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Multiple Camera Sync Software (with dither) in Maxim DL: Many CCD cameras and telescopes on one mount

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Software to coordinate two or more cameras on one mount in Maxim DL. Dual imaging camera and telescope rigs

Now available for TheSkyX and CCDSoft - please email tomh@tomhow.me.uk for details

See here for TheSkyX and CCDSoft options

Successful astrophotography depends on having a large number of high quality sub frames which build up a large integration. One approach to increasing the yield of CCD camera sub exposures in a given imaging session is to turn to multiple telescopes and CCD cameras on the same telescope mount.

A common requirement when gathering sub frames is to dither the sub exposures. Dithering means that each sub the pointing of the scope is randomly adjusted by a few pixels. This means that hot pixels and other unwanted artefacts do not appear on exactly the same pixel on each sub. When a number of dithered subs are stacked we use numerical methods reduce remove these problems.

The Maxim DL environment combines autoguiding and image capture. A sequence of sub exposures (perhaps 10 frames @ 10 minutes) can be defined. Between each exposure Maxim will implement the dither function by adjusting the autoguider aim point.

This is possible because Maxim has complete control over the guider camera, imaging camera and autoguiding function. It can perform the dither shift between sub-exposures.

A single instance of Maxim DL supports one imaging camera and one autoguider.

Whilst each mount will only ever need a single autoguider, adding a second imaging camera and telescope to the same telescope mount requires you to use a second computer running a second instance of Maxim DL.

However, Maxim DL does not contain a function to synchronise the imaging cameras across multiple computers. When doing a run of multiple sub exposures over a period of hours it is difficult to have both imaging exposures start at the same time on every frame – leading to the strong risk that the dither will happen mid-exposure on the secondary computer.

The purpose of this software is to detect the start of a sub exposure on the 1st computer and automatically start the sub exposure on the second computer. Assuming that all exposures are the same duration, dithering will work. This allows you to image successfully with multiple cameras and telescopes on one telescope mount

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Email us direct at tomh@tomhow.me.uk

Focus and filter support Dual imaging camera and telescope rigs

Dual imaging camera and telescope rigs. A new version of the software is available with slave filter switching and synchronised autofocus with maxim focus and FocusMax. Please email for details. Email us direct at tomh@tomhow.me.uk

Download & Purchase Information

The software can be downloaded from the following links. Please ensure you have .net framework 3.5 installed on your computer if you are using XP. I strongly recommend downloading the demo and trying it out.

I don't pay publisher fees to Microsoft so you may have to negotiate a few prompts about security. If the Microsoft Smartscreen filter opens, you have to press "more info" and "run anyway" to be able to install this program. See for more information. Unfortunately it is not practical for me to pay hundreds of dollars a year to validate myself in the eyes of Microsoft. This does mean you have to trust me. I am happy to provide references from other Astronomers using my software. All my development computers are protected with Bitdefender antivirus.

The software is available for a one-off charge of £50.

Please note we will contact via email after purchase.

Evaluation software

The software can be run without an unlock in evaluation / trial mode.

The software in evaluation mode will not stop running after a certain date – this is impractical in the world of astronomy. Each time start is pressed, the software will run for 15 minutes before needing to be restarted. This will allow you to evaluate with short exposures (e.g. 60s) and evaluation the software.

The software can be restarted after 15 minutes for an unlimited number of times.

Various “nag” prompts are also present in the evaluation period. You will be prompted for an unlock each time the master software opens.

These restrictions allow you to prove the software will work on your system – if you wish the software to be unlocked please contact tomh@tomhow.me.uk for payment details.