Mosaic Manual Rotator Checklist?

Hi! and thank you for reading this. Is there an airplane like checklist on how to do mosaics by manually rotating the camera? Auto rotators are a non starter for me due to my image train not being compatible with anything out there (Beleve me I’ve tried every vendor including Pyxis and it’s a no go. I need a simple concrete example or video that anybody made using manual rotating techniques because frankly I don’t get the concept. Will SGP tell me to turn the camera 15 degrees clockwise? and if so what happens if I only turn it 14 degrees…how can you gauge a turn with the necessary accuracy? Do they sell a clutch operated manual camera field rotator? I have a C14 edge HD to a .7 focal reducer to a celestron T adapter to my Sbig 8300M with filter wheel and off axis guider package. The only Pyxis that will work is the 3 inch one…at over 2000 dollars plus adapter…I can’t justify that.

any respectful thoughts are welcome.


Pablo Lewin

Hey Great questions.

You can definitely use manual rotator for mosaics. And the mosaic does not have to be a mosaic it can be a single frame.

When you use the framing / mosaic wizard you can frame out even individual frames. I use the wizard for all of my images because it takes the guess work of how the image will be framed.

You first need to have plate solving working before attempting to use the framing wizard, so get that going first.

When you use the framing wizard after you draw your frame either a single 1x1 or a mosaic AxB size (based on your camera sensor settings) it will create a target for you in the sequencer.

When you start the sequence SGP will plate solve its way to the target and slew your mount. when it centers it it will then check the rotation and ask you to turn either X degrees Clockwise or Y degrees counter clockwise. Then it will take another picture check and get you closer. Once you arrive at your threshold (ie: 1-2 degrees) you can then proceed and the images will begin.

To use the manual rotator choose “Manual Rotator” from the rotator drop box otherwise you will not be offered this rotational check during the centering sequence.

for simple accuracy I use a Wixey Level which I Velcro to the top of my camera/scope ( I remove it once the plate solve/rotation is confirmed as correct)
Here is a link to the level I use.

SGP will indeed tell you to rotate X degrees clockwise/anticlockwise. At this point just zero the level and rotate accordingly…it may take a couple of goes depending on how tight you set your tolerances.
I have mine set at 1 degree and it doesn’t normally take me more that 2 iterations to get that close.

Entilza thank you!

Thanks DaveB!

DaveB I’m about to purchase this level but I have a question. Say the telescope is pointing straight up or nearly so, how will this level register the camera rotation now that it’s vertical (or nearly so)? Thanks!.

To do this accurately you need to have the scope level. However you can do a couple of iterations or do some trig to get the actual read out angle that the gauge should say.

A couple of iterations is likely adequate and easier.


Doesn’t seem to matter pablotwa. I put it vertically on a wall when I got mine as a test and the rotated away and it still measured fine.
Just remember to mount it parallel to your camera sensor.
Oh and it has a magnet on the bottom so don’t leave it permanently attached just in case the magnet affects anything. I managed to get the magnet off mine so I no longer have to worry.

Not sure if this will help, BUT, I have the sbig 8300 with the sbig OAG, I cannot really rotate the camera much at all because it will end up hitting something . What I did was plate solve an image and determine that my camera was always oriented 28 degrees , then I opened the Mosaic Wizard and whatever my target was I rotate to 28 degrees using the little slider within the Wizard window. Now I have my starting point. The Wizard will figure out how many panels I need to capture my 28 degree image whether it is a Mosaic or not. I can always rotate the final result in pixinsight. Sure was a cheap way out AND I don’t have to run out in the dark and turn the camera around in circles. Man, is it accurate !!

Clear Skies,


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Dennis!!! THANK YOU! I consider your post the Rossetta Stone of SGP Mosaic posts period. How come I missed it in the help files that you can do Mosaic WITHOUT ROTATING your camera? How come NOBODY in cloudy nights nor here, nor anybody at SGP was able to answer my simple question so concisely and to the point? (Not on this thread guys). Ever since I bought SGP I wanted to know if I could do Mosaic work without a camera field rotator and up until now (I am NOT being facetious) nobody was able to answer my simple question?. I even bought a Pyxis LE which I had to return because even though I described my system and even sent him a picture my system will not work with his rotator . Thank you Dennis and and any other pointers you can give me will be deeply appreciated. Best! Pablo Lewin

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You are welcome. Hope it works for you . I went through the same learning curve, I even ran out and bought the Pyxis LE and ended up returning it just like you . It did work BUT between my OAG sticking out one side and my Filter Wheel sticking out the other side , I had to be super careful that it didn’t hit or wires didn’t get hung up when rotating . It was just not worth the hassle. Jared and others helped me and suggested getting one of those angle reading things and then a little light turned on in my thick skull!!

I have an old iphone so I was able to download a FREE App that reads angles, I just held the phone along side my Filter Wheel and guess what angle I got ?? 28 degrees !! The same angle I got when I plate solved an image I took. Now I knew my camera was at a 28 degree angle to the horizon. That is when I went back to the Mosaic Wizard and started messing with the slider . I figured instead of rotating the Camera to meet the angle suggested in SGP why not do the opposite ?? Rotate the IMAGE to meet the angle of the Camera !!! The only problem when doing mosaics is that you might end up shooting more panels than absolutely necessary because you were not able to get the full target framed perfectly within the minimum number of panels suggested by the Wizard. Sometimes you can eliminate panels if you keep messing with the overlap !!

With my very portable setup I can’t afford to be that picky .

Good Luck and Clear Skies !!

Excellent Dennis, thank you. What’s the name of the app you downloaded? also when you get a chance would you be so kind for us newbies using this program to write a very simple checklist on how to accomplish what you’ve achieved? Something simple like how did you rotate the image? Something like a numbered checklist 1) open program 2) open mosaic…etc…
I can solve plate no problems and I know how to use the self centering feature as well but I’ve never used the mosaic feature and a simple checklist would be very useful. Using your technique without rotating the camera will save me from having to reshoot flats so even if I have to shoot an extra panel, timewise it will be a wash…

its called Angle Meter by Jin Jeon …its free.

  1. Rotate the camera by hand to any angle that you choose. I had to rotate so my FW and OAG would not crash into the mount when it was slewing around.

  2. Once you rotate the camera by HAND, open up that free app and just place your iphone against the side of the camera or your FW (we have the same setup I believe) of course this will not be a 90 degree angle because you just rotated the camera by hand …make sure the entire mount is LEVEL FIRST. What is cool also is that the CHIP is oriented perfectly to reflect the camera angle automatically , that is why if you plate solve is should show the same angle as your iphone !! OK, so now your iphone free app should tell you the angle of the camera, which should be the same , or really close to the same, if you took an image and plate solved it …it doesn’t really matter if you use the iphone app or not , its the plate solve that will tell you what angle you are at …ok , now for the fun part…

  3. Lets say you figured out your camera is at 28 degrees (iphone says so and so does the plate solve of any random image you just took)…ready ??

  4. Open New Sequence with Profile (I assume you have setup a profile of your equipment ).

  5. Open Framing and Mosaic Wizard…the camera info will automatically fill the necessary fields under Camera Data.

  6. Just for practice, enter M42 in the Object window under Fetch the Target Area. then click on FETCH .

  7. Now the magic begins, you should see a nice pic of M42 on the screen. You can adjust the brightness using the historgram stretch window in SGP…move the black point to the right till you can see M42 clearly.

  8. Now in the Framing and Mosaic window find the Rotate selection slider under number 3 Define the Target. Make sure draw the target rectangle is ticked. OK, mess around with the rotate slider until it matches the angle of your camera !!! . If it won’t match exactly start using your left and right arrow keys on your computer keyboard !!

  9. Next Draw the Target rectangle , click on M42 and drag the box so it surrounds M42 and release !! BAM,…now you should see a number of panels with an OVERLAP !! You can adjust the overlap back in the Mosaic Wizard to anything you want, but at 20% to be safe so you have enough stars included in the overlap , heck, I use like 30 or 40% sometimes. You can grab that rectangle and move it around all you want , check out number 4 on the Mosaic Wizard, you can adjust the number of panels (tiles) also.

  10. When you get M42 framed just the way you like it (do NOT change the rotation ) just click “Create Sequence”, a window will pop open titled Mosaic Sequence ( you could UNcheck the auto rotate or validate rotation on mosaic start, that will save you some hassle )make sure Precision centering with Plate Solve is checked… then click OK on that window and watch it fill in all the needed info for the Sequence !!!.

  11. All that is left is to choose the filters and exposures you want for each Event .

  12. Best part is you can do ALL of this during the daytime over and over and over just for practice and SAVE the sequence for your night run !!

Cool , don’t ya think ???

p.s. hope I didnt’ make any mistakes along the way. Let me know how you made out …any questions don’t hesitate to ask…we are all in the learning mode … :slight_smile:


Super Cool! Thank you Dennis, I’ll try and report back, I really appreciate all your help! (I hope I can find someone as knowledgeable as you on the meridian Flip failure I’m experiencing, but one step at a time!) thanks again! :slight_smile:

Hi i posted this as a new topic, but had I seen this I would have added it here on the discussion about mosaic rotation.

Hi Everyone
Almost certainly something I am missing but help with this would be much appreciated. I posted on Stargazers Lounge and the discussion to date can be found at: