So, I think its important a few misconceptions be cleared up before you buy Scheduler...ACPS....

I've used ACPS for about a year more or less. First, what is it?
ACPS and ACP work together in the following way. ACP takes care of all the house keeping inside your observatory and makes the observatory visible on the internet. These two activities are comprehensive in nature. ACP REALLY controls the observatory for you in every way you can imagine. ACP, takes care of the dome, cameras, scope mount and focuser, Internet access and so on via your software packages vis a vie MaximDL and Focusmax for example. So, ACP gets the observatory primed and ready to take pictures. That observatory setting, is a huge help but in isolation of limited impact on your productivity. ACPS now THIS is the secret sauce. ACPS should be thought of like a very eager graduate student, ready to work at night, long hours, eager, smart and dedicated. ACPS is the brains of the operation. ACPS takes your observatory and now makes it autonomous, that's right, makes YOU obsolete. You hand ACPS a LONG list of objects to photograph or study in some other way, give it some general guidance on types of pictures to be taken, some guidance of what to avoid...you know the MOON, don't take picture to low in the sky, only take pictures near the meridian and so on. You can give ACPS as many objects as you like all at the same time. Heck I typically have a dozen going at once. I'm just now finishing up an 82 hour session, for example, on ONE object. So once you've handed off these zillion objects to ACPS what happens? Well, ACPS sorts them for you and decides in what logical order will make the best use of your observatory. Think about that for a moment. If you had to sort out when the best time to capture each object was one at a time, man that would be all you would have time to do. ACPS does it in a snap. The organization of the objects means your observatory is used in the most efficient way each night!! My system runs hard all night long and doesn't waste time ... I paid good money for it, I expect it to produce results and not sit around like a statue. Once ACPS sorts the list, it organizes routine activity to support all that, like autofocus, grabbing flats, darks whatever. You will NEVER be able to match the organizational skill of ACPS and maximize your observatories work load to its optimum potential on your own. So, OK you say to yourself...."I can submit a long plan for the night who needs ACPS?" Yeah you can, and you won't be happy. The computer will grind through the list even though the moon was in the way, it took longer to get object no 2 than was expected and so everything else is later than expected and yeah to low to late to bad. ACPS will re organize on the fly and THAT means again, the obs is working at its peak perforamnce potential Suppose the weather turns poor for FIFTEEN MINUTES ????? You are DONE right? NOPE not if you have ACPS your not. My observations last night looked like this ...went to bed, it was raining, two hours later things cleared out, ACPS turned on the gear, focused, took two hours of pictures and then the clouds moved back in. That cycle happened several times, check out the log I've attached. Note that ACPS stood eagerly by like that grad student, and when the opportunity presented itself, the dome opened and good things happened !! You would NEVER have been able to do that without ACPS, NEVER. Well, unless your old school, hard core and stayed up staring at the sky, ummmm I work so that ain't gonna happen!! ACPS provides gigabytes of data routinely during a full night of observing. Try and match those results NIGHT after NIGHT after NIGHT!! How many partial nights are you missing and you don't even know it???? Last Sunday night, went to bed RAINING, got up in the am RAINING and found that for three hours during the night the rain and clouds had cleared...oh and yeah the obs had grabbed a bunch of SUPER pictures during that time...get the idea???


SOOOO What's the misconception then? Well, when you buy ACP and ACPS you think your going to get more sleep right? Well initially NOPE cause you don't believe its really going to work. The next era is you still don't get any sleep because now you KNOW IT WORKS and it is addictive to watch YEP you heard me its so cool to see all the whirrrring of gear, pictures, software ooooohhhhh so cool so now you still can't sleep. Ultimately, you just plain get used to the idea that, and fully demand of your observatory that it, produce HUGE quantities of data that you sleeeeeppppp realllllllyyyyy gooooood. I leisurely check each AM my run logs to see what awaits. You know its like Christmas, lots of cool presents form the sky in my computer man it never gets old. Well, I hope that helps clear all that up. Bob didn't ask that I make this post, didn't discuss it with him in advance, but felt it my duty to let folks know about how cool, ACPS is and what its meant to my ability to haul in tons of pictures. I hope you are as successful as I have been with it, and am here to tell you, YOU will be.

Peter


Log opened at Tue, Apr 03 2012 17:24:44 UTC (actual time)
Current log level is Brief
Scheduler version 3.5.1
Single-user license: Peter Prendergast
03-Apr-2012 17:32:32.4: -- Weather Unsafe --
04-Apr-2012 05:43:00.9: ++ Weather Safe ++
04-Apr-2012 05:43:02.1: ++ Observatory Startup ++
04-Apr-2012 05:47:51.3: ++ Auto Focus ++
04-Apr-2012 05:50:45.2: Dispatcher cycle time: 3.789279 sec.
04-Apr-2012 05:50:45.2: Acquire data for Observation M 82...
04-Apr-2012 05:50:45.2: (belongs to Project M 82, Plan M 82-Green (7-12))
04-Apr-2012 06:02:15.5: ** Script interrupted by weather safety event.
04-Apr-2012 06:02:18.5: ACP ABORT: Acquisition process was interrupted by weather unsafe.
04-Apr-2012 06:02:18.5: ACP data acquisition failed for Observation M 82.
04-Apr-2012 06:02:18.5: (Plan M 82-Green (7-12) will be resubmitted in its entirety.
04-Apr-2012 06:02:18.5: (Observation M 82 interrupted by weather unsafe event.)
04-Apr-2012 06:02:18.7: -- Weather Unsafe --
04-Apr-2012 09:09:29.8: ++ Weather Safe ++
04-Apr-2012 09:09:31.5: ++ Observatory Startup ++
04-Apr-2012 09:13:12.5: ++ Auto Focus ++
04-Apr-2012 09:16:52.8: Dispatcher cycle time: 0.4740069 sec.
04-Apr-2012 09:16:52.8: Acquire data for Observation NGC 6827...
04-Apr-2012 09:16:52.8: (belongs to Project NGC 6827, Plan NGC 6827-Red (5-6))
04-Apr-2012 10:25:41.7: Acquisition time: 4128.8554794 sec.
04-Apr-2012 10:25:41.7: Data for Observation NGC 6827 acquired successfully.
04-Apr-2012 10:25:41.8: Image Efficiency: 87.2%
04-Apr-2012 10:25:41.8: Cycle Efficiency: 100.0%
04-Apr-2012 10:25:42.3: -- Observatory Shutdown --
04-Apr-2012 12:18:51.1: -- Weather Unsafe --
04-Apr-2012 17:15:44.8: ++ Weather Safe ++
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Run statistics:
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Observations: 631
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Considered: 474
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Completed: 433
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Skipped: 23
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Never Eligible: 157
04-Apr-2012 17:24:11.9: Failed: 18
Log closed at Wed, Apr 04 2012 17:24:11 UTC (actual tim