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Remotely controlling a telescope mount with a game controller

I haven’t managed to do any real astronomy for almost two months now due to work and (mostly) poor weather.

But next time I do, I am now completely PC-controlled.

This video shows the mount being controlled by a wireless Logitech Rumblepad 2 connected to an Acer One netbook which in turn controls the mount hardware. A high-sensitivity QHY5 CCD camera is attached to a 80mm refractor telescope piggybacked onto the larger main imaging reflector and is used as a guidescope. Previously I had a standalone autoguider but I found the 1-bit screen and lack of control to be restrictive. So now the guide camera and the imaging camera (a specially modified Canon 1000D DSLR) feed into the netbook.

I have yet to calibrate the setup under the stars but expect that even without any calibration or periodic error correction (a way to compensate for minute errors in the mounts gearing) that this setup will give me better results than I’ve had before.

And here for your enjoyment is a short video, made entirely on the iPhone 4 from the couch just moments after I had success 🙂

Published inAstronomy

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