Introduction

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Astrophotography is not a simple hobby .. the amount of equipment and software we use to satisfy our passion is enough to cause problems. Operating everything properly and in sync is not easy for even the most expert and experienced users. Voyager's goal is "Simple and Smart Automation of Astrophotograpy."

Philosophy

Voyager is systems integration software, interfacing third-party software products to make them work together and achieve practical results, using a single management console. Voyager's goal is to reduce user interaction with the various software components needed for astrophotography, thus freeing the astro-photographer to concentrate on other things. Yes, this is yet another astrophotography software product - but it is written by an astrophotographer for other astrophotographers, including those who travel to enjoy their hobby.

Audience

VOYAGER was developed for use in astrophotography travel - for people who go to places with dark skies to do their imaging, maybe traveling tens if not hundreds of kilometers. However, the features and reliability of Voyager are just as useful for those who do their astrophotography from a permanent location.

For successful astrophotography organization is essential, not only of your equipment, but especially during the imaging process itself. Every minute saved is a minute earned for capturing photons. As any experienced astrophotographer knows, things don't always work perfectly - the guide star is lost, a cloud passes by - and Voyager is designed for maximum recovery and reliability when these things happen.

For these reasons, many astrophotographers will find Voyager to be a good fit for imaging from your permanent setup as well as for travel.

Features

Operations and equipment managed by the current version of VOYAGER include:

  • CCD / CMOS / DSLR cameras and filter wheels: ASCOM, TheSkyX, MaximDL, or for QSI cameras, direct connect
  • Mounts: ASCOM driver, TheSky6, TheSkyX, or Array Virtual Mount
  • Autoguiding: PHD2, TheSkyX, or MaximDL
  • Planetarium: TheSky6, TheSkyX, or Cartes du Ciel to retrieve target data
  • Plate Solving (blind or referenced) for precise target aiming: Pinpoint Full or LE, TheSkyX ImageLink, PlateSolve2, All Sky Plate Solver, or nova.astrometry.net
  • AutoFocus: FocusMax, TheSkyX @Focus2, TheSkyX @Focus3, MaximDL, or Voyager's own Robofire which offers both local field (multi-star) and single star focusing, including focus in place or slew to a target star
  • Rotator: ASCOM
  • Complete capture sequence management including automatic meridian flip
  • Flat device: Gemini SnapCap, Alnitak Flip-Flat, Voyager flat simulator, Tecnosky TecnoCap, Arduino Flat Device, Tecnosky TecnoCap Multilevel
  • Automated flats calculating the optimal exposure time using the entered parameters
  • Viking - Starkeeper.it's companion software product for managing I/O devices in your observatory
  • Dome: ASCOM, ASCOM Dome ConnectionLess, ScopeDome LS with Scope Sync
  • Weather: AAGCloudwatcher / Solo, Boltwood / Clarity II / SkyAlert Weather Station
  • Proprietary Script Engine based on DragScript Engine technology for complete automation. Uses a drag and drop graphical interface to offer unlimited customization of a multi-sequence night's imaging, from startup to shutdown
  • Research / Survey mode dedicated to finding Exoplanet transits. Unlimited number of targets per session. Can be expanded to supernova and asteroid research
  • Management of alerts using SMS, text to speech call, Skype call, and email

In summary:

  • Capture images with filter selection, binning, readout and speed options
  • Manage CCD cooling with cool-down and warm-up ramping to set temperature
  • Target pointing accurate within a definable error
  • Local Astronomical Night calculation
  • Target altitude calculation with a graphic showing times of darkness and target Rise, Transit and Setting times, plus current telescope position relative to the target and the astronomical night
  • Auto guider calibration and automatic guide star selection
  • Optimized dithering
  • Plate Solving recovery center for aiming and recovering your image targets
  • AutoFocus
  • Automatic flats sequences with multiple filters including automatic pointing to a flat panel at shutdown
  • Numerous watchdog timers to avoid losing data during an imaging session
  • Customizable automated management of meridian flips including optional rotator flip
  • Automatic blind solving emergency action after plate solve failure during a sequence
  • Personalizable multi-sequence imaging sessions

The above operations can be combined to handle imaging scenarios from the simple to very complex. If you have special needs, please contact the author through the forum: forum.voyagerastro.com