Photometry software issues

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  • #574074
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Help!!!

    I’m trying to get my observatory back up and running after a bit of an absence. My issues really stem from putting in a windows 10 pc and trying to get older stuff to run on it, specifically AIP4win. Having loaded the software it will not run. I have tried checking it out in compatibility mode which says that a file or derivative of is missing.

    So:

    • Are others running this in windows 10 to do photometry? If so could i have some advice please.
    • If this software is now not able to be used what software is being used for photometry? Unfortunately cost is a very limiting factor.

    Also, my camera is an old MX916 – yes i’ve managed to get that running – is there any good free image acquisition software out there? 

    I cant believe what a mission it is when trying to get old kit running with a new operating system.

    Thanks 

    Martin Crow

    #579680
    James Screech
    Participant

    I have had AIP4Win running on Windows 10, but found that the software was so full of bugs and the writer was not interested in fixing them that I gave up on it.
    I now use C-Munipack (http://c-munipack.sourceforge.net/) for photometry, as it will output BAA VSS format files and the best part is it’s free and well supported.

    James

    #579681
    Andy Wilson
    Keymaster

    Hi Martin,

    I know a lot of people have experienced difficulty getting AIP4Win to run on Windows 10, me included. Some members have managed to get it working, so they may be able to offer advice. Otherwise I know of 2 alternatives. C-Munipack as mentioned in the above post by James, and AstroImageJ.

    Richard Lee has been working on a modification to the BAA VSS Photometry Spreadsheet that is used with AIP4Win, so that it will also accept AstroImageJ files. We are in the final stages of testing the new version of the spreadsheet before releasing it. Richard has written an article on the software in the June 2018 edition of the VSS circular.

    http://www.britastro.org/vss/VSSC176.pdf

    Would you mind if I retitled this thread to “Photometry Software Issues”? I am thinking this will make it easier to members with similar problems to find it in future.

    Cheers,

    Andy

    #579683
    Grant Privett
    Participant

    Is that one of the USB 1.1 cameras?

    #579684
    Robin Leadbeater
    Participant

    I see the author of AIP4WIN is jointly presenting a poster paper at the BAA/AAVSO meeting this weekend. Not sure if he is attending in person though

    Robin

    #579685
    Nick Atkinson
    Participant

    Windows 10 is buggy. When I got my new Laptop I took off windows 10 and installed widows 7. Everything works just fine

    Cheers

    Nick

    #579686
    Andy Wilson
    Keymaster

    At the risk of triggering a major debate, my experience of Windows 10 running my astronomy software and my telescope in my observatory has actually been pretty good. The only software I use that does not simply run is AIP4Win.

    Though Windows 10 has the very annoying habit of wanting to run updates every few months without giving the option to postpone or disable updates. I am sure that alone is enough to put many off using it on an observatory computer.

    Cheers,

    Andy

    #579688
    Jack Martin
    Participant

    For what its worth, for Spectroscopy, I still run on Windows XP, the be best operating system Microsoft ever issued, also Windows 7 without any problems.

    All later Microsoft OS are hybrids of Windows XP, vista and 8 were withdrawn because of problems / complaints.

     For what I do both work ok with the software, I have never had a problem.

    Regards,

    Jack

    Essex UK

    #579692
    Paul Leyland
    Participant

    I have a great deal of sympathy with this view.  Just keep any XP systems off the net because XP is fuller of bugs than a tramp’s undies and none of them have been fixed and never will be.

    #579693
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Hi James 

    Thanks for that i will take a look. 

    Kind regards

    Martin

    #579694
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Hi Andy

    Hope all is well with you.

    Thanks for the reply. I will be trying out that software when i get back home. Funnily enough i was going to contact you regarding what was the latest version of the spreadsheet. Could you point me to it please.

    No worries about renaming the thread.

    Kind regards

    Martin

    #579695
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Hi Grant

    Yes it was the one with usb 1.1. However, i managed to get hold of one of the usb 2.0 boxes that starlight made which seems to have future proofed the camera for at least a while.

    Kind regards

    Martin

    #579696
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Hi Jack

    I was running XP and agree that it was a good OS. However, i had the opportunity to put in a windows 10 machine and because my observatory is connected to the internet and a lot of the software is no longer supported i felt i needed to change. It was done knowing that there would be a degree of hassle, just didn’t realise how much. I would also point out that some of the issue is probably me.

    BTW  i also live in Essex now at Burnham on Crouch, a lovely part of the world : )

    Kind regards

    Martin

    #579698
    Jack Martin
    Participant

    Paul,

    Yes XP is ok provided you stay off the net as I tend to do.

    Regards,

    Jack

    Essex UK 

    #579699
    Jack Martin
    Participant

    Martin,

    I understand why people need to upgrade, but wonder how user friendly Windows 10 is for a minority Astronomy group, as it was made for the masses.

    I am in Rayleigh,

    Regards,

    Jack

    Essex UK

    #579700
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Hi Jack

    I will probably find out. However, I’ve now turned off all of the rubbish that it otherwise wants to constantly do and that’s made it much better. Time will tell I guess.

    kind regards

    Martin

    #579701
    William Bristow
    Participant

    Hi Martin.

    I have AIP4Win v1 running ok on a Win 10 Pro VM (Virtual Machine).

    Assuming you are trying to run an old version 1 copy of AIP4Win note that it won’t run properly unless you install the last update patch to v1.04.0025 that the publishers Willmann Bell used to provide on their website.

    Willmann Bell no longer support v1 or supply a copy of the patch (they don’t even bother replying to emails come to that) however I do have a copy and if you send me an email I can provide a download link and instructions to install the patch. I will not supply an ‘open’ link here in the forum as the software is still under copyright protection even though it is no longer supported. 

    I have tried the latest AIP4Win v2 release on Win 10 Pro and as others have found it is not stable on the current v1803 version of the Win 10 platform, the older patched v1 version appears to work ok.

    To check which version of AIP4Win you have installed go to the program folder at C: Program Files (X86) AIP for Windows, right mouse click the AIP32 Application (exe) file and click ‘Properties’, click the ‘Details’ tab and to the right of item ‘Product Version’ you will see the current release of the AIP4Win application, if it is less than v1.04.0025 then applying the patch update may allow it to run on your system.

    The other question  you posed “Is there any good free image acquisition software out there?”, the short answer is an ambiguous yes and no, you would have to be a bit more specific in your question and define what exactly you want.

    For basic image acquisition with a dedicated CCD the original Starlight Xpress software that was provided with your MX916 should still run on Windows 10 although the latest hardware drivers for the 64bit OS are required. If you contact Starlight Xpress they should be able to provide you a download link to the latest acquisition program for Win 10 64 bit OS’s if you find the original capture software won’t run.

    If you want to control and sequence the camera and a filter wheel plus interface with the mount then take a look at Sequence Generator Pro, they have a free ‘Lite’ version that works well and the ‘Lite’ version will interface with freeware PHD2 for guiding and a freeware planetarium program such as Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium will interface with an ASCOM controllable mount. I am not sure though if the ‘Lite’ version will correctly transfer the mount coordinates to the fits header and am not in a position to try this at the present time.

    The full paid-for version of Sequence Generator Pro would handle cameral control, guiding and mount control in a single package and SGP has a good take up amongst astro imagers, at around £75 it is probably the lowest price complete package currently on the market but if you are prepared to work with the free ‘Lite’ version, PHD2 and Cartes Du Ciel or Stellarium then you can emulate most of the paid for functions, it’s just a bigger learning curve getting the three software packages working together. There is a free trial period for the full version of SGP before it reverts to the ‘Lite’ version after the trial period expires.

    http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Products/SGPro

    https://openphdguiding.org

    https://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start

    http://stellarium.org/en_GB/

    At around the same price point as SGP, ~£75, is Nebulosity from Stark Labs which offers camera and filter wheel control plus image calibration only, no mount control.

    http://www.stark-labs.com/nebulosity.html

    Otherwise, in the mid price range, software that offers good value for money includes Astroart, one of my favourites from a long time back and still going strong, the UI might look a little ancient but Astroart offers full camera and mount control and includes an aperture photometry tool as well as full image calibration and post processing tools. For around £150 at todays exchange rate it sits in the ‘middle ground’ price wise. A free demo version is available that does everything except save an image.

    http://www.msb-astroart.com/or_en.htm

    Above that price point you are into Maxim DL, Prism and TheSkyX Pro which are between two to six times more expensive depending which add-on options are taken up.

    For basic webcam imaging there is Firecapture and Sharpcap, both widely used for planetary imaging capture and for planetary image processing there is Autostakkert and Registax, all free programs.

    http://www.firecapture.de

    https://www.sharpcap.co.uk

    https://www.autostakkert.com

    https://www.astronomie.be/registax/

    Finally, for basic image calibration, registration and integration there is the freeware program Deep Sky Stacker:

    http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html

    And for normal photographic image post-processing, a widely used freeware app is Gimp, the latest version includes built-in support for the fits file standard and photographic image formats in 32 bit.

    https://www.gimp.org

    HTH

    William.

    #579703
    Tony Rodda
    Participant

    As per William’s post, I find AIP runs fine as long as you follow the patch procedure.  Out of habit I ‘run as administrator’ and it seems to fire up OK.

    I’m a devotee of SG Pro2.  Fab program.

    Carte du Ciel (Skycharts) is an amazing free prog too.

    Tony

    #579704
    Tony Rodda
    Participant

    Andy,

    From memory…

    ‘run’ in the command/dos window…  “gpedit.msc”.  This opens the Group Policy window

    Pick the folders … Computer Configuration >> Administrative Tools >> Windows Components

    Double click “Configure Automatic Updates” and select the radio button required.

    Don’t forget to save.

    Regards T 

    #579709
    Martin Crow
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply Tony I will check that out. 

    Regards

    Martin

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