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StellarMate Plus Astrophotography Controller

SKU : STM-IKA-810

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  • StellarMate Plus is a mini computer that lets you control your astrophotography equipment from anywhere
  • Easily control your telescope, camera, mount, and accessories remotely via built-in wi-fi
  • Improve your cable management by keeping all cables on the mount and control your rig wirelessly
  • Offers observatory control, including dome slaving, for complete automation
  • Includes Ekos Astrophotography software pre-installed for seamless and easy setup

Product Details

  • The StellarMate Plus is an upgraded version of the original StellarMate, with more RAM, a better CPU, an improved OS, and other improved features.

    The process for setting up your StellarMate Plus is simple:

    1. Connect your equipment (Mount, DSLR/CCD, Focuser, Filter Wheel..etc) to StellarMate via USB/Bluetooth or Network.
    2. Connect to StellarMate from either your Mobile, Tablet, or Laptop/Desktop Computer.
    3. Start controlling your telescope system or observatory.

    Coming free with every StellarMate Plus shipment is the free astrophotography software tool: Ekos. You can either use the built-in Ekos Astrophtogoraphy Tool, or download it on your Windows, MacOS, or Linux computers to remotely control StellarMate Plus from anywhere!

    In addition to Ekos, StellarMate Plus is compatible with many more applications!

    From controlling a lone mount in the field to the orchestration of a state of the art observatory, StellarMate Plus is the solution you have been waiting for.

    StellarMate Plus is a complete observatory control and astrophotography solution. Connect your equipment to StellarMate, and control them from anywhere at any time. Capture spectacular images and discover the cosmos! Whether you're 1 yard or 100 miles away, you are always in the captain seat.

    Cross-Platform Support

    Operating Systems

    While you can use StellarMate Plus without any computer, if you opt to control it from a computer, StellarMate Plus supports Ekos Software on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Use the software on your own favorite platform

    StellarMate App is available for both Android and iOS devices, and on mobile, you can use KStars Lite to control your equipment

    StellarMate Plus truly believes in cross-platform support because they understand you want to remain on your favorite OS!

    Extensive Equipment Support

    StellarMate Plus is based on industry-standard Open Astronomical Instrumentation Protocol (INDI) to drive all equipment. INDI is an open source technology and is community driven. Numerous devices are supported including, but not limited to:

    • Mounts: Meade, Celestron, Sky-Watcher, Paramount, iOptron, Avalon, Takahashi, Argo Navis, 10-Micron, Losmandy, EQMod, and more
    • Cameras: Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax DSLRs. SBIG, QHY, QSI, FLI, Starlight Xpress, DMK, Apogee, iNova, ATIK, ZWO ASI, Morovian, Meade, DSI, and more
    • Filter Wheels:ZWO, ATIK, Apogee, Starlight Xpress, FLI, QHY, and more
    • Focusers: FocusLynx, TCF-S, MoonLite, RoboFocus, NStep, Pegasus, Baader, Microtouch, and more
    • Rotators: Nightcrawler, Optec Gemini Focusing Rotator, and Optec Pyxis
    • Adaptive Optics:Starlight Xpress
    • Domes: Baader dome, MaxDomeII, NexDome, plus support for custom roll-off
    • Weather: Sky Quality Meter, Vantage Pro, WunderGround, and Arduino MeteoStation
    • Spectrographs: Spectracyber and Sheyalk.
    • Detectors: Software-Defined-Radio (SDR-RTL) based detectors
    • Auxiliary: Flip Flat, Game Pads, GPUSB, and GPS.

    More drivers are added by the community and manufacturers. With StellarMate Plus, you get all the latest updates as soon as they are released!

    Brands

    Auto HotSpot

    By default, StellarMate Plus works in HotSpot mode so you can connect to it from any mobile or desktop device. If you connect it to your WiFi network, StellarMate  Plusshall utilize the WiFi network as long as it is available.

    Once you take StellarMate Plus elsewhere where no network is available, it automatically switches back to HotSpot mode so that you never lose connectivity with StellarMate Plus!

    In addition to HotSpot and WiFi, StellarMate Plus can be connected to your LAN via Ethernet.

    StellarMate HotSpot

    Modern Planetarium

    StellarMate Plus is shipped with KStars, a modern feature-rich planetarium software for all platforms.

    It provides an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display includes up to 100 million stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects,all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets, asteroids, supernovae, and satellites.

    Hundreds of full-color catalogs, covering the whole electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays, can be overlayed directly on the sky map. It supports adjustable simulation speeds in order to view phenomena that happen over long timescales, the KStars Astrocalculator to predict conjunctions, and many common astronomical calculations.

    It includes a powerful observation planner, a sky calendar tool, and an FOV editor to calculate field of view of equipment and display them. Find out interesting objects in the "What's up Tonight" tool, plot altitude vs. time graphs for any object, print high-quality sky charts, and gain access to lots of information and resources to help you explore the universe!

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Frame Screenshot

    Equipment Profiles

    Define any number of equipment profiles and load them on the go when you need to operate specific sets of equipment. Both Local and Remote profiles are supported.

    Ekos can even manage uploading of the profiles to remote StellarMate Plus units so you can start your devices with ease.

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Profiles Screenshot

    Versatile FITS Viewer

    KStars simple, yet powerful FITS Viewer tool is embedded directly into Ekos and can be opened separately to examine FITS file. It supports monochrome and colors (3D Cube) FITS files in addition to bayered images.

    Images can be automatically debayered in real time. Additionally, it processes World-Coordinate-System so you can display equatorial grid overlays and pick any point within the image and command your mount to slew to it, it's that easy!

    View and manipulate the histogram, and load up image statistics and FITS header information. You can automatically discover which objects are in your image so you can easily identify which is where.

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment FITS Viewer Screenshot

    Powerful Capture Tool

    Enjoy one of the most powerful image acquisition capabilities available today. You can simply capture a preview, frame an image, or even record live video stream of Jupiter.

    For more complex requirements, the highly-configurable Sequence Queue supports batch capture of images with filter wheel and rotator support. The images can be stored remotely on StellarMate Plus, or download to your computer, or both. For non-parfocal filters, you can set the relative focus filter offsets to adjust focus when switching filters.

    Even flat field captures can be automated with the Calibration Assistant. It supports evenly illuminated flat light sources like FlipFlat. Simply select the desired ADU and let Ekos manage the rest!

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Powerful Capture Tool Screenshot

    Live Stacking

    Toggle Live Stacking while imaging right from your iOS/Android tablet. Watch in real time as the noise is reduced and details jump to prominence. Fully automated background removal and contrast adjustments on the fly!

    Live Stacking

    Video Recording

    Capture video from supported astronomy cameras and many web cams.

    Select a custom ROI (Region of Interest) to exactly record what you want to reduce video bandwidth and speed up FPS.

    Record monochrome and color video streams in industry standard SER format.

    Field Rotator Support

    Directly control your rotator from Ekos, and select the desired Position Angle for your images.

    You can preview how a specific orientation affects your final results by adjusting the camera field-of-view (FOV) indicator in real time against on the sky map.

    And with the full-sky high-resolution DSS overlay, you get to see exactly how you image would appear once imaged. No more guesses!

    Field Rotator Support

    Smart Dark Library

    Dark frames can be captured under any Ekos module in order to aid in reducing noise.

    Every time you capture a dark frame, it is tagged and saved to the Smart Dark Library where it can be reused later on without requiring re-capture of dark frames thus saving your precious and limited observation time.

    The validity of dark frames can be configured including an expiry date and the temperature threshold at which the frame is not considered valid.

    Sharp AutoFocus

    Get pin-point stars with the Focus module. Using Half-Flux-Radius (HFR) calculations, StellarMate Plus can automatically pick a focus star, subframe it to reduce download times, and adjust focus to get you as close as possible to the Critical Focus Zone.

    Use Framing to inspect your images to make any necessary adjustments. If desired, lock the focus process to utilize a specific filter wheel.

    Enable In-Sequence focusing to ensure you always get sharp images during the night regardless of temperature or telescope position.

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Smart Dark Library Tool Screenshot

    Powerful Guiding Capabilities

    Use the built-in Internal guider to lock unto a star and keep it bounded during the imaging session. You can toggle directional control per axis, and adjust proportional gain to fine-tune guiding performance.

    If desired, you may opt to select PHD2 or LinGuider as the external guiding applications as they are fully supported in Ekos. You can monitor guiding performance and export it to a spreadsheet for advanced analysis.

    Guiding pulses can be sent either via an ST4 interface, or directly to the mount if supported.

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Precision Astrometery Screenshot

    Precision Astrometry

    The days of 2 or 3 stars alignment are of the past. Welcome to the world of Astrometry, where captured images are analyzed by astrometry.net, and results are used to correct the mount position to achieve highly accurate GOTOs.

    You can use Offline, Remote, or Online astrometry solvers and switch between them at any time.

    Even if Polaris is not visible, you can still use the tool to figure out the offset. Build a mount pointing model to accomplish repeatable and reliable GOTOs during each session.

    Found an image you want to capture yourself? Simply load in the image in Load & Slew and Ekos shall analyze it and slews your mount to the target location so you can capture the same exact field. The camera can even rotate to match the orientation of the target within the image so you end with the exact frame!

    Easy Polar Alignment

    Measure and correct polar alignment errors with the highly acclaimed Polar Assistant Tool.

    Ekos automatically captures and solves a number of images to accurately calculate the polar alignment errors. Follow the simple guided steps and make corrections visually until you achieve a satisfactory polar alignment for your GEM.

    No need to spend half an hour trying to polar align your mount when it can be done now within a couple of minutes!

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Mount Modelling Screenshot

    Mount Modelling

    Use Ekos Mount Modelling tool to train and improve your mount internal or external model. Generate all-sky target points using various options and then command your mount to begin the process.

    For mounts such as EQMod, the model is updated after each sync point and once satisfied with the results, you can save your model to be used in subsequent sessions.

    Other mounts store the model internally (e.g. 10-Micron) and they can be updated accordingly to achieve superior performance for unguided imaging.

    Dome Slaving

    Ekos supports operation of domes and roll-off roofs.

    For domes, you can slave it to follow the mount as it traverses across the sky. Simply enter the required dome parameters and then let the dome track the mount motions to ensure your OTA ends up dead-center in the dome slit.

    Whether the mount it tracking or performing a meridian flip, the dome driver will intelligently command motion to reach the desired position using the shortest path possible.

    Dome Observatory

    Robotic Operation

    Let StellarMate Plus capture your data while away or asleep. It covers the whole spectrum from cold startup of the observatory, target evaluation and data acquisition, to safe and secure shutdown in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

    Select your target, sequence file, fill in the necessary conditions and constraints and then start the scheduler.

    The scheduler can operate the dome, slew to the target, and perform autofocus, autoguide, and image acquisition in a completely robotic fashion without human intervention.

    Wi-Fi Astrophotograph System Controller Equipment Robotic Operation Screenshot

    Passwords

    • The default StellarMate OS password is smate
    • The default StellarMate WiFi HotSpot password is stellar@mate

    Learning StellarMate Plus

    For new users, using StellarMate Plus effectively can take a bit of a learning curve (like everything else) especially given the breadth of the features if provides. Here are some useful resources to get your started:

  • specifications

    ClockReal Time Clock (DS3231) with battery
    CPUA72 (ARM v8) @ 1.5GHz
    GPUBroadcom VideoCore VI
    NetworkGigabit Ethernet
    Operating SystemRaspberry Pi 4B
    Power Supply12v to 5v 2 meter USB C cable
    Power Supply3A 5v USB C Power Adapter
    RAM3200 SDRAM
    SoCbit SoC
    Storage32GB MicroSD card class 10
    USB Ports2x 3.0 ports; 2x 2.0 ports
  • included items

    • StellarMate Plus Mini Computer
    • 32GB MicroSD card
    • 2-meter 12v to 5v USB power supply cable
    • AC Power Adapter with USB-C plug (3A at 5v)
    • 1.8m Gold-plated Mini HDMI cable
    • Quick Start Guide
    • USB cables for connecting to various telescope mounts can be found here

Product Reviews

Customer Reviews
3.5 Based on 2 Reviews
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A
02/05/2021
Anonymous
United States United States
Unintuitive software

It could be me but I found the software to be very unintuitive. Even after watching tutorials it didn't make sense. During the setup process you must register the unit with a mobile app. The process was clumsy. There was also an error where my unit has been assigned a registration previously. I contacted the manufacturer who helped me to sort out out, so good on customer service from stellarmate. But overall I don't like it and went with something else instead.

A
11/01/2020
Anonymous
United States United States
Flaky connections… good support but no go

Bad experience with this product. Had serious issues with connectivity both with my Mac as well as a PC. Once attached, the unit seemed to work fairly well, but there were definitely issues with getting a reliable connection upon demand. The unit is being returned.