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Saturn + 5 moons etc...


Kokatha man
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Hi SGL'ers - last week we were pleased to get one clear night at one of our imaging sites after all the cloudy skies of late...one of the problems down South when the oppositions run into the later months & Winter approaches, although when the skies are clear the seeing is usually fairly decent...unfortunately the skies haven't been too clear most of the time..! :(:)

This (infrequent imaging opportunities) has hampered our familiarity with the ASI174MM camera - for these images I had to employ contrast reduction in R6 to reign in the histograms...even though we only employed 26% for red, 23% for green & 21% for blue.

(ie, the maximum values)

This with frame-rates of 198fps for the earlier images here & 132fps for the later ones...I deliberately used those "higher" histo values but it back-fired a bit...I prefer NOT to have to pull the histo's back with contrast. :(

But regardless of still "getting to know" this camera effectively it obviously displays good sensitivity..! :)

...on another note I'm almost ready to load a series of screenshots & text on my website for anyone interested in seeing some of our basic - plus more sophisticated processing applications.

You'll probably need to click on the images for full sizes - plenty of activity on the Saturnian disk with bright & dark spots!

Also I used my new HP laptop - 500GB SSD, full HD screen, genuine quad-core hyper-threaded CPU + 16GB RAM...a real "monster" that ran flawlessly, even at around 400fps on Jove earlier in the evening: those images turned out pretty nice for 37 degrees elevation & might post one later... :)

Used the larger ROI at high FPS to capture 5 of Saturn's moons in one r-g-b set during the night.....hopefully we might see some more (& more often) good seeing in the weeks coming up to opposition..! :)

Not sure if you need to click on the images - especially the animated .gif..?

Visit my website http://momilika.net/

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Edited by Kokatha man
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Nice captures !

From your web site, can you tell me please:

-what type of "focuser" do you use for the camera ? "A special focuser is required for the telescope that features a digital readout display"

-what kind of filter's "revolving chamber" do you have ? "The filters are loaded into a revolving chamber much like the old "six-shooter" of the Westerns, except this is a 7-shooter with 7 filter chambers!"

Thanks in advance...

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I just looked outside to see if I can get  it at 19 degrees here. Turns out I have a tiny window between houses.

After seeing this not sure I want to bother. Unless I can get a windfall and can get a big scope in Oz. Any millionaires want to help out a enthusiastic planetary imager ?

Look at that hexagon. The Encke  going all the way around getting eclipsed at the back

So much detail so little noise.

Congrats Darryl

I have a feeling its going to get a lot better than this. But my god I can hardly see how

Edited by neil phillips
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Thanks Michael, Caldwell, Simon, Paul, Tony, Steve, catman, Pete & rolion. :)

Pete, after my laptop self-destructed back in January we used Pat's until I could afford this one a couple of weeks ago...the main issues are the HD's & whether they can write to them fast enough, plus the usb3 porting.

I would suggest it is almost imperative that the HD needs to be a SSD unit to achieve the maximum stated frame-rates of this camera. (which we can achieve.)

We did a lot of research & appraisal of laptops that were available & I took my cue from Sam's website data link about what sort of usb Host Controllers were proven ok for the ASI cameras.

The fairly ubiquitous "USB3 eXtensible Host Controller" was what we wanted but finding that info isn't simple, it's rarely published & you have to go into the Device Manager of a machine to find out - problematical at times because you need a salesperson to unlock that access in a lot of stores & the manager has that code...

Also, I have yet to see a machine which has "more than one bus" as they say...meaning if the machine has 4 X usb3 ports like ours they are all running off the same controller & are effectively limiting each other's data transfer rates...this means if you try to write to an external SSD HD you need a data input from the camera through one usb3 port & out another to the external SSD HD & that effectively reduces the maximum data flow to half per port...

The CPU is a non-issue for capturing but with this machine & the calibrated full HD screen its' "grunt" etc means I can process in the field with complete confidence! :)

All I can add is that with Pat's laptop & mechanical HD there was a considerable lowering of the available FPS for any specific ROI...plenty of RAM is good but in the end that data has to be written to the HD before you hit "capture" for the next filter.

Of course if we were just taking a single filter image run of any planet then we could wait at the end of the recording for the lappy to finish writing to the disk... ;)

Rolion - you've obviously looked at my website (written without any presumption that folks reading would know anything about this caper!) :)

We use a "Moonlite" focuser unit which has a hi-res stepper motor & digital readout display - this enables me to make very tiny incremental adjustments of the focuser to achieve a very accurate focus for each filter/channel of the recording.....it also allows me to see the value & repeat it for the next time or make those tiny focus shifts that differentiate blue channel focus from red & green most of the time...

The "revolving chamber" is the "electric filter wheel" (or "EFW") & our make is the common Nautilus 7-filter 1&1/4" model...this means it takes that sized filters & can hold up to 7 individual filters in it's revolving wheel - we switch between filters by way of hitting a tab onscreen from a simple software operating program window open on the laptop screen - alongside the capture program window with its' controls. (ie, FireCapture)

Hope that answers your queries... :)

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ps: sorry I missed your post Neil, thanks! :)

I appreciate how very tough it is with Saturn for you folks, but there's still Jupiter & Venus...might be worth you thinking of Uranus - & Mercury also if you have the filters...certainly Uranus isn't nearly as difficult as some would have you think!

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Blimey!  Excellent images and animation Darryl - I'm having this sudden urge to sell up and emigrate, though not sure that's so easy for us old duffers at the moment!   Sure I could cope with a few poisonous snakes and spiders for a little of that heavenly view ;) 

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Thanks Jake, Paul, Stuart, Steve & i_h, appreciate the responses! :)

ps: Jake - that concept of snakes & spiders is almost on a par with me worrying about the Loch Ness monster if I went to Scotland...although if you wanted me to I could always find you plenty of them..! ;)

Edited by Kokatha man
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Blisteringly good Darryl, as we have come to expect from you over the years.  Those frame rates are something else as well, I think my laptop would run and hide from that data stream :)

I'll be heading over to your website soon to get up to speed on processing techniques. I've got some family in Australia who I haven't seen for about 50 years, think its time I paid them a visit !

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