First off a big thank you to Tom How for patiently walking me through how to configure his fantastic “synch” program to accommodate a second “slave” camera. Tom has written some very useful code that works with Maxim DL that allows you to use multiple cameras – WITH DITHERING!! We all know the problems involved in trying to do this, well Tom’s program allocates one of the cameras as the “master” – for convenience this is the one I have the guide camera connected to, you can then string as many slaves as you want off the master. When you click “start” on the master camera it triggers the slaves into imaging as well. You have the slaves set on only one repeat, the master can have as many repeats (subs) as you fancy. The master will finishing imaging and it will then have the built in delay time for the dithering to settle down. If you have the slaves set to the same exposure time as the master, then they too will have downloaded their data within the master’s settling time. The master will then fire up again to take the second sub and in doing so will trigger the slaves to start taking sub number 2 as well. It is a great system.
So why did I need to modify the synch program? Because I am preparing to add a third imager to the mini-WASP array. Currently there are two Sky 90s with an M26C on each scope with an overlapped FOV so that I am going for a bigger FOV rather than grabbing twice as much data, in a given time, on the same object. The third scope, which I ordered from Bern at Modern Astronomy, is a very interesting-looking TS 80mm triplet APO at f#6. The plan is to put an M26C on this scope (which means putting the M25C back on the Hyperstar, which to be honest is a better match for the Hyperstar anyway) and use it to image the OVERLAPPING part of the two Sky 90s. It will do this at high resolution (2.58 arc seconds per pixel) and it will provide higher resolution data exactly where it is needed, right in the overlap region of the two Sky 90s.
I got enough time last outing to see that my friend’s (Polydoros) Sky 90 is good enough for the second imager, even though it does have slightly pinched optics, I’m just going to have to live with that until I get my own Sky 90 properly collimated, which might mean I live with it forever 🙂
I’m surprised at just how fast these projects can run away from you, but I am relieved that this one all seems to be coming together just in time for this year’s imaging season.
Now all I need are some clear Moonless skies – that could be another long wait 🙁