Thanks Bill

I'm pleased that I am on the right path. Automation is the holy grail for amateur spectroscopists like me. I have a great remote set up but am wasting more than half of every night as I need to sleep and have a family life.

The Move To feature in Maxim is quite a revelation for me. The key benefit is that it is pixel not co-ordinate based. A pixel-based offset is the same on both sides of the meridian while the RA and Dec position of the slit changes when the scope slips on the meridian. This is not an issue with traditional astrophotography as images can be rotated easily if the centre position is unchanged on a flip. The challenge for my set up is that the slit is not centred. My offset is -0.9" in RA and +45.7" in Dec in the East but +0.9" in RA and -45.7" in Dec in the West. But the pixel offset 12, 54 is the same on both sides of the meridian.

I can accomodate this by setting RA and Dec co-ordinates for each target on each side of the meridian. So I could ask ACP to image the target at one set of co-ordinates in the East and when it crosses the meridian, image with a different set of co-ordinates.

The other tricky issue is when I approach the south celestial pole (I'm in Australia). The RA offset increases as I go further south - my high school geometry lets me down here but that intuitively makes sense.

I've posted on the Maxim forum to see if I get any joy there. A fixed pixel position "from" and "to" seems a neat solution as it enables a user to plate solve and offset onto a slit simply and easily.

The camera switch remains key to me.

The Maestro set up sounds very interesting but a bit clunky too. I'm impressed that you have it working. The added appeal for me is that it can accomodate another camera - I plan to piggyback a small refractor with a separate camera to take simultaneous photometry so this may be helpful. This is a "nice to have" rather than an essential.

Of course the costs starts to build with new software. I need to renew my ACP subscription (will do so very shortly Bob!) and have just upgraded Maxim. I expect I need another licence for Maxim as well as the Maestro licence.

I'm interested to hear whether you have ACP set up but not running or whether you still need to work on integrating ACP and the Maestro platform.

Look forward to hearing from you

Pete