bin Mode and Exposure Time for Each Dark Series
  • User Definable Number of Exposures, Filter, and Bin Mode for Each Bias Series
  • Accurately Predict Dark and Bias Run Times
     
Dark and Bias Options
  • User Definable Filter for Cameras with Shutters
  • Programmable Flush Series to Eliminate Residual Charge in CCD Camera
  • Take Dark and Bias Frames Before or After Light Frames
  • Take Dark and Bias Frames Before AND After Light Frames
  • Take Dark and Bias Frames Immediately
     

FLAT FRAME FEATURES
User Defined Flat Frames
  • Templates for easy data input
  • Up to Eight Flat Series per Imaging Session
  • User Definable Number of Exposures, Filter, Bin Mode, Target ADU, Description and Position Angle for Each Flat Series
  • Take Dusk or Dawn Flats or Both
  • Take Flats at Dawn Time with Artificial Light Sources
  • Take Flats immediately
     
Flat Frame Options
  • Telescope Tracking can be Enabled or Disabled While Taking Flats
  • For Tracked Flat Frames, Optional Dithering can be Activated to Eliminate Stars in Master Flats
  • Minimum and Maximum Exposure Limits
  • Automatically Selects Best Spot in Sky for Flats
  • Optional User Definable  Alt, Az for Telescope Pointing
  • User Definable Sun Altitudes for Dusk and Dawn Flats
  • Automatic Light / Dark Frame Abort to Ensure Flat Frames are Taken.
     
Rotator Support
  • Enter Position Angles for Each Flat Series
  • Enter Absolute Rotator Position for Each Flat Series
     
Automatic ADU Calculations
  • Define ADU Level for Flat Frames
  • Bias is Automatically Calculated and Added to Target ADU
  • Optional User Definable Bias Pedestal
  • Optimized ADU Calculation Algorithm to Maximize Exposure Time and Amount of Flats
     

PROGRAM OPTIONS
Start Up Options
  • Open Dome on Start Up
  • Turn Imager and Guider Cooler On at User Definable Time and Temperature
  • Run an External Program or Script
     
Options After Light Exposures
  • Park Telescope
  • Turn Off Telescope Tracking
  • Close Dome
  • Run an External Program or Script
     
Shut Down Options
  • Abort Light and Dark Frames at Twilight
  • Re-Park Telescope After Flat Frames
  • Turn Telescope Tracking Off After Flat Frames
  • Close Dome after Flat Frames
  • Warm Up Imager and Guider Cooler
  • Run an External Program or Script
     
Image Management
  • Specify Starting Image Number for Session
  • Select a Root Folder for All Exposures
  • Templates for file names
  • Customize folder for data and calibration frames.
  • Optional Auto Generation of Sub Folders Based on Date, Target Name
  • Organization of Logs, System and Target Profiles and Failed Plate Solves for Analysis.
     

RUNNING SESSIONS
Setup Review
  • User Friendly Warnings for Questionable Settings
  • Review Complete Hardware and Software Setup
  • Review All Session Options on One Screen
     
Session Review
  • Review All Session Options on One Screen
  • Review Light Frames, Dark and Bias Frames, Flat Frames
  • Review Path and File Names
  • Estimated Times Provided for Sessions
     
Status Dialog
  • Provides Session Time Estimates including Start and End Times, Next Focus, Meridian Flip Timing, and Sunrise
  • Indicates Current Target Information including Current Altitude and Transit Times
  • Shows Focus Information including HFD in Arc-Seconds, Focuser Position and Temperature at Last Focus
  • Indicates Current Light Series, Exposure, Filter, Bin Mode and Exposure Time with Progress Bar
     
Comprehensive Logging
  • Indicates all Session Actions with Time Stamp
  • Saves Log File After Each Action
  • Saves Log Files in User Definable Directory
  • Calculates Extinction Corrected Color Combine Ratio for Targets in Run
     
Session Options
  • Pause and Resume Sessions Between Exposures
  • Abort Sessions in Progress
  • Email/Text Message Notification of Key Events
     
Control File
  • Control CCDAutoPilot via External Programs
  • Start, Pause, Resume, Abort
  • Select Notification Options
  • Send Specific Messages via CCDAutoPilot Notification System
  • Close integration with m1OASYS Observatory Automaation System
     

 


 

Supported Software and Hardware:

 

 
 

 

Camera Control Program
CCDSoft version 5.00.205*
MaxImDL/CCD version 4.54*
MaxImDL version 5 compatible

Telescope Control
TheSky6 Pro version 6.0.0.65*
TheSKyX Pro Build 6820*
ASCOM 6.0 SP1*

Camera Rotator Control
RCOS PIR
OPTEC Pyxis
Astrodon TAKometer
ASCOM 6.0 SP1*

Focus Control
FocusMax 3.4.40*
ASCOM platform 6.0 SP1*

Dome Control
Automadome
Digital Dome Works
ASCOM platform 6.0 SP1*

Observatory Automation
m1OASYS

Flat Fielding
Flip-Flat/FlatMan

CCDWare Products
CCDInspector version 2.50*
CCDNavigator version 2.0.70*

Operating Systems
Windows 10 32/64 bit
Windows 8/8.1 32/64 bit
Windows 7 32/64 bit
Windows Vista 32/64 bit
Windows XP
Windows 2000**
Windows ME**
Windows 98**

* Minimum version,
latest version recommended
** not recommended