Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Using PinPoint for plate solving

A question that comes up a lot on the SequenceGenerator mailing list is what plate solving software to use. And some folks keep raving about PinPoint. With my large 16070 chip the plate solves with my local astrometry.net server can take many seconds (sometimes over a minute). So, I thought I try it out. Luckily they have a 60 day trial license (it costs $150!!!) I downloaded that and then the necessary star catalog (http://gsc.dc3.com/GSCInstall.exe).
Installation of both was straight forward. As I only want to use PinPoint as a plate solve in the background, I didn't bother trying to figure out how it works. Integration in SGPro was straight forward (just pointing it to the star catalog installation directory).
My first plate solves (on images that I previously took) were WAY fast - they almost felt instantly. When I then used it for real imaging, I realized that this was actually the normal speed: maximum 1 second, most of the time faster then that.
... and now I'm hooked. Not sure if I will be able to go back to astrometry.net once the license expires...