My mount control & image capture software of choice
Software used as of 2021
Now for my imaging software I actually use a Raspberry PI Single board computer (SBC) on my mount with the superb Kstars / Ekos Linux based mount control and capture software. I have been using this for a couple of years now and find it just works, no Ascom drivers to worry about, which suits me just fine.
The way this system works is, the raspberry PI sits on the mount and holds all the software, the capture and mount control driver software. Kstars / Ekos is the capture / control software and INdI is the driver software, this is all free and open source and is constantly evolving on a weekly basis.
This software can be installed very easily onto an SD card and then placed in the RPI, all the software runs from the SD card. You can also get a pre built Astro image including this software in the form of Astroberry, you just download it and burn to an SD card and away you go, it’s completely free.
Another option is the paid for Stellarmate software ($49) which comes with a purpose built app so you can run your complete imaging rig from a mobile phone or tablet.
Both of these suites have built in wifi hotspots so when out in the field you can still connect to them for full control.
Both of the above mentioned Astro software suites are based around and use the Kstars / Ekos software but also have other packages included too.
I have a full i5 PC indoors that then controls the RPI desktop from VNC or Teamviewer software, this works extremely well indeed. INdI is the driver software, so this is basically a Linux version of Ascom but without all the issues...
The Kstars imaging suite is a real all in one solution, it does the lot, full planetarium, mount control, platesolving, image capture and all the usual stuff, like polar alignment, full auto focusing, schedule, and so on....
What is KStars
It is a free, open source, cross-platform Astronomy Software. It provides an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display includes up to 100 million stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects,all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets, asteroids, supernovae, and satellites. For students and teachers, it supports adjustable simulation speeds in order to view phenomena that happen over long timescales, the KStars Astrocalculator to predict conjunctions, and many common astronomical calculations.
For the amateur astronomer, it provides an observation planner, a sky calendar tool, and an FOV editor to calculate field of view of equipment and display them. Find out interesting objects in the "What's up Tonight" tool, plot altitude vs. time graphs for any object, print high-quality sky charts, and gain access to lots of information and resources to help you explore the universe! Included with KStars is Ekos astrophotography suite, a complete astrophotography solution that can control all INDI devices including numerous telescopes, CCDs, DSLRs, focusers, filters, and a lot more. Ekos supports highly accurate tracking using online and offline astrometry solver, autofocus and autoguiding capabilities, and capture of single or multiple images using the powerful built in sequence manager.
What is Ekos
Ekos is an advanced cross-platform (Windows, OSX, Linux) observatory control and automation tool with particular focus on Astrophotography. It is based on a modular extensible framework to perform common astrophotography tasks. This includes highly accurate GOTOs using astrometry solver, ability to measure and correct polar alignment errors , auto-focus & auto-guide capabilities, and capture of single or stack of images with filter wheel support. Ekos is shipped with KStars. The latest Ekos release is in KDE 16.12
Built-in native Auto Guiding with support for automatic dithering between exposures and support for Adaptive Optics devices in addition to traditional guiders.