Here at the Curdridge Observatory we like improve our astrophotography with a practical DIY approach. We feel that spending hundreds of pounds on a commercial telescope mount suitable for decent astrophotography is a dull and uninteresting route to take.
Instead we decided to make our own DIY telescope mount. Whilst there is little merit in recommending this irrational approach to others, it does have the benefit of being far more fun than going out and buying the same EQ6 that everybody else owns.
The DIY homemade German equatorial (GEM) telescope mount.
My guide for writing Arduino telescope controllers. Only members of the mirror-making brigade and they are even more potty than me will fully appreciate the large satisfaction you get from doing astrophotography with a homemade telescope mount.
Imaging with commercial mounts gives lots of fun and pleasure, but you are always measuring yourself against others with similar equipment. When you construct your own DIY telescope mount, the pleasure you take from each of your images increases by many magnitudes. As a bonus there are no standards to live up to, thus a much greater sense of freedom.
If things breakdown, you are the best person to fix them. There are no suppliers or hand-washing telescope salesmen to grapple with, just your self and your tool box. On the downside, everybody will know you are completely mad. There is a depressing number of modern astrophotographers who look upon DIY and custom modifications as a bit odd and think everything should just work out of the box like a washing machine.
These people tend to buy lots of equipment, complain loudly when it doesn't work and produce mediocre results at best. We don't like these people much.
Making any sort of telescope mount is a major undertaking. The project was started some years ago with no particular target date in mind. Sometimes I worked intensely on the DIY telescope mount project, and sometimes the project laid untouched for months and months.
Control Your Telescope Using Stellarium & Arduino
Finally this summer I have got the homemade GEM mount installed in my observatory and in service. Keeping things simple is usually the best.I am fascinated by astronomy since the first time I looked to the night sky. Recently, I bought a 8" Newtonian telescope that came with a Dobsonian mount. It's a nice mount cheap, portable and very easy to usebut to get what you want to see, you need to know the sky like the palm of your hands which can be a problem to a beginner like me.!
To help you to know the sky, there are several software's you can use and stellarium is my favorite one. Stellarium is an open source project with a lot of helpful astronomy features, including a plugin that allow a connection between a computer and a telescope controller like celestron, meade or sky-watcher.
After a couple of nights using my telescope, I realized that it should be helpful if, at any moment, I can compare my telescope position with the position of the target that I am looking for.
You can say: Yeah! Buy a goto telescope and you will see your problem solved! Well, you are absolutely right! However, because of my electrical background and because I like to consider myself hobbyist, my first thought was: - I can and I will build a DIY controller for my telescope.
This instructable will guide you, step by step, how to complete your own controller using Stellarium astronomy software and Arduino open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. And, why Arduino? Well, there is not a simple answer for that I personally prefer Arduino for several reasons, including:. Now, that you are already introduced to this "little" project, a summary of what you need to do is:. It will cost you some time and a lot Watch the video above and Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson. In my opinion, a DIY project should be something that you can make in your garage using your own tools.
It also should have a low budget, otherwise, it would be better if you just buy what you are looking for. Also, I always like to use recycled materials or something that I can salvage from scrap.After completing my homemade telescope mount it was powered by a Meade DS motor kit. This system was extremely slow, underpowered and unreliable.
It was also impossible for me to change the programming or maintain the system. I decided to make my own telescope control system from the ground up and the Arduino platform seemed the obvious choice. This project needed a wide range of inputs and outputs, so has been done using an Arduino Mega board, although a Mega would do just as well. DC motors or Stepper motors Microcontrollers like Arduino have a fundamental problem with stepper motors.
Steppers require constant attention from the Arduino to keep going around. Especially when microstepping. This does not leave a lot of time in the Arduino for performing other tasks. Whilst one would architect this using multiple microcontrollers, such an approach seems silly when a single Arduino Mega has far more computing power that you need. Therefore I chose to use DC motors. Whilst the Arduino can happily handle all the tasks associated with running the motors and pointing the telescope, in a modern observatory the PC rules.
A wide range of astronomy applications are needed for successful imaging. None of the planetarium etc software I wanted to use knows a damn thing about my Arduino system: Therefore I had to write an ASCOM driver to sit between the Arduino and the application software I needed to use. The video below shows this tool chain in action. What is the hardware? These motors are a marvel of technology and can rotate extremely slowly under Arduino control with zero magnetic cogging.
When tracking the sky, the motors turn at 12rpm. This combination gives a resolution of around 24 ticks per arc second when reading 4x via the encoder IC. This is plenty for provide tracking GOTO and tracking accuracy. However, it is a problem when slewing and the tick rate goes up to around kHz. Trying to use an encoder with an Arduino at high rates leads to all sorts of problems. For example, the overloaded interrupt lines will corrupt the serial data. For better to use a dedicated encoder counting IC.
Interfacing the motors to the arduino is a simple L dual H Bridge driver. The Encoders are interfaced to the Arduino using an encoder counting IC to cope with the very high tick rates when slewing. The diagram below roughly outlines the high level layout of the system Please see here for discussion on Arduino PWM The Arduino Mega is housed in a box on the telescope.
This includes the L unit, the encoder counter, various hall sensors for doing PEC and fuses and relays. Arduino can actually turn off the power to the telescope mount itself - handy when you detect an problem. What does my Arduino software actually do? The Arduino is entirely responsible for running the motors and pointing the telescope.
During sidereal tracking, the arduino monitors the tick rates from the encoders and adjusts the PWM signal to the L to keep the telescope tracking the sky at the correct speed.Amateur astronomy enthusiasts and astrophotographers rely on an equatorial telescope mount to track the apparent movement of the night sky. There are many types of tracking telescope packages available, from fork-mounted all-in-one units like the Celestron CPC seriesto tracking GoTo mirror-based Dobsonian telescopes.
With a computerized mount that is able to track the motion of the stars, the telescope you attach to it is up to you. Not only does a GoTo telescope mount make locating objects in the night sky easier, but it also allows you to take long exposure images without star trailing. Because the Earth makes a full rotation on its axis every 24 hours, the night sky appears to slowly move throughout the night.
For example, with a non-tracking telescope mount such as a traditional Dobsonian design, objects at high magnification appear to gradually drift by in the eyepiece. This is also a non-issue for deep sky observations such as galaxies or star clusters, as the movement of the object is quite slow.
However, this movement makes long exposure astrophotography impossible. The gradual movement is enough to make your photograph blurry in as little as seconds because depending on the focal length magnification used. A basic, lightweight equatorial mount and tripod can provide you with support and control of your small telescope. A manual equatorial mount will give you dual slow-motion controls in the RA and DEC axis, that you control by slowly turning the knobs on the mount.
For example, the Orion EQ-1 equatorial telescope mount pictured below requires you to manually control the axis of the mount to stay on your target. It is possible to add an electronic clock drive for motorized celestial tracking. A mount like this is extremely affordable, and can carry a small telescope of up to 7 lbs.
If you plan on capturing astrophotography images, I would recommend saving up for an EQ mount with a built-in tracking motor. I anticipate many aspiring amateur astrophotographers will quickly outgrow a non-motorized equatorial mount.
The next logical step up from a manual EQ mount is one that includes a motorized clock drive, that allows you to take long exposure photographs of deep sky objects in space. When you are ready to invest in a mount with hands-free motorized tracking capabilities, I highly recommended purchasing one that includes a built-in polar finder scope. It boggles my mind that there are models out there that do not include this essential feature! Astronomical telescopes can be mounted in two ways, EQ equatorialand Alt-Az alt-azimuth.
Both of these mount designs are extremely popular in the amateur astronomy community, and allow the use to freely point the telescope in two perpendicular directions called axes. The alt-azimuth mount design simply allows you to move the telescope in altitude up and downand azimuth left to right.
An Alt-Az mount such as the iOptron Az Mount Pro shown above is great for casually observing objects in the night sky, but is not suitable for deep sky astrophotography. The Alt-Az mount was designed for convenience and practicality, at the cost of precision tracking over long periods of time.
The DEC axis moves the telescope north and south, and the declination axis moves the telescope east and west. The polar axis of an equatorial telescope mount must be pointed towards the north celestial pole, which is the point in the sky at which all of the stars appear to rotate around.
The RA motor in an equatorial mount slowly moves in one motion to match this speed of motion for accurate long exposure astroimaging. Here is a helpful list of mounts that are suitable for deep sky astrophotography. All of these models are widely used in the astrophotography community, and are behind some of the most beautiful images shared on Astrobin, Flickr, and Reddit.
This design allows the attached instrument your camera or telescope to stay fixed on a celestial object by driving one axis at a constant speed. The equatorial axis is known as right ascension, while the perpendicular axis is called declination. The right ascension axis RArotates in one revolution every approximately 24 hours.
The mechanical design of an equatorial mount is better suited for astrophotography than an altazimuth mount alt-az. The latter will rotate the object in the focal plane, and generally have a harder time guiding the object.
For those interested in prime-focus astrophotography, a computerized equatorial telescope mount is essential. Right ascension is the axis that rotates around the north or south celestial pole depending on which hemisphere you are located in.
The telescope mount must be accurately polar aligned to match the rotation of the night sky in RA. In order to balance the telescope correctly in the RA axis, a counterweight must be used for balance. Equatorial mounts usually include 1 or 2 counterweights as a package, depending on the payload capacity of the mount. The RA right ascension disc is graduated into hours, minutes, and seconds, whereas the declination disc is graduated into angular measurements degrees, arcminutes, and arcseconds.If wedges give you a lift, you'll like the Eleanor Wedge from dexflex Comfort.
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Other than that my guess is ANOTHER lack luster German TD at t7 or ANOTHER rehash of some T6-7 Russian heavy. I thought the Krupp and the kv-122 were all the "new" tanks we were getting.
There were like 30 MTLS 1G14 Blitzen Tanks battling it out in a match I watched on YouTube. The tank is not overpowered it just a rare collectible.
The United States Tank MTLS 1G14 should be our New Year's Gift Tank for 2017. Back to General Discussion 1 user(s) are reading this topic 0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users Reply to quoted posts Clear Mobile Version Mark Community Read Forums Members Mark all as read Sign In Email address: Remember me Sign in anonymously Members. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
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The DIY Arduino Telescope GOTO control project
Please enter a valid US zip code. Please add the address to your address book. Make sure you include the unit and box numbers (if assigned).Use a few different terms to be doubly sure. There's a specific format to post comps in, so people can search and track competitions. When writing the title, first put the end date, then a description of prize, like this:If there's an age restriction, add this to the end of the title, eg, (U16). If a comp has an end time, as well as date, post this in the title too.
Then just post a link to the competition, explaining in your own words what the prize is. Some firms complain about copyright when details are copied and pasted wholesale. Comps are everywhere: magazines, newspapers, websites, shops, the telly. Scrutinise flyers in shops, supermarket shelves and websites.
The more obscure the publication or product, the better chance of you being the first to post it on the forum. It's worth browsing WHSmith's magazine shelves for publications with comps.
If you're feeling brave, you could note down the details. The competitions board's only for comps that are free to enter, though those requiring a stamp, a postcard or a text are fine.
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Never pay to register with a competitions site. Often they just focus on obvious contests, and can't compete with the army of kindred spirit compers using this site's forum. If you have any suspicions about a competition, flag up your worries with seasoned compers on the Competitions forum board.
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Make sure that you check the code that comes with the status attribute to make sure that the batch anomaly score creation has been completed without errors. This is the date and time in which the batch anomaly score was created with microsecond precision. True when the batch anomaly score has been created in the development mode.
Whether field importance scores are added as additional columns for each input field or not. The list of input fields' ids used to create the batch anomaly score. The new line character used as line break in the file that contains the anomaly scores. In a future version, you might be able to share batch anomaly scores with other co-workers or, if desired, make them publicly available.
A description of the status of the batch anomaly score. This is the date and time in which the batch anomaly score was updated with microsecond precision.
A status code that reflects the status of the batch anomaly score. Example: true category optional The category that best describes the batch topic distribution. None of the fields in the dataset Specifies the fields in the dataset to be excluded to create the batch topic distribution.
Example: "my new batch topic distribution" newline optional The new line character that you want to get as line break in the generated csv file: "LF", "CRLF". This will be 201 upon successful creation of the batch topic distribution and 200 afterwards. Make sure that you check the code that comes with the status attribute to make sure that the batch topic distribution creation has been completed without errors. This is the date and time in which the batc topic distribution was created with microsecond precision.
True when the batch topic distribution has been created in the development mode. The list of fields's ids that were excluded to build the batch topic distribution. The list of input fields' ids used to create the batch topic distribution.What Telescope Mount Should I Get?
The new line character used as line break in the file that contains the topic distributions.