Reply To: Using ASTAP for comet measurements

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Grant Privett

I just had a quick look at the ASTAP manual.

If I am reading it right, then ASTAP needs two FITS keywords* populated with the approximate field centre coordinates in RA/Dec and also guidance from the user (field diameter/search size) to run. So, its not doing blind solving, but the much simpler user assisted solving. Which probably explains the speed.

I’m not sure though how most of us would get the RA/Dec values into the header. Is there a command line tool or something available? I imagine you could supply a target name and the software then use Simbad or JPL Horizons online to supply the current position from your lat/long.

Does anyone know of such a tool? That would be extremely useful – and not too hard to write in Python.

Certainly, I control my telescope via TheSkyX, but I don’t like its imaging interface and so use my own CCD control software (or sometimes AstroArt) – which just takes images and does not talk to the mount. I imagine others may also be in the position of generating FITS from their camera without RA/Dec coordinates in.

*Or possibly 4, as I have seen two different definitions of keywords for RA/Dec.