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New [ and free! ] software for taking flats

10 Jan, 2018 11:31
Hi all

While I've been largely locked under clouds for a couple of months, I thought I'd write some software that I've been meaning to get around to for a while.

I use a standard LCD computer monitor for taking flats.  I plug it in to my imaging laptop.  I started off using a blank HTML page in a full-screen browser window to provide the uniform grey colour on the display but I needed to vary the brightness of the display for different filters.

So, I wrote some software that does it.  The software is called Second Monitor Lightbox and is available free of charge from my site (

If you use a CCD or CMOS with filter wheel, it'll link to the filter wheel via the ASCOM driver so that, once you've set the perfect brightness for each filter, it will change brightness automatically as the filter changes.

It also has a 'preset' mode for non-ASCOM set ups so that you can just re-call a pre-determined brightness to match a certain configuration (filter, binning, etc).

There's a tutorial based around using SGP Pro on the site, so if you want to try it have a look through that.

When you install it, Windows will warn you that it's from an Unknown Publisher. This is just because I don't pay Microsoft an annual fee for a developer's certificate. Just tell Windows to install it anyway - you may need to click 'More information' to get the option to go ahead.

Let me know what you think.  I hope some of you will find it useful.  I know it saves me a load of hassle at the end of a long session trying to get the right brightness level to give decent flats for each filter.

You can get it from here:

10 Jan, 2018 13:18
Great idea :-)
11 Jan, 2018 12:10
Cool!!! Great thanks
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