Hey there folks, The SGPro 4.3 beta is going pretty well. The underlying complexity of AutoFlats is creating a bit of a longer beta period, but we’re seemingly pretty stable at this point. There is only one (known) outstanding issue with AutoFlats that is proving rather difficult to locate (dealing with a UI failure that causes the AutoFlats table to stop updating).
So… because this beta cycle involves a bunch of waiting for things to happen, I have already found myself implementing small random things while the beta progresses. There is certainly nothing wwrong with this, but it’s also an indicator that it’s likely time to get the upcoming SGPro feature backlog in order.
So, without further preamble and because we typically solicit feedback from the community as part of this process, I’ll layout some of the larger things we’re considering for SGPro 4.4-ish:
Completely overhaul of the AutoFocus data collection logic. We are reasonably happy with the way AutoFocus interprets and measures data, but the methodology used for collection has grown awkwardly over the years and could use some attention. It often makes weird decisions under less-than-ideal conditions and there are cases where success is possible, but AutoFocus will, in its current state, just quit with a warning.
Polar Alignment Wizard. SGPro has had a Polar Alignment Wizard embedded deep in its code for near 10 years now. We just never spent the time to get it ready for primetime. Recently, for more mobile rigs, there seems to be a renewed interest in having this…
Event table overhaul. The current event table is “fine”… I guess. From the very beginning of SGPro its implementation was fraught with limitations and "I wish we could get it to do [a thing]"s. Then, as with all things software, it grew bigger and beigger, getting more and more embedded and difficult to replace. Now in 2023, we have a plethora of options here that are much better than the jank that’s there now. Things I would like to see:
Better response to adding and deleting rows. Right now adding is ok, but deleting results in a complete rebuild of the table.
Better memory efficiency
User-driven customization like file explorer where you can pick from a set of available columns
Flexibile column widths
Destruction of the “Event Settings” dialog (the window that hangs off the event when the gear icon is clicked) and introduction of an expandable / collapsable event settings area. This owould allow for viewing and editing options for multiple events at the same time
Better options for bulk editing
Possibly an option to view / edit all events for all targets in a single table
Add your thoughts own here.
We ask you use a specific process here in order to keep this thread from exploding into chaos and 47 different things:
Have an idea or a request
Search for said request in the Feature Requests category and, if it exists, +1 it to bump it
Then, with whatever request you are using, go ahead and link it here along with your thoughts, justifications, etc.
If you want to support a request made by somebody else, go ahead and like the link post in this thread, but relocate to the feature request post to make additiuonal comments.
Slightly off topic…
For those interested, we have taken another pass at the Polar Alignment Wizard and updated its interface. It still has a considerable amount of testing required to be functional. The general idea is to guide you with adjustments that are relative to the last adjustment you made.
First, thank you for the continuous improvement and the way you take community into account in the development. Being a recent NINA convert, I must say I have very few problems with SGPro and the user experience feels excellent.
As for the next features :
AF : I have no issue with the current implementation of autofocus, so that evolution will be welcome if it helps the general maintainability and solves problems for some people.
Polar Alignment Wizard : This looks fantastic! When I do PA, I care mostly about :
No need to manually move the RA/DEC, it should be handled automatically like NINA’s implementation (move RA/ take a shot / Plate Solve x3). They have nice parameters (choose side of pier, choose starting position, choose angle).
The direction and angle of correction. The direction looks perfectly fine but I would suggest to increase the visibility of the correction angle. More and more people are doing this in remote and that number will be very small on a tablet or phone in remote. Also, at this stage, the image is not extremely useful, I’d rather have a big block in the center telling me what to do).
Event Table overhaul
I’d say user driven customization would be a big plus.
The other features would be nice but more like comfort for me.
We have discussed this and may include an “OMG SO BIG” version that basically takes up your entire screen. Lots of times people are doing PA with their laptop sitting away from them or are remoting into their device from their phone.
A “notes” column in the new Sequence windows on a per-event basis would be nice. I currently use the Suffix field to keep track of how many images I still need for each filter. A more generic “notes” field would be better, especially if it could be made wider. The “Sequence Notes” doesn’t work for this scenario.
Would be nice to have more intelligence in when a focus run is needed. In addition to the comment below, I usually do a manual focus while waiting for the scope to cool down and when starting the sequence, it always focuses even if the last and current temp are the same.
Better logic on the focus position of the first focus of a sequence would be nice. Possibly keep track of the last X number of focus point/temperature pairs for each filter, and go to the average position on the first focus of a sequence. Being able to pre-populate the focus point/temperature table from prior log files would be nice.
Image History window improvements
Web page request
This isn’t for any release, but it would be really nice if posts could be marked as “Completed” or “Implemented” or something similar, and not appear in search results by default. A lot of Feature Requests have been implemented, but having them appear in searches wastes time.
Ability to start and end a sequence based on multiple criteria.
For example, start X minutes after sunset AND when the object has reached Y degrees altitude.
Right now I have to manually adjust the start time of the first target and the end time of the last target, guessing at how much to adjust for changes in sunset/sunrise times.
Flats during Unsafe Conditions
Use case: For me a common occurrence is to capture images during the evening and part of the night, but it clouds over before dawn. I like to take flats (panel/flip-flat) before dawn to prevent light leaks. However if conditions have become “unsafe” no flats are taken at all.
I would like the ability to set a default gain setting for all autofocus and platesolve exposures.
I generally capture LRGB frames at low gain, and narrowband frames at high gain. But I would prefer to take all autofocus and platesolve exposures at high gain, to allow shorter exposure times and minimize read noise.
Would like ability to run a script before and/or after each image, and to be able to pass the % filename arguments to it.
Another possibility might be to have an API call to get sequence start/end, target start/end, event start/end, and image start/end status.
Perform periodic autofocus, say every 2 minutes, and start capture light frames based on FWHM, i.e. proceed when FWHM is below 4. Normally, one would just wait to start imaging based on weather forecast, but weather is variable and not an exact science. Being able to monitor the seeing and start when ideal conditions are reached would maximize imaging time, also only capturing images when seeing is good will minimize capturing garbage frames. If this is already a feature then disregard.
IMHO, SGP has somewhat better logic compared to N.I.N.A. for a simple sequence. For example, SGP will automatically open/close/illuminate light flat panel depending on type of frame being captured, N.I.N.A. simple sequencer doesn’t. However, SGP has a lot of sequencer settings buried within the application. I find the advanced scripting approach of N.I.N.A. more intuitive for understanding what the various sequencer settings are and what will happen when. For example, identifying the specific settings for autofocus, goto/platesolve, startup and shutdown actions, along with the light/dark/flat frame captures in the list of imaging sequence instructions. Although, the advanced scripting is exhaustingly in-depth and not as easy to get up and running. A balance between the simple sequence and advanced scripting would be nice.
Also consider implementing the following:
Additional tools, like sensor profiling to determine optimum imaging settings and assist in tilt adjustment, focuser profiling to determine backlash compensation and optimum exposure/binning/ROI settings to capture focus frames, optics profiling to identify aberrations and optimum imaging ROI.
Ability to select autolight, autodark, and autoflat in the main sequencing list. Autobias could just be the lowest exposure setting possible. So instead of setting explicit parameters for the frame types, let SGP figure them out automatically. These would presumably be on the same target per sequence. I’d like to be able to tell SGP I want x number of frames and it will identify appropriate settings and generate them:
100 L Frames, 50 R, G, B, Frames, 25 Ha Frames
50 Dark Frames to match the L, R, G, B, Ha Frames
50 Flat Frames for L, R, G, B, Ha, along with appropriate darks
200 Bias Frames
Ability to import project from SkyTools. Many of the optimum imaging parameter determinations are more robust and already implemented in SkyTools, i.e. what object to image, when to image, camera settings, etc.
A master form that lists every action that will be performed in a sequence. Many of the settings that are in various locations within the app can be brought into this form and auto populate on the appropriate line. If a parameter needs to be changed, that can be done in the master form. The usual list of frames to capture would also be in the master form. Also the ability to enable/disable any line item should be possible.
Request option or another mechanism to keep SGP from running end of sequence actions when no sequence is running and an “Unsafe Conditions” occurs.
In my case, I do NOT want the mount to park unless a sequence ends. I may have a flat panel on the scope or doing maintenance on the mount when it’s not in parked position. I have a separate system that detects rain or high winds and shuts the roof, so don’t need or want SGP to do that when not running a sequence.
We’ve gone back and forth on this a bit. Earlier version of the Unsafe implementation worked as you describe and a lot of folks wanted it to always trigger. Maybe we need to add the option to the Unsafe area to allow the user to set their preference (globally).
I read that the new Horizon feature is not complete. Please keep working on that. As others have said, the PA feature would also be the number one in my requests, too.
Include in SGP certain file/folder naming templates for enabling the selecting of entire directories into PI or other post processing programs that would give them the information they need to sort them out., Also offer templates for organization of data by date or target in ajn easy to use fashion. Perhaps include a zip file creator to automatically store data in reduced sizes.
I’d like SGP to continue numbering images in a target rather than start over at 1 and add -1 to the end of an image name. This is when I have to, for example, abort a sequence after 2 images, I’d like it to number the next image ....003.fit instead of ...001-1.fit.