The Sequences menu enables the creation of a sequence of exposures with various options for automation. The main usage is to set exposure times, filters, and other settings for a total amount of frames to not have to shoot manually and have it stop after a specific amount of frames.
The Sequence interface consists of the following elements:
Specifies a delay (in seconds) before the first operation when the sequence starts.
Specify the preferred mode of sequence entry advancement.
- One after another: N.I.N.A. processes each sequence entry (9) in full before advancing to the next sequence entry.
- Loop: N.I.N.A. processes one item from a sequence entry before advancing to the next entry. The entire sequence will loop until all sequence entries are completed.
When Start Guiding is set to On, N.I.N.A. will command PHD2 to choose a guide star and begin guiding when the sequence starts. N.I.N.A must be connected to PHD2 (See Also: Equipment > Guider.)
Since sequences typically start with a slew and centering process, the guider will be stopped at the beginning of the sequence and only restarted if this option is set to On.
Slew to target
At the beginning of the sequence, N.I.N.A. will command the mount to slew to the coordinates that are specified in RA and Dec fields. This does not plate solve to verify it is on target.
When set to On, N.I.N.A. will use the configured plate solver to ensure that the target is centered on the specified RA and Dec coordinates. If a rotation angle is specified and a rotator is configured and connected (See Also: Equipment > Rotator), N.I.N.A. will rotate the camera to the desired angle.
If the Manual Rotator is in use, the sequence will be paused and the user prompted to manually rotate the camera. The prompt will specify the necessary amount of degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise to rotate the camera, and N.I.N.A. will verify the rotation angle again until the angle is within the tolerances configured under Options > Plate Solving > Rotation Tolerance.
Estimated Download Time
By default, the value here will be automatically populated with the average download time of a single image from the camera, as measured by N.I.N.A. If the user wishes, this value may be changed by editing it. This time specified here will effect the Estimated Finish Time (7).
Estimated Finish Time
Displays the date and time (in the computer's configured time zone) that N.I.N.A. estimates the entire sequence will complete. This estimation takes into account the number and length of the sequence's exposures, as well as the time required to download each exposure from the camera (See Also: Estimated Download Time.)
Auto Focus behavior and settings
Due to the large number of auto focus options that can be configured in a sequence, they are grouped under an expandable menu. When the menu is not expanded, a summary of the activated options will be displayed. Expanding the menu by clicking on the arrow will reveal the auto focus settings and make them available for altering.
Many of the options are self-explanatory, however two in particular may require some clarification:
After temperature change: Triggers an auto focus operation if the temperature changes the specified amount since the previous auto focus operation. The temperature used is sourced from the focuser, if it provides it. This option does not yet use a Weather source if the focuser does not have a temperature reporting capability.
After HFR increase: If measured HFR from the previous exposure is more than the specified percent of the baseline, an auto focus operation will be triggered. The baseline HFR is determined from the first exposure after an auto focus operation.
Sequence entries define the image acquisition order and behavior of N.I.N.A. Each sequence entry consists of up to 11 columns which determine how the images will be exposed:
- Progress: Displays the current progress of the sequence entry in terms of exposures completed out of the total number specified
- Total #: Specifies the number of frames to expose
- Time: Specifies the exposure time, in seconds
- Type: Specifies the type of the expsosure and sequence entry. BIAS, DARK, LIGHT, FLAT.
- Filter: Specifies the filter to be used
- Binning: Specifies the camera binning level
- Dither: When enabled, N.I.N.A. will command a dither operation. To save time, dither operations are initiated while the preceding image is being downloaded from the camera
Dithering will work only when PHD2 or the built-in Direct Guider is connected. See Equipment > Guider
- Dither Every # Frame: Initiates a dither operation after the specified number of frames are exposed
Gain: Specifies the camera gain to use for the entry. This option is available only if camera is capable of setting exposure gain
Offset: Specifies the camera offset to use for the entry. This option is available only if camera is capable of setting an exposure offset
Add new Sequence entry
Adds a new sequence entry below the last one
Delete Sequence entry
Deletes the selected sequence entry
Reset Sequence entry
Resets the progress of the selected sequence entry to 0
Saves the sequence as a XML file in the specifed folder. The file's name will be the text in the Target Name field (15).
Opens a file selection window and loads a the selected sequence file. The opened sequence's settings will overwrite all settings in the current sequence.
Displays the target name, RA, Dec, and desired rotation angle. These may be edited as needed. The RA, Dec, and rotation angle specified will be used to slew on sequence start (4) and for centering the target (5)
Displays the target object's altitude, the direction point at which it will transit, the darkness phase of the current day, and includes a veritical marker for the current time. The accuracy of the altitude curve requires that the latitude and longitude be set under Options > General > Astrometry.
Pressing the Start button starts the sequence, either from the beginning or from where it was last stopped or paused. Once a sequence is started, this button will change to separate Pause or Cancel buttons.
- Pausing will pause the sequence after the current frame completes exposing
- Cancel will abort any active operation (including any in-progress exposures) and stop the sequence
Sequence Target Tab List
Multiple sequences can be loaded into N.I.N.A., with each residing in its own tab at the top of the Sequence window. When multiple sequences are opened, N.I.N.A. will run each sequence in order after the prior sequence is completed. This allows you to specify multiple targets to image over the course of a night, each with their own settings and behaviors.
- Clicking on a tab will switch to that target's sequence
- Sequence settings are specific to the target
- Hovering the cursor over a tab will reveal the Reset Progress and Delete buttons
Add Sequence button
Pressing this button adds an empty sequence as a new tab. If a Sequence Template file is specified under Options > Imaging > Sequence, that template will be automatically loaded in the new tab.
Grab Coordinates button
Pressing this button grabs coordinates of the selected object in a supported planetarium application. See Options > Planetarium > Planetarium Preferences to configure and select a supported planetarium application.
Sequences cannot be changed while the sequence is running. Changing a sequence's settings require the it to be paused, aborted, or completed.