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Imaging Quality and Target Selection Tool
#6
I have an imaging rig set up all the time.  I switch the configuration occasionally between wide field and long focal length.  During the summertime I transport the rig to a remote site at each new moon.

I have two different automation setups that I use.  Historically, I've used CCDAutoPilot & MaxIm/DL fully automated.  I create sessions in CCDAP and start the system before dusk.  I collect the data from the computer at the scope the next morning.

For the last year, I have been using Sequence Generator Pro with PHD2.  My usage pattern is similar to what I do with CCDAP.  I made the switch primarily to gain familiarity with SGP, since I spend a lot of time helping people with their imaging setups, particularly at the remote site star parties in the summer.

For both setups, I have a number of template sessions that I use as starting points, depending on the nature of the imaging.  For example, I have a template session for RGB imaging and a separate template session for narrow band imaging.  

My goal is to collect data whenever I have a clear night.  I am not working towards any particular goals with regard to targets.  I'm mainly interested in picking a target that will frame well with whatever configuration that I'm using and will be available for enough time on a given night to gather usable data.  I also tend to not publish my work.  I image simply because I enjoy doing it (although my wife has been pressing me to share more of my work, so I've been posting some of it to Astrobin).  I do tune the session parameters based on a review of the imaging field.  I consider both the stars and the target object itself.

I've been both an astrophotographer and visual astronomer for more than 20 years.  I know the sky pretty well and currently pick my imaging targets by looking at the sky and picking something that I am familiar with.

What I'm looking to do is to expand my target list beyond the ones that I know.  In particular, I'd like to find interesting targets that are not commonly imaged.  My current thinking is that I want to have a list of candidate objects for each week of the year.  That way, when I have a clear night, I can look at the list for that week and pick one, either that I've not done before, or one for which I would like to collect more or better data.

I've been working with SkyTools with some "what if" scenarios.  For example, I've been wanting to image Jones 1 in Pegasus.  My best opportunity to do that is at Oregon Star Party on a year when the new moon is in late August.  It's a dim object that benefits from the SQM 22 skies there, even though it's better placed seasonally a bit later.  My home skies are closer to SQM 20.5.  I tried to get SkyTools to offer it as a potential target, but it's duration in the Target Selection tool tends to filter it out.  Note that this is an unusual scenario in that I actually have a known target that I want to get.  I used it as a "what if" scenario so that I could see what parameters I would have to use to get SkyTools to suggest it.

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks,
-Wade

On Edit:  Oh, and I just wanted to clarify that I referenced Jones 1.  It's also known as PK 104-29.1 or PN G104.2-29.6.  That's fine.  I do see it on the Target Selection list.  It's just another one with a really low duration time, which is why it gets filtered out when I narrow the list by Duration.
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RE: Imaging Quality and Target Selection Tool - by wadeh - 2018-11-05, 04:33 AM

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