The more I use Voyager, the more I trust its capabilities.
Tonight I did not have much time to set up for my imaging session. I was also curious about how Voyager would handle less-than-ideal starting conditions for imaging. After setting up the mount and scope and polar aligning, I decided to simply start my DragScript without doing anything else that I would usually do – not plate solving and syncing the mount, not doing a rough focus. Nothing.
Initial focus turned out to be pretty bad and I don’t think the Robofocus procedure was able to adequately focus the star. Next came a blind solve, which was successful in spite of the poor focus. Then the sequence began. The camera began to cool and the mount slewed to its target. Local field autofocus worked like a charm and focus became perfect. Precise centering was also flawless. PHD2 calibrated on the target without issue (Leo, so far I have been very happy doing it this way). And a few seconds later, my camera was cranking out perfect subframes.
So in spite of the starting conditions being less-than-ideal, Voyager handled the situation with ease. I am becoming very impressed with how solid and autonomous Voyager is.
I was just so happy with how this went this evening that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Thanks Martin, your words are gasoline for my internal engine . I really appreciate your post. Personally I use Voyager just like that … I turn on the miniPC over the telescope … in automatic execution I already put Voyager with the parameter of my script and it all starts automatically. I prepared a script a year ago with my targets filtered by altitude. I take a look at the focus and to the first image and then I do visual on the sky or I go to sleep … if there is something I get an SMS. There is another me made by automata running in Voyager … this is the added value. It is not a simple Sequence performer but it has lots of watchdogs and a huge number of real-time checks always active. Not perfect but work !
Thanks again for the post.
I’ll echo the remarks. I ran my first ‘real’ script last night. I started looking at Voyager a few weeks ago with the hope I could accomplish my objective of maximizing image time in my very limited view of the sky without a lot of babysitting.
I image from my east side back porch in North Seattle. There are trees and houses, including my own roofline that limit the open sky to the Southeast above 30-40 degrees. With my setup partially under my eaves, I can only image to within about 2 hours before the meridian, unless I flip the mount then I can continue tracking over the roof until about about an hour past the meridian. So I wanted to start imaging when the target rises above trees, continue to image until 2 hours pre-meridian, then flip and continue for 3 more hours. Then park, take flats and shut down. Looked like Voyager had all the tools to automate this.
After playing with the profiles and practicing On The Fly sequencing, I wrote a little script to
- Connect everything and stop tracking. I use Sky X as Camera, Alnitak Flip Flat, and PHD2 as guider
- Wait until M3 rose to 42 degrees and also it was no more than 30 minutes to Astronomical Night. (I was too lazy to figure out which came later - let the computer do it). PS I use a Primaluce Eagle 3S as my computer.
- Start a sequence of imaging with plate solve, focus, center on M3, calibrate guider, start guiding and start imaging. Use ASCOM for AP1100 mount.
- At 2 hours before the meridian, initiate a pier flip - I set this in APCC. Recover guiding, recenter M3 and continue imaging until 1.5 hours past meridian or until the sequence was complete.
- Take 25 flats.
- Park at home, close the Flip Flat and disconnect.
- Email me at various points in the process
I started the sequence well ahead of time and walked away. Got an email message that the target had reached altitude, but it still wasn’t dark enough - that was another half hour. Got an email that imaging had started. The Voyager Wait statements worked great.
Was able to take about half an hour before APCC flipped the mount. Voyager detected a lost guide star and started recovery. I got an email about the error. It succeeded guiding on the second try and resumed guiding and imaging. This was where the only glitch I encountered, it wasn’t recentered on the target. I aborted and restarted the sequence, triggering a focus, plate solve and recenter. Completed imaging just past midnight, automatically took the flats, homed and parked and disconnected. Voila!
i’ll note that I contacted Leo with my log info about the pier flip issues and he was back to me very soon with a diagnosis and fix proposal - great service! Also on how to not have to restart the script from scratch. I’m very excited to implement the changes and try again when I have clear skies…
Thanks Leo - great product and support
Good to hear , Leo has been trying to teach me stuff today, he had a hard time with me but never moaned
Any chance you could share your script , so I /we can learn from your hard work . I.e can I nick your ideas
Sure! Your PI lessons helped me a lot. I’ll post it when I hook up the scope again this afternoon, it’s on my Eagle3
would appreciate it , trying to cram it all in the old brain
Thanks Wayne … really happy about your message. I hope to help more with some adjustement to Voyager sequence to manage your request.
All the best
Harry, here’s my script. It isn’t as complete as I’d like, more like a Proof of Concept of doing certain things. Looks like I can’t upload the actual file, so here’s a cut and paste. The Sequence block called in Line 15 specifies all the details of images, focusing, plate solving, guiding etc. The script manages starting and ending times, flipping etc. Let me know if you have questions
1 - Start: Events At Start are ENABLE
2 - Script
3 - Connect Setup
4 - Cool Down: -20[°C] - Async Cooling - Use Voyager Ramp Mode Cooldown
5 - Unparking
6 - Stop Tracking
7 - Close Flat Device Cover: ID #1
8 - Send Email: - Waiting for target to rise - Waiting for M3 to clear the trees
9 - Wait Altitude: >= 42 [°] - ( RA 13 42 11 - DEC 28 22 34 ) - Timeout 00:00:00 [hh:mm:ss]
10 - Send Email:- M3 Altitude Clearing the trees - Here I am
11 - Wait Astronomical Night: Data from connected Setup - Offset (Before) 00:40:00 [hh:mm:ss]
12 - Send Email: - 40 minutes until astronomical night - Start plate solve, focus and guiding
13 - Start Tracking
14 - Block: Image
15 - Sequence: Start Immediately - End 01:45:00 [hh:mm:ss] - C:\Users\PrimaLuceLab\Documents\Voyager\ConfigSequence\M3-RBG.s2q
16 - IF ERROR
17 - Send Email: - Error Encountered -
18 - Block: Flats
19 - Flat: C:\Users\PrimaLuceLab\Documents\Voyager\ConfigSequence\M3Flats.s2f
20 - Block: End
21 - Send Email: - Sequence DOne -
22 - Kill Process: TheSkyX
23 - Kill Process: PHD2
24 - Wait Dawn: Data from connected Setup - Offset (Before) 01:00:00 [hh:mm:ss]
25 - Send Email:- Dawn in one hour -
26 - End
27 - Events
Hey Wayne - Thanks for assisting Harry and others in the Voyager community! That’s the spirit :)!
You might want to delete your email addresses from the script though - too many bots on the web looking for email addresses to add to their spam lists!
That’s great , many thanks for sharing that , I will go for even simpler as do not have a controllable flat box.
IMO start simple and build up if required