New user questions/tips

Hi all,

New user have the trial version up and running. Few things I haven’t yet worked out I’d like help with. I’m doing most stuff ‘on the fly’ and not yet into dragscript. Gear as follows eagle 4 pro, qhy268m & cfw3, 10 micron gm1000hps, aag cloudwatcher and solo, mgbox, eagle Ecco, baader steeldrive, orion optics uk ct10.

  1. Framing I’ve found really tricky. Yes I can use telescopius and copy coordinates but is there no better way to frame a subject? I’m coming from kstars where I could take an image, plate solve then click on any point i want to centre. Super convenient.

  2. Darks seem really painful. I want to be able to cool the camera and just take them! No coordinates or even no mount attached. I also want to take flat darks between flats with the same exposure length as the auto flats. Can’t work out how to do this without manually noting the exposures and then copying each filters flat frame duration manually.

  3. I can’t get the eagle eye sensor to report accurate sqm recordings. Always seems to show 47 but on the eagle control panel shows the right value. Also struggling with aag data, mgbox atmospheric data and eagle Ecco data. Might be an ascom driver issue target than a voyager issue.

  4. Mount modeling for unguided. Using mw4 outside of voyager. Assume this can be automated somehow?

  5. Unguided dithering I still need to sort. I think I found the answer to that online today.

Otherwise pretty happy so far. This is all testing for our astronomy society remote rig. Eventually need to be fully remotely controlled.

Thanks in advance for any tips.

1- try the web dashboard. There’s a framing tool that works great.
2- I use the auto flat function on the on the fly section for darks, flats and flat darks. To get to an exact exposure just set the min exp, inti exp and max exp to the same time and then set the Max error to 100%. This will make the exposure go at the defined value you set. It will not prompt for goto, or target. I also have a profile setup called darks with just the camera, planetarium app and the mount sim.
4- I don’t know how the modeling works for 10Micron, but for Celestron I can skip the modeling and just do a bunch of plate solves and syncs. I have a dragscript setup to point to an area of the sky via alt-az and plate solve and sync. I have it do this for 3-4 parts of the sky. After that my go-tos are spot on.

  1. For unguided dithering use the ‘Native Guide Control’ and enable ‘Dithering’ in Sequence Configuration. Screenshot of settings related to dithering:

Thanks both for the replies really helpful. I knew it would be possible!

I may be wrong but I don’t think you need Native Guide Control (which means according to Wiki use the guiding software method to selecting stars). But I could be wrong…

Hi Matt

I’ve been using voyager dusk and dawn sky flats on multiple setups for months and they work well.
I understand your frustration on the darks issue and a fair number of folk have asked for an “auto dark” type function similar to the auto flat one where alt/az could define the scope orientation rather than a target’s RA/DEC as is the case in a normal sequence - my work around is that i have set up a darks sequence that points the scope at a target that is close to pole and therefore always in approx the same place in the sky/never hitting horizon constraints and can call this sequence in drag script using a “wait until astronomical night” with offset (or similar) criterion or do it at end of imaging run if there is time before dawn arrives.

On the flat darks I also like to do everything “by the book” and would want to collect flat darks in theory - however looking at the spec of the 268 camera - the dark current is 0.0005 e/pix/sec… your flats should be a matter of a few seconds (possible exception of narrowband flats i guess) and I suspect you will find that a high quality bias frame - or indeed more twilight time spent on the actual flats - might be a better investment of time and that the time and effort to get precise flat-darks may be more trouble than is worth - (also , even with high quality cameras I’d be wary of taking darks when sky is light enough for flats)

My work is mostly expoplanet transit confirmation and characterisation and so we are operating at a few thousandths of a magnitude worth of differential signal and find that this is doable with good flats and bias but without a precise time matched flat-dark.

There is a dark autoscale dragscript (scale time in a variable at you choose) about if you need to create a library of flat dark.

Also 90% of CMOS camera (all the new released in the latest years) do not need flat dark but just a bias also for a 10/20 s of flat.

Frustations are when we dont put a just weight to this passion !