Well last night was the first attempt at using the Starlight Xpress camera – and it was predictably frustrating. First off – the sky was not clear by any stretch of the imagination – but I figured it would be best to get some practice in anyway. In the end though I spent the night fighting software rather than the camera and came across a couple of gotchas that I thoguht I would share in case anybody else cmoes across them.
My chosen setup consists of the following components:
MaximDL – to automate the image capture, auto guiding and Plate Solving
TheSkyX – Planetarium software to visualise the night sky , and select targets.
EQMOD – Software layer that provides the interface to my Skywatcher NEQ6 mount.
The SkyX and EQMOD have been happily talking to each other for a couple of months – but now it was time to bring MaximDL into the mix. It seems there are two options: TheSky and MaximDL can talk to EQMOD independently of each other, or MaximDL can communicate to TheSkyX which in turn sends messages to EQMOD. I prefer the second approach to allow for greater integration between image capture and planetarium.
A bit of googling revealed I needed to download the ASCOM “TheSKy Controlled Telescope” driver. http://www.ascom-standards.org/Downloads/ScopeDrivers.htm This allows TheSky controlled telescope to be selected in the MaximDL Observatory View Setup tab.
However attempting to connect the telescope resulted in the following error:
automation error: library not found
This had me stuck for the night – with the interweb sparse of solutions. I had however managed to isolate the problem to TheSky as opposed to MaximDL. I managed to resolve the issue the following day by: Downloading the Latest Update of TheSkyX.
The next issue was making the Maxim Autoguider connect to the mount. Using “The Sky Controlled” telescope option only resulted in a Failed to activate guider relays message. The only way I could make it work was to connect the guide to the mount via the ASCOM EQMOD option.
Not sure if this is a bug or by design. But after these intial problems everything seems to be functioning well.