eq-mountWe have built Equatorial Mount for tracking celestial objects. The tracking helps in Astro imaging. and keeping live time track of comets and asteroids. The mount has vision based auto correction which reduces the periodic error. The vision based tracking systems does allows the user to have less possibility of loosing the path of the objects. In future mount will be made accessible remotely from any location with a very simple user interface. This project is solving the Asteroid Watchers challenge.
This project is solving the Robotic Observatory challenge. Description
The home made Equatorial mount is basically built from the junk. Worm gears, tripod, camera mounts and few other components are pulled from the scrap yard. Mount has two axis tracking facility with a gear ratio of average 1:100 for Right ascension and 1:50 for declination. Software part is inspired from the famous Astrophysics telescope makers and it will be modified to get compatible with many other manufactures. A Labview based custom made interface program provide user friendly access to the mount. This interface has been recently upgraded with Vision based tracking system to suit the Asteroid watchers challenge. Equatorial mount is specifically designed to track Celestial objects. Additional features like Vision based tracking system boasted off its ability to track asteroids and comets which are hard to track with respect to the pole star alignment.
At first the mount wants to be off any sensor. So the challenge is too run with out GPS, Gyro or any other sensors. It is designed to be GOTO mount which can point a camera or telescope to a celestial object with its coordinates provided. The GOTO idea is to convert the Right ascension and Declination values of a object into steps which intern guides the stepper motors to drive. This method requires a real time night sky calibration. So the idea is to define a single step of a motor to number of seconds, minutes and degrees or hours.
Currently the Labview interface depends on a opensource software called pulse guide, were the commands from pulse guide will be translated by the Labview interfaced to the stepper motor using Arudino UNO R35 but the Vision based tracking system is a complete independent of its own.
In future the mount can be made capable of having intelligence like: . know the size of the celestial object . Thermal imaging . 3D view with path traveled . Remote access to the mount . Better precision with GPS . Centralized system with multiple mounts around the globe
We are always in a urge to add more friendly access specially to reach out to students who do not have a telescope.
License: Open Software License 3.0 (OSL-3.0)