Category Archives: telescope control

Telescope control

After completing my homemade telescope mount it was powered by a Meade DS motor kit. This system was extremely slow, underpowered and unreliable. It was also impossible for me to change the programming or maintain the system. I decided to make my own telescope control system from the ground up and the Arduino platform seemed the obvious choice. This project needed a wide range of inputs and outputs, so has been done using an Arduino Mega board, although a Mega would do just as well.

telescope control

DC motors or Stepper motors Microcontrollers like Arduino have a fundamental problem with stepper motors. Steppers require constant attention from the Arduino to keep going around.

Especially when microstepping. This does not leave a lot of time in the Arduino for performing other tasks. Whilst one would architect this using multiple microcontrollers, such an approach seems silly when a single Arduino Mega has far more computing power that you need.

Therefore I chose to use DC motors. Whilst the Arduino can happily handle all the tasks associated with running the motors and pointing the telescope, in a modern observatory the PC rules. A wide range of astronomy applications are needed for successful imaging. None of the planetarium etc software I wanted to use knows a damn thing about my Arduino system: Therefore I had to write an ASCOM driver to sit between the Arduino and the application software I needed to use.

The video below shows this tool chain in action. What is the hardware? These motors are a marvel of technology and can rotate extremely slowly under Arduino control with zero magnetic cogging. When tracking the sky, the motors turn at 12rpm. This combination gives a resolution of around 24 ticks per arc second when reading 4x via the encoder IC.

This is plenty for provide tracking GOTO and tracking accuracy. However, it is a problem when slewing and the tick rate goes up to around kHz. Trying to use an encoder with an Arduino at high rates leads to all sorts of problems. For example, the overloaded interrupt lines will corrupt the serial data. For better to use a dedicated encoder counting IC. Interfacing the motors to the arduino is a simple L dual H Bridge driver. The Encoders are interfaced to the Arduino using an encoder counting IC to cope with the very high tick rates when slewing.

The diagram below roughly outlines the high level layout of the system Please see here for discussion on Arduino PWM The Arduino Mega is housed in a box on the telescope.Click here to determine whether telescope control support is available for your equipment through ASCOM.

Starry Night 8 - Professional Astronomy Telescope Control Software for Mac/PC

You can slew your telescope to any reported object in Deep-Sky Planner with just a mouse click, or synchronize the coordinates of your telescope or digital setting circles DSC to the position of any reported object. These operations are performed asynchronously if your equipment's driver supports it.

Synchronous operation causes your computer to 'freeze' while the telescope processes your command - asynchronous operation avoids the 'freeze' so that your computer continues running and responding normally. Click to enlarge.

telescope control

Deep-Sky Planner gives you more than just Go To telescope control. You can:. Once the data is transmitted, you can use the device's guiding feature to locate the object. This is extremely useful to 'Push-To' observers that want to observe objects that are not known to the connected DSC device. This extends the capability of the DSC by making it capable of locating any asteroid, comet, star or deep-sky object. See connection information for:.

Telescope control is a standard feature in Deep-Sky Planner. Note: Windows 10, 8 and 7 users need administrative privileges to change system time.This page lists free software used by amateur astronomers around the world to control their hardware. There are nearly as many different astronomical set-ups as astronomers. Lots of devices are required in a set-up, and many of each type exist. Many are not supported by free software. A hardware compatibility list is being done here.

telescope control

Acquisition software generally have to handle high-end cameras, DLSR and focusers. Autoguiding software generally have to handle low-end cameras and telescope motorisations, possibly focusers too.

They make very different tasks and address a large range of devices. See EkosGoQat and Audela. Qastrocam-g2 also has a guiding capability. What else? GoTo functionality is generally managed by cartography software. The others has a list of software supporting each camera.

Last version released in June Qastrocam-g2 : capture and simple guiding software for astronomy, using V4L2 acquisition. Not maintained since It displays captured images in DS9. It provides many image capture controls, can demosaic images and save them in SER files. Planetary Imager is a software for planetary imaging. Its goal is to be able to get a simple, fast imaging software on Linux platforms, where there are really few reliable applications.

Filter wheels, focusers, domes and so on. The Hardware compatibility list lists the software supporting each devices. Multiple functionality software could handle them too. Some projects do not focus only on one particular device or even type of device, and provide abstraction layers or even try to standardize the way astronomical programs communicate with each other and with devices.

telescope control

An example of such an abstraction layer would be the Ascom Initiative on Windows platforms. INDI is such a project for all kinds of devices. It is getting very popular and many devices already have INDI support.This setup has been tested and confirmed working with the following software and mounts but will most likely work with all ASCOM based software; and since most mounts mainly works the same way we expect it will also work with most possibly all mount variations.

If you want to connect the serial WiFi adapter using a wireless router connected to your PC, please jump to the section called: How to connect using a wireless router. You can also connect by using a wired CAT5 cable with one of our serial to Ethernet converters, please contact us for details.

The hand control serial port based only is then connected to the telescope mount. Below is a list of parts we use for this setup; some are required, some are highly recommended and some are optional. This rechargeable lithium USB battery pack is optional but very useful if you have no other power source for the serial WiFi adapter. As of this writing June the latest drivers are:.

Celestron Unified 5. The UCWC serial WiFi adapter is pre-configured for most astronomy software, so you will most likely not need to change any of the adapter's parameters. Run the program and you will get the following screen:. Also enter the serial WiFi adapter's IP address To make sure the COM port is created successfully you should also check if it has been created in Device Manager:. Align your telescope using the hand control or other means. Start Cartes du Ciel.

Before you can use your wireless router to communicate with the serial WiFi adapter you first need to configure the adapter as an infrastructure device, also called Station Mode. Please follow the instructions below.

Reset the adapter to make sure it has all default settings.

Controlling a Telescope over WiFi

Login to the adapter via an access point. Select the wireless router once the adapter finds it and then select the security protocol and enter the password. After the adapter restarts from the power cycle the wireless router will assign an IP address to the adapter. You now need to find out which IP address has been assigned to the adapter. The easiest way is to login to your wireless router's status page to see which IP address has been assigned:.

Since our wireless router in this case has an IP address in the We can now login to the UCWC:. You can now create a virtual COM port as described above, through your wireless router, and then connect to your telescope.

You have either connected the serial adapter incorrectly or the baud rate was not properly set or the virtual COM port has not been successfully created. For the two first reasons you will need to recheck your setup and confirm that the serial WiFi adapter's baud rate actually is If the serial virtual COM port for some reason has not successfully been created a computer restart can help.Subscribe below to be added to the Starry Night newsletter and notified of promotions. Version 8 includes a 36, object, up-to-date, cross-referenced database built from various source catalogs.

Starry Night 8 supports all telescopes that are supported by Ascom. Plus, connect SkyFi 3 with Starry Night too. Version 8 accurately renders stars as 3D bodies with classification color, surface texture and relative radii.

Web-delivered multimedia reveals the science of the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the known universe. Starry Night Pro Plus 8 is our fully featured flagship program, tailored for the astronomer who wants the very best in-class astronomy software and telescope control experience. Starry Night Pro 8 is the premium go-to solution for advanced stargazing used by thousands of astronomers around the world for research and to control professional observatories.

Starry Night Enthusiast 8 is designed for the serious amateur astronomer who wants an entry-level program that also includes advanced observing features and binocular databases. Explore a new, up-to-date, 36, object, cross-referenced database, built from various source catalogs.

Telescope control has been redesigned to offer a modern, sleek looking, user experience. Explore a hand picked list of the most interesting celestial objects to observe each evening. Hours of descriptive audio for over of the most interesting night sky objects. Click and listen! Auto-detect your home location and choose additional observing sites quickly and accurately.

New dynamic user-optimized interface, with "Universal Search" for objects, Starry Night files, SkyGuide references, options, events, and more. The incredibly rich and detailed Starry Night software OpenGL graphics that have set the industry standard for excellence in astronomy software. Every star is now accurately rendered as a 3D body with classification-appropriate color, texture and relative radii.

An updated Messier catalog with new breathtaking high resolution images of your favourite star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. The Sun's analemma can now be drawn accurately on any planet's surface. Exoplanets as 3D bodies with proper location, size, orbit and planetary texture. Land on the surface, see a sunset from the surface of Keplere! The most precise planetary positions available using JPL ephemerides plus an expanded asteroid catalog with highlighted families and groups.

Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams tell about star age and mass, plotting star luminosity on a vertical axis vs. Ephemeris values are handy for knowing where an object will be in the sky at a particular time.This is the place to get support for questions about telescope control on Stellarium Mobile Plus.

This thread is actually the good place to discuss it. In practice this means that you need a PC or a rasberryPI connected to the serial port of your telescope, and running the telescope server. If you have windows, you can download a pre-build version: TelescopeServerLx We are fully aware that this is not the easiest way to interact with a Telescope, but the good news is that I am actually spending most of my time and nights!

With that, instead of a PC, you will simply need a small Bluetooth to Serial or Wifi to Serial interface connected to your telescope. It actually starts working pretty well on my development version I used it last night!

I am about to look for beta testers with telescopes for trying as many setups as possible, so if any one reading this is interested, please let me know. Hi Fabien Just got telescope control working via PC last night. I have a Skywatcher Synscan Wifi Adapter no hand controller. Reading your posts above, can you connect directly to the mount via the wifi dongle or connect to the dongle via the synscan pro app? Does that mean 2 devices, I think that is where some other programs get around it?

Telescope Control Software Software - Free Download Telescope Control Software - Top 4 Download

The SynScan app on android creates a small server on IP So on Android you need only one phone, as the Synscan app can run in the background. You could then intercept the goto commands, and modify the behaviour according to your whishes.

My current driver assumes the mount is nexstar-compatible if it correctly implements the echo command, i. This would work for an Arduino based solution, as well as passing commands to a properly aligned telescope via hand controller.

Will your implementation be doing any sort of alignment? For example it looks like Time and Date can only be set with 2. Is this protocol documented anywhere, or should I just look at the source?

It seems to me that apps doing that need to control the DC Motors directly and completely by-pass the hand controller. Hello Fabien. Firstly I just want to say thanks for such a great product.

OnStep Telescope Making EQ5

I use Stellarium every day on my mobile and PC for telescope control. With Stellarium Plus you can connect to stellarium scope or any other app compatible with the Stellarium Telescope Server Protocol running on a PC connected to the scope. You can also connect directly to the mount using the serial protocol NexStar or LX compatiblethrough a wifi module or a bluetooth module. From Stellarium Plus or any other app it looks like a Wifi module was connected to the mount.

Giampaolo giamas. ALso trying with StellariumScope is not a bad idea, if you could report success or not. Hello, I have enjoyed the Stellarium web page for years and actively recommend it at all of my outreach sessions.

I recently purchased an IOptron AZ mount which has wifi built-in, but have absolutely no idea how to get Stellarium Mobile Plus on my android tablet to talk to it.Learn More Product Manuals. Free Lifetime Tech Support.

Free Standard Shipping. Take a giant leap into the future of telescope control! And, wow, what a difference! Controlling your telescope wirelessly with your mobile device running the visually stunning and functionally powerful StarSeek app takes telescope control to a whole new, and fun, level.

You'll never go back to using the telescope's original, tethered hand controller with its typically 2-line, text-only display. When coupled to the serial or USB port on your telescope's GoTo mount, the StarSeek Wireless Telescope Controller converts the Wi-Fi signal from the mobile device into serial commands used by the mount to drive the telescope automatically to any of more than 31, celestial objects in the StarSeek app's database.

You polar-align and initialize your telescope for GoTo operation using the standard procedures for your telescope. The StarSeek Wireless Telescope Controller plugs into the telescope mount's serial RS port, which on Orion GoTo telescopes is located on the GoTo hand controller, while on some other brands the serial port is on the mount itself.

No internet connection is needed, since the StarSeek Wireless Telescope Controller provides its own Wi-Fi hotspot with customizable security settings. The StarSeek Wireless Telescope Controller has a convenient communication range of well over feet, depending on conditions.

Once powered on, look for "Orion 75" in your device's Wi-Fi network list, then join it and you're ready to go! You can rename and secure the network later if desired. The compact StarSeek Wireless Telescope Controller can be easily attached to your telescope's mount or tripod with the included hook-and-loop strap. Power is provided by an internal lithium ion battery with a typical battery life of 4 to 8 hours under continuous use.

A power-saving automatic hibernate mode help prolong battery life, and a helpful low-battery LED lets you know when charging is needed. The controller can also be powered from an AC wall outlet with the included AC charger, which has a 5-foot cable. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. This unit contains a lithium battery. Limited Warranty against defects in materials or workmanship for one year from date of purchase. This warranty is for the benefit of the original retail purchaser only.

For complete warranty details contact us at Please note this product was not designed or intended by the manufacturer for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.

Orders received by 1pm Eastern Standard Time for in-stock items ship the same business day. Order received after noon will ship the next business day. When an item is not in-stock we will ship it as soon as it becomes available. Typically in-stock items will ship first and backordered items will follow as soon as they are available. You have the option in check out to request that your order ship complete, if you'd prefer. Now an employee-owned company, we pride ourselves on an unswerving commitment to best quality products, value and unmatched customer care.

Orion offers telescopes for every level: BeginnerIntermediateAdvancedand Expert. From our entry level beginner telescopes for amateur astronomers to our Dobsonian telescopes to our most advanced Cassegrain telescopes and accessoriesyou can find the best telescope for you. Because we sell direct, we can offer you tremendous value at a great price.

Not sure how to choose a telescope? Orion's Telescope Buyer's Guide is a great place to start.

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