My New Planning Flow

With the new Virtual FoV feature in the Web Dashboard, my nightly planning flow has been streamlined. Once Voyager Advanced ships, it will be even more so :slight_smile:

I use SkyTools 4 for target selection. It’s a rich product, so this is only a glimpse at it, but one of the features it has is a “scheduler” that shows visibility and estimated imaging quality for that target.

The dashed red line is the object’s elevation, and the red dashes turn into dimmed red dashes when the target sets behind my trees because my local horizon is defined in ST4.
So this object, SH2-135, is visible from sunset through about 11PM.

Now with Voyager’s web dashboard, I search for SH2-135 (I only have to do this step for the very first time I’m imaging this target) and drag and drop to frame it the way I want:

When I like the framing, I click RoboClip, which lets me enter the target into Voyager’s database by clicking Save:


Now my target is available in Voyager anywhere I need target coordinates.

I have streamlined things in Voyager further by creating a few sequence templates that I don’t need to change. E.g., one for LRGB, one for SHO. They both just shoot an hour through each filter and repeat. There are enough repeats to cover the longest night. The only settings that change between targets are target name, RA, DEC and PA. I override these from DragScript as follows.

My “unattended all night imaging” DragScript is set up to run from one to seven sequences (arbitrary choice on my part). Lately I’m usually running two or three max.

In the DragScript editor, I double click the “Run Sequence” step and click the RoboClip button. Pick SH2-135 from the list:

I use my template sequence file for SHO, and the values for Target Name and RA/DEC/position angle are populated from the RoboClip database.

I set the start and end times based on what I saw in ST4 (sunset to 11PM):

Repeat for any additional targets.
Save the DragScript, load into Voyager and run it. Done.

Life is good :slight_smile:
Rowland

7 Likes

Thank you so much Rowland, I think this will helpful for a lot of users.

All the best
LO

You’re very welcome, Leo. It only took me one year from the time you told me to try the override feature in DragScript until I actually did it! Better late than never :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Rowland

Rowland
This is excellent - thank you for sharing it!
One feature I would love Voyager (Advanced) to have would be a feature to import a local horizon for its scheduler. I know that HA has implemented for DragScript but a simple horizon file (like that available in CdC which Voyager already interacts with), would be great to check against elevation and setting times.
Roberto

This is great, Rowland, thank you. I did not know about the sequence override feature.

It’s good to see you back on the forum! I hadn’t heard from you in a while and wondered if you were still around. :slightly_smiling_face:

@Voyager: Leo, in the sequence configuration box shown above, would it be possible to add hour angle to the available parameters? I would like to see “Start Sequence immediately and end at hour angle” and other variations. What do you think?

Kind regards,

Glenn

Thanks Glenn!

We bought a new house closer to our adult kids and moved over the Fall, still unpacking and trying to find things like Bhatinov masks :). Swore we’d never move again from the last place but here we are. Silver lining is 21.1 SQM skies compared to 19.5 at the old spot. Much nicer for LRGB.

The Sequence Override feature is especially nice with RoboClip. They really work together well.

Cheers,
Rowland

1 Like

Hi Rowland,
thanks for sharing your workflow, this illustrates exactly what was in our purpose: make planning simple and fun, like never before, and you explained wery well. I’m glad you are enjoying it.

I take this opportunity to remind everyone that Virtual FoV contains also other useful function, like show the telescope position or Plate Solving solution in the same easy way.

Today we release 1.0.9 beta version that includes an option for logo animation, and other features better described on the dedicated post.

Thanks again.
Best
Fra

1 Like

Hi Roberto - glad it’s helpful!

I agree, a local horizon in Voyager Advanced’s scheduler would remove one more bit of complexity from planning.

One of the advantages of a scheduler is the ability to automatically acquire data closer to the meridian, and switch targets through the night to pick ones that satisfy the criteria.

For my imaging, I would like to specify, for each filter, the number of hours +/- the meridian to image. E.g., image with L +/- one hour from the meridian, B +/- two hours, G +/- three, and R +/- four.

Add to that the local horizon, below which Voyager never attempts to image.

We can do this today with DragScript. A scheduler just automates the whole thing - we just load the database with targets and it uses the critieria to pick what to image next.

But you know all this, I guess I’m just “thinking out loud” about how I would like to do things :slight_smile:
Cheers,
Rowland

1 Like

Thanks Francesco! You’ve done an exceptional job is integrating Aladin with both the Web Dashboard and Voyager itself. Very clean and simple interface. I especially like that the FoV reticle is created automatically based on the profile loaded into Voyager, and the smooth slider to change the brightness of the image. It seems like a small thing, but a lot of software makes it very “fiddly” to adjust the histogram, and since this is something we do for every target, it’s a pleasure to have something that is so easy to use.

Cheers,
Rowland

4 Likes

Thank you Rowland!
We have worked very hard in past weeks/month to get this, but there is work still to be done.
Much of the credit goes to the RoboClip idea, it’s thanks to this that the integration become possible.

Best
Fra

Rowland,

I know exactly where you’re coming from with your workflow. I’ve given SkyTools 4 an honest look and attempted to use it for target selection and scheduling many times over the last year or so but I just can’t get it to work for my workflow. It’s too clunky, buggy, and adds just a few too many steps. I resorted to an Excel sheet with lots of math (calculates rise/set times based on a pre-set Altitude, calculates moon separation, etc) but it didn’t save me from the clunkiness.

From what I’ve seen of the RoboTarget in the upcoming Voyager Advanced it is exactly what I’m looking for. With RoboClip out already I’ve pre-loaded it with all the targets from my database (it’s 262 targets that I’ve decided are good for my setup and location), and used the FoV to get exact coordinates framed to my liking. I can’t wait to unleash RoboTarget to help me select the best target on any given night. It should totally eliminate the need for SkyTools 4 from what I’ve seen and mean a lot less time with my fiddling around in my Excel database.

-Dennis

Would it be possible to use this target override in conjunction with altitude or HA limits?

I dont understand Wayne, can you explain ?

Wayne,

I think this is the answer to your question but let us know if I misunderstood.

You can override the “Below altitude” and “Above Altitude” sequence settings from the DragScript “Run Sequence” configuration:

You can set Hour Angle limit values in your template sequence but you can’t override them from the DragScript:

Cheers,
Rowland

Sure I’ll try! I like the idea of overriding the sequence target with DragScript. What I’d like to do is time the sequence with HA limits. Say set the target to M33 in DragScript and limit the sequence to run from the time M33 is -3 HA to +2 HA. What about the Do While HA between statement in DS?

Thanks, Wayne

Great post. I’ve been looking at ways to integrate ST4 into my workflow and this will help.

This is exactly what I am interested in doing.

Kind regards,

Glenn

You already have what you ask , you have do if ha block and you have do while ha in sequence.

All the best
LO

2 Likes

Thanks, Leo. I feel like I still have only a basic understanding of what can be done with DragScript and the various “do if” commands. It would be useful to see some examples from fellow users, if they are willing to share.

Kind regards,

Glenn

Lots of them in the Wiki. That’s a good place to start.