Software supporting Gx CCD and Cx CMOS cameras
New Cx and Gx camera drivers
While the proportion of Cx and Gx camera users on non-Windows platforms is small, the popularity of these platforms is on the rise. That's why we provide an overview of new native drivers for Linux and macOS operating systems.
SIPS version 3.24
Continuously increasing number of SIPS users ensures a steady flow of feedback. We of course try to sort out which of the proposed new functions would be most useful and at the same time appreciated by most users, and implement these features in every new SIPS version. Check what's new in SIPS v3.24 — some of the newly added functions could help you when observing of processing of acquired images.
Moravian Cameras natively supported in PHD2
Well known auto-guiding software PHD2 now supports all types of Moravian auto-guiders natively. While a support through the standard ASCOM driver was always possible, using ASCOM brings quite significant overhead. So, using native camera drivers is always faster, consumes less memory and also user's software can use all features of particular camera, while these features may be hidden by universal ASCOM layer.
SIPS version 3.22
Majority of new features of the Scientific Image Processing System version 3.22 are related to the word Scientific in its name, improving astrometric and photometric processing of images taken for research purposes. Also, the single important bug-fix of this SIPS release concerns unreliable astrometry plate solution of arbitrary rotated images.
SIPS version 3.21
The major new feature of SIPS (Scientific Image Processing System) version 3.21 is support for C4-16000 scientific CMOS cameras and also significantly enhanced functionality of existing Cx cameras. SIPS is continuously evolved, new functions are added and the capabilities of the program grows. However, continuous evolution of software sometimes damages some existing feature and unfortunately SIPS is not immune to this problem, despite we try to test every released version thoroughly. This happened to SIPS version 3.20.2, when one new function under development, not yet present in released version, caused problems in guiding. This problem is now fixed with new version 3.21.
New firmware for C1 CMOS cameras doubles FPS
Very fast download speed is definitely one of the highlight features of CMOS sensors. Despite the 1.5 MPx camera C1-1500 offered up to 60 FPS upon its introduction, the sensor itself offers even faster digitization. Newly released firmware for all C1 cameras effectively doubles the digitization frequency of the used sensors and the C1-1500 camera now provides images at 120 FPS. Firmware update is fully automatic, literally single-click action thank to newly introduced CxFirmware update tool.
SIPS version 3.14 released
SIPS undergoes continued development and new features are regularly added with every minor version release. This release brought the full support for the new Cx CMOS-based astronomical cameras, but numerous other features and enhancements were also added — for instance SIPS now understands two new types of star catalogs.
What is new in SIPS v3.9
New SIPS version brings numerous minor changes and improvements, some of which considerably enhance user's convenience and program reliability. Ability to automatically connect to predefined camera, introduced in SIPS v3.7, is now extended to all devices controlled by SIPS (telescopes, focusers, domes, ...). However, the most important change remains invisible to the users — new SIPS redefined the telescope driver interface to make host PC and telescope controller communication more efficient and less bandwidth demanding.
CCD over-scan region configuration tool
CCD sensors are manufactured with total number of pixels somewhat greater than useful number of pixels comprising image. By default, camera returns only image pixels. But some users may appreciate full image, including shielded pixels outside of the image area (called over-scan regions). Over-scan regions may be useful for some specialized image processing etc. despite they are always cropped from final image.
New minor update of the Scientific Image Processing System software package was introduced to significantly speed up searching for new variables in the observed fields and at the same time it fixes one small problem in astrometry, affecting rotated images.
Version 3.8 of the Scientific Image Processing System underwent significant overhaul of the important part of the core functionality, responsible for mutual alignment of multiple images. Alignment is used in various SIPS tool, like image blinking, image stacking and also in Photometry, which relies on proper image alignment when selecting the same star on individual images belonging to photometry series.
New Gx camera driver for Astroart v6
The Gx camera driver for the Astroart camera control software was updated to work properly with version 6 of this software. Driver can be downloaded form our
SIPS v3.7.3 with significant bug fixes released
Previous version 3.7 of SIPS introduced completely new mechanism of camera driver handling, allowing multiple SIPS instances to work with multiple cameras on the same PC, reconnecting to the predefined camera upon its arrival etc. Unfortunately these updates caused a stability issue when SIPS handled image acquisition. So the main purpose of v3.7.3 is to fix this problem and allow reliable camera control.
Version 3.7 of the Scientific Image Processing System enhances camera handling interface. Internal enhancements would be appreciated mainly by programmers implementing drivers, but there is also new functionality available to users. New SIPS allows to define fixed configuration of cameras, to which should SIPS automatically connect regardless if particular cameras are online or not upon SIPS startup. This feature will be appreciated especially by astronomers using a fixed setup. And as usual, some problems identified in previous versions were fixed, improving overall SIPS reliability.
SIPS v3.6 released
Probably the most prominent new feature of SIPS version 3.6 is its ability to switch to dark skin, which could better suit to eyes adopted to dark. But astronomers using SIPS to process scientific data will find numerous enhancements like possibility to switch between magnitude and flux when processing photometric data, added infrared J-K color index for catalogs containing J and K magnitudes, etc. Also completely reworked is how SIPS handles EXTENDED (multipart) FITS files, often created by software controlling cameras of large telescopes.
SIPS v3.5 released
New SIPS version 3.5 contains numerous bug fixes and new features, inspired by strong feedback from users. New features are focused mostly to practical usage of SIPS for scientific data analysis and processing. Most important among bug fixes are the solution of the ASCOM platform compatibility problems, solved failures caused by bugs in used 3rd party video codecs etc.
SIPS v3.4.1 the Ryzen update is available for download
Introduction of AMD Ryzen R7 processors with 8 cores and 16 threads for a fraction of price of corresponding 8-core Intel Core i7 counterparts (or for a similar price like 4-core Core i7) brought high hopes for astronomers seeking faster processing of their images. Providing the clock speed and IPC (Instructions Per Clock) are similar, two-times the cores should bring two-times faster processing, right? But situation is not that simple, numerous published tests indicate that while the 8C/16T R7 sometimes outpaces the 8C/16T i7, but sometimes trails even the 4C/4T Core i5. Obviously, the R7 performance strongly depends on the program executed. This is why we introduced SIPS version 3.4.1, the Ryzen Update.
SIPS v3.4 released
The single most important feature of SIPS v3.4 is the very significant speed up of some algorithms. Still, some new tweaks make astronomer's life more convenient, which is always welcomed — e.g. SIPS can handle yet another batch of FITS keywords and Photometry including light curve plotting can be performed in real time immediately after each image is read from the camera.
New features in SIPS v3.3
New version of SIPS focuses to polishing of existing functionality, making it more robust and reliable. Astrometry with uncertain image center coordinates, automatic aperture calculation in Photometry, wider set of FITS keywords and ability to use known values to calculate missing ones (pixel scale from pixel size and focal length etc.) without user intervention, all these features make SIPS v3.3 usage more pleasant and comfortable.
TheSkyX for macOS driver for Gx cameras
The Gx camera driver for TheSkyX was limited to the Windows version of this popular planetarium and camera control software package. The newly introduced driver extends the support also to Macintosh computers running macOS version 10.7 and newer. The driver for TheSkyX running under macOS supports USB camera as well as cameras connected through the Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter.
SIPS version 3.1 is released
Version 3.1 of the Scientific Image Processing System brought only a few new features, but it fixed an occasional stability problem in the implementation of multi-threaded background processing of large amount of images at once. Although the problem could affect both 32 and 64 bit versions, it occurred more frequently in 64 bit version, probably because the 64 bit version is more often used to process many large images at once. So the SIPS version 3.1 is highly recommended update for all SIPS users.
SIPS version 3
There were twenty individual version releases of SIPS between version 2 and 3 and only minor updates of version 2.4.x were released eleven times. All these updates, enhancements and bug fixes plus a bunch of new ones are now embraced in version 3. Still, the new visual style of the SIPS v3 is probably the first change every user notices.
The Gx CCD camera drivers for INDILIB
Standardized software interfaces bring the possibility to use various devices in many programs, providing device manufactures as well as software developers implement particular standard. ASCOM standard for CCD cameras and other astronomy equipment is widely used within the Windows operating system, while a new INDILIB initiative stars to appear as emerging standard in the world of Linux-based operating systems. Libraries and drivers supporting this standard are now available for all CCD cameras of the Gx series, connected through both USB and Ethernet.
SIPS v2.4.9 released
SIPS went through many incremental enhancements and introduced new features from version 2.4.0 to current 2.4.9. It also polished these function and fixed some problems, which surfaced as new advanced image analysis tools like astrometry reduction and photometry light curve analysis are used by more and more users.
SIPS v2.4.3 released (UPDATED)
SIPS version 2.4.3 adds new features as well as fixes problems found in the previous versions. Important new feature is the inter-image guiding, which uses images taken with a main camera and adjusts mount position only between individual exposures. This feature is of course usable only when the mount is capable to keep tracking during single exposure and irregularities occur only on larger time scales, spanning multiple exposures.
What can 64 bit operating system do and which driver versions to choose?
64 bits is a new marketing buzz-word in the world of mobile phones and tablets, but it is rather common in the world of Personal Computers. Despite the 64 bit systems are available for many years, especially recently number of newly installed 32 bit systems sharply declines and 64 bit systems dominate. Surprisingly, general understanding what does it mean is very low and particularly baffling is the fact, that 64 bit operating system is (fortunately) perfectly capable to run 32 bit applications. The answer to the question which driver version (32 bit or 64 bit) to install requires understanding of a few concepts.
SIPS v2.4.1 released (updated)
SIPS version 2.4 implements two most often requested functions. The first one is dithering—the capability to shift guiding star position among individual exposures of the main imaging camera to be able to eliminate image artifacts (hot pixels, bad columns) during image stacking. The second one is the ability to save (and load) defined exposure series to files. Although these updates look like a minor ones, it was necessary to completely overhaul the camera user interface to implement them. The original Camera control tool was split into Imaging Camera tool and new Guiding Camera tool. This new tool contains all necessary guiding controls on single place and offers more interactivity and provides better feedback to the user, which makes guiding setup much simpler task. What's more, all the work done on v2.4 allows adding of new features planned for v2.5.
New version 2.3.3 of the SIPS software package available in both 32 bit and 64 bit variant
64 bit version of the Scientific Image Processing System package was tested for several months and it is now released for free download with the minor SIPS release v2.3.3. Software variant supporting 64 bit memory addressing (this means not limited to 4GB) is not the only new feature. This minor release added support for new hardware, allows much better control of attached telescopes, broadened compatibility with FITS standard etc. It was also significantly updated to work much better on HI-DPI displays.
SIPS version 2.3 supports the new G3-16000 camera
Scientific Image Processing System (SIPS) version 2.3 brings only a few changes, compared to previous version 2.2. The main reason for it release is the support for newly introduced G3-16000 camera. Unifying of the Gx USB camera drivers into single driver (similarly to the already unified Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter driver) significantly enhanced the support for Gx cameras in the third party programs, but SIPS user barely note any change—SIPS offers all connected cameras and users do not need to care which driver controls which camera. SIPS v2.3 is supplied with all Gx series of CCD cameras and can be also
from this web site for free.
Gx Camera driver overhaul—new unified drivers for Gx USB and Gx ETH cameras
Gx CCD cameras were developed evolutionary, new models with new CCD detectors as well as new revisions of existing models were introduced over time. Also new communication buses and protocols were incorporated. All these changes required new drivers for both SIPS software package and third-party programs. Introduction of the latest CCD camera G3-16000, which uses new electronics and thus requires new driver, initiated driver overhaul—all currently supported cameras, connected over the USB, use single new driver 'GxUSB' and similarly all current cameras connected over the Ethernet Adapter use common driver 'GxETH'. This redesign affected drivers for other camera control programs and new versions of unified drivers for ASCOM and for TheSkyX, MaxIm DL and Astroart are also released.