Better grab a cup of coffee… or maybe popcorn and your favorite soft drink. This is going to take a while. Here comes Voyager’s extensive feature list. And when you’re done, check out Why Voyager? to learn how Voyager’s imaging philosophy helps you get quality images night after night
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Single Target Sequences
Define and save as many single target sequences as you like, containing detailed information on how to image an object, controlling everything from filters, exposure length, binning, ISO settings and repeats to your choices for guiding, focusing, start and end actions, error handling, meridian flip, plate solving, pointing, tracking and more. You can create a sequence per target, or create a few sequence templates such as RGB and narrow band. Use the templates from a DragScript that loads the target coordinates, start and end times, etc.
The Sequence Editor can be used while running a sequence. You have to stop and restart a running sequence to use your changes. If you are editing a sequence that will be run later in the night with your DragScript, your changes will be used when the sequence starts, no need to stop the running DragScript.
Research and Survey Sequences
Searching for exoplanets, asteroids, comets, novae or supernovae? Measuring positions or brightness from night to night? Voyager’s easy to use Research and Survey sequence makes it a snap to load a long list of targets, define a few parameters, and go.
Total Control Automation with DragScript
Want to image two or three targets, one after the other? Set the start and end times for each? Take a bunch of dark frames? Wait until your target reaches a given altitude and then start a sequence? Define your entire night from startup to shutdown and everything in between? Stop shooting when clouds roll through and then get back to it when things clear? Voyager’s unique, proprietary drag and drop automation tool, DragScript, can do all this and more.
Voyager supports any mount available via ASCOM, TheSky6 or TheSkyX. There is also an extra cost custom version of Voyager available with support for arrays of mounts, as used by the MasterDarks group in Thailand (https://www.masterdarks.com)
Voyager can acquire images with only an ASCOM connection to your camera, or one of the popular third party camera control software packages. Voyager supports DSLR’s via Maxim DL or TheSkyX’s Camera Addon. There is no native DSLR support in Voyager.
Voyager works with the most popular guide software products. You can use their algorithms to pick a guide star, or use Voyager’s RoboGuide feature to get even more control over guide star selection. And in every case, Voyager’s configurable watchdogs and smart retries keep your guiding between the guard rails
Voyager’s built-in VCurve (single-star) and LocalField (multi-star) autofocus routines are worth the price of the product by themselves. Voyager’s proprietary RoboFire technology uses artificial intelligence to learn more about your focusing system every time it runs, getting smarter all the time.
We highly recommend you try RoboFire. But as with everything, Voyager offers you choices. You can also use TheSkyX, Maxim DL or FocusMax for autofocus.
Need to support a filter wheel with your imaging camera? Voyager has you covered.
Voyager interfaces directly with planetarium software and SIMBAD, the massive online free database, to look targets up by name and return their RA and DEC coordinates to use for slewing your mount and creating an imaging sequence.
Plate Solving finds the RA, DEC and Position Angle (rotation relative to North) coordinates of an image. After plate solving an image, Voyager can use those coordinates to slew the scope, precisely point the scope (command the mount to slew, take an image at the new position, determine the error between the commanded slew and the actual position, and slew again to correct the error), or create a new imaging sequence using the solved coordinates. Voyager can plate solve an existing image from a FITS file, or take a real-time image and solve that.
Not only does Voyager store all your equipment and setup choices in your profile, it continually learns about your gear and uses that knowledge to improve the performance of the neural net inside of Voyager. Yes, Voyager uses sophisticated automata under the hood to make your imaging sessions go smoothly.
Flats don’t have to be scary. Voyager has a dedicated Flat Sequence control that is specifically designed for acquiring flat frames. You can take completely automated dawn and dusk sky flats – the easiest way to get flat files; or use a panel or flip-flat.
No need to run a clunky wizard before taking flats to determine the exposure times for your flat sequence. Tell Voyager the acceptable ADU range for your flats and it calculates the correct exposure times on the fly, keeping only the flats that meet your criteria.
Want to use fixed exposure times for your flats so you can calibrate them with matching flat darks? No problem, just set the min and max exposure times to the desired value and the allowable ADU tolerance to 100%.
Basic dome control via ASCOM is standard with Voyager. Advanced control of observatory relays, switches, pulse-width modulated devices, and analog or digital I/O can be achieved with Voyager’s optional companion product, Viking. And yes, you can manage it all from a drag and drop DragScript automation sequence, sundown to sunup.
We can’t guarantee clear skies, but if you have cloud monitoring hardware, we can suspend your night’s imaging – and most importantly, resume when conditions improve. But what if the target you were imaging is no longer in view when things get better? No worries, just set a start and end time or altitude for your targets and Voyager will skip to the next available one when the clouds go away.
And of course, Voyager can perform your shutdown sequence if the conditions deteriorate to your specified level. Park your scope, close the dome or roll-off roof, warm up the cameras – whatever you choose. You determine in detail what conditions trigger suspending, terminating or resuming your automation
Observing Conditions, Sky Quality and Safety
Voyager can read status from an ASCOM controlled Observing Conditions, Sky Quality, or Safety monitor. Safety monitor readings can trigger Voyager Emergency Suspend, Exit or Resume actions. Sky Quality and Observing Conditions are displayed in the status window and the values can be read and tested in your DragScript. Based on the values tested, you can direct your DragScript to take any actions you desire.
Voyager can use your automatic rotator with an ASCOM driver to rotate your setup to different position angles for framing, finding a guide star, or keeping the orientation of your images the same after a meridian flip
Other Cool Stuff
Yes, there’s still more 🙂 . Here are some more goodies that don’t fit in any of the above categories, but are too important to leave out. Like, taming the much-feared meridian flip, or the fact that Voyager includes a full-fledged application server. Cool.
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