StellarMate Wi-Fi Astrophotography System Controller
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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, 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, 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.
|CPU||1.2 GHZ quad_core ARM Cortex A53|
|GPU||Broadcom VideoCore IV at 400 MHz|
|HDMI||1.8m Gold Plated HDMI cablemm|
|Network||10/100 MBPS Ethernet|
|Network||Four 2.0 ports|
|Ports||USB 2.0: 4|
|Power Consumption||5V 2.5A|
|Power Supply included||5V 2.5A Power Supply|
|Real Time Clock||DS3231 with battery|
|Storage||16GB MicroSD card class 10|
I purchased a ASIAIR Pro and fell in love with it, but it will only work with ZWO cameras, when I started looking for something like it to run my other cameras this is what I found. The unit is a Raspberry Pi 3 with a real time clock addition, there is no operating system installed but you get a link to download it, that part is easy. Getting it to work was a pain when trying to use a tablet, just this week they did a update to the system and I found that if you use the HDMI out to a monitor with a mouse and keyboard the system works pretty well. It did work with my other cameras but not with my Meade Deep Sky Imager IV ( no driver) but will work with earlier versions also no ZWO filter wheel support, With the ASIAIR I was up and running the first day and setup to imaging takes about 15 minutes it took about 2 weeks of trial and error to get this up and running and the operating system is not as easy to navigate, The ASIAIR Pro did not come with a current instruction manual but was so easy to figure out, the StellerMate has more decimation online but harder to navigate through. will it work yes but be ready for a challenge getting it set up and running. If ZWO would open the AIR to other camera it would be the better choice but I guess they want to sell there cameras. You can purchase the operating system from StellerMate and install it on you own Raspberry Pi (3 or 4) buy a case and a real time clock if you like if you want to go that route, and remember at the current time this unit comes with USB 2 ports and the Raspberry PI 4 has 2 USB 3 ports I guess sooner or later they will ship new units with the Raspberry Pi 4 installed. If you think you will get it today and start shooting tonight you would be wrong, but with time and effort you will get it to work, faster if you use the HDMI output. Do I recommend it well yes and no, looking at the reviews a lot are negative and frustrated I was but 2 weeks later I got it working is it as easy to operate as the ASIAIR no but is some cases it does offer a few more controls. I never a this point got it to operate on my home WIFI network so I could control it from inside the house, and the native WIFI network that comes with the system has to short a range for that, hope to work that problem out in time.
Such an amazing little gadget and the customer service is superb. If you have trouble reading the manual you can email them and setup a chat to help your overall experience be one that is a fun learning experience. Some negative reviews left on here was when the product first launched, but overtime they have improved the quality of the product and made updates to the software in order to improve your experience. Now to be honest I don't have my own remote observatory so I'll be writing this from how I've been using it so far. Now Astrophotography is so great to be outdoors in the peace and quiet or just hanging in your backyard. However there are nights where it just seems unbearable whether it's too cold or in my case too humid where thinking makes you sweat and heat up. Plus with some of those nights comes mosquitoes and other newsome pests that break your focus for the night and sometimes leaves you eaten up by bugs and packing up for the night. Behold hotspot mode! Your stellarmate will have it's own wifi signal which you can connect to via tablet, laptop, desktop, and smartphone. That means after you've done your outside alignment and counterweight balancing that you can just go back inside away from the bugs, away from the frost, and away from the unbearable humidity to being at ease controlling your setup indoors as you have more time inside with your friends, family and house pets. Is polar alignment a pain? I know it is for me and some people have their own hardware, software and other methods to achieve this. However that requires either an annually paid subscription to software or another chunk to buy a camera with software made for polar alignment. All of which are good ways to achieve the same thing. But with stellarmate it's already included in the package. That's right! No need to spend the additional cost for saving yourself some imaging time performing a polar alignment. It has built in plate solving as well meaning you won't be trying over and over and over again getting to that target in the sky and sending correction commands manually on a controller. Just enter the specs of your camera and telescope/lens and download the indexes. But here's a cool bit, your stellarmate can connect to the available internet which means you actually don't have to spend the time downloading indexes and eating up hard drive space. It just shoots your image out to the internet and brings back the solved results. Technology is beautiful! It can cool your camera, help take flats, plan a mosaic. You can even tell it when to do a meridian flip in which it uses plate solving to successfully bring your mount back to the exact position in the sky without fear of your mount crashing into tripod legs while you sleep. That's right! You can actually get some sleep if you're imaging on a work night or just exhausted from that lengthy drive to dark skies. It can control your autofocuser and your filter wheel. And guess what? Since it's not a human outside it won't be attracting mosquitoes around your setup which means less tossed frames of bug shadows. Anyways I can go on and on about this but all I want to say is that once you get past the learning curve that you'll love this little guy and understand why it's your mate, the stellarmate! Tell em Kurt sent ya
Overall experience? I'll never get that wasted time back. I have been playing around with this from the very beginning. I have yet, not even once, had it working to where I could capture not even one single photon. The first version had you hook up through VNC and basically had you screen share everything. You had to actually go out yourself, and download all the drivers from INDI. To say the least, it was not intuitive at all. Fast forward a couple of versions, it has drivers for just about everything under the Sun. It's much more user friendly, but that's not saying much. It has my Sesto Senso listed, my Pocket Power Box listed, but no interfaces for them. No pull down menu for them to make adjustments on anything. Look, I understand it's a fledgling, niche market. But *** are you bringing something to market that doesn't work and has no current support for it? Any YouTubes out there are at least 2 years old from their website. The latest version is waaaaay past those vids. Now if I'm going to be a Beta Tester, I expect to be paid, not pay almost 2 hundred bucks to be one. On a positive note, the developer is very hands on. I'm assuming somewhere in Asia, so there is some time differences, but very quick to resolve any problems. Kudos for that!. That being said, I've got better things to do than waste a precious clear night to beta testing. On another note as long as you've made it this far, is that the ASIAir is much more stable and I've had it working quite a few times. The problem with the Air is that it only works with ZWO products. It doesn't auto-focus. And you cant pick multiple targets for a sequence, ala' SGP, NINA. It also goes wonky with every update. I finally had everything dialed in, and then the forced update. Now my scope won't connect. It's always something with these gizmos. Bottom line. Save your money for something that actually works. That goes for both of them.
I'd give it zero stars if I could. Turns out the device doesn't ship with an OS. You have to contact Stellarmate support and get a download link, download the OS, download yet another another software app to load the OS onto a micro-SD card, load it onto a micro-SD card (micro-SD reader not supplied, so that's another purchase), in order to get the device working. That's as far as I got before I gave up. Oh, and the Stellarmate web site doesn't work with Chrome, so you have to install another browser to do all this. Absolutely do not buy this piece of ****. Total waste of money.
I'm been running StellarMate on a mac for ~8months now. I'm very happy with it overall. The support has been great, and software updates for new hardware and new features has been quite good, and timely. I use it primarily in wireless mode, around the house and in the field, and that has worked out well, although it did take a little time to get networking configured correctly. I use SM with KStar/Ekos, and really like the system. Plate solving has been fast and accurate, the internal guider has worked very well, and started using scheduler recently, so far so good. The KStar sky map capability is crisp and versatile and well thought out, lots of nice features. The FITs viewer is good, it has several nice features. Also, aside from SM's great support, the INDI forums are also active and good for additional feedback and support.
Optcorp is wonderfull. Five stars. Stellarmate is a disaster. Wanted something I could use at my off the grid astrophotography site trading between three scopes. It would appear that it is requiring update on the mini data card every other week. People on their Facebook group suggest buying a new board for it. Perhaps a great idea with poor release.