pyargocat: Argo Navis Catalog manager in Python


pyargocat is a small simple Python script that can be used to program the catalogs of the  Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer from a machine with a recent Python interpreter installed using the RS232 cable that you can either buy or easily construct yourself. pyargocat can manage, that is insert to the device, all three types of catalogs in the device (asteroids, comets and user defined objects), report the number of objects present, report available space and delete previously flashed catalogs. It can be used on any machine with a Python >= 2.7 installed and it has been tested on Linux and Windows machines.

The imported catalogs have to be in the standard format Argo Navis uses (please refeer to the Argo Navis manual for the details and for links to useful resources). As an example and as a possible useful addition for your advanced observing sessions you can download this sample file I created that I often use as a basis: fede-general.txt. (the file contains all the Abell planetaries, the complete ARP catalog of Peculiar galaxies, the Hickinson galaxy groups catalog, most of the PK Planetary Nebula catalog and a selection of particullar globular clusters such as the Palomars and Terzans). Also a comet database file is given as an example with the most interesting comet objects data at the time of writing: Comets.txt

Download: pyargocat-0.1.tar.gz.

Launching the script with a -h will give you the command line usage:

usage: [-h] [-b {9600,19200,38400,57600}] [-d DEV]
                    [-c {user,comet,asteroid}] [-f FILE] [-p] [-v]

Command-line Argo Navis catalog manager (version 0.1).

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -b {9600,19200,38400,57600}, --baud {9600,19200,38400,57600}
                        Serial Baud Rate
  -d DEV, --dev DEV     Serial Device
  -c {user,comet,asteroid}, --catalog {user,comet,asteroid}
                        Catalog to Work
  -f FILE, --file FILE  File to Import to Catalog
  -p, --purge           Purge Catalog (prior to import)
  -v, --version         show program's version number and exit

A few sample usage cases: -b 57600 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -c user

Will connect to the device at 57600 baud using /dev/ttyUSB0 serial device and just display informations about the memory usage and number of objects in the user catalog -b 57600 -d COM7 -p -c comet -f Comets.txt

Will connect to the device at 57600 baud using COM7 serial device (this is the Windows serial device syntax), purge the data in the comet database and load the data from the mycomets.txt file into the comet database. -p -c user -f fede-general.txt

Will connect to the device at 38400 using /dev/ttyUSB0 serial device (this are the default settings when no indications are given on command line), purge the data in the userdatabase and load the data from the fede-general.txt file into the user database.

It is very important that prior launching the script you put the Argo Navis in the apporpriate catalog loading mode. To do this enter the MODE SETUP and then SETUP LOAD CAT and press ENTER. The device should display LOAD CATALOG on the first line and READY on the second. Please do also check in the MODE SETUP  then SETUP SERIAL and then SERIAL1 or SERIAL2 (depending on the serial you wish to use) the BAUDRATE at which the serial if configured (38400 by default but can be speeded up to 57600).

Be aware that the device has some well documented hardcoded limits (10 entries in the comet database and 50 entries in the asteroid catalog). Trying to insert a bigger amount will trigger and display and error.

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