Automating My Telescope – Raspberry Pi and Arduino

[UPDATE 10-02-18]

If you are looking for an ASCOM compliant DIY Focuser, please see this post EQFocuser Instructions

Focuser

I’m not sure why focusers are so expensive while I don’t see some really advanced technology or cool stuff with it? Maybe because there’s not much competition in the space and in fact, you might be able to develop or build one for you that is much better.

Anyway I’m planning to use my Raspberry Pi and Arduino with some stepper motor for controlling the focuser, but again, it’s an overkill to use raspi and arduino just to control the focuser so I decided to put some more. How about controlling the tracking motors?

Declination and Right Ascention Motors

This is going to be a tough shot, but we’ll see. Just to add that I also have another project for this which is converting my existing 50×9 finder scope as a scope guider with a moded SPC700NC webcam.

Web Cam

This was the original purpose why I bought the raspi so I can share some cool images and making the telescope totally autonomous. Just point to that direction and all video feeds will be coming from the raspi.

Web Server

NodeJS running on raspi is like a piece of cake. But I need to build an appealing and exciting UI for this.

Raspi and arduino, controlling telescopes focuser, camera, declination and ascention motors

References

Easy Driver

Motor Focuser DIY

Raspberry Pi and Arduino Lesson 10 – Stepper Motors

Peace

2I2B3871.jpg

A woman and a dog playing, enjoying what nature offers for free. Fortunate enough to catch this wonderful moment after a wonderful INC Unity Games.

Taken at the University of California East Bay Parking D, this awesome view provided me some significant understanding of the Canon 5D Mark III’s built in HDR processing capability.

Auto Guider

Facing a couple of problem in terms of adding an Auto Guider that will definitely improve my pictures.  Instead of buying an auto guider kit, I’m thinking of building from scratch and re-using some of the things that I already have.

Recently I bought an old used Philips SPC 700 NC which I’m thinking of using primarily for planetary viewing, but since I’m already over the mount weight limit, I’ll just use it with my Celestron 50 x 9 Finder Scope as my Auto Guider.

 

UPDATE (Sept 9, 2014)

It’s not that I gave up with making my own Auto Guider but due to the lack of time, I simply went to Amazon and purchased a StarShoot AutoGuider. The post is HERE

Explore Scientific 5x Focal Extender (Barlow Lens)

After 3 weeks of ordering it via Amazon, Focus Camera is the merchant, I finally got it. It was really a very bad experience ordering with Focus Camera. It took them 2 weeks to ship and another week to deliver. I had a couple of emails to the merchant but it seems that they just don’t care. Anyway…

Unfortunately too tired to test this out but hopefully tomorrow night will be a good time to see how this perform.

I purchased this mostly because of planetary imaging specially getting a good focus on Saturn and Jupiter.

Explore Scientific 5x Barlow Lens

My passion since I was a kid

Looking at the stars and galaxies have always been part of me ever since I was a kid. I know that someday this passion will come true and this day it began.

My telescope arrived as a kit and just to test out that everything is working properly, I decided to point it to the easiest recognizable planet which is Saturn.  It was cool, and my kids enjoyed it.  That was fun.

Declination, Ascession motors, controllers working properly, setting up the tripod and mount was challenging as everything is heavy and needs special care. This was just a rough test since the motors should be able to track stars, galaxies and planets and haven’t tested those.

Celestron 11" Schmidt Cassegrain with AVX mount

Next was to setup astrophotography but that was very difficult as I’m a beginner, I have very little skills and knowledge.  It took weeks for me to do my research and testing out my telescope. The experience was a little bit frustrating specially in finding Polaris to align the telescope.

Decided to buy the Celestron Auto Star Align and made life a breeze, was finally able to do astrophotography and the Dumbbell Nebula was the first result.

Celestron StarSense AutoAlign