A Stand-alone Station and DSP Method for Deep Sky Objects Astrophotography

Robert Suszynski


This article presents the basic assumptions and aspects of the design of a stand-alone station for deep sky objects (DSO) astrophotography. It describes the main elements of a project concerned with automatization, remote control and auto-guiding [1-5] of a system. The article also covers in further detail the innovative use of a driver with an ATMEGA16 microcontroller and dedicated software for controlling the astronomical dome and its synchronization with telescope movement. Furthermore, a new concept of reprogrammable digital circuit implementation for auto-guiding systems is shown, which operates with a popular CCD webcam and ST4 compatible equatorial mounts. This idea was verified by the circuit prototype implemented on an Altera Cyclone II FPGA device and tested with real sky objects. A fully functional solution for performing automatic observation is presented. The project was also designed for amateur-astronomy, and therefore, user-friendly configuration and maintenance constituted very important factors, which were taken into consideration.

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