If you build an astronomy device and want to control it with some awesome PC software, then you need to write an ASCOM (AStronomy Common Object Model) driver. There are great resources available for writing a single ASCOM driver for your DIY astronomy equipment. Check out the video on the ASCOM website for a guide on writing a single-device driver! But say, for instance, you have two devices (a Telescope and a Focuser) and would like to control them with one microcontroller. Or say you want to control your telescope with Astrophotography Toolkit AND PHD2 at the same time. Then you need to write a Driver Server!
Astrophotography is a bit of a money pit. I recently delved into it with my 80-200 f/2.8L and a home-built tracking mount. It was so much fun that I decided to buy a telescope! So my entire budget went into an 80mm APO.
The problem was that a telescope alone is useless for star pics – some quality infrastructure is needed. This post is about my attempt to affordably build the following components:
- High-precision Tracking Mount with an ASCOM-compliant driver
- Guide camera and scope to help the tracking
- Portable Power supply
- Telescope Focusing motor with an ASCOM-compliant driver
At the last minute, I purchased a sheet of Baader Planetarium solar film for the eclipse on Monday. With little time to spare, the film was taped to a cardboard box and slid over my telescope. Prayers were made that the wind wouldn’t blow the film off of the scope, and the next day I decided to build a proper holder for the expensive film – $100 CAD for an 8″ x 11″ sheet!