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Astrophotography with a Raspberry Pi. Part 1 - Setup

In our previous tutorial we looked at what we needed to do so we can setup our Raspberry Pi as a remote INDI server for astrophotography and general astronomy.

Here we will cover the initial setup of the RPi and installing an OS, in our case Ubuntu Mate.

I would recomend using Ubuntu Mate over more standard OS like Raspbian due to our abillity to install INDI directly from the terminal which will make the next steps much easier.


The first thing you'll need is a Raspberry Pi, personally I am using the RPi 2 Model B as it's what I have on hand but there is nothing stopping an RPi 3 or even an original from working, although results may vary, you'll also need a way to power it, a wifi adaptor, and micro SD card to store the OS and data, 32GB and above is recommended.

Buying a set such as this one on Amazon, , is the easiest way to get setup. They will come with a Raspberry Pi, SD card and power supply and normally some other accessiores as well.


Once you have all the neccesary equipment, you should first format your SD card. This can be done in windows but I would recommend using SD Memory Card Formatter available here:

Download the version specific to your PC's OS and run the installer. Once it's done you can startup the program and should see something a bit like this:

Insert your SD card into a reader and select it in the dropdown menu, everything can be left at default and click format. After a couple of seconds it should complete.

Now it is time to flash the SD card with the OS image. Download Ubuntu Mate 16.04.2 for the Raspberry Pi from here:

It will come in the form of a disc image file which we need to flash onto the SD card, the recommended program for this is Win32DiskImager which should be downloaded and installed from here:

Run that and select the image file we downloaded and the SD card, the program should look like this:

Click write and wait a few minutes until it's done. The SD card is now formatted and flashed ready for use in the RPi.

The last step is to connect the RPi to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and a WiFi adaptor. Insert the micro SD card in its slot and plug in the power supply. After a few moments the setup should start for Ubuntu Mate, go through that while making sure to note down the name you assign to the computer (in our case raspberry-pi). Once the setup is complete it will restart and you are ready for the next step.

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