Standalone Autoguiding for Webcams
I've been trying my hand at film-based astrophotography for a couple of years now. Like most people I started off doing widefield imaging and had some early successes. But once I moved in to prime-focus photography, I quickly realized that I needed an autoguiding setup. Spending hours hunched over a reticle eyepiece in the cold did not appeal to me. Since I had a long-exposure modified webcam, I started searching the web for some suitable guiding software. What I found was either no support for the LX modification, support for a very specific mount, or integration into a complete and sometimes complicated webcam imaging platform. What I really wanted was a standalone program, dedicated to autoguding, useful for film photography, and something that was easy to use.
So I started writing some code! I wrote the software to control my 10" LX200, but made a conscious decision to try and make the software as generic as possible. By writing the code to use the ASCOM standard for telescopes, I didn't lock myself into a particular mount or telescope. I also used the Video for Windows interface for camera control. So any camera that has a VFW driver, and can get a star to display on the screen, should be able to guide a scope.
Now that the code is working well for me, I've decided to release it to the astronomical community in hopes that others will find it useful as well. Theoretically the software should work with any mount which supports the ASCOM PulseGuide() method. This should include any of the the Meade LX series, Meade Autostar based scopes, Celestron GPS and Nexstar i models, and many other scopes/mounts.
I wrote this software for myself, using my camera, and my scope. It may very well work for you, but then again it may not. Try it and see! I will make an effort to correct bugs found in the code, but don't have the time or resources to troubleshoot problems with various mounts, and cameras. This software is Free for your own personal use. You may not distribute it in any way, but may link to my website if you like. The software is provided "AS-IS" with no warranty or guarantee. The author is not responsible/liable for any damage resulting from the use of this software.
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