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Menu

Main Screen

 
This is the main screen of APT. It is divided in several areas - Status Panel, LiveView / Image Preview Panel, Log Panel and control tabs (Camera, Gear, Tools, Image Browser).
 
There are some differences in the appearance in DSLR and CCD/CMOS modes in order to cover the specific properties and features of the Canon/Nikon and CCD/CMOS cameras. These differences are described in details in the following sections Camera Battery / CCD Power, Storage Card space / CCD Temperature, Plan EditorHistogram Panel and Camera Tab. All other features are common for both DSLR and CCD/CMOS modes.
 
Main Screen
 
1

Status Panel

1. Status Panel 
 
This panel contains various status information.
 
Note: When the laptop screen is with 4:3 aspect ratio (not "wide-screen") the Status panel is placed between the "LiveView / Image Preview" and "Log" panels.
 
2

LiveView / Image Preview Panel

2. LiveView / Image Preview Panel
 
In this panel you can see the image that comes from LiveView, the last taken image or a loaded image using the Image Browser.
 
3

Log Panel

3.  Log Panel
 
In this panel is displayed logging information for the current session since the APT start. This includes details about the camera like shutter count, imaging plan execution progress, errors, warnings and etc.
 
4

Camera Tab

4. Camera Tab
 
Makes active the Camera tab. There are two layouts of the Camera tab depending on the selected mode - DSLR mode or CCD/CMOS mode. This tab gives access to the camera control and image acquisition features. See Camera Tab (DSLR mode) or Camera Tab (CCD/CMOS mode) sections for details.
 
When there is asterisk symbol (*) that means that there is active connection to a camera.
 
When multiple cameras are used at the same time the tab name changes to "Camera [n]" where "n" is the APT instance number. See Multi-Camera Operation section for more information.
 
5

Gear Tab

5. Gear Tab
 
Makes active the Gear tab. It gives access to features for Telescope, Focuser, Filter Wheel and Rotator control as well as to PointCraft. See Gear tab section for details.
 
When there is asterisk symbol (*) that means that there is active connection to one or more devices like Telescope, Focuser, Filter Wheel and Rotator.
 
6

Tools Tab

6. Tools Tab
 
Makes active the Tools tab. It gives access to various additional features including the Settings dialog box. See Tools tab section for details.
 
7

Img - Image Browser Tab

7. Img - Image Browser Tab
 
Makes active the Img tab - this is the images browser of APT. See Img tab section for details.
 
8

Live View On/Off

8. Live View On/Off
 
Turns On/Off the LiveView feature. See the LiveView section for details.
 
9

Zoom +

9. Zoom +
 
Available only in DSLR mode. Increase the LiveView zoom level to 5x (or 10x of it is clicked two times).  For most EOS cameras Zoom x5 is very close to the representation "1:1" - "one pixel from the image, represents one sensor pixel". It is a valuable feature when planetary astro-photography.
 
The CCD/CMOS cameras have no hardware supported Zoom. In order to make a software zoom you can use Tools->Magnifier feature.
 
10

Zoom -

10. Zoom -
 
Available only in EOS mode. Decrease the LiveView zoom level to 5x (or disable zoom if it is clicked two times).
 
11

Target - Cross/Object Size

11. Target - Cross/Object Size
 
It is a tri-modes button. The modes toggle in the flow OFF -> Crosshair mode -> Object Scale mode -> OFF. These modes use the preview area and work without camera connection, during LiveView or over a previously taken image. Crosshair mode is designed to help in alignment tasks like: Drift Alignment, GoTo Alignment, Precise mode checks for Meade mounts and everything else that you can think of.
 
Crosshair Mode:
 
Hold the Shift + Left Mouse Button and move mouse to change the place of the cross center.
Hold the Control + Left Mouse Button and move the mouse horizontally to rotate the cross.
Shift or Control + Double Click with the left mouse button will restore the initial centered cross position. 
 
See the Crosshair section for more screenshots.
 
“Object scale mode” will show oval-shaped outline of defined object in exact scale for your camera and telescope/lens. See Object Calculator section.
 
Object scale mode:
 
12

Shoot

12. Shoot
 
Takes one image using the exposure parameters set in Camera tab. If Image destination is set to PC, the stored file will have prefix "Single_". It is useful to take test images when you are framing an object or determining the optimal exposure.
 
For actual imaging use the Plan Editor to create an imaging plan.
 
13

Sounds

13. Sounds
 
Enables/Disables the sounds
 
14

Tooltips

14. Tooltips
 
Enables/Disables the Tooltips (balloon) help. When enabled you can point a button, list, label and etc. to get a short help.
 
Sample:
 
15

Help

15. Help
 
Opens this User's Guide.
 
16

Minimize

16. Minimize
 
Minimize the main APT windows and if it is configured shows Minimized mode.
 
17

Window / Full Screen

17. Window / Full Screen
 
Toggles between "Full Screen" and "Window" modes for the main APT window. "Full Screen" mode covers the whole screen and doesn't allow window resizing.
 
18

Close

18. Close
 
Closes APT.
 
19

Current Status Monitor

19. Current Status Monitor
 
Shows the current status.
 
NC
No camera connection
C
Camera connected, but it is in idle mode, no plan in progress
D 0000”
In Delayed plan execution (See Advanced Settings)
A 0000”
In Anti-vibration pause and the count of the seconds passed
E 0000”
In Exposure and the count of the seconds passed
P 0000”
In "after exposure" Pause and the count of the seconds passed
BUSY
The camera and/or APT are busy at the moment
PAUSE
The plan is paused
DITHER
Dithering in progress (see Dithering and Guiding)
SYNC
Multi-cameras synchronization is in progress (see Multi-camera Dithering / Synchronizing)
DARV
DARV in progress
Scheduled
Plan execution is scheduled (See DSLR Start or CCD/CMOS Start buttons in Camera Tab)
 
Once a plan is started the Status monitor becomes like :
 
 
On first line is the number of the image that is in progress, the total count of the images that will be taken, the current status and the seconds since the start of the current image, pause and etc.
On the second line is the estimated remaining time for the plan execution followed by the expected time for the plan completion. APT monitors the transfer and saving times, so these values can be revaluated during the plan execution.
 
20

Laptop Battery

or AC Power

20. Laptop Battery
or AC Power
Show the laptop battery percent and the remaining time to batter depletion (when not charging). It can be configured to flash when critical level is reached. See Advanced Settings.
 
21

Camera Battery

or CCD Power

 
In DSLR mode shows the remaining camera battery power. It can be configured to flash when critical level is reached. See Advanced Settings.
21. Camera Battery
or CCD Power
 
In the CCD/CMOS mode shows the cooling power load.
 
22

Storage Card space

or CCD Temperature

 
In DSLR mode shows the remaining free space on the camera storage card. It can be configured to flash when critical level is reached. See Advanced Settings.
22. Storage Card space 
or CCD Temperature
 
In CCD/CMOS mode shows the current temperature of the camera sensor.
 
23

Current Filter

23. Current Filter
Shows the name of the current filter. See Gear tab.
 
24

Guiding State

24. Guiding State
 
Shows the status of the guider. See Dithering and Guiding.
 
NC – No connection to guiding program or device.
C – Connected and distance to the star is 0.
0.00 - distance to the guiding star.
 
You can use Graphs to see the changes in the distance to the guiding star during the imaging sessions.
 
25

  Sky Quality

and Calculator

25.   Sky Quality
and Calculator
 
Shows the current sky quality value. Sky quality can be tracked by devices like SQM (Sky Quality Meters) or evaluated by the imager and manually entered. In order to see this section you have to enable it from Temperature & Sky settings tab.
 
Double click on this section or use the Alt+Q shortcut to open the Sky Quality calculator where you can convert value between MPSAS (magnitude per square arc-second) and NELM (naked eye limiting magnitude). Also if you have selected manual entry in the settings you can enter the measured sky quality value here.
 
 
Sky Quality value can be used as part of the image file names and to be stored in the FITS keys when CCD/CMOS camera is used. See Main Settings Tab.
 
26

Moon Phase

26. Moon Phase
 
Shows the current Moon Phase
 
27

Darkness Clock

27. Darkness Clock
 
The Darkness Clock shows various information in a compact form - Sun set/rise, Moon set/rise and Civil, Nautical, Astronomical twilights and the full darkness. See Darkness Clock
 
Double click on this section will open the Deep Sky Darkness calculator where can see data for various events, to see how much imaging time you have for a given night or to search for night with needed dark hours. See Deep Sky Darkness calculator.
 
In order for Darkness Clock and Deep Sky Darkness calculator to make accurate calculations you have to enter your site geographic location in the Location settings tab.
 
28

Meridian Flip Clock

28. Meridian Flip Clock
 
The Meridian Flip Clock show information related to Meridian. How much time there is till flip, or passed after the flip and the exact flip time. See Meridian Flip Clock.
 
This feature needs an active connection to telescope - See Gear Tab. It can be hidden from Main Settings Tab.