Remote telescope operation is an idea that I got from Gene during one of HAL’s virtual star parties during the COVID pandemic. While I was sitting alone, cold and in the complete dark in my back yard, Gene was sitting in his warm, well lit study, commanding the telescope in his back yard to do as he wished.
I have spent a lot of nights sitting in the dark trying to make my imaging setup work. I no longer wish to do this, and I think that if I can make remote imaging work, I will be more likely to get out to the telescope and more likely to image in colder weather.
Thinking about how to do this, and looking at what solutions are available, I have settled on a mini-computer (sometimes call a NUC, or next unit of computing) that will sit on or near the telescope. This computer will run the software and drivers that operated the telescope mount, focuser, cameras, and filter wheel devices. The devices to be operated will be connectd to USB ports in the mini comptuter. The mini computer will run Win10 Pro so that that it can host remote access sessions.
3 thoughts on “Thinking Remote Telescope Operation”
Remote operation is not going very well for me. It seems to be right out for planetary work, because it cannot support high frame rates. For DSO work I am struggling to establish and maintain a remote desktop session between my laptop and the mini computer. It is great when it does work, but it is very fussy. I was hoping to have this working well so that I could comfortably image from inside the house this winter.
Still working on options. Lookng at various wifi extenders, routers, nano-routers, mesh devices, etc. Nothing seems to work, but I am working very hard on this.
In October it occured to me that since I have two laptops, one of them would probably be a better scope-side compute platform than the mini-computer. I had to re-configure my wiring harnesses to accomodate a laptop that is sitting on a scope-side table instead of sitting on the scope. I upgraded the small laptop to Win11 Pro, and it is working beautifully for remote planetary and DSO imaging sessions.