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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Celina, TX

    Default Scheduler for the Patio guy

    Well I've just completed 1 year of solid reliable imaging using ACP Internet with a scope on a tripod on the Patio. I fought mostly with Maxim guide star faded guiding but once I discovered multi-star guiding plain vanilla simple dark with my 2x2 binned lodestar guiding simply never fails even with iffy skies.. Well there have to be some stars of course! ACP had always been solid and after solving the lodestar/Maxim issue I decided on completion of my first year with ACP to take the next step and move to Scheduler on top of ACP. I wanted to say that my setup is quite simple.. pier in backyard rather than the tripod and a couple of refractors and small newtonian which rotate depending on targets. Scheduler has quite simply completely changed the way I approach imaging and even without a building ACPS is the most bang for the buck investment I've ever made with this hobby pursuit. I had to change from making plans for 2 or 3 objects each of which I had to worry about times as the season moved on and the moon came and went to 10+ objects all defined in an elegant web tool and I no longer have to consider what is where. The Why's and Wherefore's are all dealt with now.

    This last week I gave ACPS a severe test. Asked it to run 4 nights in a row on evenings all but one of which I would have not bothered to setup. I raised the threshold on acceptable skies with my cloudwatcher knowing the skies where not good for great imaging and fired it up each evening. Never a hitch!! I was used to that with ACP but having Scheduler as the brains is just amazing. For my testing the best night was the worst night where clouds toggled between safe and unsafe (no rain to worry about) and ACPS just soldiered on parking from time to time and starting again while I mostly slept.

    Now my problem is I have lots of data to sort on 7 out of my 10 projects (3 I knew would never get high enough). That moon avoid or moon down constraint meant that given the full moon early part of the week I got just Ha. As the week progressed and the moon rose later and later ACPS reached out to more filters. I actually did get quite a bit of very good data. I think for the casual 1 or 2 target a night manual imaging mindset what I like most about ACPS is it handles the heavy lifting. I just have to compose objects and decide how high it needs to be for any filter and when that might happen is simply not something I need to worry about.

    Patio guys like myself can tend to use different OTA's.. 80mm F/5 TMBLOMO/120mmF/5 APO/ 200mmF/5 camera which moves. I just decided to have a web user for each OTA and separate the projects, that way i can selectively disable all but the user which represents the scope on the mount. To make a short story long ACPS is the perfect tool also for a simple little patio imager. Learning how silly my plans might be was simple and fast using the Scheduler Simulator!! Yes I can make Scheduler act just like me with ACP alone by turning of rising plan delay and moon avoidance but after fighting to learn how to do that I finally asked myself exactly why would I want to do that? !

    Thank you Bob for those couple of words to get me going. Your support is fantastic! I'm including a narrow band target dragged out of the haze of Texas.

    Clear skies to all,
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