How To Plan an Imaging Session with PRISM

PRISM contains a very powerful to help you find targets to image quickly and easily.

1. Open PRISM v10

2. Head over to "Skychart" in the top menu then "New chart" or through the keyboard using this shortcut CTRL+K

3. Set the skychart to a position to start imaging that evening. Pressing on the "E" in the skychart's menu bar will display the Eastward direction. This is a great way to see what is available on the Eastern side ( This wear objects appear to "rise" from due to the rotation of the earth).

 Right click on the skychart and choose "Find Objects Around This Point"

 4.The "Find Around" tool is displayed, this is one of the most under-rated tools in PRISM.

  • Choose the desired magnitude; typically between mag 0 and mag 17 will give you a wide enough range of targets that most telescopes can image
  • Choose the desired apparent size. For low focal lengths ( e.g: 500mm ), we recommend targets between 20 arcminutes and 5 degrees. For high focal legtns ( e.g >2000mm ) we recommend between 5 arcminutes and 2 degrees.
  • Choose the catalogs
  • Choose what types of objects to "Exlude": If you want to only find Galaxies, check everything else and leave Galaxies unchecked.
  • Finally, click on "Search" then the tool will display all the objects that match your criteria.
  • You may now add the entire new list the "Objects List". As a bonus, all the found targets will be displayed in a teal color once you refresh the skychart.

5. To display all targets found by the tool, head over to Obervatory > [OBJL0 list. this will display the entire content of what you have previously saved in this tool as well as any other objects found.

6. For imaging, it is a great idea to import the list inside the Automatic Observations tool. Open the automation tool by selection Observatory > Automatic Observations or by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+T

7. the Automatic Observations tool will then ask you if you want to import the entire content of the [OBJT] List tool, in this case, we choose "Yes".

8. We are now ready to input capture specific information for this session. We need to enter:

  • The exposure length of every target
  • Binning
  • Amount of images
  • Filters information, this is for every single target.
  • Do we want to autoguide or not, this is a good place to choose a guide exposure.
  • Focusing; this to tell PRISM to refocus upon switching targets.
  • And finally, do we want to rotate the field at the beginning of the session. Note: you can create the automation list then choose to rotate the field for every single target independently.

8. Now, if your automatic observation sessions is set up properly, all you have to do is press "GO" at the last time and you are on your way.

Final thoughts

We use this function to find targets and inject them into the automatic observations tool to build a list that we use for outreach. you can very easily set the radius to 90 degrees and assemble an important number of galaxies then set the exposure time to 60s per target, this will produce a stunning stellar tour of the heavens above.


We have put together this quick 2 minutes video tutorial to help those who rather watch a demonstration instead of read extensive blog posts.


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