Sharpcap FULL FUNCTIONALITY in Practise mode

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CarlGreen
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:06 am

Sharpcap FULL FUNCTIONALITY in Practise mode

#1

Post by CarlGreen »

Is there a way of using Sharpcap in a completely functioning mode (As if you had a telescope/guiding/camera already attached) so that all the functions worked?
The reason being that you could then practice using Sharpcap as if you were actually in an imaging session (Targets images of most objects must be out there somewhere?) whatever time of the day (or night) you wanted.
Is this functionality available already? or could it be integrated in the future?
Just a thought.
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Fir Chlis
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Re: Sharpcap FULL FUNCTIONALITY in Practise mode

#2

Post by Fir Chlis »

I do this (as I’m sure many others do) with Sky Simulator (free download) with the scope set to Telescope Simulator for .NET (I think this comes with the EQMOD/ASCOM standard install).

There’s also (you may know this anyway) the two test cameras, and the folder monitor camera.

Hope this helps.

Geoff
Fir Chlis - The Nimble Men (Northern Lights) - Scottish Gaelic
Jean-Francois
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Re: Sharpcap FULL FUNCTIONALITY in Practise mode

#3

Post by Jean-Francois »

Hello Carl,

You can do a lot with the ASCOM simulators.
You have a simulator for the focuser, the filter-wheel, the mount, the camera and other components.

For the camera ... you have a really useful tool with the Sky Simulator: https://sourceforge.net/projects/sky-simulator/

Note that it could be tricky to have a working installation. (I had last week a problem with the telescope simulator:
SharpCap was starting a different thread of the ASCOM Telescope as Sky Simulator. The result was that a coordinate change in SharpCap was without effect in the Sky Simulator). I "solved" the problem by installing the last ASCOM 6.6 SP2.

In the last version of Sky Simulator, it seems to be possible to set a polar alignment error and other tracking errors.
You can have background illumination and readout noise. I guess that it is not yet possible to add seeing error.
I tried the SharpCap Polar Alignment with the Sky Simulator. It was not working properly. It seems to have a bug in the case the DEC is exactly 90°.

For the guiding ... you can use Sky Simulator with PHD2 and SharpCap at the same time.

Regards,
Jean-Francois
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Re: Sharpcap FULL FUNCTIONALITY in Practise mode

#4

Post by admin »

Hi,

yes, I use Sky Simulator a lot, along with the ASCOM simulator devices for mount, focuser, etc. I would suggest going into the ASCOM camera settings for the sky simulator camera and ticking the box to allow the gain to be set. You can then turn the gain up to 1000 in SharpCap and get a reasonably bright image without needing a long exposure (maybe just 2s or so).

I've had issues with sky simulator getting a blank image (or just random noise in the image - no stars). This is usually down to the image file path not being the same between the main sky simulator program and the ASCOM sky simulator camera (ie the main program is writing the image to one place on the disk, and the ASCOM camera driver is looking for it somewhere else). One to watch out for!

cheers,

Robin
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