Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
I'm afraid this will be yet another DIY all sky camera build! 😂 Hopefully interesting though... While developing my all sky software (shameless plug, see signature) one of the biggest problems is that I don't actually have a permanent all sky camera setup myself. I live in the middle of a big city with massive light pollution where the summer temperatures are just creeping up to 40C+, not ideal... So for a while I have been thinking about setting up a remote all sky camera to help with the testing of the AllSkEye app. Initially the idea was to mount it at a relatives house but then once I looked into what would be required to make it fully remote controllable I was thinking that if I go to all that trouble, I might as well look for a location with great weather and dark skies.
After a few inquiries I got a really great response from Jose at the E-Eye remote hosting facility in Spain. This was fantastic news because not only will the camera have nice weather and dark skies but the facility also has fibre broadband which is almost a must for what I have in mind further down the road (I am also planning to transfer some image data to cloud storage for archiving and further processing and that could potentially be a lot of data). So this is where it is going to go (all being well and my 3D printer not packing up!
I'll try to follow my progress here, maybe it will be helpful for someone. The basic idea is pretty simple:
Setup a completely autonomous and remotely controllable all sky camera Sounds easy enough... Well, let me tell you, it is not! To anyone having setup your own remotely hosted scope setup, my hat off to you, it's not an easy task! Initially I split this project into two parts:
The camera, lens, housing and everything that goes with it The control box that will control the above Unfortunately I don't have time just now to go into any details but will hopefully be able to do so soon. I just though if I don't start this thread soon I never will 😀. The state of play at the moment is that the control box is pretty complete and the camera housing is nearing completion (3D printer is very busy, not a fast manufacturing process unfortunately).
Here are a few pictures of what it looks like at the moment:
By Cosmic Geoff
On 25th March I tried some live stacking with Sharpcap and a 102mm f5 Startravel achromat & ASI120MC camera.
Mount was Celestron SLT on custom tripod. Image size: 1280x960.
With this setup it is possible to dial in an object to the GoTo and be confident that it will appear on the laptop screen.
These images may not look too exciting but they do mimic the FOV and general appearance as seen in a 203mm SCT with 25mm EP. Check the image for M87. When I checked the field in Stellarium I found that two faint non-star smudges matched with NGC4478 and NGC4476, which are 11th and 12th mag galaxies. I am gob-smacked that I managed to image these with such modest equipment from an urban site. There is no way I would be able to see these visually even with a C8 from here.
By Cosmic Geoff
Here is an image of Jupiter, taken around 6am on 15 Feb with my C8, ASI120MC, +ADC, processed in Registax6 from around 30% of 3000 frames.
I am fairly pleased with it considering that the altitude of the planet was only about 12 deg. and the seeing looked bad when I tried to focus on a star. And it shows the Great Red Spot.
By Cosmic Geoff
I had another go at imaging the shrinking Mars, this time without and with a x2 Barlow lens. The results are better with the Barlow, which is what one is led to expect. For whatever reason (probably bad seeing and/or low planets) when I tried a Barlow previously it just made the blur bigger. Equipment: C8 SE, ASI120MC, x2 Skywatcher kit Barlow element screwed directly into 1.25" barrel of the ZWO camera. This does seem to give x2 in practice. I did not use an ADC on the grounds that I shouldn't need one with Mars at an altitude of over 40 degrees.
3000 image video captured with Sharpcap. Processed in Registax6. I found that the Sharpcap exposure histogram did not appear to work on such a small image, so had to estimate the exposure. Yes, optical ADC correction would be better, but the dispersion seemed very small. Blowing up the image x2 in Registax showed a small colour fringe, which I took out with a single point of correction.
The images show some surface detail though the contrast is low (if you are using a flatscreen try viewing from below: ?) Mare Sirenum, with Mare Acidalium just discernible foreshortened at upper right.
By Cosmic Geoff
Here is an image of Mars I made on 9 Jan this year, with a C8 SE, and ASI120MC camera. The images are rather small (around 7" dia). Mars is now much higher in the sky than at opposition, so it seemed worth taking a few farewell images as it diminishes in size. Captured with Sharpcap.
I did not use the ADC - the images are corrected for AD in the processing in Registax. This is from a run of 3000 images. I have included a x3 Photoshop zoom of the same image to indicate the size of Mars at opposition on the same scale. I was quite pleased to record some surface detail, corresponding with the position of Syrtis Major. If I'd had more time, I could have tried some images using a Barlow lens. I have just discovered that I can unscrew the lens section from a Skywatcher x2 Barlow and screw it onto the 1.25" nosepiece of the ASI120MC, which will give a more modest zoom (I think).