FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  [SOLVED]

Hamza Touhami
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Posts: 500
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Phoenix,AZ
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:20 pm

Greetings
This thread will be dedicated to accumulated knowledge to depict the most commonly asked questions. This will be updated very frequently.

WHAT IS PRISM?
Prism is an integrated astro imaging software solution which incorporates the following functions:
  • Detailed sky planetarium with a wide range of catalogs & DSS images
  • Control of all your imaging equipment
  • CCD and Canon DSLR cameras for image acquisition
  • Focusers
  • Filter wheels
  • Dome & Shelters and power controls
  • Weather stations/Cloud sensors
  • Rotators
  • GPS units for location and time synchronization
  • Creation of master bias, dark and flat frames
  • Image calibration
  • Removal of cosmetic image defects- blooming, bad columns
  • Image processing and Stacking
  • Color image creation and processing
  • Astrometry (asteroids & comets)
  • Photometry
  • Optical Alignment tools
  • Plate solving and find where your scope is pointing
  • Autofocus
  • Polar alignment tool
  • Image selection based on star FWHM and elongation
  • Create and use a pointing model
  • Fully automated imaging sessions including:
  • Opening dome/shelter
  • Cooling the cameras
  • Slewing to desired targets
  • Auto centering
  • Autoguiding
  • Capturing images
  • Obtaining flat fields at dusk or dawn
  • Parking the telescope
  • Warming the CCD camera
  • Closing the dome
  • Process and create AVI files
DO I NEED OTHER PROGRAMS TO CONTROL PRISM SUCH AS AUTOMATION?
Not at all, Prism v10 is a complete standalone software that requires no other software interaction. However, Prism is not a replacement for your equipments drivers. You will still need them, as this is how Prism communicates with your equipment.

WHY DO I HAVE A 32 AND 64 BIT VERSIONS OF PRISM INSTALLED ON MY COMPUTER?
The 64bit version is designed for processing big files and allows you to utilize more than 4GB of RAM on your PC, It is not designed to control any hardware since the 32bit version does that very well.

SUCH A POWERFUL SOFTWARE REQUIRES A MATCHING COMPUTER, RIGHT?
No, Prism v10 is very powerful and yet extremely efficient. Some customers operate entire imaging rigs in Chile solely on small fanless computers with Prism v10 at their hearts.

Here is a list of the system specifications you will need to run PRISM;
  • A computer 100% PC Compatible with the CPU speed of 1 GHz.
  • At least 512 MB of RAM.
  • 400 MB of free hard disk space.
  • 1024 x 768 graphics card with 16 million colors.
  • Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP. 32 or 64 bit version.

Recommended System configuration;
  • 4+ GB of RAM.
  • A computer 100% PC compatible with dual or quad cores, and a CPU speed of 2 GHz.
  • 10 GB of free hard disk space.
  • 1368 x 768 or greater screen resolution. PRISM is a feature rich program that is best used on a 1920 x 1080 screen size or larger.
  • Windows 7, 8, or 10.
  • Prism is 100% ASCOM 6 compliant, and the ASCOM platform is installed automatically if it is found missing on your system by Prism installer. The .NET framework 3.5 is required to install the ASCOM 6 platform, and it s not installed by default in windows 10.
WILL THERE BE ANY YEARLY FEES?
No, your copy of prism v10 will be fully functional as long as you own it. Typically, we provide bug fixes for three generations from latest one released. Example: Version 10 is the latest so there is support for 9 and 8 as well.

DO EXISTING CUSTOMERS GET A DISCOUNT ON FUTURE VERSIONS OF PRISM?
Yes, our customers will always have a path forward to upgrade at a discounted price.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE A SEPARATE FOCUSING SOFTWARE?

No, Prism has four focus routines built in: Manual, Automatic, Spectral and Direct. Please refer to this video for a demonstration : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PN93MX ... ieAqRljqAh

DOES PRISM HANDLE PLATE SOLVING?
You bet ! Both known and blind plate solving methods are directly implemented in Prism. Astrometry.net is also supported both locally and online.

DOES PRISM REQUIRE ANOTHER SOFTWARE TO AUTOGUIDE?
No, centroid, FFT intercorrelation and slit guiding are built right in.



I HAVE READ ALL THE LITERATURE AND STILL NEED HELP, WHAT DO I DO?
This is an easy one, just got a hold of us ;) ! We are here to help you through any hurdles you might encounter. We have a help file that is installed with Prism, video tutorials, a full forum, email, phone... We are here to help, just reach out :D

DOES PRISM WORK WITH MY EQUIPMENT?
Prism will work on anything with an ASCOM driver.

HARDWARE
IS MY SOFTWARE BISQUE PARAMOUNT SUPPORTED?
Yes, you need the SkyX program to be running in the background to allow control of your mount in Prism or any third party program. This is a Software Bisque requirement. Please download the appropriate driver here: https://ascom-standards.org/Downloads/ScopeDrivers.htm

DOES MY CELESTRON WORK WITH PRISM?

Yes, Please install the ASCOM Celestron Unified driver found here: https://ascom-standards.org/Downloads/ScopeDrivers.htm
Hamza Touhami | Site Administrator
Hyperion-Astronomy.com
Hamza Touhami
Site Admin
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Phoenix,AZ
Contact:

Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:24 pm

I am calling on the seasoned PRISM users; your participation is requested and appreciated to build this page. I appreciate you as usual.
Hamza Touhami | Site Administrator
Hyperion-Astronomy.com
Hamza Touhami
Site Admin
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Phoenix,AZ
Contact:

Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:24 pm

I am calling on the seasoned PRISM users; your participation is requested and appreciated to build this page. I appreciate you as usual.
Hamza Touhami | Site Administrator
Hyperion-Astronomy.com
rottielover
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:22 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:22 pm

Hey Hamza, happy to help out. Here's two methods of building a local horizon file:

I want to display my local horizon onto the skymap, how do I do that?

There are a few ways to accomplish this but I will detail two, manual method, and a photographically accurate method (requires a 3rd party smart phone app).
Requirements: You need a file with the PRF extension. Example: FileName.PRF I called mine "home_driveway.prf". This file is basically a text file that contains two items of information. In the first column the degrees of the compass, and the 2nd column the number of degrees above the horizon until you see clear sky. You *can* use all 360 by starting at 0 (zero) and going to 359, but if you are doing this manually you will likely want to define only about a 8 to 20 points or so.

Manual Method Steps
Simply stand where your scope would be and note the degree reading on your compass, then measure from horizon until you see clear sky, remember 90 is the zenith (straight up) so if that tree in front of you blocks out 1/2 the sky it's probably around 45 degrees. There are many methods for making this measurement manually and would be far beyond the scope of this to detail them all, please use Google to find one that works for you best. An example method is to hold your fist out at arm's length. Place the bottom of your fist where it "touches" the horizon, the top of your fist will be roughly 10 degrees.

After you have noted your compass and obstruction readings, create your text file. Open Notepad or another text editor and start with the first reading 0 and enter the degrees until clear sky. Your first line should look like this: "0 15" This means that at 0 degrees (north) the sky is not obstructed above 15 degrees. Hit enter to start a new line and enter your next reading. In the end you will have a file something like this:
0 15
30 45
60 15
90 30
120 15
150 30
180 15

Save this file as any name you choose but make sure it has the PRF extension.
Open Prism, open your skychart, click the settings wheel for the skychart. At the bottom click the checkbox "Display skyline file:" click Define and point prism to your PRF file. Your local horizon will be displayed as a line on your skychart.

Photographically Accurate Horizon Method:
NOTE this method requires the use of a smartphone app called Observer Pro. There is a cost involved for getting that app, and this app is not affiliated with or supported by the makers of Prism.

Obtain the app. Inside the app you can create your observing site. One of the options in the app is to map the local horizon. Select this option and use your phone's camera to follow along with your local skyline. The app will automatically use your phone's built in compass and tilt sensor to record the correct data. Once recorded tap the local horizon map (blue and green map of your horizon), in the upper right tap the export data icon (box with an arrow), tap on "Email Horizon Data". Email the data to yourself. This process will email you a file "SITENAME.hzn".

Save this HZN file to your computer. Open it using your favorite text editor, I used NotePad for this. The app saves your data in the format "0,13" where the first number is your compass reading, it separates the data with a comma instead of a space, and the last number is the degrees above horizon, similar to the manual method.

In NotePad click Edit, and select Replace. in the Find What box type a comma (,), and in the Replace with box type a space. Use care sine you are typing in a whitespace, you still need to make sure that it replaces the comma with a blank space. Click the Replace All button. Save your file with the PRF extension.

Finally load your PRF file into Prism skychart by following the instructions above.
Hamza Touhami
Site Admin
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Phoenix,AZ
Contact:

Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:11 pm

awesome write-up, thank you
Hamza Touhami | Site Administrator
Hyperion-Astronomy.com
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