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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    1,247

    Default Remote Observing using ACP and Scheduler

    I'm on my second observatory now and have learned much. The most important two things you need to know are these. First, get your hardware ROCK SOLID with redundancy built in and two USE BOTH ACP and SCHEDULER. I've attached a log from last night. Let me say this, on the longest nights of the winter I can comfortably bring down a GIGABYTE of data, no problem. In NC the weather is to say the least.....ummmmm.....changeable. So, look at this log from last night. The observatory cycled several times, meaning, started, took pictures, got cutoff by the weather, restarted and took pictures and so on. If you use the "other guys" stuff the first time you get a SINGLE cloud in the way, you are DONE for the night. With Scheduler, the observatory remains patiently on line and as soon as the weather is clear and safe you restart....INTELLIGENTLY....not mindlessly from "where you left off"!!! So if two hours have passed you do NOT go back to the object you were on...why would you its MOVED and is likely lower in the sky....that's the best part of Scheduler, SCHEDULER KNOWS WHEN THE BEST TIME IS TO TAKE YOUR PICTURES!!! Who needs a bunch of pictures so distorted by the atmosphere that they are junk? Scheduler figures out when they are at the optimum viewing elevation and THEN takes the picture. So, clouds part, observatory comes back on line and you now pick up the most APPROPRIATE object to image. Over a series of nights you get really good stuff. You can control all sorts of gear too. My new observatory is far more complex than the one I started with. This observatory is WAY away from where I live so its got to run and its got to be reliable. Scheduler keeps me up to date by sending me emails when anything happens good or bad. The other gear does to, my router sends me health checks, UPS, power distribution unit and so on all email me. All I have to do is look at my email in the morning, and I can plainly see what a nice job Scheduler did last night. Very cool. Oh, and Scheduler gets my dawn flats done too. Do you enjoy sitting in a cold observatory? I mean I guess if that's your thing, not for me though I'd rather be asleep and let the software and gear work for ME for a change. ACP and Scheduler TOGETHER are hands down the most effective package deal I could find. I am rather intolerant of incompetent stuff...just who I am...I have no time for "sorta works" yeah well not for me. So, if this stuff didn't work as I say I would be saying it loudly and clearly. But, you know what, I also hate to see people waste their time and money on stuff that doesn't get the job done...THAT is why I am writing this. What is it about astronomers anyway? Geeez these guys rarely talk publicly about what is any good or not. Where can you find a forum to list out the crud from the good stuff? Hey you find it let me know!! So, THAT is why I am taking the time to write this down because there is a TON of junk out there!!! ACP and Scheduler are the gold standard for performance, I have a FORTUNE tied up in this new observatory and I demand that it WORK and WORK WELL and WORK RELIABLY PERIOD. You know what? IT DOES. ACP and Scheduler are a HUGE reason why it works so well.

    Bob didn't ask me to write this, I wrote it because I'd like to save the next guy from a mess that's it. Hope I did!!!
    Peter
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