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Having established the weather forecast  for the coming evening I try to make sure I'm out there as early as possible to set things up. Firstly, get the roof off the observatory so the scope can begin to cool down.

Next, power up the observatory, turn on the scope and the laptop. I usually park my scope at the end of the previous imaging session, so I simply need to enter the current time and date to 'unpark' her. Once the laptop has booted up I start the following sequence:

  1. I run a simple script to create the folder where the night's images will be stored (named automatically with the date) and to create a log file noting the night's conditions (temperature, seeing, wind, imaging set-up, moon, etc). This all helps in the future when I'm processing the data (which may be several days later).
  2. Start POTH but do NOT connect to the scope
  3. Start PHDGuiding, connect to the Meade DSI-C guide camera and then connect to POTH (this automatically opens the connection to the scope)
  4. Start Cartes du Ciel and connect to POTH. CdC will automatically show where the scope is pointed.
  5. Start AstroArt:
    • Connect to the imaging CCD
    • Set the binning to 1x1 (called "Hires Prog" for my CCD)
    • Connect to POTH
    • Select the folder where images will be saved to the folder created in step 1

That's the set-up completed.

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