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AngryDonkey

'AllSkEye' all-sky imaging Software (Windows)

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Hello,

Over the last couple of years I've been developing a Windows based application for the sole purpose of capturing and processing all-sky images. This app has now been stable for quite some time and grown a good set of features. In short it is designed to run unattended 24/7 and automatically manage the acquisition, processing and transfer of images and video files. Access to the software was previously only available through a private Yahoo group but I have now created a dedicated website for it which gives all the details and handles downloads and support.

So for anyone interested in taking all-sky images or building their own all-sky camera and looking for (Windows) software to manage the capture and processing, you could have a look at the website and see what it's all about (and download and test it of course). You can find it at:

http://www.allskeye.com

Kind Regards,

Mike

PS: It's free 🙂

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Looks good.  Welcome to the world of maintaining astro software :)

I did notice a teeny typo on the home page, in the last paragraph above the "History" section.  The last word, in fact.

James

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9 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Welcome to the world of maintaining astro software :)

Yes it can be quite a pain! Luckily I only have to worry about cameras. Can't imagine supporting something like SGP...

Thanks for spotting the typo, now fixed.

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I can vouch for the software - it's brilliant. Thank you Mike for developing it and making it available to the world... and for free, you star!

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22 minutes ago, PhotoGav said:

I can vouch for the software

Me too.

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21 hours ago, PhotoGav said:

I can vouch for the software - it's brilliant.

 

20 hours ago, Jonk said:

Me too.

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence! It's an interesting project so I don't really mind spending a bit of time on it.

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@AngryDonkey, Mike. I installed AllSkeye on the mini PC in the shed with the Oculus connected and I get this message when I run it. :sad2:

1398928478_AllSkEyeError.png.9fc750d399442389ca75751e2f4e9159.png

I've been using AstroArt to aquire the images which has worked well and was keen to try your software.  SxUsb.dll is there in your folder. I reinstalled the latest drivers from Starlight Xpress, no change, and did the .net framework check which said it was already installed. The mini PC is running Win 10 home 64 bit.

Edit. Working now. :laugh2: Didn't install the C++ redistributable package. :redface:. Looking good so far.

Alan

Edited by symmetal
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Jumping over to this thread....

Just reporting that have now managed to get software up and running, capturing fine and also carrying out image conversion and movie creation.

I did have an issue where i was getting an error about image exposure failing, but realised this was down to me having flashed a different firmware onto my 120MC so that i could use it with the Raspberry Pi set-up.  Flashed back and all is good.

Next steps are to change lat and long, tinker with a few more settings around capture start and stop times and exposure length and then also some up with a place where I can mount the camera and get some outside image captures.

Many thanks for developing this...muchos internet cookies for you on the way

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On 16/01/2019 at 20:14, Shelster1973 said:

Many thanks for developing this...muchos internet cookies for you on the way

Thank you, the comments and feedback are much appreciated! Yes there are many settings to tinker with, some say too many 🙂

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Talking of too many settings....

There is a new AllSkEye preview version 0.9.12.0 available to test if anyone is interested/bored/feeling adventurous! Initially I only wanted to rework the 'bad pixel map' creation because the initial implementation didn't work so well but a few more features have managed to sneak in. Here is the list:

  • Improved Bad Pixel Map creation mechanism and tab. Can now also be used to created dark frame for subtraction.
  • Weather data can now be fetched from OpenWeatherMap website API or from any device with an ASCOM ObservingConditions driver.
  • Weather data is displayed on new weather data tab.
  • Weather data will be stored in FITS header.
  • Weather data is available for text overlay e.g. the latest image can now double up as a basic weather display.
  • 'Prevent meteor detection during daytime' setting.
  • Camera temperature (if available) is now read and stored in fits header and available for text overlay.
  • 'Julian Day' variable now available for text overlay.
  • Text overlay variables can now be individually formatted.
  • Some bug fixes

As alway the preview can be downloaded from https://www.allskeye.com/download/. I would really appreciate any feedback you might have on any of these features. If you are planning to run this preview, and can spare the time, please tell me about it once you've had some time to evaluate . A a short forum post in the 'preview Releases' sub-forum would be ideal https://www.allskeye.com/community/preview-releases/ .

Thanks!

Mike

AllSkEye0.9_12.0.JPG.63b5f1d743857afdaaf7741a0526b35d.JPG

AllSkEye0.9_12.0_1.JPG.a30eb2788607a001612bc32a71163067.JPG

Edited by AngryDonkey
Added forum link

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Brilliant Mike, I’ve been hoping for a release with the better dark frame subtraction feature, so I will download and test the beta as soon as possible. I’ll report back how I get on. Many thanks for your hard work with this software. Gav.

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I've experienced a number of issues with trying to get this software to run with my ZWO ASI120MC over the past month or two.  However, Mike's hard work and superb user support has meant that it now works well.  (Solution has been to use the 32-bit version of the software, dial down the USB transfer speed right down to 40 and shoot in RAW 16).  I also replaced all the USB leads.

I've tried the bad pixel map feature in 9.12.0 and unfortunately the exposure fails when trying to create the bad pixel map (see post in Allskeye community page).  However, I'm sure Mike will try his best to sort it out.  This guy is a hero!  :icon_salut: :icon_salut: :icon_salut:

image.thumb.png.9dab6b068a7400e075def11e83193728.png

Edited by michaelmorris

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Just to report that I successfully made a bad pixel map with my Oculus All Sky camera last night and it works a treat. I now have beautifully clean images with no more white hot pixels. Brilliant! Thank you Mike, you are a total hero!

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I'm going to give this a whirl tonight.  What type of camera works best?

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On 24/01/2019 at 23:14, michaelmorris said:

I've experienced a number of issues with trying to get this software to run with my ZWO ASI120MC over the past month or two.  However, Mike's hard work and superb user support has meant that it now works well.  (Solution has been to use the 32-bit version of the software, dial down the USB transfer speed right down to 40 and shoot in RAW 16).  I also replaced all the USB leads.

I've tried the bad pixel map feature in 9.12.0 and unfortunately the exposure fails when trying to create the bad pixel map (see post in Allskeye community page).  However, I'm sure Mike will try his best to sort it out.  This guy is a hero!  :icon_salut: :icon_salut: :icon_salut:

image.thumb.png.9dab6b068a7400e075def11e83193728.png

The immediate fix seems to be to use the ASCOM drivers for the ZWO ASi120MC. Dark frame subtraction now working. 😀

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On 25/01/2019 at 17:05, PhotoGav said:

Just to report that I successfully made a bad pixel map with my Oculus All Sky camera last night and it works a treat. I now have beautifully clean images with no more white hot pixels. Brilliant! Thank you Mike, you are a total hero!

Thanks Gav, glad it's working!

On 25/01/2019 at 18:28, tooth_dr said:

I'm going to give this a whirl tonight.  What type of camera works best?

A difficult one to answer! It's really the camera/lens combination that makes the biggest difference i.e. how much of the sky you will manage to get onto the image. Most people are trying to achieve 180 degrees but personally I prefer 150 to 160 degrees, you won't see the horizon all the way round but I think it makes much better use of the sensor area. ASI ZWO cameras are popular as they are relatively cheap and many of them come with a basic all-sky lanes in the package. Another thing to consider is the housing. This is not so much an issue if you setup and take down every night while you do other astro stuff but if you are thinking of a permanent setup then it obviously need waterproofing, heating, etc. There are ready made solutions such as the Starlight Xpress Oculus but many people created their own, with some really genius solutions (and can be done much cheaper). There are a few threads on here describing the process.

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10 hours ago, AngryDonkey said:

Thanks Gav, glad it's working!

A difficult one to answer! It's really the camera/lens combination that makes the biggest difference i.e. how much of the sky you will manage to get onto the image. Most people are trying to achieve 180 degrees but personally I prefer 150 to 160 degrees, you won't see the horizon all the way round but I think it makes much better use of the sensor area. ASI ZWO cameras are popular as they are relatively cheap and many of them come with a basic all-sky lanes in the package. Another thing to consider is the housing. This is not so much an issue if you setup and take down every night while you do other astro stuff but if you are thinking of a permanent setup then it obviously need waterproofing, heating, etc. There are ready made solutions such as the Starlight Xpress Oculus but many people created their own, with some really genius solutions (and can be done much cheaper). There are a few threads on here describing the process.

Thanks Mike

I just asked as I have a couple of mono and a colour camera (USB) with the 640x480 sensors, and a 2.1mm lens.  I do have a ZWO120MM but it's being used as a guider.   I tried it very briefly last night but I got an error message trying to connect a DMK camera, so I'll sit down with the instructions and work it out.  Will it work with an analogue camera via a USB 'grabber' (eg pinnacle dazzle)?  I'm in the process of thinking about an enclosure, and making my own, so that's the long term plan.

Adam.

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Hi Adam,

Unfortunately analog cameras are not supported and there is currently no support for the DirectShow driver (although that might change sometime), so webcams won't work either.

AllSkEye works with most cameras supported by an Ascom driver and all Starlight Xpress and ASI Zwo cameras.

The ASI 120MM or MC should work, although there are many USB related issues with that particular camera (and ZWO are not really supporting it anymore). There are some workarounds for it so if you need help, just get in touch. The AllSkEye support forum would be best for this as I don't want to clog up this thread with support related posts.

Mike

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16 minutes ago, AngryDonkey said:

Hi Adam,

Unfortunately analog cameras are not supported and there is currently no support for the DirectShow driver (although that might change sometime), so webcams won't work either.

AllSkEye works with most cameras supported by an Ascom driver and all Starlight Xpress and ASI Zwo cameras.

The ASI 120MM or MC should work, although there are many USB related issues with that particular camera (and ZWO are not really supporting it anymore). There are some workarounds for it so if you need help, just get in touch. The AllSkEye support forum would be best for this as I don't want to clog up this thread with support related posts.

Mike

Ok Mike, thanks.

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Hello,

i hope there is someone to help with my query

I am building one of these all sky cameras and going to use this software, as it looks superb and exactly for this purpose, I am going to use a recently redundant ASI120mm camera with the stock lens, can someone point me in the right direction of settings for the camera to get me started...

Many thanks

Dean

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Hi Dean,

Sorry can't help directly as I don't have an ASI120 but in general terms just start out with the standard settings and take some test shots to see what kind of results you get. From there you can work out the min and max parameters the app should use when imaging at night (and also some tests for daytime use if you are interested in that as well). I guess the most important things to figure out are:

  • Min/Max exposure time -> most people use somewhere between 30 and 45s for max but that's very much dependent on your sky conditions. If you are thinking about daytime imaging then the min exposure time should be lowest value the camera will support.
  • If you are using auto exposure time then you need to set a 'median target'. Again you can use the preview tab to experiment with this. The preiew tab will show you the image median value but please don't forget to turn of the stretch/clip function in the preview to get a true value for this.
  • The minimum regulation step is also important for auto exposure. You need to set this to the range the camera can support i.e. if the camera can do micro second steps then use 1 micro second (in the app you need to enter this as 0.001ms)
  • You can also change the gain settings. There are two values you can set, one for day, one for night. Again trial and error will help most but for daytime operation I guess the gain will have to be as low as possible.
  • With the ASI120 it would definitely be advisable to use a bad pixel map as I think it's pretty noisy

There are lots of setting so once you are up and running feel free to get in touch. The AllSkEye forum would also be a good place to ask although I think @michaelmorris is on here as well and if I remember right he has an ASI120 and might be able to chime in.

One general thing about the older ASI120 models is that they are a bit prone to connection problems or 'locking up' with an 'exposure failed' message. AllSkEye tries to mitigate this but it doesn't always work.

Kind Regards,

Mike

 

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On 24/01/2019 at 23:14, michaelmorris said:

 

I had real issues getting my 120mc to work properly with all sky eye. Now it is working great. Here are my top three tips for using a 120MC/MM camera with Allskeye software.

Use new, high quality USB cables

Experiment with using the ASCOM rather than the native ZWO driver

Create a bad pixel map.

I hope this helps

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