Getting an Output from Celestia

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Team_Stella
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Team_Stella
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#1by Team_Stella » 13.10.2011, 09:28

As part of our 3rd year in University we have been tasked with designing and producing a Stellar Sign Post, and we were hoping to pick the minds of the community in the best way of obtaining a stream of azimuth and elevation, relative to our Sign Post.

The Sign Post is required to move to and track (if necessary) an object in real time if it orbits the earth. We require this output to input to a microcontroller in order to supply two motors their required movements.

Are we right in thinking that streaming this through Matlab or LabView and taking a USB output as the best/easiest way of doing so? And how would we get this information into another piece of software?

Your thoughts and discussion would be appreciated,

Team Stella

selden
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Re: Getting an Output from Celestia

#2by selden » 13.10.2011, 15:22

What kind of course is this project for?

You might be able to consider one of the programs designed to control telescopes. Some are commercial, some are free. Essentially you tell it what object to point at and it generates appropriate motor control signals.

Whether or not that's appropriate depends on what you're supposed to be learning. In general, telescope control is an "already solved problem" so using a packaged system won't teach you much about motor control, feedback, hysteresis, coordinate system translation, optical sensors, etc.
Selden

Team_Stella
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Re: Getting an Output from Celestia

#3by Team_Stella » 14.10.2011, 14:47

This project is part of our Electrical and Mechanical Engineering degree.

We have been given minimal information on how to approach this project, part of the fun, but what we understand is that we have to solve the issues of control, feedback, hysteresis etc as part of the project. We plan on using accelerometers and a gyroscope fixed onto the arm to feed our microcontroller (Arduino).

What would you recommend as a replacement for the already solved telescope control once we solve these issues?

Team Stella

selden
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Re: Getting an Output from Celestia

#4by selden » 14.10.2011, 17:15

Matlab and Labview with USB hardware are very popular in scientific laboratories, so they are reasonable choices for the control software. Knowing how to use them is a marketable skill. (Including understanding their compatibility issues, which can be quite a bit more subtle and troublesome.)

Translating the Equatorial coordinates of stars into azimuth and altitude values is sufficiently straight forward that Matlab should have no problems doing it. Translating the orbital trajectories of low Earth satellites can be more difficult.

I have to admit that I'm reluctant to be more specific about the details since much of the research I'd have to do is exactly what you're suposed to be doing!
Selden

Team_Stella
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Re: Getting an Output from Celestia

#5by Team_Stella » 14.10.2011, 22:56

We completely understand your reluctance and appreciate the time you have given us.

It certainly has given us something to think about.

Greatly appreciated,

Team Stella


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