A frequent problem with GOTO telescopes is that they retain pointing accuracy only over a small area of the sky where you're working. Various mechanical errors conspire to degrade the accuracy as you travel away from the initial "sync" position. As a result, your intended target is often entirely out of the field of view of your CCD camera.
Whole Sky Pointing Accuracy
MaxPointTM is designed to solve this problem through mount modelling. When you first set up MaxPoint, it creates a model of your telescope mount, including any polar axis misalignment, offsets, and mechanical flexure. Once this is done, MaxPoint automatically corrects your telescope position to ensure it is always on-target. With MaxPoint, even very low-cost GOTO mounts can routinely achieve a pointing accuracy of 1-2 arc-minutes over the whole sky!
The telescope model is easily generated using one of two methods. The first is to manually make a series of observations. Simply double-click on a reference star on the sky map. After MaxPoint slews to the star, center it in the telescope and click "+" to add the observation. Repeat this for a number of stars across the sky, and you're done!
If you have MaxIm DL, this process can be completely automated. MaxPoint slews the telescope to a series of points across the sky, takes images using MaxIm DL, and then automatically calculates the pointing offset using the included PinPoint LE measuring engine. Just sit back and watch!
Once a model has been defined, MaxPoint lets you see exactly what the errors in your telescope mount are, including a direct measurement of your polar alignment error.
Like all CyanogenTM imaging products, MaxPoint includes a complete ASCOM-Compliant scripting interface, so you can quickly and easily integrate it with your own programs or scripts.
Also available as part of the MaxIm DL Pro Suite.
The MaxPoint Control Panel, above, allows you to setup, monitor, and control the telescope, and create mount models.
Quickly see where the telescope is pointed (green square). Observation points are shown with red X's. Click on a calibration star to automatically point the telescope.
The residual pointing error for a series of measurements, using an inexpensive GOTO mount. After MaxPoint correction, the RMS error is less than one arc-minute.