Camera Simulator

For this driver, please select Simulator on the Setup tab.

The Camera Simulator is a learning tool. It can simulate the behavior of a dual-chip camera with autoguiding capability and integrated filter wheel. No external hardware is required. It is also very handy for testing scripts. For more information, please see the Camera Control Tutorial section.

When an exposure is taken, the simulator will produce a pattern of five stars of different intensities. If the Noise option is turned on, a small amount of random noise is added to each image (this also increases the ”download time”).

For simulating autoguider operation, you can select a variety of Guide Errors. Sinusoidal will produce a back-and-forth motion in the X axis with a period of four minutes – just like a real (if poor) telescope drive. Random will produce erratic X and Y motions. Selecting Both will superimpose both types of guider errors. The five simulated star images will actually move around the frame over time. You can calibrate the autoguider (we recommend 10 second calibration times for X and Y) and actually track on the simulated star images.

FWHM (full-width half maximum) allows you to dial in the diameter of the star images, in pixels. Using this you can simulate good or poor seeing/focus.

Guide Angle can be used to learn about the operation of the autoguider. Setting this changes the angle at which the guide star moves during guider operations; in effect, it rotates the virtual camera. Guide Direction can be used to flip the sense of the autoguider corrections. When the guider is calibrated, this will reverse the sign of one of the guider calibration settings.

Clicking the Advanced... button brings up the Simulator Configuration dialog box. This can also be accessed on the Expose Tab through the Options menu.

You can specify the Array Size in Width and Height that the simulator creates. You can specify the Pixel Dimensions that the camera reports; this is used in various calculations and is stored in the FITS header. You can Normalize the ADU values to a particular exposure length, for both the main camera and the guider. When turned on, the normal test image is scaled by the length of the exposure. The default test pattern levels are produced when the exposure taken matches the normalization value. Full-frame operation only disables subframing in the simulator. Differential Guiding displays a reference star for emulating the operation of the SBIG differential guiding accessory.

Availability of this feature depends on Product Level.