Re: Charon not opening, and is obsolete (or not)

blazbus Jun 18, 2012

Bill,
I wonder if your goal of a "super-duper" digital finder makes it difficult for you to see the current value in Charon that your dedicated users find.

The CCD group I'm part of uses a large, but old telescope. Our field of view is less than 6' x 4', and pointing accuracy is often off by half a degree. Solutions with PinPoint can take over 7 minutes for images that Charon can solve in 12 seconds. And with this small field of view there are often only a few well defined stars in the image. Sometimes too few for PinPoint to attempt to solve, and other times too few for a unique solution across the search space that PinPoint attempts.

It is precisely the fine control over parameters that Charon offers that allows us to avoid many of the false solutions that a super-duper, automatic, digital finder trips across.

Thank you for Charon.

Stephen

--- In guide-user@yahoogroups.com, Bill J Gray <pluto@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Matt, Clay,
>
> > "...Charon (recently installed) won't open.I remember this one but its been a few
> >years......There was some fix (deleting some file. May have been a tdf) anyone
> >remember?"
>
> Um. I don't recall this, but you might delete 'charon.pif'. This is a "program
> information file", and I could imagine that it might cause grief.
>
> If that fails, I'd need more info: what happens when you attempt to run Charon?
> Are you running it from within a DOS box? Do you get any error message(s)?
>
> It would also be possible to run into trouble with the initial setup. At first,
> horrible as the idea may sound, set the program to run in 640x480, 16-color mode.
> That will at least work (and will look better than it may sound). Once you get
> an image on-screen, you can experiment with the other modes and see which work
> (there are about six available resolutions, as I recall).
>
> > ...I noticed that Bill describes Charon as 'nearly obsolete'.
>
> True. I stopped most work on it largely because I was very impressed with
> the work by Bob Denny (PinPoint), Herbert Raab (Astrometrica), and Brian Warner
> (Canopus). To keep up with the pack, I'd have had to move to something
> truly Windows-based, after which I figured I'd just be duplicating what these
> three gentlemen had done anyway. Not to mention that each had pushed things in
> some directions I'd not managed: fully automated plate solving, track-and-stack,
> and photometry, respectively.
>
> Adding to this, the source code has become somewhat horrible. That source
> code is posted on my Web site. I should probably remove it; any potential
> employer who saw it would immediately decide that its author should never be
> allowed near a computer again. The problem is that it started out with one set
> of goals, and then more goals were added, and more features, and... sort of
> as if one built a bicycle, and then decided it should be able to go on water
> as well, and then added the ability to fly. If I did further work on astrometry
> or photometry software, I could almost certainly use some components from Charon,
> but it would be well to start out mostly from scratch.
>
> Every now and then, something has come up that has almost tempted me to get
> cracking on the program again. In particular, a while back, I read a paper
> about astrometry.net. This project does something I thought about doing about
> two decades ago, but didn't think would probably work: it can take any image
> and pattern-match and plate solve it, without needing to know where it is in
> the sky or even what the image scale is. (Charon, as you know, needs at least
> an approximate image scale and you have to give it an approximate plate center,
> and it runs somewhat faster if you can give it an approximate rotation angle.)
>
> This could lead to a super-duper "digital finder": point your scope anywhere
> in the sky, maybe not even bothering to align the scope; take an image; and
> Charon would figure out where in the sky you were. Which would be pretty amazing!
> But that's what astrometry.net does. Unfortunately, it requires broadband
> access; you upload your images and get the pattern match results returned to you.
>
> -- Bill
>