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Martin Meredith

EAA testing session in the vicinity of Monoceros

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Happy new year everyone ūüėȬ†I haven't posted for a while -- work has been a nightmare -- but hoping to get back into the swing of things now.

Here are a few direct at the scope captures from a few nights back with a 60% moon in the same quadrant. I was mainly testing a new EAA tool so the set of objects is rather random as are the exposure times and formats. Details on the images (all jpegs)

NGC 2346 is an interesting planetary nebula known as the butterfly. Here it is in wide field (well, not that wide, given this is a small sensor...) and in close-up. I was particularly struck by the near vertical lines of stars just above the PN itself. I fact, there are lots of 'strings' of stars in this field, presumably purely coincidental.

808447434_NGC234616Feb19_16_46_51.jpg.a4f7ce93ca0af0c8dd1faa0635337bb6.jpg

1990115040_NGC234616Feb19_16_47_06.jpg.7417f4c1dc42ece31f8e3838983d406e.jpg

 

Next, a few open clusters:

163205734_NGC2324(2)15Feb19_20_19_28.jpg.5b5599d2111a503a36566a2ad0a78c61.jpg

 

and another smaller one:

 

174529922_Berkeley7715Feb19_20_32_10.jpg.2bac5e713648495e9a009c7e73db42e1.jpg

and another one, this time a single 15s sub

1357888524_Messier5017Feb19_20_04_36.jpg.c298448c35424c3f19b5f61ed8af58cd.jpg

Finally, here's a screenshot showing Arp 94 (quite a long stack). I was aiming to get the faint 'detached wings' that you can see just to the NNW and SSE of the main galaxy. There are a couple of mag18-19 quasars thereabouts too (this being an Arp and all that...).

1279586481_ScreenShot2019-02-15at22_58_26.thumb.png.c109d0981334964d255f54a1b6b7c525.png

 

I hope to have the tool fully tested by the end of the month in case anyone is interested in giving it a whirl in time for galaxy season.

cheers

Martin

 

 

 

 

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Nice one Martin, a nice test for your new tool, some intriguing looking functionality and a nice looking UI. You have probably mentioned this in earlier posts but is it Mac only?  

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Thanks Stash, Rob. 

All my development has been on the Mac but the tool ought to run on Linux and Windows too since it is built in Python with Kivy for the GUI stuff (kivy.org). The latter is cross-platform (and in theory it might work on iOS, Android and RPi too, but it will be defeated by the compute requirements I imagine for a while at least). Are you running Windows? Basically, you just need a Python environment and a few easily-installed toolkits (numpy, scikit-image, astropy are the main ones). If all goes well the first version will be available next week.

I made a video to demo the functionality when I was out on Friday but the sound quality isn't too hot so I will try to repeat later this week even if it means battling against a full moon (that's what EAA is for anyway!).

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I run Windows 7 (!) so hopefully all will be ok,¬†i‚Äôm up¬†for the challenge. ūüĎć

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What a superb tool Martin, cant wait to give it a go. Some exciting features such gradient removal, animation, removal of subs, a catalogue and did I also see ability to take flats? Very useful for those of us with dirty sensors! It looks like a very intuitive and tactile tool, very impressive given that you have developed in on your own, I know how difficult it can be to produce intuitive interfaces. You have obviously thought about how to make this as useful as possible for EAA. I always think that EAA of this kind is basically high speed imaging without the post processing overhead, and you can learn an awful lot about effect of all the variables (mount, scope, camera, software, conditions) and experiment to see the effects within minutes - I would think that any budding imager would benefit from using this tool with a guidescope to 'learn the ropes' before shelling out on an expensive camera and scope!

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Happy new year! And good to see you back posting some galaxies in the forum!

I’d definitely like to try out the new tool too, it looks very interesting. Windows and Mac both work for me...

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Thanks Rob and David. In case it wasn't obvious, the first version is monochrome only, and doesn't have its own capture engine just yet (I used SLL to dump .fits for these captures). Multispectral in general will come in the following version and I've love to support native capturing too, esp. with filter wheel control, as it hugely simplifies more advanced things I'm aiming to provide such as LRGB (which I believe is ideal for EAA but hardly-explored to date due to lack of live tools). The tool is open source and open data so it will be possible to add anything so long as someone is able and willing to get involved.

I'll post a few more videos later which will show the recompute philosophy and automated calibration library functionality and a few other features. As you must have gathered, these were done based on reloading previous captures, so I'll say more about that side of things too, and also about how to incorporate any previous captures you might have collected (simply a case of placing the fits in a folder in the right place and the tool will pick them up and 'assimilate' them ;-). 

I'm also hoping to do a session tonight or tomorrow to collect some actual live videos. (I find though that combining screen-capture video with live observing is an additional layer of distraction and probably extremely boring for the viewer...)

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8 hours ago, Martin Meredith said:

doesÔĽŅÔĽŅn't have its own capture engine jÔĽŅust yet¬†ÔĽŅ

I hadn’t realised but I can see now! So it’s a case of having SLL (or similar) and Jocular running at the same time for now? 

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That all sounds good. Mono is fine for me. I’ll be running SharpCap for capture. I have a windows pc on my scope so I’ll try running it at the same time on windows. I also may try having SharpCap save to a Dropbox folder that syncs with my Mac indoors.

I really like the sound of the way it handles individual exposures while stacking as well as the automated gradient removal functions. I have bad light pollution to fight so that could be quite noticeable.

Have you used SharpCap recently? It has developed quite a lot in the past couple of releases and also does some interesting things like sensor analysis, plate solving and autofocus. It doesn’t do multispectral though...

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Rob: yes, I run SLL to do the focus, alignment and framing and then get it dump fits in a given folder. Once the filename (in SLL) is set up you don't need to change it at all during the session so it isn't a case of having to manage both apps simultaneously. Jocular automatically estimates exposure times too. But this is an interim solution.

David: yes, gradient removal is very important in my opinion. I've just been out for a session with a near full moon and the gradients were a real issue. 

I've never used SharpCap (being a Mac person) but I hear good things about it. I think Jocular will occupy a slightly different space though, in part because of the way it allows management, reloading and processing of earlier captures. I find I am spending perhaps 2-3 as long reexamining my earlier captures in this offline mode as during the live sessions. It isn't AP and it isn't EAA, at least by the conventional definition. But its a very natural thing to do! I really have no patience for AP and I'm not aware of any tools that make it easy to 'reobserve' captures in this way, which was one of the motivations for writing the new tool.

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On 20/02/2019 at 08:41, RobertI said:

What a superb tool Martin, cant wait to give it a go. Some exciting features such gradient removal, animation, removal of subs, a catalogue and did I also see ability to take flats? Very useful for those of us with dirty sensors! It looks like a very intuitive and tactile tool, very impressive given that you have developed in on your own, I know how difficult it can be to produce intuitive interfaces. You have obviously thought about how to make this as useful as possible for EAA. I always think that EAA of this kind is basically high speed imaging without the post processing overhead, and you can learn an awful lot about effect of all the variables (mount, scope, camera, software, conditions) and experiment to see the effects within minutes - I would think that any budding imager would benefit from using this tool with a guidescope to 'learn the ropes' before shelling out on an expensive camera and scope!

I don't think I answered about flats. Yes, the tool is capable of both creating master flats from incoming flats, saving them to a calibration library, and then applying them on demand (same with darks). Here's a pair of images from last night showing the effect of flats. Fascinating conjunction of an open cluster and (tiny) planetary nebula.

1240856796_NGC2453(OC)2452(PN)21Feb19_13_31_05.png.5036d2a7ae8f00b528d3e33ee964bbf4.png

 

1677125205_NGC2453(OC)2452(PN)21Feb19_13_34_56.png.a45e4d99779cb90113c7b9d7f85b564f.png

 

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Hello Martin

It looks very impressive, including the explanations in the videos.

I'm certainly interested in testing it if you need any more testers. I have Windows 10 laptops of different power. Two core Centrino running 32 bit Windows from way back when used for imaging control of scope etc and a Core i5 running 64 bit. I'd probably need a bit of hand holding with regards to how to install things. I've not used Python. I have a Lodestar X2.

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6 hours ago, Martin Meredith said:

IÔĽŅ don't think I answered about flats. Yes, the tool is capable of bÔĽŅoth creating master flats from incoming flats, saving them to a calibration library, and then applying them on demand (same with darks). Here's a pair of images from last night showing theÔĽŅ effect of flats. Fascinating conjunction of an open cluster and (tiny) planetary nebula.ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

Thanks Martin, I think application of the flats, and gradient removal are really¬†great features. ūüĎć

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5 hours ago, Bill S said:

Hello Martin

It looks very impressive, including the explanations in the videos.

I'm certainly interested in testing it if you need any more testers. I have Windows 10 laptops of different power. Two core Centrino running 32 bit Windows from way back when used for imaging control of scope etc and a Core i5 running 64 bit. I'd probably need a bit of hand holding with regards to how to install things. I've not used Python. I have a Lodestar X2.

Thanks Bill. I'll certainly need testers and will do what I can to help re installation. Hoping to have the code ready by the end of the month...

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Here's a few more images from this evening. These are produced directly by the tool either by clicking the snapshot button, or doing nothing and relying on autosave on change of object being observed. All the metadata is picked up automatically and the amount of it can be configured. Currently there are two output styles, full frame 'polaroid' style, and eyepiece style which maintains the zoom/orientation of the current view.

This is the famous planetary that coincides with Messier 46.

354934234_NGC243821Feb19_20_24_43.png.8e99195e6cf4d28ec83b4dabcfdaa793.png

 

Next up, the Horsehead, which fortuitously came out at the right orientation to merit the polaroid treatment. Actually, it was visible as a ghostly shadow in 5s framing exposures too. The sensitivity of the Lodestar continues to amaze me even 4 years since purchase. I know things have moved on in some ways but there's a lot of life left in these small sensor guide cams.

922216555_HorseheadNebula21Feb19_21_21_29.png.b9eef6f0c8b87f5ef93714b84077ce0d.png

 

The main goal of the session was to observe some WBL groups although I got distracted and only observed 2 of them. I get the impression that hardly anyone looks at them compared to say the Hicksons, but they have the power to surprise (or underwhelm, in equal measure), so it was a real joy to find this particular grouping. Quite a lot of detail started to emerge, particularly for the two outer galaxies. I love the delicacy of the rightmost member.

BTW There are over 700 WBL groups to seek out. (WBL is named after White and colleagues who compiled the catalogue of "nearby poor clusters of galaxies" in 1999.

 

325538970_WBL12621Feb19_21_04_34.png.d2edb9b018918a72f867a6feea1fce1d.png

Thanks for looking

Martin

 

 

 

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Great images again thanks to you and Jocular. Also, I don't remember coming across the WBL groups. Thanks for drawing attention to them. I see there is a bit of information on the web about them. I'll have to check them out.

 

Best regards

Bill

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