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Astrophotography with a Raspberry Pi. Part 0

The Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a single board computer designed for education and embedded projects, This tutorial will focus on using a RPi 2 as a remote controller for astrophotography.

When doing astrophotography there is a lot of equipment which needs to be controlled via a computer. From CCD cameras to electronic filter wheels, everything has to be managed.

A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B v1.1 in its case with attatched Wifi dongle
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B v1.1


Without a laptop this is quite inconvienient as the overwhelming majority of locations suitable for the task are far away from a PC. This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in, being used as a small computer to drive the equipment remotely, while a larger desktop does the heavy lifting.

The particular implementation being covered in this tutorial is setting up the RPi 2 to be used as an INDI server controlled via Kstars/Ekos. Ekos is a cross-platform observatory control and automation tool with a focus on astrophotography which is perfect for our needs, it is accessed via Kstars which is a free, open source, cross-platform Astronomy Software.

The final piece of the puzzle is INDI lib or INDI Library, a collection of programs designed to control astronomical equipment. Itself based on the Instrument-Neutral-Distributed-Interface developed by Elwood C. Downey of ClearSky Institute. Using INDI not only can we control our devices on a Linux OS running on the Raspberry Pi, we can also set it up as an independent INDI server which our client PC inside can access.

To set this up there a 4 general tasks we need to complete:

1. Install the Raspberry Pi OS

2. Set up headless mode using SSH

3. Install INDI on the server

4. Install Kstars on the client

For details on how to did this, take a look at the respective tutorials.

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