The ASI AIR is a great device that can help get the ball rolling for anyone getting into deep sky astrophotography. But what’s missing? Some of those things are available in other programs, others are just features that would be nice to have. Let’s go over that. In this post, we’ll go over my ASI AIR Improvement Wishlist.
- Within the App
- Hardware Upgrades
- Compatibility with more…
Now, some of these ideas are some things they could add in fairly quickly. Admittedly a few are some things that should be considered for future iterations, even if it takes a few years. These additions will ease the transition between beginner and advanced astrophotographer. Either way, the ASIAIR Plus has been out for almost two years, and the 2.0 app has been around for a little under a year. What could be next?
Within the App
There are some things missing in the app that would be great additions. Let’s start with the app in the ASI AIR Improvement Wishlist.
Additional Options For run completion
When ending a plan or autorun, you really only have two things you can turn on – “Go to Home,” and “Turn off ASI AIR.” There are a few other things that could be very helpful to add into the end of the run.
One thing that some programs have is a way to stop the program when the mount tracks close to the horizon. Even adding in a “stop when getting to 20 degrees,” or “Move to next target in plan at 20 degrees” would be an excellent start.
Go to Zenith or Custom Position
After running your light frames, if you didn’t take our flats before the run, you’ll want to take them afterwards. Most people tend to point their scope straight up, and lay their flats light source on the telescope. Having the AIR move to the position you choose for your flats could speed up the process a little bit. As for the custom position, an option under mount option for up to three mount positions that use the same logic as the home position would be helpful for those that use a wall or other angle for flats- for example, sky flats.
Offline or Plan Mode
In some areas, the time under a clear sky is limited and precious. Adding in an offline mode to set up an autorun or plan would be helpful to save a few minutes under the clear skies. Imagine setting up your next few clear nights on a rainy day. Helpful, right?
This one is credited to a member of my Discord server (found here), and that is gear profiles. This goes hand-in-hand with the above selection. Some users may have a setup with a small refractor, and a camera lens. Or they may have a cooled camera on a refractor, and a planetary camera on an SCT. And they might be using different mounts but the same ASI AIR. Either way, saving the gear profile and selecting which one to use would save some time. Thanks, Jonas!
Having that profile would make offline mode much easier!
Ability to Add YOUR Horizon to the SkyView
In another guide I explain how to add your horizon to Stellarium. Adding in your horizon could be even more helpful to the horizon detection mentioned earlier. The app knowing that your chosen object would be soon blocked by a tree or nearby house would prevent time and data wasted.
Delay in Autorun/Plan Mode
One thing that is missing that would help with creating the entire plan from start to finish is to add in a delay in between frames. This could give the user time to turn on the flats panel, or put the telescope cap on before it resumes. My suggestion is adding this to the configuration of each frame.
Do I have to say much here?
While the AIR is a complete package that can get the ball rolling, as I mentioned, there’s a few things missing. ZWO is creating accessories constantly. The recent example is the CAA.
Ability to control observatories
Now, I wouldn’t have this built into the AIR. Instead, have it as a secondary device that is designed for observatory controls. These controls can work either the AIR or with laptop based programs. Doing it that way could ease the switch between the AIR and Laptop controls.
USB Hub or More Slots
With it being only four ports, over time more pieces get added by ZWO. It’s slowly getting to the point where we may run out of USB slots and need either a hub, or more slots in the next iteration.
External Power Module
With all of the accessories, the AIR is cutting close with being able to power all of them. Having their own version of powering dew heaters and accessories might be worth looking into. And it would have the added benefit of balancing power output between each device.
Weather Detection Module
While it doesn’t need to do much, a weather sensor could help. For example, if it sensed raindrops it could alert the user. A change in barometric pressure is another possibility for the module. Either way, an alert to the user prevents water damage!
Compatibility with more…
ZWO has been focusing on their own systems, but looking at community feedback across the internet, cross compatibility is something majorly desired. Instead of creating the Power Module, maybe they could work with Pegasus, Celestron, or other companies that have power modules for dew prevention as to add the drivers for those into the AIR.
One thing that puzzles me is that all of ZWO’s cameras have Sony chips, so what’s up with Sony DSLR’s? While I don’t use them, plenty of others do.
The ASI AIR as it is today is already a great device to help others get started in astrophotography. This ASI AIR Improvement Wishlist can help make it even better.
Now that you have seen the wish list, check out the ASIAIR Plus Setup Guide!
Or, if you would like, check out the accompanying video: