The system can be ordered with all new Losmandy mounts, or easily retrofitted by users who already own a G-8, G-11 or HGM200 mount. The new Gemini system simply replaces the existing stepper drive motors and electronics, with hex keys plus a small pair of pliers being the only tools required to upgrade the drive.
The Gemini system has many features designed to quickly and accurately point the telescope to an object, then track it with even higher precision than the previous digital stepper drive used by Losmandy.
The choice of servo motors gives two main advantages over stepper motor based systems.
As a result the Gemini system can deliver up to *10 degrees per second slewing rates, yet still retain motor positional information of around 1/10th of an arc second. (*maximum speed with the G-8. Expect approximately 6 degrees per second with G-11 and HGM200 models )
The Gemini system will also accept inputs from optional shaft encoders (the same as used in Losmandy digital setting circles), which allow the telescope to be positioned by hand, yet still retain pointing information. Hand movement of the telescope will drop positional accuracy to that of the shaft encoders, but this can be easily refined using a quick synchronization or alignment position from a nearby object, which will return the system to full motor encoder accuracy.
Gemini can be used as a stand alone system in the field. It can be powered by any 1500+mA, 12-18 Volt DC source. No personal computer is required. A user brightness adjustable LED display allows navigation through all internal databases for field use without a PC. The following databases comprising about 41,000 objects are built into the Gemini system, more than enough to keep even the most avid observer busy for some time!
The Gemini system has an impressive list of features
A Deluxe Hand Controller (pictured above, right) is standard for all Gemini systems.. The hand paddle features membrane switches which provide excellent tactile feedback, while providing a moisture proof seal for the internal electronics. The display works in parallel to the main electronics, allowing users to access all of the main panel functions via the palm of their hand.
Gemini uses a Meade LX200 command sub-set, with most LX200 commands being implemented. The user can update the internal real time clock via the PC link as well as user location information. Coupled with The Sky by software Bisque and CCD camera, users can confidently determine the positions of minor planets and comets, and place them on a CCD detector time and time again.
The Gemini design incorporates surface mounted PC board technology for reliable performance in the field. The main control board also has autoguider and accessory ports to allow full remote control of the system, either via a local PC, via a LAN or via the internet. (Gemini has been successfully tested with Software Bisques IAS server software)
The Gemini system has built in "T-Point" like pointing software that can use from one to many stars to refine its pointing accuracy. With multi-star modelling pointing accuracy has been measured to within three arc minutes around the entire sky, and to less than one arc minute with short slews from an updated position located within a few degrees of a reference object. Gemini is also fully T-Point (Software Bisque) compatible. Extended personal computer based T-Point modelling runs can give better than 1 arc minute positioning accuracy across the entire sky! Further, with Gemini's warm re-start option, previously stored PC T-point data can be reused without the need to conduct a short mapping run
How accurate is Gemini?
Note the Sky RMS pointing of 26.27 arc seconds.
While some manufacturers claim incredible accuracies with their GoTo systems, few will actually state actual results as shown above.
While single star alignment assumes that your Losmandy mount is accurately polar aligned, the Gemini system only requires rough polar alignment to deliver excellent pointing accuracy across the entire sky using multi-star alignment models.
The above CCD image mosaic demonstrates the early pointing accuracy of the Gemin/G-11 system, using a three star alignment model, the telescope was slewed from (in rows, left to right) Antares, M16, M17, Bug Nebula, M57, M8, M22, M27, Optus 1b geosyncronous satellite (small streak lower frame). At the completion of each slew, no fine adjustment was performed, and a single 20 second CCD exposure was taken.
As can be clearly seen, the tracking accuracy the Losmandy Gemini system is excellent, even without PEC, which was not used in the above exposures, stars are perfectly round. The PEC menu allows for permanent error corrections to be stored in the non-volatile memory of the Gemini system.
Pictured is a palm PC being used with The Sky pocket PC software to control a Losmandy/Gemini mount. What makes the system unique is Gemini's ability to align on a PC object.
Just tap on an object on the Palm PC display and slew to it. Any residual position errors can quickly be modeled by Gemini's additional align to PC object function.
Up to 256 stars on each side of the meridian can be used to create a pointing model. You do not have to know the name of the alignment star....just tap on it!
Only Losmandy Gemini gives you T-Point like accuracy in the field with no other software or accessories!
The model updates around the last alignment object, hence for short slews the system can easily position objects on "every commercially available CCD every time" , a feat yet another telescope under $40,000 can now accomplish! ;-)
and Real Time Clock data also allows the system to
be powered off,
and restarted at a later time with no loss of modeling data or
information. The re-start position accuracy is only limited by the
of the internal clock, which can be updated to within a fraction of a
via a PC. These features make the Gemini system ideal for
and Photometric surveys (e.g. Comet and Asteroid hunting, Supernova
Variable star studies) and are well suited to permanent telescope
Gemini Troubleshooting Guide
Below are common problems that first time Gemini users can encounter. The list is far from exhaustive, but will help those looking for a quick solution.
Mount tracks for wrong hemisphere.