StellarMate Wi-Fi Astrophotography System Controller
StellarMate Wi-Fi Astrophotography System Controller
StellarMate 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.
While you can use StellarMate without any computer, if you opt to control it from a computer, StellarMate 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 truly believes in cross-platform support because they understand you want to remain on your favorite OS!
Extensive Equipment Support
StellarMate 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, SkyWatcher, Paramount, IOptron, Avalon, Takahashi, Argo Navis, 10-Micron, Losmandy, EQMod...etc.
- Cameras: Canon, Nikon, Sony, & Pentax DSLRs. SBIG, QHY, QSI, FLI, Starlight Xpress, DMK, Apogee, iNova, ATIK, ZWO ASI, Morovian, Meade DSI..etc.
- Filter Wheels: ZWO, ATIK, Apogee, Starlight Xpress, FLI, QHY...etc.
- Focusers: FocusLynx, TCF-S, MoonLite, RoboFocus, NStep, Pegasus, Baader, Microtouch...
- Rotators: Nightcrawler, Optec Gemini Focusing Rotator, Optec Pyxis
- Adaptive Optics: Starlight Xpress
- Domes: Baader dome, MaxDomeII, NexDome, plus support for custom roll-off
- Weather: Sky Quality Meter, Vantage Pro, WunderGround, Arduino MeteoStation.
- Spectrographs: Spectracyber & Sheyalk. Detectors: Software-Defined-Radio (SDR-RTL) based detectors.
- Auxiliary: Flip Flat, Game Pads, GPUSB, GPS.
More drivers are added by the community and manufacturers. With StellarMate, you get all the latest updates as soon as they are released!
By default, StellarMate 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 shall utilize the WiFi network as long as it is available.
Once you take StellarMate elsewhere where no network is available, it automatically switches back to HotSpot mode so that you never lose connectivity with StellarMate!
In addition to HotSpot and WiFi, StellarMate can be connected to your LAN via Ethernet.
StellarMate 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!
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 units so you can start your devices with ease.
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.
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, 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!
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!
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.
Get pin-point stars with the Focus module. Using Half-Flux-Radius (HFR) calculations, StellarMate 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Let StellarMate 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.
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