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I would like to read further about any successes that amateur astrophotographers (or professionals) have had with USB CCD cameras that are controlled by Python scripts. I'd like to script the setting of exposure time, triggering of exposures, downloading and processing of images.

Ideally this would be computer platform-agnostic.

I've recently asked Python interface for DMK 23U274 USB camera for astrophotography but the more I read about that the more I think that it's going to be tough running that particular camera from a Python script.

Where can I read further about this being done, or at least what solutions are known to exist?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm trying to figure out if this is something I can use, but despite the very nice web site I can't figure out if it is or not: indilib.org/about/features.html I see icons for Windows, MacOS and Linux which is encouraging. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 3 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ theimagingsource.com/products/industrial-cameras/… has a lot more ressources on that camera including SDKs $\endgroup$ – planetmaker Apr 3 at 6:11
  • $\begingroup$ @planetmaker Thanks, that will be even more relevant on the linked question about the DMK camera. If I were a C++ programmer running Windows those would be very useful, but it's hard to find a reliable Python interface for it. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 3 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding interfacing between C/C++ and Python this SO answer may be relevant. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Apr 3 at 8:46
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    $\begingroup$ It's quite common for amateur astronomers to run remote set-ups, so your problem definitely has an answer. Whether people use python scripts I don't know. There is plenty of ready made software available. Have you looked at any amateur astro forums - eg stargazerslounge or cloudynights? $\endgroup$ – Dr Chuck Apr 3 at 9:00
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I use AutoHotKey scripts to control my observatory. As for the individual devices, cameras focusers etc I use the manufacturers software and control that software with Macro scripts.

I do some minor RS-232 control with AHK.

Below is a video of the scripts starting up my remote controlled observatory.

The video shows the two screens of the computer in the house as the scripts power up the observatory and start the four computers out there. Then load, position and make all the necessary software connection between the computers and equipment.

Example. The color bars of the cameras. The color bar shows the camera video and control connections are working and the script has turned on the color bars.

I use AHK to automate TheSky, MaximDL and a number of other apps. I have a script that will use Maxim to plate solve when finding objects.

I have no idea if or how Python fits in AHK but the question is here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN4VoOKOcXo&feature=youtu.be

As I said you are watching the action from inside the house as the four computers in the observatory are powered up all the software is loaded.

You will probably need to watch it a few times before it makes much sense. What you see mostly are the windows of individual apps loading and being reposition. Individual setting in the windows are being changed but for the most part the screen is just too small to show everything.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is quite a pleasure to watch, thank you for sharing! While AutoHotKey scripts probably can't download, process and evaluate an image and decide how adjust and set a new exposure time, it may be possible to use Python to write AHK scripts and execute them, thereby controlling Windows software such as IC Capture It doesn't sound like an elegant solution but it's worth considering. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 3 at 23:43

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