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ACP: Quick Start Tutorial
Views: 3730 Last Updated: 2010-07-07 22:59

This tutorial shows you how to take single images in ACP. Color Series, Multiple Images, and other tools are very similar and build on the functionality covered here. The tutorial uses images from the ACP Live Demo - Red Mountain Simulated Observatory.

Once you have logged in with your username and password, you see the observatory information in the System Status section. At the start, this is the only section visible. You can reveal more sections by using the menu at left; you can also close sections by using the menu at the top right of every section.

To begin, click on the Observing menu at top left to open it and reveal the menu choices.

Click on the "Single Image" menu option to open the section for taking a single image.

To take an image of an object from a catalog, enter the target's designation. In this example, the catalog is Messier ("M") and the number is '94'. Click the link "Get Coordinates or Ephemeris" to fill in the RA and Dec fields.

Important: You must always put a space between the catalog abbreviation and the number.

Tip: You can also enter any name you want in the target name box, and then manually type in RA and Dec coordinates.

Enter a duration in seconds, select a filter from the drop-down list, and select the Binning mode you want to use.

Note: This example shows check boxes for auto focus and (hidden) auto calibration. For most (if not all) of our telescopes, these options are pre-set and you will not see them. Typically, focus will occur once an hour, and all images are auto-calibrated. Both the RAW and the calibrated version of the image is saved. A JPG copy, not show here, is also saved for quick viewing.

Click the "Acquire Image" button to start the exposure. You will see text like the following immediately below the button:

OK! M 94 coordinates set... az=064.4 alt=50.4 rising: transit at 82.7 deg alt in 199min

In addition, ACP will display the directives it wrote to implement your plan.

You can learn more about directives in the ACP Reference Guide. Go to the link, and click on the Directives link near the bottom of the list.

You can watch the ACP log as the imaging process unfolds. Go back to the System Status section, and click on the "ShowHide Run Log and Abort Control" button top open the log. We have a sample run log in this article.

If you make a mistake, you can click the "Stop Run" button to abort the exposure. During the exposure, the System Status section will display up-to-the-second information about the exposure, including guide errors, time remaining, and info about the observatory and telescope as well.

When the exposure completes, the screen will darken and ACP will display a thumbnail version of your image. Click the X at top right of the image to close it.

You can click on the "My Documents" menu item to reveal the "" menu item. Click it to look at your recently acquired images. The screen capture below shows two views: the top half shows folders; click on a folder name to view the files in the folder (bottom half).

Your images are copied to a temporary FTP server within 5-10 minutes of when you take them, and to a long-term FTP server the next morning. See this article for information on how to access the image servers.

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