The CCD Module is your primary image acquisition module in Ekos. It enables you to capture single (Preview) or multiple images (Sequence Queue) along with selection of filter wheel, if available.

 CCD & Filter Wheel Group

  • CCD: Select the active CCD camera. If your camera has a guide head, you can select it from here as well.
  • CCD: Select the active Filter Wheel device and active filter. If your camera has a built-in filter wheel, the device would be the same as the camera.
  • Exposure: Specify exposure duration in seconds.
  • Binning: Specify horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) binning.
  • Frame: Specify the left (X), top (Y), width (W), and height (H) of the desired CCD frame. If you changed the frame dimensions, you can reset it to default values by clicking on the reset icon.
  • Type: Specify the type of desired CCD frame. Options are Light, Dark, Bias, and Flat frames.
  • Temperature: Set the desired temperature, if you camera is equipped with a cooler. Capture process is only started after measured temperature is within requested temperature tolerance. The default tolerance is 0.1 degrees Celsius, but can be adjusted in Ekos options under KStars configuration.
  • Prefix: Specify prefix to append to the generated filename. You may also append the frame type, filter, expose duration, and ISO 8601 timestamp. For example, if you specify Prefix as "M45" and checked the Type and Filter checkboxes, and assuming your filter was set to "Red" and your frame type is "Light", the generated file names will be as following:
    • M45_Light_Red_001.fits
    • M45_Light_Red_002.fits
    If TS was checked, a timestamp will be appended to the filename, e.g.
    • M45_Light_Red_001_2016-11-09T23:47:46.fits
    • M45_Light_Red_002_2016-11-09T23:48:34.fits
  • Count: Number of images to capture
  • Delay: Delay in seconds between image captures.
  • Filter: Image enhancement filter to be applied to the image after capture.
  • ISO: For DSLR cameras, specify the ISO value.
  • Directory: Directory to save the sequence images to.

 Sequence Queue

Sequence Queue is powerful feature of the Ekos CCD Module. You can plan and execute jobs using the sequence queue. To add a job, simply select all the parameters from the CCD and Filter Wheel group as indicated above. Once you selected your desired parameters, click on the add button in the sequence queue to add it to the queue.

You can add as many jobs as desired. Once you are done adding jobs, simple click Start Sequence to begin executing the jobs. A job state changes from Idle to In Progress and finally to Complete once it is done. The Sequence Queue automatically starts the next job. If a job is aborted, it may be resumed again. To reset the status of all the jobs, simply click the reset button . Please beware that all image progress counts are reset as well. To preview an image in KStars FITS Viewer, click the Preview button. Make sure the Display in FITS Viewer checkbox is checked, otherwise, the Preview button is disabled.

Sequence queues can be saved as an XML file with extension .esq (Ekos Sequence Queue). To load a sequence queue, click the open document button . Please note that it will replace any current sequence queues in Ekos.

To edit a job, double click it. You will notice the add button now changed to commit changes button . Make your changes on the left hand side of the CCD module and once done, click on the commit changes button. To cancel a job edit, click anywhere empty within the sequence queue table.

 Options

  • Auto Dark Subtract: You can capture an image and auto dark subtract it by checking this option. Note that this option is only applicable when using Preview, you cannot use it in batch mode sequence queue.
  • Guiding Deviation: If checked, it enforces a limit of maximum allowable guiding deviation for the exposure, if autoguiding is used. If the guiding deviation exceeds this limit in arcseconds, it aborts the exposure sequence. It will automatically resume the exposure sequence again once the guiding deviation goes below this limit.
  • Autofocus if HFR exceeds a value: If autofocus is enabled in the focus module and at least one autofocus operation was completed successfully, you can set the maximum acceptable HFR value. If this option is enabled then between consecutive exposures, the HFR value is recalculated, and if found to exceed the maximum acceptable HFR value, then an autofocus operation is automatically triggered. If the autofocus operation is completed successfully, the sequence queue resumes, otherwise the job is aborted.
  • Meridian Flip: If supported by the mount, set the hour angle limit (in hours) before a meridian flip is commanded. For example, if you set the meridian flip duration to 0.1 hours. Ekos shall wait until the mount passes the meridian by 0.1 hours (6 minutes), then it commands the mount to perform a meridian flip. After the meridian flip is complete, Ekos re-aligns using astrometry.net (if alignment was used) and resumes guiding (if it was started before) and then resumes the capture process automatically.
  • Park when complete: Automatically park the mount once all the jobs in the sequence queue are completed successfully.

 Calibration Frames

For Dark and Flat Field frames, you can set calibration options in order to automate the process. The calibration options are designed to facilitate automatic unattended flat field frame capture. For flat fields, you must specify the flat field light source, and then specify the duration of the flat field frame. The duration can be either manual, or based on ADU calculations.

  1. Flat Field Source
    • Manual: The flat light source is manual.
    • Dust Cap: If using a dust cap with built-in light source (e.g. FlipFlat).
    • Wall: Light source is a panel on the observatory wall. Specify the Azimuth and Altitude coordinates of the panel and the mount shall slew there before capturing the flat field frames. If the light panel is controllable from INDI, Ekos shall turn it on/off as required.
    • Dawn/Dusk: Currently unsupported.
  2. Flat Field Duration
    • Manual: Duration is as specified in the Sequence Queue.
    • ADU: Duration is variable until specified ADU is met.

Before the calibration capture process is started, you can request Ekos to park the mount and/or dome.

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