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  What to do if the Scheduler is Driving you Mad!
Posted by: theskyhound - 2018-09-27, 10:53 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Imaging - No Replies

Hello everyone,

I am scheduling observations for tonight and almost threw my computer out of the window. If that can happen to me, it sure as hell is going to happen to others. So rather than having to buy a new computer or up your blood pressure meds, here are a few suggestions to make things go more smoothly.

1. Take some time to set everything up correctly. Think of it like flying an plane. A pilot doesn't just take off down the runway, they run through a checklist first. Before you even think of starting up, make sure everything is working properly. In our case that means meticulously setting up every detail of our imaging system. Once ready to go, use this pre-scheduling checklist:

  • Check to make sure you have the right imaging system
  • Check to make sure you have the right location
  • Check to make sure you have the right night
  • Set the weather and seeing conditions to what you expect. It is best to schedule no more than a few hours before you start imaging so that you have a good idea of what the conditions will be
Now that's not so bad is it? What I did was forget to set my weather and seeing conditions. I got some unexpected results and started second guessing everything. When I opened other tools, such as the exposure calculator, I again forgot to make sure that I was using the right weather and seeing. As a result, I ended up with a big inconsistent mess that I was unable to make any sense of.

2. Give the Scheduler lots of hints about what you want. Even with its highly advanced AI, ST4 is not a mind reader. Computers have an annoying way of doing exactly what you tell them to. So tell it exactly what you want:
  • Use the project priority to tell the Scheduler which projects you think are the most important. Pro tip: right-click in the Priority column for an imaging project to change the priority directly from the Scheduler.
  • Carefully consider what the minimum IQ should be for each project. Avoid low minimum IQ settings (C and lower) as much as possible. If you tell it you only need "D" level images, it gets lazy and gives you the crappy images that you asked for. Demand better images, even if that means having to wait. Pro tip: right-click in the IQ column for an imaging project to change the IQ from the Scheduler.
  • Log your observations via the Observations tab of each Imaging Project. Assign a quality value to each image, and set a minimum acceptable quality. SkyTools will use this information to tell the Scheduler what it needs to do to finish the project the next night.
3. Use the Auto Scheduler. Probably because I am trying to force as much as possible out of the limited observing time available to me, I usually schedule manually, by adding one project at a time. Do as I say, not as I do. 

SkyTools 4 is new. It likely still has some bugs in it. You may not have set everything up exactly right. But never forget that it is smarter than we are. Unless you have good reason to suspect that it is broken, listen to it.  If it wants to spend the whole night getting the H-alpha filter for one project, then just sigh, throw up your hands, and do what it tells you to do. Big Grin

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  Program Crash
Posted by: galljj - 2018-09-27, 01:44 AM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Support - Replies (4)


I now find that when I right click to open the a chart from within the  target selection menu I get a series of errors - Logid:Sing Error ( twice), then Sqrt: Domain error, following which the program terminates.  Other right-click actions still work.  Attempting to invoke the last chart function from the top level also causes the program to terminate.

This is a new issue - previously right clicking worked fine - and I  created an obstructed horizon.  Since last successful operation, the following has happened:

1.  Some random Windows update
2. I activated an Avast Cleanup premium subscription and ran that program.  I kept program log files, and similar program specific items.

Taking a clue from the bitdefender problem, I uninstalled all the avast software ( I was previously using avast internet security - but that seemed to have caused no problem)

and then I ninstalled ST4 and I deleted the appdata/local/skyhound/skytools4/database files.

I reinstalled ST4.

But I still get the problem.

One odd point is that when I relaunch ST4 after the fresh install it still finds the imaging systems I had previously set up.  Is there another ST4 file that I missed deleting ?

ANy help appreciated.


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  False Azimut values
Posted by: Attila - 2018-09-26, 11:07 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Support - Replies (2)

Hi Greg,

I am afraid have found a new (?) bug: Azimut values of several objects in any list (e.g. Current Comet here) is +180° 00' (or +000° 00' in a few cases) which is obviously not correct; see below.



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  Scheduler questions ...
Posted by: choward94002 - 2018-09-26, 04:34 PM - Forum: Deep Sky Astrophotography - Replies (13)

I've been fiddling around with the scheduler, and am noticing something that's got me baffled ...


I've created a project as shown; 60 SNR, "Main extent/ arms" detail, IQ of A, multiple nights exposure ...


... when we look at the project in the Night Bar it looks OK; we have a blue line when it's possible to expose, a red line for the altitude, moon is tucked away, and we have two green bars; the top one we see an IQ B period from 2240 to 2300, an IQ A period from 2300 to 0050, then another IQ B band from 0050 to 0205, finally a "no way" band from 0205 to 0215.  In the lower bar we see a short period for setup in red, a period of time from 2305 to 0050 when it's good to expose and a yellow indent bar to indicate what region it's indicating.  That's all good ... I specified the minimum project detail as IQ A, multiple nights, cool ... and that's reflected in the top listbox ...

Notice on the bottom listbox it's giving me my filter time starting at 23:05 with 62x1 lights (it's occluded, but that listbox indicates it will be 2% complete toward my SNR 60 goal with this.  That makes sense, this is an SQM 19.1 site so I expect a short exposure time to help mitigate the skyfog, integration time of 62m ..

Look at the "Schedule" listbox though ... it shows at 23:02 I slew on over and change my filters and it's scheduling me for 62x1 lights, that's fine ...

If I bring up the "Exposure Calculator" to get a better idea of my signal and sky ADU values the Night Bar looks similar to the main one, and I get three "Exposure Opportunities" which correspond to the three green bands in the main bar; I've selected the middle one for IQ A, cool ...

... but here's where it gets strange; in the "Exposure Opportunities" for that IQ A row it's telling me a duration of 65min (fine, that's pretty close to 62min) but it's saying the ideal exp time is 1sec, when on the main dialog it's calling for 1min (one second is too short anyway unless I'm taking 65 * 60 lights for a total integration time of 65min).  Stranger still, in the "Calculate SNR for Exposure" it first set the "total time" edit for 115m and then in the group box it's telling me about 13 exp at 8min, which gives us a total integration time of 114min which matches the time of 115m it put into the edit box.

If I manually adjust the 115m that it put there to the 65min that the main dialog and the "Exposure Opportunities" listbox row call for then the text numbers get closer ... but am I doing something wrong that's causing these effects in the first place?


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  Feature request - Save plotted image
Posted by: CsMisi - 2018-09-25, 06:19 AM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Imaging - Replies (3)

Hey Greg!

A request if I may have: I really like how SkyTools does integrate into the interactive atlas my image with the help of a wcs.fit file and plots the objects on it (see attachment). My question is: would it be hard to implement a "Save plotted image" function, where SkyTools would save my image with the original orientation and original size with the objects noted on it just like it is on the interactive atlas?  Of course the save would consider the orientation of the image and save it correctly labeled.

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  Screen scaling
Posted by: CsMisi - 2018-09-23, 06:11 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Support - No Replies

I have a problem with the new SkyTools 4 Imaging, I have installed it on my laptop (I use my laptop on the field) and my laptop comes with a recommended screen scaling of 125% (because it is a small screen but high resolution). And if I leave it on this scaling you can see in the attachment what happens. I f I leave it on 100% everything is small but at least the Interactive Atlas is working. Is there an easy fix for this or we must wait for an update? On the laptop I have a dual card Intel / Nvidia set up bu the problem is present on my PC too if I scale it to 125%, on my PC I have an integrated Intel Graphics Card (Intel HD Graphics 630)

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  Exposure Calculator
Posted by: galljj - 2018-09-21, 08:24 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Imaging - Replies (9)

Hi Greg

Quick Issue.  When using the exposure calculator, the tab for selecting the gain seems not to work.  In all the other top line radio button, when I click on them, a drop down window opens.  But with the gain, it seems to be stuck at a value of 2.3, which isn't one of the options I have entered for my ASI294 camera.

Any suggestions ?

Another point, the read noise you have entered for the ASI294 appears to be for an uncooled camera (it is the 10 C value).  For cooled cameras it is much lower - typically below the smallest value you can accept of 0.01.

BTW, I am having fun getting accustomed to this new  tool.  Thank god it is cloudy out.  How often have I said that ?


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  Usage questions ..
Posted by: choward94002 - 2018-09-21, 12:25 AM - Forum: Deep Sky Astrophotography - Replies (14)

Greets all!  A quick question while I work with this ST4 wonder! I understand that I can schedule a project for multiple or single nights to control when it completes, as well as ongoing to keep repeating the session again and again.  There is also (apparently only for comets and minor planets) the ability to get multiple observations per night ... but what if I want to get repeating completions per night?  

In other works, say my project of a DSO can complete with session time of 60min, but the object will be in the appropriate IQ area for 130min that evening.  I have set the exposure to be "Ongoing" so what I would like to do would be to have ST4 schedule two runs of the session, just like it does with multiple observations, so I would finish the night with two project completions rather than one ... changing the object type to Astrometry or Photometry doesn't ungrey the Exposure Goals checks from which I would control this capability ... ideas?


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  Transfering user data and log files from ST3Pro to ST4I
Posted by: Attila - 2018-09-19, 06:57 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Imaging - Replies (4)


I have upgraded my SkyTools and am installing ST4I right now and am wondering how I can transfer my existing user data (e.g. telescopes, cameras, filters, etc.) and user log records from ST3Pro to ST4I?
I hope there is some kind of "automatic process" to do this data migration (e.g. via sync database?).


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  OTA dialog Box restriction issue
Posted by: yruinaq - 2018-09-19, 01:36 PM - Forum: SkyTools 4 Support - Replies (2)

Trying to set up sky Tools 4.

I have found that i can only enter a maximun of 4 OTAs in my OTAs dialog box which is accessed from the Telescope Optical Tube Assembly dialog box.

Is this correct?

Any help will be appreciated

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