PiFinder Software Update

New PiFinder software updates are now available with the release of versions v1.10.0 and v1.10.1. The PiFinder platform is an open source, all-in-one plate solving telescope finder that can add push-to functionality to any telescope without modifications.

As Richard Sutherland, creator of the PiFinder notes, “We’ve got new PiFinder software updates for the PiFinder which are available right now. This includes a major release in v1.10.0 featuring two great new catalogs – the Sharpless Catalog and Abell Catalog! We’ve also released version v1.10.1, focusing on ‘QOL – Quality of Life’. It’s a collection of changes to UI, functionality and bug fixes which together make the PiFinder experience a bit nicer which will allow you to navigate the night sky more quickly and discover new objects you may not have uncovered except for being in the right place at the right time!.”

A 4.4x3x3 inch PiFinder unit mounts into the finder shoe found on most telescopes and weighs about the same as a standard 10×50 RACI finder scope. Once mounted on a telescope it provides precision pointing information, push-to guidance, customizable star charts and even object images on the 1.5” OLED display. The display and keypad backlight are fully dimmable to preserve night vision and good relations at your favorite dark sky site.

Consisting of a Raspberry Pi, camera, OLED screen, and keypad, it can capture and solve an image of the sky each second and integrates a sophisticated accelerometer to provide real-time position and push-to guidance while moving the telescope. This plate solving + imu system removes the need for any sort of star alignment process and provides incredibly accurate positioning anywhere in the sky, making the system very beginner friendly.

PiFinder Software UpdateThe PiFinder includes a full featured catalog system with over 20,000 objects and includes images for each one. These images are presented as they would be framed and oriented through the eyepiece at their specific location in the sky. Users can filter catalogs for specific object types, by altitude, magnitude and even by previous observations. Observing lists can be built on the fly from filtered catalogs and nearby objects or loaded from a disk. As each object is observed, it can be logged directly on the PiFinder with the ability to add context about sky condition and object impression.

SkySafari and other applications that use the Meade LX protocol can connect directly to the PiFinder to view current telescope positioning with multiple updates per second. This can be done via existing Wi-Fi networks or the PiFinder can serve as a Wi-Fi access point to enable in-the-field communication.

The PiFinder is fully open-source hardware and software package with a dedicated community of maintainers. A full parts list, build guide, and software is available for anyone interested in building a PiFinder. Ready to assemble kits and fully functioning units are also available for purchase for the less DIY minded observer.

You can learn more about the new PiFinder software update at www.pifinder.io.

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