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CHDK AstroKam

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What it does

AstroKam is a Windows application that lets you control your CHDK camera via USB remote control. It is designed to take long exposures of the night sky. It has LiveView and copies of your camera buttons which allows you to set all the camera parameters remotely as well as RAW shooting. It also allows you to set multi-second duration exposures for deep sky work with the following options:


  1. Single exposure.
  2. Sequence of exposures for stacking.
  3. Sky survey plans of different targets using ASCOM controlled telescope mounts.
  4. Automatic dark and bias frames.
  5. Flat and dark flat frames routine.
  6. Automatic generation of Deep Sky Stacker project files.

Installation

You must have the following 3 packages installed on your PC before you run AstroKam:


  1. ASCOM platform.
  2. Microsoft .NET framework 4 or later (client).
  3. LibUSB driver for Windows.

You then download the AstroKam package, unzip it and run the file called CHDK_AstroKam.exe.

Note that you can run AstroKam without a real telescope by selecting the virtual telescope for .NET under the Scope button.

Quick Start Guide

  1. Turn on your camera and run AstroKam.
  2. Click the OSD button to see the OSD. The mousewheel zooms the LiveView window.
  3. Click the Record button to put your camera in shooting mode.
  4. The default exposure is 16s as shown at bottom left. Adjust this using the Tv+ and Tv- buttons.
  5. Click the scope button and connect to your ASCOM telescope. Use the scope desktop hand control to point to your first target.
  6. Click Shoot to take a long exposure shot. The title bar will show "Taking shot".
  7. The title bar will show "Ready for next shot" when the shot is finished.
  8. The rest of the buttons have detailed tool tips which show how to use the other features.

Useful Software

AstroKam is designed to work with other astro software in this workflow:

  1. Plan capture session with Cartes du Ciel (free).AstroKam can import target coordinates from CdC.
  2. Manual or automatic capture with AstroKam. AstroKam automatically generates Deep Sky Stacker files.
  3. Stack catured images in Deep Sky Stacker (free) to produce a FITS file.
  4. Process FITS files in Star Tools (free evaluation) to enhance colors and faint features and remove sky glow.

Credits

AstroKam is a wrapper around the excellent CHDKPTPRemote.NET by mweerden and chakphanu's LiveView branch of it. Many thanks to them for permission to use their code in AstroKam.

Examples

  1. Link to > Static time-lapse animation of pre-dawn stars.
  2. Slideshow :

  • Wide angle aiming shot
  • Single image of Pleiades star cluster.
  • Stacked and processed Pleiades by Ivo of Star Tools
  • Stacked and processed Andromeda Galaxy by Ivo of Star Tools
  • Sunspot groups
  • LiveView with OSD
  • Full moon preview shot
  • Moon detail preview

Revision History

01 First public release.

02 Automatic dark and bias frames, flat and dark flat frames routine, sky survey plans, recticle, Deep Sky Stacker project file generation, invert LiveView, settings window.

Help and Support

Please use this thread on the forum to ask for help and advice or discuss AstroKam.

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