Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Any other Phidget projects you've done not related to the above subjects
becafuel
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Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Postby becafuel » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:47 am

Hello,

here's how I'm using the Phidget 1060 board.

It has two uses :
  • using one of the digital inputs, when the telescope hit the pier, my soft automatically parks the mount into is home position. This prevents damages on the tube.
  • the two motors outputs are used to control the focusers installed on the two OTA.

Thanks to the webservice installed on the portable computer (which is outside, near the telescope), I can control the focus remotely on another PC in the house, as well as the contact between tube and pier. Very useful during those cold winter nights ;)

Also, two programs are used for this to work : one that is monitoring the telescope/pier contact (and some other things) and another one dedicated to focus control.


Here are some pictures, now :

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/images/pers ... 51_480.jpg

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/images/pers ... 58_480.jpg

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/focusercont ... 51_480.jpg

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/focusercont ... 54_480.jpg

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/focusercont ... 55_480.jpg

http://www.lsp-fr.com/astro/focusercont ... 54_480.jpg

pythoncoder
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Re: Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Postby pythoncoder » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:49 am

Impressive! I gather there are commercial units which include sky maps and the ability to calculate the coordinates of objects such as planets. You specify what you want to look at, and it points the scope at the object and tracks it. Mind you they are very expensive. How far down that road does your software go?

Just out of interest, why is focusing an issue with an astronomical telescope? I'd have thought that everything you look at would be at infinity, so once set there would be no need to keep adjusting the focus.

Regards, Pete

becafuel
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Re: Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Postby becafuel » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:26 am

pythoncoder wrote:Impressive! I gather there are commercial units which include sky maps and the ability to calculate the coordinates of objects such as planets. You specify what you want to look at, and it points the scope at the object and tracks it. Mind you they are very expensive. How far down that road does your software go?

Not very far ;) As it is not its goal. My program "only" deals with the fact that during an photographic session, the bottom of the tube assembly can hit the pier because of the object tracking. Of course, this can happen very late in the night, like 4 or 5 hours after the beginning and you may sleep at this time... That's why I needed an automated process to check for this.

About programs, you're partly wrong ;) Software like Skycharts ( http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/ ) are free and very powerful.

pythoncoder wrote:Just out of interest, why is focusing an issue with an astronomical telescope? I'd have thought that everything you look at would be at infinity, so once set there would be no need to keep adjusting the focus.

Regards, Pete

Here, you're almost right ;) And you nearly give the answer, btw : you say "once set there"... the "there" simply varies with types of telescopes and eyepieces (or cameras) used, so the focus has to be adjusted accordingly.

It's not that simple on the terrain because it has to be very (very) precise. Movements of the focuser near the focus point are in microns sometimes. Many other things can alter the focus during a session like temperature variations (that changes the physical dimensions of the OTA) or position of the OTA that makes mirrors move a little bit, but enough to de-focus...


Best regards,
____________
Christophe

pythoncoder
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Re: Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Postby pythoncoder » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:03 am

Very interesting. I can (now) see that dealing with focus is really rather complicated! My experience of observational astronomy is limited, my equipment is merely binoculars and a small terrestrial refractor bought for birdwatching. You can see the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and some detail of the planet's surface, but that's about the limit. I've always fancied pursuing astronomy as a hobby, but the cost of decent equipment has rather deterred me.

My reference to "expense" wasn't really about software - there is quite a bit of free software available as you point out. There is also a lot of information on algorithms - "Astronomy on the personal computer" by Montenbruck and Pfelger is my bible on this (ISBN 978-3-540-67221-0) but I did have to brush up my maths!

The reference was actually to these ready made telescope mounts that have built-in GPS. You tell it you want to look at Neptune and it points the 'scope in the right direction and tracks it! They hold databases of thousands of objects and seem wonderful devices.

I do think that Phidgets have a number of areas of application for astronomy , especially now that the SBC and wifi are here.

Regards, Pete

tarapozan

Re: Phidget 1060 : Astronomy - Mount and focusers control

Postby tarapozan » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:14 pm

What is that model telescope? I want to connect my to computer !
astigmatism


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