Contents - Index

Camera Options

Camera Readout Modes

Depending on your specific camera, different Camera Readout Modes may be available in Maxim and TheSkyX build 11586 or later.  These choices will be available when the camera control program is connected to your actual camera hardware and CCDAutoPilot is linked.  Depending on the choices available, you may elect to choose different readout modes for different exposures.  For example, assume your camera has two readout modes: Normal and Fast.  The Fast mode might have more read noise.  (Hint: Use the Sub-Exposure Calculator to measure all modes.)  For things like Focusing, plate solving and even flats, you may elect to use the Fast mode.  But for Light frames, you use Normal to minimize read noise.  Don't forget to use Dark and Bias frames with the readout mode that matches your light frames and flat frames. The settings are stored in the system profile so if you change cameras, be sure to check these settings with the new camera and/or save the system profile for the old camera.

Maxim Camera Options

Depending your specific camera, different Speeds may be available. This allows you to set specific ISO speeds or, in the case of QSI cameras, different gains for different binning choices.
  • Lossless Compression: When checked, all FITS data files, light frames, dark and bias frames and flat frames are compressed using Maxim's proprietary lossless compression algorithm.  This makes file sizes considerably smaller than uncompressed files but they can only be opened in Maxim and not any other program.  If this option is checked, Data Assessment cannot be used.
  • Remove Pixels (Maxim): When checked, CCDAutoPilot will automatically execute Maxim's Remove Bad Pixels process for all frames, Light, Dark, Bias and Flats, taken during the session.  See the Maxim help file for details.  The Bad Pixel Map in Maxim must be pre-defined and unique for each binning.  For example, a bad pixel map for 1x1 binning must have the name "Map1", for 2x2 binning, the name must be "Map2", for 3x3 binning, the name must be "Map3".  Any other name will not be accepted by CCDAutoPilot.
  • Noise: This represents the small amount of Gaussian noise that is added to the interpolated images to improve appearance.  See the Maxim help file for more details.
  • FW8-STG: Check this option when using the SBIG FW8-STG with an AO and using an off-axis guide camera. See also Camera Notes. If this option is used, it must be checked before initialization. Any initialization performed when this option is not checked must be redone if it is checked.
  • SX-AO with PulseGuide: When checked, automatic bump calibration after initialization is supported in Maxim when ASCOM Direct or Telescope are used for AutoGuider Output Control. If this option is used, it must be checked before initialization. Any initialization performed when this option is not checked must be redone if it is checked.

    Remove Pixels Usage Note

    When this feature is configured and checked, it will be applied to all frames, light, dark, bias and flat.  If you already have library dark and bias frames taken without this option and want to use them with light frames acquired with this option checked, then you should run your masters through Maxim, apply the appropriate bad pixel map and save the master to a new name.  If you don't do this, your calibrated image might not look correct.  For example, assume you have a bright column that you remove with the bad pixel map.  This column will not show up in your light frame but if it is in your dark frame, you will have a black column in your reduced image.  If you run your master dark through the Remove Bad Pixels routine manually in Maxim, save that dark and apply it to your light frame taken with the Remove Pixels option checked, your calibrated image should look proper.

    If you select this option, you should make bad pixel maps for all binnings that you use, including those you use for plate solve exposures.  That way, hot pixels will be removed and the plate solving routine won't mistake a hot pixel for a star.

    While there are many ways to develop a bad pixel map, one way is to use a master bias.  It should be made up of 20 - 40 individual bias frames, the more the better.  Move the information windows around to measure the level (ADU's) of the bad pixels you want to remove.  Hit the AutoGenerate button and use the threshold adjustments in Maxim to define the pixels that should be replaced.  Next, process the bias frame to see what pixels will be removed.

    It is strongly recommended that you experiment with this feature before committing it to an evening's session.

    Enabling this feature modifies your original data by the Remove Bad Pixels process before it is saved.  There is no way to "undo" this modification.  Science users should carefully consider whether this option is appropriate for your data requirements.  You can evaluate this by not checking the option and manually running it through Maxim's "Remove Bad Pixels" process.


    CCDSoft Camera Options

    This setting allows adjusting the size of the guide star box. This is the image that is visible when the guider is operational. The settings must be set before guiding is enabled. You can set either the AO guide star box or the conventional guider guide star box. Changing during guiding will not have any effect
  • Set: Enters the values shown for the guide box size.
  • Reset: Resets the guide box size to the default values of 8 for the AO and 32 for conventional guiders.