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About Oddsocks

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Engineering-electronic and mechanical design, development and implementation, Software development, Astronomy, Photography, Hiking, Sailing, Literature, Music, Art, Theatre, Single malt Scotch Whiskey.
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    Dorset U.K.
  1. Okay just a thought, the penny has dropped, perhaps time for a silly question. When you load up the subs into MaxIm's stack window are they arranged as in my last post image above, a single group, if so, saving the output of such a group will be a mono .fit and a mono .tiff because with only a single filter group the image can only be mono. Or, when you load the subs are they sub-grouped into separate filters R+G+B as in the image below, if so when you save as .fit NAXIS3 is added and when you save as .tiff it would be a colour RGB because this is what has been created, a three channel RGB image. Scroll down for more.... If this is the case, and I suspect having strayed away from the original opening question, this may be the issue, we can step back to your original starting post. When you stack a series of grouped filter subs like this in MaxIm the output .fit file will have the NAXIS3 keyword and saving the file as .tiff it will be a RGB colour image. If you import the .TIFF into Photoshop it will be a composite RGB and you can then use the CIE Lab mode to extract the luminance data and split the RGB file in RGB channels to work on the individual colour channels. I won't try to explain that to you as I don't work with Photoshop enough to give an expert view, there are plenty of other SGL members here who can explain better than me working with RGB files in Photoshop. If you import your stacked colour .fit file into Fits Liberator you can select each colour pane, or channel, and export each pane as an individual .tiff, these will be greyscale images and each one corresponds to one of the individual RGB channels of the colour .fit that MaxIm created from the RGB filter files. The downside of Fits Liberator is that it does not output a separate luminance channel and you would have to combine your three greyscale tiffs in Photoshop to extract luminance data for use in LRGB processing. So, back to the original question, if you want to create individual greyscale images for each filter channel in MaxIm, first make sure 'Classify by Object' and 'Classify by Filter' is selected in the stack window, select and load all your subs using the 'Add Files" button, then right-mouse-click the containing 'Group' folder and select 'Set Group' and 'Individual Planes', run the combine stack, each filter group will be output as a single greyscale .fit. Select each .fit group image open on the desk top in turn and save as 16bit TIFF for export to photoshop and save as .fit for archive if needed. You will end up with a set of greyscale .tiff's, one for each filter and you can use these to work with Photoshop as separate greyscale channel images L, R, G, B etc and follow the processing path appropriate for this type of file. Which method is best, export as individual greyscale channels or as a single combined RGB I'll leave others to debate... Hope that is the mystery solved, let us know how you get on. William.
  2. I can't see anything else that could cause it Mike. Can you place four of five native camera subs in a dropbox or google drive and I'll see if I can produce the same problem. Are you up-to date with MaxIm? current version is v6.18 which is what I am using. Edited, no need to upload images, see next post.
  3. I've just looked at the observatory Windows machine, luckily it's not doing anything tonight. When you load up the images in the stack make sure that the option 'Auto Color Convert' box is not checked under 'Mark added items as'. Picture attached. I'll look for anything else and post again if I find something.
  4. The NAXIS3 keyword would have been added at the save as .fit stage, the ‘Save As’ TIFF only reads the fits header NAXIS3 keyword to detemine if it should save as greyscale or save as RGB, it wouldn’t change it. Next time I’m logged into the observatory Windows machine I’ll have a look at some of the image combination options in MaxIm. You could try carefully checking a mini stack of say ten subs, make sure they are all only NAXIS1/2 and then look to see if the output file fits header has become NAXIS3, that would show for sure a MaxIm incorrect stacking option selection or a bug. William.
  5. Mike. In addition to the replies to your parallel thread running on the Diffraction Limited forum an extra bit of info that may help you pin down the source of the problem is to use the fits header fuction in MaxIm ( and most other fits readers ) to inspect the NAXIS value. With a single sub from the camera open on the MaxIm desktop use the fits header function from the top menu bar, look at the list of keywords displayed, a mono image will only have the keywords NAXIS1 and NAXIS2 listed and if you saved this single image as a tiff it should be saved as a greyscale. Do the same with the result of the stack, the same rules apply. If you see the keyword NAXIS3 this means the image is a colour image comprising three planes, RGB, and would be saved as an RGB tiff. If NAXIS3 is present in the single subs from a mono camera then the driver, MaxIm’s implementation of the driver or the camera’s firmware is faulty or the wrong version. The type of sensor, mono or colour is determined by the camera’s firmware and there have been a few problems caused when the user, or factory, load the wrong firmware for the camera. If NAXIS3 is missing in the single subs but present in the stacked image that would point the finger at MaxIm and you should send a selection of single subs in a single folder to their ftp incoming server and ask them to investigate further, unless the loaded subs are grouped by filter and RGB is the selected 'Set Group' method.. HTH. William.
  6. Just out of interest Mike, which Moravian drivers are your using with MaxIm? I know that the direct plug-in driver they still supply for MaxIm is buggy, is not recommended and no longer supported by Diffraction Limited. Moravian recommend to use the ASCOM driver with MaxIm.
  7. Just checked with some MaxIm DL6 (v 6.18) acquired images, aligned and combined, they are saved as 16bit greyscale tiffs provided the source images are from a mono camera and the fits header is correctly formatted. Opening these in Photoshop CS6 they are correctly identified as 16bit greyscale. If I then repeat the process with some DSLR raws they are saved as 16bit RGB tiffs and open as RGB files in Photoshop. Maybe the fits header for your source images is incorrect, or missing, so that MaxIm doesn't know what type of file it should be and defaults to RGB? William.
  8. Oddsocks

    Lodestar, Lodestar X2, CoStar

    Hi Mark. I have used Astroart in the past and it uses two camera interfaces, direct plug-ins, for which there is no CoStar support and a universal ASCOM interface that will connect to any camera that has a ASCOM driver. I’m pretty sure that Starlight Xpress supply a standard ASCOM driver for the CoStar and Astroart should be able to connect to, and use, the CoStar’s ASCOM driver for guiding. If you were planning to buy your CoStar from FLO why not give them a call/email and ask if they will try connecting to the CoStar via ASCOM for guiding in the free trial version of Astroart, or maybe let you trial it yourself and return it if it does not work? You could even try contacting MSB again and rephrasing your question to “Will Astroart support guiding via the ASCOM interface with any ASCOM compatible camera driver such as Starlight Xpress CoStar and ASCOM driver?” William. P.S. Just to throw an additional spanner in the works I bought a ZWO ASI290MINI earlier this year to add a separate guide scope to my set up, having already a LodeStarX2 on an OAG, and I think the guide image from the 290MINI is actually better, certainly less noisy, than the LodeStar, and even though the pixel size on the MINI is around a quarter of the LodeStar it still seems sensitive enough, and I usually operate it at bin x2 anyway. The reason I added the second guide camera is that for some of my photometry targets at 2m focal length I could not get a suitable guide star in the FOV of the OAG and having a second guide camera and short focal length guide scope permanently attached to the set-up I can swap over between them at will, probably would have bought a second LodeStar but took a punt on the ASI MINI and have not been disappointed.
  9. Oddsocks

    Dark frames for ZWO 120MC camera?

    Hello Michael. On the various academic astronomy courses I’ve taken the recommended processing software is Imagej which is free, you can create your calibration frames in .fits format in that, and do all the usual post processing steps too. The downside of Imagej is that it was written by scientists for scientists, and written originally for microscopists, with astronomy tools added later. As a result Imagej needs a bit of work by the user to understand it and get the best out of, documentation is spread across several academic sites and requires some tracking down with many hyper-linked documents no longer existing. That said, it is still the only totally free astronomical image processing package that will run on any platform (being written in Java) that can produce finished images to the same level of professionalism as many off-the-shelf paid-for processing suites. Many academic institutions maintain sets of specialised plug-ins that you can download for free that offer extra astro based advanced functions so as you get hooked into Imagej you may find yourself spending hours playing with new tools and pouring over dense academic papers that explain them (I know....must get out more....!). If the above has not put you off, the link to Imagej home page is here: https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/ And an introductory documentation page here: http://www.astro.physik.uni-goettingen.de/~hessman/ImageJ/Book/index.html When visiting Imagej web pages you may also find references to a a related variant of Imagej called Fiji, also free, which is an updated and extended image processing suite. Fiji does all the same astronomy functions as Imagej and the documentation is often better written as a wiki source but it was not the recommended programme on the courses I took as it is a much larger programme with many added tools and plug-ins already included in the download that didn’t have much relevance for astronomy, at least that was the case five years ago, things may well have changed since then. If you wanted a look the Fiji download page is here: https://imagej.net/Fiji/Downloads William.
  10. Oddsocks

    A Theft, Check Your Insurance

    I think they do James. I once tried to get household and outbuilding contents insurance with Halifax and they would not insure the outbuildings contents at all once they knew what was in there. I had to take specialist insurance just for the outbuildings and that cost a small fortune.
  11. Oddsocks

    A Theft, Check Your Insurance

    You need to watch out for the 'Under Insured' clause as well. When I lived closer to London my neighbours garage was burgled and a couple of expensive mountain bikes were stolen together with some power tools. He had purposely not insured the bikes (as he just could not afford it) and claimed just for the power tools and damage to the garage door under house contents insurance but the insurers, on receiving the crime report, noted the mention of the mountain bikes and failed to pay up invoking a clause that stated if you failed to declare and insure all the contents of the property to the full repayment value then the insurance was void. They stuck to that clause and the claim was rejected. My current insurance contain a similar clause that states "If undisclosed individual items of a replacement value of £1500 or above are damaged or stolen the underwriter reserves the right to reduce the total repayment for all items lost or damaged in the claim by 50%" And that is buried in twenty pages of gobbledegook.
  12. Oddsocks

    JamesF's observatory build

    The EPDM is certainly easier James. The flat, low-profile corrugated steel panels look better and probably last longer but installation on a ridged roof is complicated unless you can get all the components needed from the same manufacturer. We re-roofed the scout hut with metal panels two years ago, previously it was felted but vandals set the roof on fire and we thought metal was less of a liability. We had to cancel the TP order though when we found they didn't stock the ridge caps and barge boards. One of the scout assistants knew somebody in the trade and we bought enough 1.6mm thick sheets in blue to cover the 4m x 6m hut, with matching barge boards, ridge caps, and corrugation meshes, and got free delivery, from a company in the Midlands. I seem to recall the final bill was around £500 though. My neighbour has re-roofed his garage with TP panels in grey but that is a flat roof with just a six degree fall so no need for ridge caps and the barge boards are all treated timber plus he didn't need to cut any of the panels so a much easier job. William.
  13. Oddsocks

    A Theft, Check Your Insurance

    It’s worth pointing out again as I have done before that many insurance companies will not pay out on a claim if you have openly listed your valuable property on an open internet forum or social media site such as SGL. They consider that listing valuable property in an easily accessible public place is a careless attitude, whether or not access to such information was a factor in the subsequent loss. I stopped listing my equipment under my signature here at SGL several years ago after finding that my insurer at that time had failed to pay out on theft claims using such an exclusion clause. William.
  14. Oddsocks

    Atik Ascom & Windows 10

    If I recall ASCOM needs .net 3.5 support but that is not enabled by default in Windows 10, check in Windows ‘Programs and Features’ > Features, that .net 3.5 has been fully enabled, if not, expand the entry for .net 3.5 in the ‘Features’ list and select all it’s components then reboot the computer and run Windows update as there have been several .net 3.5 specific updates since Windows 10 launched. After confirming that .net 3.5 is enabled and if APT still won’t connect try launching APT at least once ‘As Administrator’, right-mouse-click the desktop icon or program shortcut for APT and choose from the context menu ‘Run as Administrator’, test the program to see if it now connects but don’t run it permanently with administrator rights. With Windows 10 any programs that are using Windows COM interface seem to require running at least once with program administrator rights after install or they don't register correctly in Windows COM so repeat the above for each of your astronomy programs in turn whether you know they use COM or not. Windows 10 seems more susceptible in this than previous Windows versions. When all your astro programs are running together they all should be running with equal rights otherwise they can’t talk to each other so do check that none of the programs are set to run permanently ‘As Administrator’ (this term does not refer to you, the user by the way, it only refers in this context to the program). Right-mouse-click each of the desktop icons or program shortcuts for your astro programs, click ‘Properties’ in the context menu and ensure ‘Run as Administrator’ is not selected under the compatibilty tab or at the bottom of the entry page to the main properties window. Make sure you have the latest ASCOM platform installed, current version is 6.4 SP1 which was released just a few weeks ago. Install Atik’s own capture software and next time APT won’t connect launch the Atik software, if this connects ok that will show that the camera is ok and that the problem is with APT, ASCOM or communication between the two. When launching APT and unable to connect check in the running programs list that no other camera capture programs are running in the background since you can only ‘grab’ the camera from one program at a time, if another capture program has launched and grabbed the Atik you won’t be able to make a second connection from APT. Check that two instances of APT are not being launched. We had an issue at the astro club with another APT user recently who had configured APT to launch at bootup of the computer but was then manually launching a second instance from the desktop and could not make a connection to a camera. Can’t think of anything else at the moment..... HTH. William.
  15. Oddsocks

    JamesF's observatory build

    Hello James. There are ~five Travis Perkins depots within twelve miles of you that can deliver plastic-coated galvanised-steel low profile sheet roofing panels in two colours, grey or green, and three lengths, i’ve linked below to the shortest length they do in green. https://www.travisperkins.co.uk/Steel-Roof-Sheet-BS12B29-Juniper-Green-Plastic-Coated-Sheet-6ft-(1825mm)/p/766965 The only issue with TP is they don't stock and are unable to supply the matching ridge cap and barge board panels so you have to find a solution that works for you for the ridge cap, I don’t know why TP don’t supply these, we did email them several times but answer came there none! No wonder TP are always in some kind of financial mess. Things they don’t tell you in the technical specs: The panels expand and contract a large amount with temperature change and when the panels are nailed or screwed to the roof only the first fixing hole at the top of the sheet should be a tight fit on the shank of the fixing, all the holes below it should be drilled oversize, at least twice the diameter of the fixing shank, so that the panel can move as it heats up, otherwise the thin panel will warp and lift and never sit flat on the roof. If you have to cut the panels to length the cut ends should be painted with a flexible sealant, such as bitumen or a silicone rubber as even though the steel is galvanised before coating it will gradually rust inwards from the cut and delaminate, the cut ends should be hidden under the ridge cap or under overlapping sheets when used on long spans. When used on a battened roof you can’t walk across the panels, the TP ones are too thin and will crease, the panels used in commmercial builds are much thicker and stronger. The TP panels are ok to walk on when laid directly on a supporting board. The open ends of the corrugations at the eaves and at the ridge need closing with a mesh so that wasps can’t set up home in the corrugation voids but there is still some ventilation under the panels. The grey coloured panels are better at keeping cool, the green ones look good but get very hot, both are better than black rubber or felt though for helping keep the inside of the building cool, especially if you use mesh guards at the corrugation openings rather than foam inserts to maintain airflow. HTH William.

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