Bucknell Observatory. Prestep Point the telescope at an object for alignment purposes, as you would in all circumstances. This entails finding a bright, known star in the finder scope and then centering the bright star in the eyepiece. Lock the scope. This can be done by unscrewing the ring connected to the tube of the scope. The threads are fine, so the elements must be flush to screw it.
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Bucknell Observatory. Prestep Point the telescope at an object for alignment purposes, as you would in all circumstances. This entails finding a bright, known star in the finder scope and then centering the bright star in the eyepiece. Lock the scope. This can be done by unscrewing the ring connected to the tube of the scope. The threads are fine, so the elements must be flush to screw it. It's that expensive Plug the camera power cord into the outlet on the deck.
If it is on, it will make a low hum from the cooling fan. If you hear no hum, check the power connection to the back of the camera. These connections open a line of communication between the camera and the computer, as well as providing the camera with power.
This phone-looking cable requires an adapter before it plugs into the computer, while the other end plugs straight into the RS port on the telescope. This makes the connection between "The Sky" program and the telescope. Also, unclick the "switch to night vision mode" box if it is not unclicked already.
This should bring up a menu. Click the "telescope" tab and click "sync" if you are centered on this object. Click "OK". If you have difficulty bringing up the star information by clicking, right click to bring up the "find" menu and select the star from the catalog. Also, click on the "temperature" option and make sure that it is on and set to -5 degrees and turned on.
Going into the temperature menu should automatically connect the camera to the computer. You can tell that this has happen by the "status" line in the setup window, which will say "connected" if the link was successfully established.
If it is not connected, click "Connect" to do so manually. Also, change the "bin" to 3x3 from 1x1. Now, instead of looking at each individual pixel of the CCD chip separately, the program will look at boxes of 9 pixels together. While we lose some resolution, it is effectively 9 times faster, which is important for the focusing step.
Start taking images. You should see a faint doughnut on the screen if you're aligned properly. Bonus Directions! Check to see if the star is centered as you are focusing. A reasonable slew rate is 5 minutes, if the star is in the field of view. You can see the results of the slew by looking in CCDSoft's focus window. Trial and error is the best way to gauge which direction you must slew. Remember that "up" and "north" don't neccessarily correlate, due to the optics as well as the position of the star in the sky.
You must re-sync within The Sky after centering the star, in a fashion similiar to step 5d. You need to connect the two programs. Click "Focus Steps" and, if you are very unfocused change these values to for large and for small. When you get closer to being focused, you can reduce the focus step, perhaps to and 10, or 50 and 5. Don't be too legalistic.
If you are initially looking at a large dim doughnut you will need to zoom IN substantially, on the order of 9, focus units. At first, pick a "large" focus size, which should move you units at a time. Once you feel like you are getting close the dougnuts are going away you should change the bin to 2x2 instead of 3x3.
This will take longer, but you will be able to tell when you are making progress. You might also want to use the "small" focus size, which is only units worth of focus change. Finally, when you are VERY close, switch down to 1x1 and make the last adjustments. You can zoom in on a specific region of the image by clicking the "subframe" box to "on" and drawing a box aroung the region you'd like to focus on.
If you go past focus, such that you are now unfocused in the other direction, you must zoom back out. There is a phenomenon called "backlash" which occurs here. Basically, some of the focus units about go into changing direction from focusing in to focusing out.
Because of this, the same amount of focusing will not be appropriate every time. Go to "Take Image" and set the integration time for something longer than what you are focusing at.
You want to get something like counts at the maximum, so whatever integration time leads to that would be appropriate. This is because the image has become saturated, since it is set to show light which is weak with the same color white that it shows light which is strong.
To change this, go to the menu which controls the display properties and go into the "brightness and contrast" option. Chance the background and range until the more useful properties of the image become apparent. A good first guess for the background value is , with for the range. Trial and error works best for this.
This method might show that more, fine adjustment is needed. Right click on the starry background, and choose "find" from the menu. Use the categories on the left to narrow your search to the object for which you are looking. For instance, if you are looking for a planet, click "planet" and then select the one that you are looking for.
Once you specify the desired object, you can slew by hitting the green telescope shaped icon on the bottom panel of the find menu. So, make some minor adjustments until the second object is as crisp as possible, and repeat step 8 to take the image. You may need to change integration time, depending on the comparative brightness of the two objects. Having a problem not covered here? Go to the Trouble Shooting Page.
CCDSoft CCD Astronomy Software
The following are manuals and software for older legacy products, which are no longer maintained or updated. For current products, all downloads are now included on the individual product pages — navigate to your product and click the Downloads tab. The original product pages for recently discontinued models are available for products discontinued since Please view them in the Obsolete Models Archive. Software downloads for all currently-manufactured products are on their product page, under the Downloads tab. DriverChecker64 Windows , Ver 3.
Legacy Product Support
Think of it as "mission control center" for your observatory. With built-in support for the complete line of SBIG cameras, and optional support for many other popular camera models, CCDSoft is the tool most used when capturing your favorite deep-space objects or hunting for undiscovered celestial treasures. CCDSoft's comprehensive manual and detailed help will guide you each step of your journey. You'll enjoy the benefits of integration and scripting to increase your observatory's productivity. CCDSoft contains many advanced features such as automated astrometric call AutoAstrometry , variable star and minor planet light curve generation, supernova detection and International Astronomical Union IAU minor planet report generation.
It contains both automatic and manual tools that remove blooms and leave stars nice and round. You can now download it and try it for free for 30 days to see how you like it. It removes both linear and radial gradients. The linear gradient removal feature uses calculations designed to match the types of gradients you encounter from light pollution, moonlight, and other typical nighttime sources. Radial gradient removal is useful for those times when you don't have a flat handy.
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