APT - Astro Photography Tool v2.43
(released on 2014/02/27)
(next version in March 2014)
APT stands for "Astro Photography Tool" and it is the Swiss army knife for your astro imaging sessions.
No matter what camera you use - Canon EOS DSLR or ASCOM compatible CCD, APT has the right tool for planning, collimating, aligning, focusing, framing, controlling,
imaging, analyzing and monitoring. All its features are packed in an easy and comfortable to use interface with design that had no alternative back in 2009 when
it was released. Since then APT is constantly being improved and refined by the real experience of many astro photographers from all over the world. Currently APT works only on MS Windows.
The short list is:
- Support for four generations of Canon EOS Models. Check the models matrix
page for details
- Support for ASCOM compatible CCD cameras - QHYCCD, Starlight Xpress, Atik, Orion, Moravian and more
- Native support for QSI cameras
- Support for multi-camera operation
- Easy-to-use plans editor
- Light, Dark, Flat, Bias and Focusing exposures plan types
- Possibility to track the plan execution progress. Remaining exposures, time and estimated end time.
- Possibility to call external scripts and programs.
- Flexible naming and grouping of the stored images, making ISO, Exposure, Date, Time, EXIF or TemperHUM temperature to be part of the file names
- Automatic conversion of EOS raw files in TIFF format
- Images browser with thumbnails
- Planetary panel to record Live View stream in sequence of JPGs
- LiveView automation - tunes LiveView parameters for maximum sensitivity
- Field Of View calculator
- Object framing aids
- Collimation Aid
- Alignment Aid - Rotatable/Movable cross
- Support for any Serial control cable. See a list of serial cable vendors
- Support for Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB/DSUSB2 and Biula Audio Trigger
- Lens control (Digic III and latter)
- Lens aperture control
- Support for TEMPer and TEMPerHUM sensors (can be found in eBay too). Never implemented in astro program before!
- Support for USB_Dewpoint sensor. Never implemented in astro program before!
- Displaying the current temperature (requires TEMPer or TEMPerHUM)
and current dew point (requires TEMPerHUM)
- Exif Temperature readings - showing them after an exposure in plan is taken
- Corrected image (right orientation) in Preview and LiveView by live image flipping horizontally and/or vertically, for easier object framing
- LV++ - LiveView image intensification in real time to show fainter objects
- LV Stack - Stacks the LiveView images in real time to help fainter objects framing
- Gamma, Brightness, Sharpening, Rotation and Negative image effects in Preview and LiveView
- Histograms - R, G, B and L histograms of the taken image
- Image magnifier that supports 3x, 5x, 10x and 15x magnifications
- Tooltips help - Shows description per every feature (there are translations in English, Dutch, Polish, German, Portuguese, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Chinese and more are coming)
- Sound notifications
- Integration with AstroTortilla in both EOS and CCD modes
- Bahtinov Aid - powered by the Bahtinov Grabber technology to provide focusing with sub-pixel precision with a mask
- FWHM (Full Width Half Maximum) focusing method
- PHD guiding Auto-Dithering, exposure Auto-Canceling and real-time monitoring of the distance to the guide star
- MetaGuide Auto-Dithering
- Lacerta MGen Auto-Dithering, exposure Auto-Canceling and real-time monitoring of the distance to the guide star
- Camera shutter counter displaying on camera connection (Digic III and latter)
- Objects browser with 545 deep sky objects, 78 alignment stars, 2 start maps to use for size, coordinates selection and GoTo alignment (available is audio extension)
- ASCOM filter wheels control
- ASCOM focusers control
- Darkness clock and Deep Sky Darkness (DSD) calculator
- Multiple color skins (in FULL version only)
- Notifications for refocusing when the temperature changes or closing dew point to avoid un-needed heating (in FULL version only)
- HD Video recording for Digic IV cameras from the Planetary panel (in FULL version only)
- Framing Masks to help in multi-nights sessions and after meridian flip. Never implemented
in astro program before! (in FULL version only)
- ASCOM telescopes control (in FULL version only)
- Meridian Flip clock (in FULL version only)
- Automatic Lens focusing (using FWHM) Never implemented in astro program before!
(in FULL version only)
- Built in Auto-Dithering, when there is no guiding program (in FULL version only)
- Various other details that make astro photography easier and pleasant
To see more, take a look at Features page.
Time unlimited "demo" version available in the Download page.
Features that are planned for the next version:
- Temperature compensation
- SBIG support
- Automatic flat exposure calculation for CCDs
- More things...
Planned to include in the next few versions:
- Auto focusing using FWHM
- Auto focusing using Bahtinov mask
- Extending the APT controlling API
- Plan editor enhancement
- Weather stations integration