I took advantage of the clear sky last night, and did a little experimenting. Even though a 64% illuminated moon was due south putting the kibosh on any thoughts of deep sky imaging, it did not matter for testing a further addition to my automated setup. I had found an old RS232 to USB cable and DB9 to handset cable at the back of the odds and ends draw in the observatory, I had totally forgoten it was there.
With these cables I can control the NEQ6 Pro mount via my laptop and the free Stellarium planetarium software, so all I have to do is select an object in stellarium and the mount will “Slew/GOTO” to that object, What is even better if I’m using APT ( Astro Photo Tool ) software for image acquisition I should be able to use Stellarium to GOTO the object I want to image, then take an image with APT, Plate solve the image and if the object is not in the centre of the image field APT will talk to stellarium ( nearly all astro software is ASCOM compliant, so different software can communicate with each other ) and get it to move the mount the required amount to centre the object, you still have to star align the mount first so that it knows where its looking in the sky, but you only have to do this at the start of the session. So I’m really pleased with that outcome.
I also took an image of the Moon for good measure, its not my favourite thing in the sky, I think of it like having a 500W security light in your face but hayho.
I used the planetary movie mode in APT that uses the live view of the Canon EOS40D as a video camera ( so not great resolution ) then processed the resulting video in Registax 6.