thanks, all. good information. I’m still learning this technology, so please be patient with me
I can think of two applications for this, one for controlling the shutter during an imaging sequence, and another for the pro observatories that want to use a powerful laser to create an “artificial star” about 60 miles up. Problem is, FAA frowns on folks with those kinds of lasers, so they require a spotter to manually look for planes to turn off the laser if one comes by. Maybe having this information would help them, too. (I’m not a pro, but am a docent at the Palomar 200" scope in California)
For my personal scope setup, I use a Pi 4 running open source KSTARS https://edu.kde.org/kstars/ and EKOS/INDI https://www.indilib.org/about/ekos.html to control everything. KSTARS is a planetarium program that controls the field of view of the scope, it’s position in the sky, satellites passing by, etc. INDI is a device control system that controls the telescope mount, camera, focuser, dome control, etc. via plug-in device drivers. I also use a separate guide scope and camera to track the stars to single-pixel precision (about 15 degrees per hour) I have everything running on the Pi4 velcroed to the top of my scope. It is all designed to run unattended and remotely (hopefully).
I might set it up to take 24 5 minute exposures (the scope moving 30 degrees during the sequence), then stack them together, throwing away bad images caused by focusing, clouds, or aircraft lights. It would be nice to either delay a capture or shorten the exposure to avoid an airplane flying through it.
I’m thinking maybe it would work to have a Flight Window API that would return the count and trajectories of aircraft within a given rectangular view defined by two corners of Alt/Az from the telescopes point of view (not necessarily the receiver’s) A count of zero would indicate it was safe to image. Or it could be set up as an alert to warn of a flight entering the window.
The scope controller would keep the window defined (Field of View/Alt/Az of the camera) plus a warning zone to detect intruders before they enter the camera’s frame, and decide how to control the imaging sequence.
It seems to me that a Flight Window API could be used for a lot of other purposes, too.
It’s been a few years (decades?) since I did software architecture, and I’m probably outdated in my way of thinking these things through… I’d appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this idea.