Results 1 to 3 of 3
Like Tree3Likes
  • 3 Post By jaetea

Thread: Astrophotography Tool (APT) vs Backyard EOS (BYE) A First Glance - Part One

  1. #1
    jaetea's Avatar
    jaetea is online now Maven Wannabee
    Points: 122,996, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 29.0%
    Achievements:
    365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!2 Posts AchievementFirst 1000 Experience Points20 Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    6,296
    Points
    122,996
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    880
    Thanked 2,361x 1,846 Posts
    Blog Entries
    17
    Downloads
    11
    Uploads
    0

    Default Astrophotography Tool (APT) vs Backyard EOS (BYE) A First Glance - Part One



    I'm baaacckkk!

    Well I spent the weekend at my club's dark site for their 1st May star party and pretty much did everything I set out to do. Which was namely to use both APT and BYE for capturing APs. I approached this endeavor by not doing extensive study about either piece of software. I just made sure they (APT and BYE) could connect to all equipment used, plus a few minutes of familiarization so I wouldn't waste too much valuable time out in the field.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no connection to any of the companies mentioned in this review. This write up is a "first glance" impression of the software and does not represent everything the software can or will do.

    Location:
    45° 8' 38.89"N
    121° 13' 52.53"W
    Sunset 8:14PM local: Moonrise 3:05AM local
    OAT 55° down to 38°Attachment 56923
    Wapinitia Dark Sky.jpg

    Equipment used:
    Telescopes:
    Celestron CPC 1100 with a .63 focal reducer (making it an f6.3) on a Pro HD Wedge
    Meade 102mm/f7.8
    Barska ST80mm/f5
    All three scopes were used as both guider and astrograph.
    Cameras:
    Orion StarShoot Autoguider (SSAG)
    Canon T1i (unmodified)Attachment 56922
    3 May Setup.jpg

    Software used:
    AlignMaster
    PHD
    ASCOM Platform 6
    APT
    BYE

    Friday 3 May: APT night.
    I connect my telescope to the PC via a cable that connects the PC to the hand controller (vs using the pc port on the telescope's base) as I have found this gives me more goto functionality. I started up the ASCOM drivers. I did an Eq North two star alignment, used AlignMaster to polar align, then did another Eq North 2 star alignment. I Made sure both cameras were turned on. Started up PHD. I took some darks with the SSAG to help the display of the guide stars then slewed the scope to M13 as my first subject then using PHD I selected my guide star and did a guiding calibration.

    Program Description:
    I made sure the Canon had not gone to "sleep" then started up APT. It automatically sensed, then connected to the Canon. APT's main screen is very busy which means there's a lot of info displayed so initially finding your way around is a bit daunting. The opening default screen is what you see when you select the Camera Tab. But you quickly figure out that the middle of the screen is for Live View/Image Preview of what your camera sees or just shot, the right side is where you control your camera, the left side has environmental and status info (ie battery power meter, storage memory remaining, etc). The bottom of the screen has the Log which tells you all that the program is doing/trying to do. The upper right hand portion has 3 tabs Camera, Telescope, Tools.

    Under the Telescope tab you will find a whole array of telescope options. APT does not automatically connect to your scope even though you have already started the ASCOM platform. You have to select the Connect Scope button to do this. While in the Telescope tab you can control: scope slewing (via the ASCOM connection), goto (with a list of 545 objects, all alignment stars, and sky maps), focuser, filter wheel, AutoStar control (for Meade products) and interfacing with PHD by using the "Guide" button next to the "Connect Scope" button.

    Under the Tools tab you will find a whole plethora of utilities. Histogram control, focusing aids, collimation aids, magnifiers, drift align control. You can also improve/redefine how LiveView displays what it sees from LiveView brightener to LiveView stack, Gamma control, flip, invert, or go negative with the displayed image. You can also access the image browser and object calculator for calculating field of view, resolving and magnification for your specific Canon model on this tab. And finally, on this tab you will find the "Settings" button hidden amongst all the other buttons. I say hidden because it looks the same as all the other selectable buttons in that portion of the screen, so it doesn't stand out. I have a bad habit of just scanning a page looking for something and when important buttons don't stand out, I don't see them.

    The Settings button gives you access, via three tabs to your image storage path, your display units (Fahrenheit/Celsius), different selectables (ie sound notifications, tool tips, etc) all on the "Main" tab. The "Location" tab allows you to set up time/site info. The "Advanced" tab allows you to play with stuff I didn't play with (yet).

    Program Pros:

    • Controls all, known to me, functions of my camera
    • Makes LiveView more useable
    • Has examples of all the exposure plans so you get an idea of what you need to shoot (ie lights, darks, flats, bias, and focusing)
    • Shows the picture you just shot so you can give it a quick quality control (QC)
    • You can make your scope goto just about everything you'd want to take a picture of, plus you can "sync" within this program
    • It interfaces with your guide program (as long as it is PHD or Metaguide)
    • I found many of the Tools very useful (the focus tool, the Magnifier, most of the LiveView controls)
    • The Object Calculator lets you know if objects like the Orion nebula or the Andromeda galaxy will fit on your sensor based on your camera model (your specific sensor) and the focal length of the scope you are using.

    Program Cons:

    • The screen is very busy, it just has a ton of info on it that is not graphically stylized (ie it needs more pictographs, IMHO) so it takes a while to know where to put your eyes to get the info you are looking for.
    • The Log portion of the Camera screen is not resizable (at least I couldn't figure out how to do it).
    • The tool tips are handy until they get in the way. You can turn them off but then when you forget what a button does it takes more steps to find out (by turning tool tips back on) vs having a "?" button which would give help for the specific function/button you select.
    • Some of the directions are not clearly annotated or explained. For example when using the DARV (drift alignment by Robert Vice method) function (by selecting the DARV button), after it allows the chosen star to drift, it tells you to center the star in the circle. The problem I had is that the adjustment it told me to make (move west in az) only moves the star along one axis so I was only able to put the star over/under the circle for az, or left/right of the circle for lat, but was never able to put the star in the circle. These directions were not clear.
    • If you have older eyes (like mine) that like a larger font you can select this at the expense of severe crowding/overlap of words on the screen (for example LiveView/Image Preview becomes LiveView/P)
    • The settings button which you need to use to input your user location and other valuable data is not distinct and requires that you pay attention to find it (how dare they!).


    This ends part one. Tomorrow I will conclude with the review of BYE and conclusions and recommendations of the two.

    Clear skies,
    JT
    Last edited by jaetea; 05-07-2013 at 06:58 AM.
    seigell, mikeymike and IanP like this.
    Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Newt AP Scope: TPO 6" RC f/9 & ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8 goto Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Cameras: Canon T3i 2, ASI120MC Binos: 10X502,10.5X70,15X702, 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9,12,18,25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
    HOME »
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

    I never met a scope I didn't want to keep.
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    "My God, it's full of stars."
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jaetea For This Useful Post:

    OBXgirl (01-28-2015),Yoddha (05-07-2013)

  3. #2
    mikeymike's Avatar
    mikeymike is offline White Dwarf
    Points: 2,266, Level: 30
    Level completed: 66%, Points required for next Level: 34
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!5 Threads Achievement!First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Brandon
    Posts
    26
    Points
    2,266
    Level
    30
    Thanks
    26
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default Re: Astrophotography Tool (APT) vs Backyard EOS (BYE) A First Glance - Part One

    Where is part 2? Im anxious to read it.
    Nexstar 8SE, Baader Hyperion 10mm EP, TeleVue 2x Barlow, Dewsheild, Powertank. Sky&telescope Sky Atlas,The Night Sky Planesphere.

  4. #3
    jaetea's Avatar
    jaetea is online now Maven Wannabee
    Points: 122,996, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 29.0%
    Achievements:
    365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!2 Posts AchievementFirst 1000 Experience Points20 Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    6,296
    Points
    122,996
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    880
    Thanked 2,361x 1,846 Posts
    Blog Entries
    17
    Downloads
    11
    Uploads
    0

    Default Re: Astrophotography Tool (APT) vs Backyard EOS (BYE) A First Glance - Part One

    Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Newt AP Scope: TPO 6" RC f/9 & ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8 goto Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Cameras: Canon T3i 2, ASI120MC Binos: 10X502,10.5X70,15X702, 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9,12,18,25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
    HOME »
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

    I never met a scope I didn't want to keep.
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    "My God, it's full of stars."
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to jaetea For This Useful Post:

    OBXgirl (01-28-2015)

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Astrophotography Under City Lights (Part 1)
    By ICIt2 in forum CCD Imaging Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-15-2012, 09:22 PM
  2. Backyard Astronomy - Astrophotography Celestron NexStar 4se
    By astroval in forum Celestron NexStar Telescope Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-16-2012, 02:47 AM
  3. Great cheap tool for astroPhotography
    By gilldawg79 in forum Astro Imaging Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-25-2011, 01:52 AM
  4. First glance at Saturn!
    By gonis in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-05-2010, 04:06 AM
  5. At a quick glance - Used Meade 2120
    By Attia in forum Meade Telescope Forums
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-26-2009, 02:08 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0
Powered by vBulletin®
All times are GMT. The time now is 01:30 PM.