Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Automation Frustration

We had a clear night out at Kumeu last night, so I went out there with the plan of doing the automated T- point calibration, after taking a few images manually with the Sky X and astrometrically solving the images via the image link feature, I started an automated calibration run, I quickly became frustrated though as none of the automated images would solve, I found this to be inexplicable as I could pause the calibration run, right click on an image that was captured via the automated calibration run and open it up in the image link feature and successfully solve the same image that failed to solve during the calibration run, it wasn't like it was taking a long time to solve the image either, so after trying this more than a few times, I then decided I would just slew to each mapping point of the calibration run, take an image and manually solve each image, this would work up to at most 11 sample points but then after that I couldn't solve anymore images, it was like the image link would just start to fail to recognise the stars anymore even though to my eye the images looked the same from start to finish, I remember Grant Christie telling me that you could run into problems if the temperature compensating focuser (TCF) wasn't correctly tracking the temperature, I was controlling the TCF using Maxim DL as the Sky X still can't connect to the TCF since we had the power cut that I reported a few weeks back, so this might be the issue, although I'm really unsure about it, I did have the temperature tracking turned on in Maxim DL and I was watching the TCF and I could see it was making adjustments over the night so I really am quite perplexed, after attempting different exposure lengths and different binning modes without any luck, I really felt at a loss to why the images captured during the automated calibration run wouldn't astrometrically solve, maybe I need to adjust the detection threshold in the image link or something? I kept at it until 4 am in the morning becoming even more frustrated as the hours went by, clouds rolled in around 4 am putting an end to my efforts so I closed down the dome and called it a night heading home in frustration, I think I'm going to need some help with this as I re-read the T-Point manual today and could find nothing that would help me resolve the problem, hopefully once we get the TCF working with the Sky X again this will help although I'm still at a loss to explain why none of the automated calibration images would astrometrically solve.

Posted by Jonathan Green

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