Framework for Astrophotography?

Hello there!

I’m interested in using my Framework as an all-in-one solution for astrophotography, including controlling my telescope/equatorial mount and image processing.

Framework Config

  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7
  • WiFi: Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX210 vPro®
  • Storage: 1TB - WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™
  • Operating System: Ubuntu 21.10
  • Memory: 64GB (2 x 32GB) DDR4-3200

Astro Equipment

  • Mount: iOptron GEM28
  • Primary Telescope: William Optics RedCat 51 Gen II
  • Guide Scope: William Optics VIII 50mm w/RotoLock
  • Primary CCD: Sony A7RIII
  • Guide CCD: svbony SV305

I’ve set up KStars to control everything and tested my setup to ensure it works, which it mostly does. The only issue I’m really having is using Ekos to polar align my scope.

In order to align the scope electronically, Ekos basically takes 3 images to determine where the telescope mount is pointed. It then analyzes the images to determine the error in the mount position and provides information to correct the alignment. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in this process. Ekos appears to crash after the image has been taken and before it has been transferred into Ekos.

Which brings me to my questions:

  1. What is the “speed” of the expansion cards and card slots? Each image coming out of the camera is about 80-90 MB, and the camera is connected to my Framework via a USB-C cable. I’m thinking that 1.) the cable I’m using is too slow to transfer the image data from the camera into Ekos, 2.) the expansion card/slot is too slow to handle the image data at the speed in which Ekos is trying to ingest it, or 3.) there’s a compatibility issue between my A7RIII and Ekos.
  2. Can my Framework configuration handle large image processing? I’ve been using GIMP to edit photos, but these have primarily been .fits files. I haven’t tried editing RAW images on my Framework, but I know that editing RAW images on my 2020 M1 MBP can be a little sluggish.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response(s)!

At least practically 980MB/s (megabyte per second) (tested with a USB-C external SSD drive).

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If the m1 is sluggish with RAW…then that same file / user experience can be expected even worse on the 11th gen processor with only Iris Xe.

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The USB-C ports are USB 4, so you can get a minimum of 20gbps if the connected device supports it.

Your Sony A7RIII only supports USB 3.1 Gen 1, which tops out at 5gbps (according to Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera |ILCE-7RM3 |Sony US), so you should be getting the most out of that link unless your cable is not up to it or expansion card is faulty.

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Just want to also add…when it comes to laptops…and the m1 MBPs. The m1 MBPs are now, IMO, becoming task-specialised systems, specifically for image and video editing. On a performance per dollar (value) front, in these two areas, and TCO over, say 5 years (then sell off) there’s nothing that can match it from the Windows / PC laptop space.

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Before we check on hardware issues, have you tried running a camera capture from the command line with debug output? Try using something along the lines of gphoto2 --debug --debug-logfile=gphoto.txt --capture-image-and-download. If that debug log has some info, it’ll make the process easier.

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I’m curious about using this laptop for astrophotography. How low the brightness of the display can get? Is it dark enough to be comfortable in full darkness?

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This is a trick question. If it’s full darkness…you have no photons in the visible wavelength…how are you going to see the display (there’s nothing visible emitting)? Or, if the display can get really really dark…how are you going to see the display content?

Also, everyone’s eyes are different when it comes to their sensitivity to light in dark environment (rhodopsin). Somewhat related: Why does it take so long for our vision to adjust to a darkened theater after we come in from bright sunlight? - Scientific American


I did not say that… I asked, how low the brightness of the display can get, and if the display is dark enough to be used comfortably in completely dark environment.
For reference, I am an amateur astronomer, I have understanding of the nuances of how human eyesight adjusts to the darkness

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I have not, but I will certainly try this! I ended up getting new cables anyway, but that’s probably for the best in the long run.

It gets dark enough to use comfortably. I enable night mode and use Kstars with it’s built-in “red mode” enabled with the brightness turned down relatively low.

I chuckled at your response, but I agree - my sensitivity to light in a dark environment is going to differ from someone else’s.

To quote Sagan, “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart.” Stay humble :slight_smile: We’re here to ask questions and help one another.


That’s very good to know! Thanks for response

Night light+redshift must be wizard magic on Linux, haha. I found the lowest Windows brightness setting to be too bright for any nighttime use, even with heavy night light tweaking. Even as a university student in a dim classroom it was a bit much.

@user6 Is it impractical to have a screen filter for such occasions?

But yes ‘night light’ max red and lowest setting

Guess you didn’t catch what I was trying to convey…or maybe it’s my poor communication skill.

Let’s try this again:
If I say yes, it gets dark enough, comfortably. That only applies to me, my eyes. But to you, if you have good eye sight, or have been conditioned to function in dark environments (e.g. some people stay in the dark for days / weeks), then it might be too bright for you. It really is different from person to person.

Plus, when you’re in the dark, you’ll be better off with changing the display to grayscale mode. Colours to your eyes, in the dark, isn’t going to mean much of anything…even if the display is accurately reproducing the colours. So, forget colours in the dark.

Next, you’ll need to tweak / tune / calibrate the gamma curve, while in the dark, while your eyes are in the condition that you expect you’ll be working under.

That is, a yes / no response in this thread will not mean anything to you practically.

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