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Thread: Linux Astronomy Software

  1. #1
    Arny Moots's Avatar
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    Default Linux Astronomy Software



    I thought it might be useful to start a Linux thread (I can't see a dedicated one elsewhere - let me know if there is!), as it is a popular platform for astronomers.

    For example, does anyone use stacking software on Linux (eg Lynkeos)?

    Which is better, Kstars or Stellarium? Ubuntu or OpenSuse? Any tips you could share?

    Or would it be better to have a Linux forum rather than thread?
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  3. #2
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    There is a very long established UNIX based program called xephem that has been around for years. I have never tried it since I do not use UNIX but is sure looks good on the web site:

    XEphem 3.7.4
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    Matthew Ota
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    I started using Caldera back in the mid 90s. I've tried just about every popular incarnation since. Ubuntu (for me, specifically Kubuntu) is appealing. I haven't used it in a couple of years, but the package manager (or term program -apt get <program name> ((or similar)) is easy enough esp. if you specify proper repositories. In a word: Ubuntu.

    I loved Kstars when I tried it and I do prefer it over stellarium, but I have no idea if it allows for scope control.

    I'm sure distrowatch.com is still around. Check it out to analyze what people are using the most.

    If you plan on processing; there is another variant called Ubuntu Studio which may be useful, though I haven't tried it. You could always use Wine to run MS programs.

    Linux has come a long way. You may still have to manually configure certain drivers, however.

    I've never used a stacking program with any Linux distro. Again, you could try Wine emulation if needed.
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    Default

    I use Ubuntu as much as possible, and KStars is fantastic, the best out there IMHO and it says it will control the scope but I don't know how to interface it, and wxAstroCapture runs my NexImage camera just fine, but there are no Ubuntu drivers for the Meade LPI or DSI series that I can find.
    I can't get DeepSkyStacker to run under Wine in Ubuntu. I can only get CinePaint to work on one of my two identical Ubuntu version T-41 laptops. I use Gimp in both Ubuntu and Windows for image editing, although it won't handle complete 16-bit Tiff planes.
    So I've wound up using a dual-boot laptop, with most of the astronomy stuff like PHD and DSLRShutter and DeepSkyStacker and the Meade imaging programs and so on, on XP, and using that side for telescope control and imaging. I use either/or for processing, since Gimp runs well in both OS.
    I would much prefer to remain in the Linux environment, but it seems to be impossible at my level.
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    Default

    yes, compatability can be a problem when many manufacturers only release Windows/Mac software.

    I only use my computer for mapping/viewing/locating, so I don't need to worry about the issues that come with e.g. telescope control.

    I agree KStars is a fantastic piece of software, capable of so much, although Stellarium has to win on ergonomics and user friendliness, imo. I use both, depending on what I'm looking for.

    That Xephem also looks like a mighty program.
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    EPs: Plossls: 25mm, 15mm (Televue), 10mm, 6.3mm, 3.6mm. 3x Barlow (Televue).
    10X50 bins.
    Home-made: Cheshire collimator, Denver star chair and binocular mounts

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    Hi,
    I run a double XP/Ubuntu system on my computer. Ubuntu 8.10 already stood in level with XP, 9.X proved to be a bit of disappontment with it's unfinished interface and drivers problems. All was smoothed and fixed very well in current 10.4 version which I highly recommend. It's sleek, quick, has a simple and suggestive user interface, boots up in a minute or so, has a great Wine Windows layer. You can run many windows programs directly from your desktop, as if it was Windows. Interface can be updated to look very much Mac - like with Cairo dock. I run Stellarium and GIMP on Linux. They're no problem and work, look and handle pretty much the same as in Windows. Ubuntu depositories have a huge choice of programs for every need - too much to mention. Also, Ubuntu is a Debian branch, so Debian soft runs on it, too.
    Now about what is hard to do in Ubuntu. First of all, unless you are a true Linux guru, you are not in control of system security. On user level security controls are rudimentary. So, you better not to type your credit card number from there. Ubuntu is inherently safer than Windows, but has no such advanced firewalls, trojan filters, etc. as Windows.
    Second, advanced photo and video processing software will not be fully functional in Wine. Nor will it have the full grunt in it. And some printers, digital TV sticks, webcams,etc. may be very hard to make work under Linux.
    So I keep both systems and do 90 per cent of time in Ubuntu, and all the rest in Windows. Helps to keep Windows clean and smooth and makes everyday work much easier and more pleasant in Ubuntu. And the best of all - this is for free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mplanet62 View Post
    Hi,
    . On user level security controls are rudimentary. So, you better not to type your credit card number from there. Ubuntu is inherently safer than Windows, but has no such advanced firewalls, trojan filters, etc. as Windows.
    I've always found Ubuntu highly secure - far more secure than Windows.
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    I always used Firestarter firewall.

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    I run RegiStax5 under wine in ubuntu 10.04 and it runs well. I use ubuntu for all my day to day computer use and XP for gaming.
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    Hi,

    if you are interested in general data reduction of deep sky images, mosaicing, colour calibration etc, try THELI.

    Since this is my first post here I am not allowed to include a URL.
    Therefore, please google for 'theli' or 'theli mischa' and you should find it quickly on the webpages of the University of Bonn.

    We started development about 10 years ago, and as of today it is probably one of the best and most comfty data reduction packages around (at least our users think so). It's scientific software, but there is a rapidly growing amateur user group in Germany and Austria. Extensive english online documentation is available. THELI will also reduce RAW data from common DSLR cameras.
    Installation will work fine on any Linux flavour, provided the necessary standard developmental tools are present. There is a list of Ubuntu 'sudo apt-get' commands on the installation page, and after running those, THELI should just install fine.

    I'm happy to assist with both installation and reduction. You can contact me at mischa[at]astro.uni-bonn.de

    Best regards,

    mischa

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