Light Frames Exposure Series
On the lower half of the Lights Frame tab, there are 8 series to define the exposures that will be taken for a given target. Any or all series can be enabled. Exposures are taken in series order from 1 to 8.
Series: When checked, the series is enabled. When not checked, the series is skipped and the remainder of the fields for the series are grayed out as a visual reminder.
Focus: When checked, the focus method and settings defined on the Focusing page are executed at the start of the series with the chosen filter.
Number: This is the number of exposures that will be taken for a given series.
Filter: When using a filter wheel, this defines the filter to be used for the series exposure(s). When a filter wheel is not present, this entry will not be present.
Binning: This is the binning to be used for the series exposure(s).
Exp Time: This is the exposure time in seconds to be used for the series exposure(s). When the exposure time is set to 0 and Focus is checked, only a focus operation will be performed. This is useful if you want to use a specific star to focus on before or during a target session. You can set a target to be that focus star, select one series with Focus checked and exposure set to 0 and that star will be used for focus. By interspersing the focus star target among multiple instances of the same target, you can specify the focus star to be used. When focusing with this arrangement, the Focus Method chosen on the Focusing page will be maintained and restored. What this means is this. Assume you have chosen SkyStar as your focusing method. If you introduce a target (presumably a focus star) and have both checked Focus and set Exp. Time to 0, the system will slew to that point, focus using the Brightest Star in FOV method and then move on to the next target using SkyStar as specified for any focusing with non-zero Exp. Time.
Guide Time: This is the guide exposure time in seconds for the series. If Guider AutoExposure is checked on the Guiding page, this entry will be ignored. However, if a non-zero Guide_Factor is entered for the target, this entry times the Guide_Factor will be the number of seconds the start of the imager exposure will be delayed. If Guider AutoExposure is not checked and a 0 is entered for this value, this series will be unguided, regardless of the guider selection.
Delay Time: This is the time in seconds the start of the next exposure will be delayed.
Description: You can enter a custom description here. If the description field on any series on the Session page is not blank, then the file name will be defined by that Description, followed by a 5 digit sequence number, followed by a file type extension, typically .fit. If the description field is blank, the default file naming convention defined on the Settings page, File Settings tab will take effect. See the File Setting topic for additional information.
Running a program or script after each exposure
It is possible to run a program or script after each exposure. This is enabled by appending '@' followed directly (no spaces) by the program or script file name to the Description entry (if any). The program or script file (not shortcut) must be located in (My) Documents\CCDWare\CCDAutoPilot5\Scripts\. This is a synchronous event. In other words, the session will not proceed until the program or script completes and returns control to CCDAutoPilot. The program or script name should be at the end of any other description, if present, or by itself if no other description is entered, but always preceded by the '@' symbol. Note the '@' symbol should not be part of the program or script name as this is an invalid character for a windows file. The program or script to be run will be shown in the Session Summary on the Run page and the execution of the program or script will be logged.
The ditto button , is a convenient way to replicate the setting of a given column in the first series to all the series below.
Context (Right-click) Menu
Right-clicking anywhere in the Series section of the page will bring up the context menu.
The left box describes Template management and is discussed in the Templates topic. The last entry, Show Goals, changes to the Goals Template, which is showed on the right.
Goal Oriented Imaging
In some cases, a number of exposures is desired for each filter or series. Unfortunately clouds, guiding and other factors can intervene to make some exposures unsuitable. Through CCDAutoPilot's data assessment capability, the number of usable exposures can be identified at the end of the evening. Even if more exposures per filter a desired than can be obtained in a given evening are desired, this feature can be used with or without data assessment. Here is what is displayed when Show Goals is selected:
Note the new Achieved and Goal columns. Achieved is the number of exposures that were achieved the previous night. This will be 0 for the first time the exposure is taken but will be populated after some exposures have been achieved. Goal is the desired number of exposures. So, for the first night, select Goal = Number from the menu. This sets the goals as shown below:
With the goals set, the session can be run. After the session is run and data assessment was done on each exposure, we might see something like this:
3 R frames and 4 G frames were achieved. After selecting Number = Goal - Achieved:
We can see that 3 R frames and 2 G frames are ready to be taken tonight.