OnStep / ASCOM - Realtime Telescope Position - 3D Visualization Software (free)


Just curious if anyone out there is interested in some software for real time 3D visualization of their telescope orientation? 

I searched around but didn't see anything. Maybe this is already out there and Im missing it?  All I found was the one by AstroPhysics, which also looked really dated....

I started playing with this on Friday, and have the core code basically all working now.  The math got a little tricky but was a good challenge. I am planning on adding a nice input window so users can set their own telescope dimensions (lengths, diameters, number of counterweights, pretty much any dimension used) and even change colors if they want. Ideally, we could just add some default drop down menus for various cameras, telescopes, and mount dimensions if people want to post them here down the road.

More importantly, I am currently "trying" to do some calculations for interference contact distances (Im implementing a method to determine the closest distanced form a line to a cylinder at the moment).  That would be really nice as the code could look at all the system parts and spit out how far away you are from having anything hit something on the pier in real time.  Of course everyone has their limits and so forth set, this is just a nice pretty picture, with hopefully some good extra data and feedback.

I did all the graphics in Direct X11 (all from scratch).  I write a lot of code, so I grabbed some core methods from another program I developed (eg  mouse interfacing, quaternions, and all that jazz).  But its been a while so had to remember how to do shading, and lighting, ect....

Anyway, I figured I'd throw it to OnStep users first, and then go from there.  It actually just grabs the telescope parameters from ASCOM, so this will actually work with any ASCOM mount.

Again, its beta at this point, but I hope to have it relatively complete for people to start playing with in the next couple days.  It will ONLY be for windows, as I don't code for anything else at the moment.  

Here is a video of my G-11 mount and the Initial (rev 0.1) interface.

Here are a few screenshots of today's progress.

Dave Schwartz

Very cool!

I'll volunteer for the beta program!


I'm done for tonight, but by mid week I should have a version that is ready to share for onstep users. 

I have a good chunk of the input variables completed as shown below.


Hi Rockmover,
Great development!
I am willing to be a beta-tester.

Khalid Baheyeldin


Thanks for sharing this. The video for it is quite impressive.

Did you mean DirectX 11, or directly in X11?
The former is Microsoft only. The latter is cross platform, and can work on Linux.

Howard Dutton

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 10:45 PM, Rockmover wrote:
I'm done for tonight, but by mid week I should have a version that is ready to share for onstep users. 
That's great, thank you.

Please do get back to work on the AP1200 though.  :)
That'll definitely be in the running for the nicest OnStep driven mount I know of and it'll be nice to see what the performance is like.


Motors for AP1200 came yesterday...


"TeleViz" - is almost ready for beta release!
I finished up some file saving stuff today (playing hookie from work), and I belie everything is 100% ready.  I have add the ability to swap between 4 telescope layouts. They are all saved in a single config.ini file that can be renamed / shared, ect. 
I have tried to make it VERY easy to use, and it is 100% configurable (right down to every color of every object).
Considering I started it last Friday morning, and spent Friday night observing, I don't think its too bad for a few days of hard work.  But I'm sure there are still a lot of little things that will pop up and bugs to get squashed. This is still just what I would consider the beginning for what I want to do.....aka texture mapping to make parts look real, and contact detection (which I think will be fun to do but have gotten sidetracked with stupid colors and inputboxes). 

Anyway, the core is done, hopefully people will find it useful.

I am making a video tutorial for this tonight, and then I will post everything probably tomorrow.


TeleViZ Overview Video here:

User Manual Here:

I will post the software shortly, meanwhile let me know what you guys think.


Ok here it is, please see the video manual if you have questions, but I think its pretty straight forward.

Let me know what you guys think!

Dave Schwartz

Does anyone else have Avast immediately kill and quarantine as infected with the 'DS#FinalAlBlalgo;' threat?

Howard Dutton

Howard Dutton

Dave Schwartz

Ok, restored it and created an exception.

Issue 1: When I start TeleViz and choose Poth Hub and select Properties. From the Poth Setup dialog I click Choose Telescope, select OnStep, select Properties and make sure OnStep is connected (IP, Click OK to the OnStep properties, get back to the Poth Setup, Click connect and the green dot appears. Close Poth Hub setup dialog, back to the original ASCOM chooser, click OK and get the error in the attached image. If I choose OnStep directly from the initial ASCOM chooser it connects properly.

Issue 2: The initial telescope image looks a little strange... the OTA is in-line with the declination shaft (second image). I haven't yet changed any setting to see what may happen.

Issue 3: Zoom doesn't seem to work correctly. The mouse wheel does nothing in any pan/zoom/rotate mode. Pan and rotate seem to work as I saw in the demo but for zoom, I have to hold the left button and then zoom works by moving the mouse cursor up the screen (zoom in) or down (zoom out)

On 2020-07-01 11:00 a.m., Howard Dutton wrote:
On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 07:58 AM, Howard Dutton wrote:

Guess it looks ok...

Just to be sure it's actually scanning the file I uploaded it too...

Dave Schwartz

Issue 4: There are a number of circumstances where the visualization window doesn't refresh such as when you have had an overlying popup (the start menu) or was completely obscured and the window is all gray when bought back to focus until you click in it.

Dave Schwartz

Further on issue 2: Seems to have been a first-execution thing. I played around in the settings and it kept redrawing the home-position scope the same way (inline with the DEC shaft) when I changed the diameter, length or CG. However, as soon as I used the app to start tracking and started slewing, the visualization snapped into the expected configuration (OTA at right angles to DEC axis). To see if I could repeat this, I closed TeleViz and restarted but the telescope was constructed properly from the start.

Further to issue 1: The connection via Poth hub also works correctly after having done the above to have the telescope image build properly and after the application restart. Previously (before the 'telecope image fix') the Poth error happened at every startup but now cannot be repeated.

Dave Schwartz

More further on issue 1: The Poth connection error is repeatable as long as tracking has not been started in OnStep.

My OnStep startup sequence has been: power up, use App to set date time (this is on the S6 so it has no RTC), use App to start tracking. Only after the last step (starting tracking) will TeleViz start without throwing that error.

But curiouser, after having thrown that error twice in a row while testing at each step in the sequence, now that it has started successfully, the initial view of the telescope is back to having the OTA in-line with the DEC axis.


Thanks Dave, No idea why you having issue with the POTH, but glad you got it sorted?? 

From a coding standpoint, this is all handled by the ASCOM driver so I suspect you have issue with something that has nothing to do with TeleViZ.

The ASCOM C# code is 3 lines.... 

            ASCOM.Utilities.Chooser myChooser = new Chooser();
            myChooser.DeviceType = "Telescope";
            string mySelection = myChooser.Choose();

Then once the user selects the mount you issue this:

                myTelescope = new ASCOM.DriverAccess.Telescope(mySelection);
                myTelescope.Connected = true;

That is all that is done from a developers side.  

However, the pierSide issue is interesting.  I am wondering if a mount doesn't support this, then it may indeed crash as the info is not available.  Any mount that doesn't have this (Say a alt-az mount) would then have a GEM distance of zero.

I can certainly just check for this, and if the mount does not have PierSide info, skip it, set GEM distance to 0, and grey the input out.

Howard Dutton

On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 10:35 AM, Rockmover wrote:
I can certainly just check for this, and if the mount does not have PierSide info, skip it, set GEM distance to 0, and grey the input out.
At the exact home position (Dec=90 or -90 for Eq mode) OnStep will return:

pierUnknown ,  -1,  Unknown or indeterminate.


Issue #3 - No idea why your middle mouse isn't working.  Let's see if others have that issue, but I have tested on my 3 PC with different mice, and all is fine.  

Issue #4 - Are you running windows 10?  My guess is it is something to do with the graphics card. Works ok on my test PC's, but again if others have this then I may need to sort it out.  If it is an older graphics card, or if the cards doesn't have DX11 hardware support that could be it. 

I can tell TeleViz to drop from direct hardware interfacing to software (for older/cheaper graphics cards) or put this in the setup options.  Then the graphics should work fine (but rendering is much slower).  I may make that an option.  

Again....whole point of beta testing.