Monday, 30 December 2013

AstroTortilla trying it out for the first time..

Well I have to say I am very impressed with Astro Tortilla having tried it out last night for the first time.
I am using it with my set up which uses Astroeq from Tom Carpenter and EQMOD the free open source software.

Originally getting my mount to slew to its first target was proving a bit difficult because on the first slew to your target from the home position it never gets the target right in the centre. I was making do with using a green laser pointer to line up with but that is hard work at times so Astro Tortilla takes all the guess work out of it.

Installing it and learning how to set it up was not as bad as I thought it would be, the main thing you need to get right is the index file selection as you run through the main installation. There is a very good tutorial on getting it set up here for you to follow if you want to try it out.

Light vortex astronomy's Astro Tortilla tutorial

So with it installed and the correct index files loaded up I took everything out last night to see how it works. First task was to connect my mount up to EQMOD by opening up CDC or Cartes du Cail star chart and selecting the telescope icon to connect my scope to my Ascom drivers and EQMOD. Once connected and parked in the home position chose a bright star in Auriga to slew to and hit the slew button, with Astro Tortilla up and running as well.

My telescope slewed to its target then stopped when it had reached it. I knew it would not be in the frame and taking a quick 10 second shot confirmed this. So I turned to Astro Tortilla and hit the solve button. It did its thing and then solved the alignment and re slewed to my target. Taking another photo I could see my target star in the centre of my image! Wow that was impressive.

You can ask Astro Tortilla to redo the solve and it will keep going until the target is bang in the middle if its slightly out but most of the time it put my chosen target in the middle of the screen which was fantastic.

You can also choose an image you captured on a previous night and it will use this to get your back on target again as well.

So I am very pleased with this amazing bit of software, getting your target centred is a pain with out it and it certainly makes life much easier when you want to get on target and start imaging with out a lot of hassle.

I appreciate that some of you have just started imaging and all of this might seem like double dutch but if you read my blog posting from further back it should help you understand my journey so far.

My basic set up is an EQ5 mount fitted with dual axis gears and a sky watcher 200p
The mount and gears is controlled by my laptop which is connected to my mounts gears with Tom Carpenters mount controller called AstroEQ ( a full explanation of this bit of kit is on my blog)

My Camera for astrophotography is a Canon 350D with the red filter removed and this is controlled by the software on my laptop called Backyard EOS.

Once connected my telescope is then controlled by the laptop and its software.

Ascom Drivers and EQMOD for controlling the mounts gears
Cartes Du Cail star chart software
Backyard EOS camera control
Astro Tortilla for solving alignment issues.
PHD for guiding

As usual if you have any questions you can find me on the stargazers lounge forum under the username Quatermass

Clear skies.