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Autoguiding Software


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Autoguiding is a sophisticated method for precisely controlling the tracking of your telescope mount by means of a companion telescope, astro-camera and guiding software.  This tracking method is, by far,  the most precise and an absolute must for those seeking the greatest mount tracking precision for astrophotography.  Many computer controlled telescope mounts have a port especially configured to accept autoguiding signals.  The software below is capable of providing the tracking for you.



GUIDEDOG :

One of the most widely used webcam autoguiding freeware packages available!  

Author Notes:

"I've been trying my hand at film-based astrophotography for a couple of years now.  Like most people I started off doing widefield imaging and had some early successes.  But once I moved in to prime-focus photography, I quickly realized that I needed an autoguiding setup.  Spending hours hunched over a reticle eyepiece in the cold did not appeal to me.  Since I had a long-exposure modified webcam, I started searching the web for some suitable guiding software.  What I found was either no support for the LX modification, support for a very specific mount, or integration into a complete and sometimes complicated webcam imaging platform.  What I really wanted was a standalone program, dedicated to autoguding, useful for film photography, and something that was easy to use.

So I started writing some code!  I wrote the software to control my 10" LX200, but made a conscious decision to try and make the software as generic as possible.  By writing the code to use the ASCOM standard for telescopes, I didn't lock myself into a particular mount or telescope.  I also used the Video for Windows interface for camera control.  So any camera that has a VFW driver, and can get a star to display on the screen, should be able to guide a scope.

Now that the code is working well for me, I've decided to release it to the astronomical community in hopes that others will find it useful as well.  Theoretically the software should work with any mount which supports the ASCOM PulseGuide() method.  This should include any of the the Meade LX series, Meade Autostar based scopes, Celestron GPS and Nexstar i models, and many other scopes/mounts."

Features

  • Dedicated, standalone, easy-to-use autoguider software
  • Supports the SC-1 long-exposure webcam to allow guiding on faint stars
  • Uses ASCOM for scope control to support many different telescopes/mounts
  • Support for parallel port based relay boxes to connect to the CCD Guide Port of most mounts
  • Sub-pixel guiding on a star centroid
  • Audible alarm if lock on the guide star is lost
  • Runs under Windows 98, 2000, ME, and XP without having to install additional port access drivers

 

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Orion StarShoot AutoGuider and Deep Space Camera

PHP GUIDING :

Author Notes:

"PHD Guiding is designed to be "Push Here Dummy" simple, yet provide powerful, intelligent auto-guiding of your telescope for both PCs and Macs. Connect your mount, your camera, select a star, and start guiding. That's it!

Despite actually having a Ph.D., I've always had a tough time figuring out which way North is in the guide frame, whether an axis is mirrored (and if so, which one), how that's affected by camera rotation, how many arcseconds per pixel I'm actually running at (especially since a "2x" barlow isn't always 2x), etc. This is especially tough when standing out in a cold field late at night when all you really want to do is stay warm and collect good images of your DSO.

In PHD Guiding, all calibration is taken care of automatically. You do not need to tell it anything about the orientation of your camera, nor do you need to tell it anything about the image scale. The automatic calibration routine takes care of this for you. Odds are you won't ever need to set a single parameter. Just select your star and hit "PHD Guide" and let the software take care of it."

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For the Best Astrophotography Gear - Telescope.com

GUIDEMASTER :

Author Notes:

"Since long time I tried to take simply good astronomical pictures. To me, one of the most important characteristics of a good astronomical picture is _sharp stars_.

I have one SC-1 modified Webcam, which I use for Guiding my telescope. Unfortunately I could not find any software which is fulfilling my requirements on accuracy and easy-to-use. At the Nuernberger observatory there is a SBIG CCD camera and related software, with which you can guide simply and well.

Unfortunately I didnīt find software with similar perfomances for my Webcam, therefore I wrote this program.

After so many programming hours I was satisfied with the software, though I would like to make this software accessible also for other star friends.

I would be very pleased for any feedback about what works fine and, above all, what can still be improved.

Much fun with the software and I hope you can take many beautiful astro-pictures with GUIDEMASTER."

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