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Workflow - Just Wondering, Not Frustrated!
#1
Hi Greg,

I've been in a bit of analysis paralysis deciding how to set up my targets, lists, projects and programs in ST4.   You may not have an answer or opinion, but I figured it might be a helpful discussion for others as well.  And I'm sure you have some vision as to the best way to use these, so... :-) 

I have two cameras and three OTA's, and run all six permutations.  ASI1600MM with LRGB/SHO filters and ASI1600MC (OSC) cameras.  EdgeHD 9.25 SCT, and two refractors, 80 and 120mm.

The MyT on the permanent pier uses ACP Expert, the portable one is my "experimental platform," currently mostly running Prism but I mix things up there as far as acquisition software.

I like to get a lot of data on an object, so once I have an "Imaging System" set up on my mounts (one permanent pier, one portable), it's not going to change until I get the data - which means probably several months.

Independently of ST4, here's my "real world workflow:"

1)  Accumulate interesting targets all the time - magazines, Astrobin, CloudyNights, local imaging group, whatever.  I see something, think "I'd like to image that," and jot it down.
1a)  I'd like to stick these "wishlist" items in a list rather than keeping them on a slip of paper - but what list?  One big one (you warn against performance if the lists get too big)?  One per Imaging System?  One per observing "season" - (time of year)?    But I may not image them for years - I just want to keep them around so when it comes time to pick the next ones, I have some that I have pre-qualified to a degree, vs. a database of thousands of objects.

2)  For the ACP Expert System, I want to "keep it fed" so I don't lose valuable imaging time by having it sit idle during a good night because nothing qualifies to run.  During the new moon week, anything goes.  As the moon gets brighter, I'll need some narrow band targets in ACP's list.  

 I code my ACP Expert targets by OTA and only enable the ACP Expert projects corresponding to the OTA currently mounted.  So I prefix my project names in ACP with "925" for the Edge, "80" and "120" for the refractors.  That makes it easy to sort the list in ACP and pause any projects that didn't finish when I dismounted the OTA.  

The key here as far as ST4 goes is that I need to schedule new projects for ACP that correspond to the mounted OTA.  Perhaps that should define an ST4 "Imaging Program?"

3)  For the portable system, when a clear night approaches, I want to pick things from either incomplete projects or new items from my wishlist that haven't run yet, and are appropriate for the mounted Imaging System on that mount.  I then want to schedule the night's imaging, presumably using the Scheduler in ST4.

3a)  I also want to track progress for the projects underway on this system.  It may take a couple of months - or years - to get 20 - 30 hours of good data on an object.  Weather!

4) And closing the loop, when a project is done, I want a record of that to remind me that I've imaged it already - so when two years from now I see a cool image on Astrobin, I can remind myself that I imaged that myself two years ago!

So, Jedi Master, what's a good structure using the power of ST4 to accommodate this workflow?  

And it's OK to say, "Read the Manual!"

Cheers,
Rowland
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#2
Hi Rowland,

Regarding ACP Expert, you said, "The key here as far as ST4 goes is that I need to schedule new projects for ACP that correspond to the mounted OTA. Perhaps that should define an ST4 "Imaging Program?'" I may not be following correctly, but it sounds like you are asking for ST4 to mark the ACP Scheduler plans by the OTA being used? ST4 doesn't have a way to do that directly. It assumes that Scheduler is always using the same imaging system that you are logged into and that this imaging system doesn't change regularly. If you have a suggestion, such as a customized string that can be appended to a plan name or something, let me know.

Regarding the portable system, that should fall into the standard workflow, which is covered in the help system and in the Youtube videos. Here is a summary:

1. Create your own Custom target lists. Make as many as you want, organized in a way that works for you. Type to add to a list via the Add Objects button. Download lists from the web and copy interesting targets to your own list. Too long of a list means hundreds or even thousands of objects, not dozens. Use the Database Power Search tool to make more of your own lists. Once you have lists, use the Target Selection Tool to find lots of potential targets, by using just the Scale and Prime Time of Year filters.

2. Create an Imaging Project for each object that you want to observe. Create multiple Observing Programs to organize your imaging projects.

3. Use the Scheduler to schedule the many projects that you have created for a particular night. Select a single Observing Program to narrow down the project lists.

4. As projects are observed, open each project and add the observations that were made via the Observations tab. The quickest way to do this is to read the FITS header for the first in each set of images. The next time you use the Scheduler it will only schedule the required observations needed to finish each project. As each filter is finished for each project they will be marked as completed.

5. Use the Project Manager to review your observations in any way that you want.

I will be creating new videos as soon as I have the time.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#3
Is there a way to get the scheduler to schedule multiple nights, without entering observations?

(schedule multiple nights ahead of any observations).

Thanks
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#4
(2018-11-30, 12:30 AM)dts350z Wrote: Is there a way to get the scheduler to schedule multiple nights, without entering observations?

(schedule multiple nights ahead of any observations).

Thanks

Hello,

Normally it's just a matter of changing the date and generating a schedule for the new date. The schedule for each date+imaging system are saved in a unique file. If that isn't working for you, please let me know a bit more about what you are doing. E.g. using  Real Time, ACP, iTelescope, etc.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#5
OK I see that if I go to the next day it continues the plan (taking into account what was already done).

Not sure it every finishes, might just be repeating filters, but I didn't look real close but I will.

Pressing "Plan Settings" in the schedule dialog doesn't seem to do anything.

Pressing "Save Plan" in the schedule dialog doesn't seem to do anything.

Right click "report" in the schedule dialog doesn't seem to do anything.

How do you print a plan?
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#6
Hi,

I can't really comment unless I know how you set up your imaging system. It is vitally important, because SkyTools works differently depending on the settings in the imaging system. We also have to be really careful with our terms or it gets very confusing. e.g. a schedule and a plan aren't the same thing. Please tell me what settings you have on the Control System dialog of your imaging system. Then tell me a little about how you image (directly connected telescope, ACP, Scheduler, SGP, etc.) so I can make sure that you have things set up correctly. Only when you have done this will I be able to answer your questions.

BTW a plan is a series of things you intend to do. A schedule is a series of things that you are going to do at specific times. So the right side of the Scheduler dialog is a schedule, not a plan. But if you use ACP, or iTelescope, you can generate a plan from the Schedule. This is because ACP doesn't support scheduling (no times), only a plan.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#7
Hi Greg - thanks for taking the time to answer this. I do have one followup comment to your note about ACP Scheduler plan names:

(2018-11-12, 07:22 PM)theskyhound Wrote: Regarding ACP Expert, you said, "The key here as far as ST4 goes is that I need to schedule new projects for ACP that correspond to the mounted OTA. Perhaps that should define an ST4 "Imaging Program?'" I may not be following correctly, but it sounds like you are asking for ST4 to mark the ACP Scheduler plans by the OTA being used? ST4 doesn't have a way to do that directly. It assumes that Scheduler is always using the same imaging system that you are logged into and that this imaging system doesn't change regularly. If you have a suggestion, such as a customized string that can be appended to a plan name or something, let me know.

I would definitely like to be able to modify or even specify the ACP Scheduler plan names submitted by ST4.

The ability to create ACP Scheduler plan names using a template would be ideal. I.e., a template string that included a combination of text plus substitution strings that ST4 replaces using project information when it generates the plan name. I have my own system for ACP Scheduler plan names, but I'm sure other people have their own, different ones. Just FYI, my plan names are usually something like "120 M13 Hercules Globular Cluster." The "120" prefix means that plan uses my 120mm refractor OTA. ACP Scheduler lists projects alphabetically, so all my 120mm refractor plans are grouped together in the ACP Scheduler web tool, making it easy to pause or resume them as a group when I put that OTA on the mount.

Thanks,
Rowland
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#8
I didn't mean to thread jack, I will start another for my issues.
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