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Swansea Astronomical Society Blog

Sunday, March 26, 2017

 

Off chip integration and the synthesis of long exposures in combination with on chip intergation with a DMK

An f/5.5. 80mm, ED refractor was mounted on a Star Discovery, AZ, GOTO mount. A DMK 21AU04.AS camera was placed at the prime focus. The camera was controlled by Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux running on a Linux Mint laptop. The exposure was set to 2s with appropriate gain and high gamma settings so that the trapezium region is not saturated and some nebulosity was visible, and the stars of the trapezium are still resolved. The software was then set to integrate, off chip, 8 frames, giving a synthesised exposure of 16s. The resulting images were saved into a 16 bit SER file. 22 images were captured before clouds came in. The SER file was de-rotated and stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 running in Wine and the final image processed in the Gimp 2.9 and Neat Image for Linux.

The Orion nebula from a total exposure time of 352s

The resulting image reveals more of the nebulosity than would be obtained in an 8 bit image, and without the central region being over exposed and saturated.

Steve Wainwright & Nicola Mackin
 

Drawings of Herschel Objects

They are all Herschel objects. I am fascinated how he discovered these objects using the equipment he had. I was using my 130mm refractor and a Watec camera as an electronic eyepiece.












Jim Startup

Saturday, March 25, 2017

 

The Orion Nebula with an 80mm refractor, a ZWOASI 120MC and Linux

A ZWOASI 120MC camera was placed at the prime focus of an f/5.5, 80mm, ED refractor, mounted on a Star Discovery AZ GOTO mount. Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux with a Linux Mint laptop, was used to capture 100 x 5s TIFF images with matching dark frames. The best 90 images were de-rotated and stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 running in Wine. the resulting image was post processed in the Gimp 2.9 and Neat Image for Linux.

The Orion Nebula

The equipment gathering the data

Steve Wainwright & Nicola Mackin
 

The Orion Nebula with a ZWO ASI120 MC camera, a 6" Newtonian and Linux

A ZWOASI 120MC camera was placed at the Newtonian focus of a 150mm, f/5, Star Discovery Newtonian on an AZ, GOTO mount. A Linux Mint laptop running Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture 150 x 4s Tiff files. The best 90% of the images were stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 and post processed in the Gimp 2.9.

M42 & M43

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux acquiring the images

The laptop, scope, and camera all shielded from a streetlight with an occultation disk.

Steve Wainwright & Nicola Mackin

Friday, March 24, 2017

 

Jupiter Great Red Spot

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, 2xTelevue Barlow, ZWO ADC, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera, 4187 images captured in Firecapture, 1000 stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11





Colin Miles

Thursday, March 23, 2017

 

The Orion nebula using Off-Chip integration of 1s exposures with a DMK

A DMK21AU04 AS camera was placed at the prime focus of a f/5.5, 80mm refractor mounted on a iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to integrate 8 x 1s exposures into 16 bit tiff files. A 1s exposure with suitable gamma and gain settings shows the trapezium stars and some nebulosity without the central region being saturated. 75 x synthesised 8s exposures were captured as 16 bit TIFFs along with Dark frames. lxnstack was used to dark-correct, derotate and stack the 10 min worth of exposures.

Linux Mint Laptop capturing the Of-Chip integrated images

Screenshot of AstroDMx capturing the 8s synthesised exposures

M42 from 10min total exposure

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

Jupiter, Great Red Spot and Io

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, 2xTelevue Barlow, ZWO ADC, ADC ASI120MC-S camera, 3919 images captured in Firecapture, 1500 stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11





Colin Miles

Friday, March 17, 2017

 

81% waning, gibbous Moon with a bridge camera

A tripod mounted Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 bridge camera at 60x optical zoom was used to image the 81% waning, gibbous Moon. The camera was set to  ISO-100 and 1/500s exposure at f/5.9. 186 images, were precisely cropped in Nicola Mackin's AstroCrop for Linux software and the cropped images were stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 running in Wine on a Linux Mint laptop. The final 16 bit TIFF file was wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 running in Wine, and was post processed in the Gimp 2.9. Click on the image to  get a closer view.





Steve Wainwright

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 

4% phase Venus with a ZWOASI120 MC camera and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

A ZWOASI120 MC camera was placed at the Cassegrain focus of a Skymax 127 that was mounted with extra counterweight on an iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture a 5000 frame SER file using a 320 x 240, manually tracked ROI. The best 20% of the frames was stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 and wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 both running in Wine. The final image was processed in the Gimp 2.9.


Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Monday, March 13, 2017

 

9 pane lunar mosaic with a ZWOASI120 MC and a Skymax 127

A Skymax 127 was mounted with extra counterweight on an iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. A ZWOASI MC camera was placed at the Cassegrain focus. Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture nine, overlapping, 1000 frame SER files of the Moon. The best 80% of the SER frames were stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6 in Wine and the resulting images were wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 in Wine. The nine panes were stitched together using Hugin Panorama Creator. The final mosaic was processed in the Gimp 2.9. Click on the image to get a closer view.

Detail of the Copernicus, Kepler region

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin
 

ToUcam imaging under Linux

A ToUcam Pro that already worked under Linux  was reflashed to an SPC900 NC. The reflashed camera was placed at the Cassegrain focus of a Skymax 127 that was mounted on an iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount, with extra counterweight. AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture two, overlapping 1000 frame SER files of part of the Moon. The best 80% of the SER file images were stacked in Autostakkert! 2.6, wavelet processed in Registax 5.1, buth running in Wine, The two resulting images were stitched in Hugin Panorama Creator. The final image was processed in the Gimp 2.9.

The ToUcams and SPC900 NC are no longer supported by the latest Windows. However, with the latest versions of Linux, they are still usable devices.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Sunday, March 12, 2017

 

6% phase Venus with Linux

A Skymax 127 Maksutov was mounted on an iOpton Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount with extra counterweight. A ZWO ASI120 MC camera was placed at the Cassegrain focus and AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture a 20,000 frame SER file with a manually tracked Region Of Interest (ROI) of 320 x 240 pixels at at frame rate of 250 frames per second. The SER file was loaded into Autostakkert! 2.6 in Wine and the best 10% of the frames were stacked. The resulting 16 bit TIFF file was wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 in Wine and the final image was post processed in the Gimp 2.9. Automatic RGB alignment in Autostakkert! fully corrected atmosphric dispersion.
Venus with a 6% phase

The manually tracked ROI is a new experimental feature in AstrDMx Capture for Linux, and will eventually be made fully automatic. By using a 320 x 240 ROI, it was possible to achieve very high frame rates. This meant it was possible to capture 20,000 frames in 80 seconds. As a result of capturing this very high number of images, 90% could be discarded by Autostakkert! and the remaining 2000 frames stacked to produce the final image.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Friday, March 10, 2017

 

'Under City Skies', Lecture by Nick Hart astrophotographer

Last night Nick Hart gave a a fascinating illustrated lecture on astrophotography from a Light Polluted site.

Nick showed us beautiful images of deep sky objects photographed from his observatory in Newport. He showed RGB and narrowband results. He also pointed out that the replacement of low and high pressure sodium street lighting with ultra bright LED lights is causing an increase in light pollution by substantially increasing the reflection of light from the ground into the sky. Moreover, from the point of view of astrophotography white LED light cannot be filtered out as can sodium lighting. Narrowband imaging is going to become even more important in light polluted sites.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 

Lunar studies

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera, about 3000 images captured in Sharpcapture, about 1000 stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11

Aristillus, Autolycus, Archimedes

Arzachel, Thebit, Rupes Recta, Purbach, Birt

Maginus, Clavius

Maginus, Tycho, Orontius

Mare Crisium, Mare Marginis

Rima Hyginus, Triesnecker, Ukert, Murchison, Pallas

Valles Alpes, Plato

Walter, Stofler, Aliacensis

Colin Miles
 

Jupiter with Europa, Ganymede and Io

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera, 6638 images captured in Firecapture, 50% stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11





Colin Miles

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 

£15 Sweex WC070 webcam as a lunar imager

A Sweex WC070 ViewPlus webcam was adapted for attachment to a Telescope.



The camera was placed at the focus of an 80mm, f/5.5 ED refractor, mounted on an iOptorn Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture a SER file with YUYV mapped to greyscale. The SER file was stacked in Autostakkert! 2 running in Wine, with flatfield correction. The resulting 16 bit TIFF file was wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 running in Wine, and post processed in the GIMP 2.9. Click on the image to get a closer view.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux, capturing a SER file


This camera produced results that showed no signs of compression, and for the price, make a suitable Lunar imager. The camera has yet to be tested on planets, but because of the small chip size and resulting large image scale, it is anticipated that it may also be suitable for planetary imaging.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Thursday, March 2, 2017

 

The Sun in H-alpha light through thin, high altitude cloud

A Solarmax ll, 60, BF 15, H-alpha scope was mounted on an iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. A DMK 21AU.AS camera was placed at the prime focus. Four overlapping regions were imaged using Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux, on a Linux Mint laptop. The exposure was set to capture the disk and 1000 frame SER files were captured. The exposure was changed to capture the prominences and again, 4 x 1000 frame SER files were captured. The SER files were Stacked in Autostakkert! 2 in Wine, and the resulting 16 bit Tiff files were wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 in Wine. The four panes from each exposure were combined in Autostitch in Wine. The resulting two images were post processed and combined in the Gimp 2.9. Click on the image to get a closer view.


A ZWOASI120MC CMOS camera with a x2 Barlow lens, was used with a Windows 32 bit netbook and Sharpcap to capture a 1000 frame 16 bit SER file with a region of interest around a prominence area of 640 x 480. The SER file was stacked in Autostakkert!2. The resulting image was wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 and post processed in the Gimp 2.9.

The ZWO will soon be implemented under Linux in AstroDMx Capture for Linux.

Steve Wainwright

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

 

Jupiter

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera,  5008 images captured in Firecapture, 50% stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11.


Colin Miles

Thursday, February 23, 2017

 

Astronomy and Philosophy

Martin Griffiths of Dark Sky Wales gave a fascinating and thought provoking lecture this evening on Astronomy and Philosophy showing how advances in Astronomy have, over history, influenced the way we think of ourselves and our place in the world.


Martin spoke to a large audience and we hope that he will return to talk to us again soon.
 

Starlight Xpress MX716 cooled ccd camera for sale


Starlight Xpress MX716 cooled ccd camera for sale. The camera is fitted with a colour chip but the original mono chip is also included together with instructions to swap them over.

Comes with the following items.
USB2 interface with connector for a guidehead. Camera was originally sold with USB1 interface. Camera needs SXV software to work, obtainable from Starlight Xpress website.
STAR2000 interface allowing self-guiding with ST4 mount connection.
Serial to USB converter to connect STAR2000 to pc.
Original installation disks for camera and STAR2000 interface.

The camera is in good working order. The image of M27 was taken last September. A good first cooled ccd camera that is very sensitive and was widely used by astroimagers when it was a current model. I used it for several years as a mono camera with LRGB filters. The other image shows it's capabilities in that configuration. I had the chip switched to the colour one by Terry Platt of Starlight Xpress after I bought a SX H694.

Starlight Xpress still support the older cameras and regularly update software and drivers to keep up with new imaging software etc.

£150 or nearest offer.
Anne Startup (anne.startup@btinternet.com)

Taken with the colour chip
 Anne Startup

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