ACP Target Selector Application

This utility application for ACP 5 allows you to easily specify a list of desired targets and have ACP image them as they each reach the best position in the sky over the course of multiple nights, until the specified amount of imaging time is reached on the target.
The advantage of automatically selecting the best placed target is that you can simply add new targets from your TODO list to the candidate targets list and the application will take exposures of that target once it becomes the best target available, until the desired number of runs have been performed.

The targets from which it will select are defined in the "targets.txt" file which should be placed in the same directory as the target selector application.
When run, the application will create a log file "ACPSelector.log" in the default ACP logs directory.
The format of the targets file is quite simple - it is a list of targets with all the qualifying ACP directives, separated by a line containing just:

**** remaining={count}

where {count} is the remaining number of times you wish that target plan to be executed by the scheduler.
Each time that target is selected for running, the remaining count is decremented in the targets.txt file automatically.

All targets in the targets.txt file must have explicit RA/DEC coords, you cannot use the ACP deepsky catalog lookup function.
The target line must be the last line before the **** separator line.

An example targets.txt file entry looks like this:

#Filter Clear,Red,Green,Blue
#Binning 1,2,2,2
#Count 20,10,10,10
#Interval 60,60,60,60
NGC2403 07:37:34.07 65 35' 12.0"
**** remaining=9

Here we can see the target is NGC2403 at the coords specified.
The lines above it will be entered into a plan file and passed to ACP.
You can specify any valid directives above it - they will simply be passed straight through to the ACP plan file untouched. This enables you to use the full power of ACP's plans, but with an automated selection process.
In this example, ACP will take 20 subs through the clear filter and 10 subs through each of the RGB filters.
This target has 9 remains runs required.

A complete example targets file is included in this .zip file: 

Sample Targets File

I generally make the plan details for each target last for about an hour of exposure time, short enough that the application can effectively schedule them, but long enough to cut down on the scheduling overhead.
If autofocus is required, make the time per target just slightly longer than the desired autofocus interval, since the application can only initiate an autofocus upon starting a new imaging run.

ACPSelector links in to the sky safety property in ACP, so it will pause imaging while the skys are unsafe, restarting once they become safe again.

The user can also enter the maximum sun elevation at which to start/stop imaging. A value of -18 degrees is the standard value for astronomical twilight, -9 is nautical twilight. This setting ensures that imaging is only performed during darkness.

Config options:

    - Max sun elevation to start imaging (nighttime detection)
    - Autofocus interval
    - Elevation and azimuth limits

Version history:
v1.0 - Initial release.
v1.1 - Ensure targets are no longer selected when remaining count reaches zero.
v1.2 - User config of sun elevation to start imaging.
v1.3 - Add missing autofocus support.

ACPSelector v1.3

If you download this to give it a go, please post feedback on the ACP forum, or email me directly at: winfij_AT_gmail_DOT_com
One final note - if you have any errors, please note the exact error messages and let me know!

Regards,
John

 

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