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    Default Orion SteadyStar Adaptive Optics Guider (AO)



    Orion SteadyStar Adaptive Optics Guider (AO)

    has anyone heard anything about this autoguider? not that i am shopping for a new one but just curious where this technology seems to be going.

    Taken from Orion's site:


    • High-speed refractive correction eliminates tracking errors far more effectively than regular autoguiding, resulting in better astrophotos with rounder and more pinpoint stars
    • Overcome your mount's periodic error, combat wind-induced vibration, and even compensate for some of the negative effects of turbulent seeing
    • Makes your imaging mount, even if a modest one, perform more effectively
    • Broad compatibility - works with any Orion CCD camera and most other imagers including DSLRs, and works with the Orion StarShoot AutoGuider as well as most other autoguiders
    • Fastest adaptive optics guider (used for amateur astrophotography) on the market today! Capable of making more than 40 corrections per second, depending on guide star brightness and computer speed

    Seen below are two raw images of NGC 281 cropped at 100% zoom. They are a direct comparison of SteadyStar AO Guiding at 5 corrections per second vs. regular autoguiding at one correction every two seconds. The images were taken the same night in succession. Each image is a stack of 3 x 12 minute exposures taken with the Orion SSDSMI III and EON 120ED Refractor. The image taken without the SteadyStar AO Guider shows star elongation in R.A. as a result of periodic error.


    We've illustrated a smaller cropped portion below of the same two images of NGC 281 magnified at 200%. The difference seen in this faint star field is immediate. The SteadyStar improves the tracking performance resulting in sharper stars, rounder stars and improved image contrast.








    I have set my PHD autoguider settings to quite low settings about 200msecs I think so I believe I get about 5 corrections per second. Not sure what 40 will do per second, if I need it or not...

    any ideas?
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Orion is beginning to attempt competition with SBIG, overlapping the lower end of SBIG's line with an Orion line of cooled cameras (Parsec series imagers) along with related accessories like the SteadyStar.

    The SteadyStar is similar in part to an off-axis guider, in that it uses a pick-prism in the main optical path, which in turn feeds any 1.25" throat auto-guider camera. Unlike SBIG's AO system, which is only usable with an SBIG or SBIG compatible camera, the Orion SteadyStar will work with any auto-guider because there is no electronic connection between the AO and guider.

    The current product brief is somewhat deceptive, because you still need an auto-guider of some sort to use with the SteadyStar - it isn't standalone, rather it augments the usual components. It works by correcting the wavefront the auto-guider's sensor sees. It is closed loop, taking the auto-guider's output as it's input, then providing an ST-4 compliant output to feed the mount's guider input...

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    Default

    Thanks for clearing a lot up!
    I had no idea this wasn't standalone wow! I don't yet see a purpose at least for me - from the examples I think unsharp mask will do the trick for free - maybe im missing something here? :P

    works with any Orion CCD camera and most other imagers including DSLRs
    Does that mean a DSLR can be used as an autoguider? I never heard of that before.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    No, it won't allow the use of a DSLR as a guide camera, but it will allow the DSLR to be used as the imaging camera providing "active optics" benefits.

    The real confusion for most of the amateur "AO" equipment is what is really doing for the imager.

    In looking at the details and comparing, real adaptive optics in the purest sense correct the main optical path wavefront, before it hits the instrument package/imager at the focal plane. True AO corrects for atmospheric seeing distortion, mirror seeing, gravitational deformation of the main mirror, etc.

    Most amateur level AO are more appropriately named "active optics", rather than true "adaptive optics". These systems are beneficial for improving guiding accuracy by correcting for seeing deficiencies, mount/tube vibrations, and mirror seeing by correcting the wavefront on the portion of the light-path used for auto-guiding. They generally don't correct the entirety of the wavefront on the main imaging path.

    The SBIG approach uses I2C (sort of a retarded RS232 interface and protocol) between their AO unit the the imaging camera. It runs closed loop to move a tip-tilt corrector plate in the AO unit's throat. The corrector plate (aka deviator plate) movement corrects the wavefront for both the auto-guider and the main imaging camera. I've attached a schematic for reference.

    The Orion approach decouples the guide and imaging camera, and runs open loop, freeing up the requirement to use a specific imaging camera as in SBIG's case. The only requirement on the guide camera is that it must have an ST-4 compliant output. In this case, the AO is an active optical component that is minimizing the impact of seeing conditions and mechanical vibration on the guide camera, allowing for improvement in accuracy of the guide output to the mount.

    I'll search for it and edit/add, but there is another recent thread on this general topic this is a good companion read:

    Adaptive Optics for large amateur telescopes
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AustinPSD; 11-13-2009 at 03:56 PM. Reason: added thread reference

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    Default

    I'm just a newbie, but I have heard some good things about MetaGuide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent420 View Post
    I'm just a newbie, but I have heard some good things about MetaGuide.
    Yep... cheap too... link for reference:

    MetaGuide: Diffraction limited collimation and guiding

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    Default Re: Orion SteadyStar Adaptive Optics Guider (AO)

    I bought two of these, the basic Orion AO. In my case I do not guide the Mount with the AO, I only use the Optic to correct any flexure. This means that if you guide your Mount with some other form of guider, the AO can run slower as it only corrects the flexure and not both flexure AND guiding errors.

    Of course an easy way to get a guiding Scope would be to run a Main Scope to image and guide with say a Mono Camera. And then you could use the Orion AO on the second Scope to maybe image OSC, so you get all of your data simultaneously. It works nicely, but I see today that it is listed as Not Available on the Orion Site. AlanP

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