Kstars Geography

kstars geography
Ensuring Astroberry, KStars (and Ekos) knows where you are is really important. You can’t track and find objects without this being correct. This article discusses the inital setup and ways to tweak this in Astroberry and Kstars along with using a GPS to automate this.
Written by Jonathan Eames
A passionate astro-photographer and software engineer by profession
November 11, 2022


One of the important features of Astroberry is that it can automatically set the time and date, and the geographic location of your Raspberry Pi based on different sources. This is useful for accurate astronomical calculations and observations. In this blog post, we will show you how to set up astroberry’s geographical settings on a raspberry pi 4 using different methods.

Make sure you correctly set up Date and Time and also thaty your mount date & time matches – I have seen horrible issues when a datetime offset is wrong in either… enough to send you back inside for a whisky (or three) until of course you realise!

Background & System Architecture

It is really useful to know how Astroberry uses location information in its architecture and I highly recommend you review the Astroberry configuration page to look at this in more detail but to summarise, your RPi runs a service called GPSD to provide location information to Astroberry itself and also your INDI GPSD service (KStars can use this).

A picture says a thousand words so please assimilate this one… complicated isn’t it.

Astroberry Architecture

So lets summarise this picture..

Your GPS Provider can be a a real device such as a dongle, phone or mount or you can just use the virtual GPS service and load a static loacation (your home location for example).

Kstars can gets it GPS data direct from some devices (like your mount) using and INDI driver or from the RPi GPSD service.

Astroberry gets its geographical references from the GPSD servcie primarily.

Setting Time and Date

  • Download and install VNC viewer on your chosen device(s);
  • Create an account so your connections sync across all your devices (recommended);
  • Create a new connection (File/ New Connection)
    • Use most default values except for
    • Enter the Static IP address (1)  of your RPi and the connection a descriptive name (2);
    • If you do not know it, you will need to find it from your router’s dhcp client list or from the RPi itself if it is allocated dynamically – best practice would be to assign a fixed IP to your RPi for ease, especially in the field. The default is http://astroberry.local or (which is the default IP address assigned by Astroberry).
  • Double click the new connection to start it – you will be asked fo the astroberry password and to accept the certificate offered – save for future use when offered.
  • When the Astroberry desktop opens, start KStars and configure your session etc.
Connecting to KStars

How to connect to KStars / Ekos on you own Laptop / Desktop running KStars using Indi Server

  • Open KStars on your remote device – start EKOS from the toolbar button to display the EKOS main window;
  • Create a new profile to your RPi
    • Set the mode to Remote (1);
    • Tick INDI Web Manager (2);
    • Enter the Host (Web Manager) IP Address (3);
    • If the IP Address is not known, click Scan (4) and if a web manager is found, its IP address will be shown (5) for use above;
    • Save the new Profile;
  • Start the new profile and use EKOS as if connected directly.

NB In the Capture module, remember that saving images locally is on the remote computer whereas on the RPi is remote – this is reversed from a direct connection with VNC viewer.

Connecting to KStars

My Conclusions

Whilst both scenarios have their use case, I prefer connecting to KStars using VNC viewer and having everything on the mount. I like that I can use a tablet to check on progress even when under a duvet!

What do you think? I welcome comments as always…

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