Sunday, January 25, 2015

APCC

I finally tried out APCC. Installation was fairly straight forward. Connection is now a little bit more complicated (first start and connect APCC, create virtual port and then connect the ASCOM driver to that one). But in the end it wasn’t too bad. At startup when I connect the first program to the mount, APCC starts automatically (good!) but neither does it connect automatically to the mount nor does it create the virtual port. If I’m quick enough, I can make that on startup, otherwise the connecting program times out and I have to attempt again.

One of the first things I tried was to track comet Lovejoy with Horizon. Ray Galack created a very good video that explains how to load the ephemerides from the JPL website and transfer them to the Horizon’s app. I then used the closed slew from TheSkyX to slew exactly to the comet and then tracked it. That worked really, really well. On top, I used PHD2 to guide on the comet itself. That resulted in a guiding errof of less then 1 arcsec!!! Although, I’m not sure if these two programs work really well together:
  • Horizon adjusts the mount every couple of seconds (i.e. the scope moves a little bit away from the comet and then it brings it back).
  • PHD2 constantly tries to bring the comet back.

I.e. PHD2 makes corrections to keep the comet centered, then comes Horizon and thinks that the comet already moved out and moves it back - which results in more corrections from PHD2.
I didn’t find the time time compare the different modes (only PHD2, only Horizon, both).

One of the most exciting features is the pointing model for astro-physics mounts. Will try to set that up soon - but it might be tricky because of the limited visibility from our backyard.