Description: While not technically equipment, the Plate Solver is a fundamental piece of the Sequence Generator Pro experience. Plate solving adds the ability to find the exact center of your image (down to sub arcsecond accuracy). It also enables the Center Here and Auto Center features. The plate solving actions (not settings) are also available in the Scope Centering Module.
In general, this tab is used to house settings and action that allow you to automatically center on a reference frame (see below). This comes in quite handy when you need to image the same target over multiple nights or when re-centering after a meridian flip. Once your plate solving setup is complete it is literally as simply as clicking a single button to get your target back in near exact position.
Sequence Generator Pro uses the following 3rd party software for plate solving:
- Elbrus: See Setting Up Elbrus - Manufacturer's Website
- Pinpoint: See Setting Up Pinpoint - Manufacturer's Website
- PlateSolve2: See Setting up PlateSolve2
- Local Astrometry.NET Install (ANSVR)
- Astrometry.NET: You can use either a local or remote instance of the Astrometry.NET plate solver as your primary plate solver.
- Plate Solving Interface: see Setting Up Elbrus or Setting Up Pinpoint for more information.
- Blind Settings: Brings up a settings dialog that will allow you to choose the remote (default) or local install (ANSVR) of Astromety.NET. These settings will be used whenever you explicitly run a blind solve or when your primary solver fails and blind solve is invoke automatically (assuming you have the option below selected).
- Scope Frame & Center Here: this information is used to solve images captured with your camera. The data entered here is also used to populate FITS headers in saved images:
- Elbrus: Specifies how large of a region should be used when attempting to plate solve. See Elbrus Search Options for more info.
- Pinpoint: Specified the magnitude of the stars to use for plate solving. Magnitude 20 starts is the default and is sufficient for most applications. Extreme widefield setups will require the use of higher magnitude stars
- PlateSolve2: Set the maximum number of regions to search before giving up.
- Bin/ISO: Specifies the binning or ISO at which plate solve frames should be acquired.
- Exposure: Time in seconds to expose the image at the designated binning.
- Solve And Sync: Captures and then plate solves an image. If the solve is successful the telescope is synced to the solved location. The following confirmation dialog will show up asking if you would like to set the solved position as your reference for a given target. This is useful if you have your target framed exactly as you would like.
- Solve and Sync Blind: Same as "Solve and Sync" above but uses the Astrometry.NET Web API to do a blind solve of your current position. This is useful to get your scope back on track for remote operation when you can't center a known star. However this method does require Internet access. Upon a successful solve the dialog box above will also appear and allow you to set the coordinates for one of your targets if you would like.
- Scope Centering: This section contains options which relate to centering the telescope when using plate solving. Such activities include Meridian Flip and Auto Center.
- Center on selected target reference: Invokes Auto Center for the selected target.
- Attempt to center X times until error is less than Y pixels: Setting the "times" and "pixel" values here specifies how the Auto Center and Meridian Flip behave when attempting to get the scope back on target. You can set a higher attempt count if your mount has some slack in the gears. Also depending on your setup you may want higher or lower accuracy and to change that you can set the "pixels" variable.
- Rotator error: The centering process can also attempt to rotate your camera until a particular sky angle (east of north) is achieved. If you wish for your sky angle to be 90 degrees east of north, you can set a tolerance for rotational error here. If your specified error is 2 degrees SGPro will allow 88 - 92 degrees. If you wish to have the SGPro automatically rotate your camera, you will need a mechanical rotator. Even if you don't have a mechanical rotator, you can still use the "manual rotator" to get your camera oriented the way you want. To make sure rotation occurs during centering, go to the target settings dialog and check the "Rotate to" option.
- Use Filter: This will use the selected filter for each plate solve image that is acquired. If you want to use the current filter use this value unchecked.
- Blind Failover: This option will allow the Astrometry.NET blind solver to function as a backup plate solver to the primary solver (Pinpoint or Elbrus). Since the local (primary) solvers can fail under a variety of circumstances, it is ideal to have this option checked so you can keep a sequence on tack (especially if you rely on unattended meridian flips or auto centering routines). You must have an Internet connection to use this feature!