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I made an acquisition and processing tutorial a while back (3 years ago? Yikes!) and it is fairly dated in terms of what I'm doing these days. I've been asked for a long time to make a new one showing what I'm doing these days. Specifically how I'm processing a single shot image for both the surface and prominences and how to process them together to show prominences and the surface at once. I've abandoned doing split images and composites and strictly work from one image using layers. Acquisition does not use gamma at all anymore. Nothing terribly fancy, but it's not exactly intuitive so hopefully this new video will illustrate most of the fundamentals to get you started. Instead of an hour, this time it's only 18 minutes. It's real time from start to finish. I'm sorry for the long "waiting periods" where I'm just waiting for the software to finish its routine, it lasts 1.5 minutes and 30 seconds tops typically at first. The first 4 minutes is literally just stacking & alignment in AS!3. I typically will go faster than this, but wanted to slow down enough to try to talk through what I'm doing as I do it. Hopefully you can see each action on the screen. I may have made a few mistakes or said a few incorrect things or terms, forgive me for that, this is not my day job. I really hope it helps folk get more into processing as its not difficult or intimidating when you see a simple process with only a few things that are used. The key is good data to begin with and a good exposure value. Today's data came from a 100mm F10 achromatic refractor and an ASI290MM camera with an HA filter. I used FireCapture to acquire the data with a defocused flat frame. No gamma is used. I target anywhere from 65% to 72% histogram fill. That's it! The processing is fast and simple. I have a few presets that I use, but they are all defaults in Photoshop. A lot of the numbers I use for parameters are based on image scale, so keep that in mind, experiment with your own values. The only preset I use that is not a default is my coloring scheme. I color with levels in Photoshop, and my values are Red: 1.6, Green 0.8, Blue 0.2 (these are mid-point values).
Processing Tutorial Video (18 minutes):
RAW (.TIF) files available here to practice on (the same images you will see below as RAW TIFs):
Video for Acquisition, Focus, Flat Calibration and Exposure (20 minutes):
(Please let me know if any links do not work)
Results from today using this work flow method.
SSM data (sampled during 1.5~2 arc-second seeing conditions):
Equipment for today:
100mm F10 Frac (Omni XLT 120mm F8.3 masked to 4")
Baader Red CCD-IR Block Filter (ERF)
PST etalon + BF10mm
SSM (for fun, no automation)
For quite some time now I've been working on a small weather station. The idea is to add automation to an obsy I'm building. The weather station as is measures temperature, humidity, pressure and presence of cloud. I also have the components to build a rain detector, but haven't implemented that yet.
First the box:
Made from vent covers and pieces of aluminium
All put together
With sensors. The IR sensor is in the far back (top of the housing) and the BME280 sensor is the free hanging red pcb. The other pcb holds a few pull-up resistors and a capacitor for the I2C wires. Insulation added to keep critters out.
First I thought of using an Arduino to control and collect the data, but recently I started tinkering with ESP32 wifi boards. These are a lot faster and have more memory than Arduinos, and I wanted to use microPython.
The ESP32 board is also smaller than an Arduino UNO (about the size of an Arduino nano) and has built in wifi, which means I just need power to the device.
I uploaded the code to GitHub
Output is as a HTML file (index.html) which presents data in a simple way. The INDI driver 'Weather Watcher' can read this file.
For now, temperature is mapped to temperature (of course), and 'clouds' is mapped to 'forecast/Weather' in INDI. 'Clouds' is a parameter that varies from 0 to 1. I used the same criteria as the AAG Cloud Watcher device: if sky temperature is less than -8 degrees, the sky is assumed cloud free. For a sky temperature between -8 and 0 degrees, there is partial cloud, and for a sky temperature higher than 0 degrees, the sky is overcast. This seems very arbitrary, and I expect to have to adjust this piece of code later.
The weather station now also reads and reports the SQM values from my wifi-SQM. 😋 See further down this thread for details.
Skywatcher 80 ED DS-Pro outfit including matched flattener and motor focus. Now only £350
This kit gives you a great introduction to astronomy and imaging, which is why it's so popular. You can see details over at FLO but there is:
80 ED Ds-Pro OTA (Objective Lens Diameter: 80mm, Telescope Focal Length: 600mm, f/7.5)
SW Eyepiece (2"): 28mm
2”/50.8mm Di-Electric Star Diagonal
Dual-Speed 11:1 2” Crayford Focuser (Backlash-Free)
Supplied with Tube Rings & Mounting Plate - please note there is a longer black vixen type dovetail fitted, not the fancy new green short one you will see on the FLO site
SW motor focus and fitting kit - I've never used this, hence it's not fitted (more details over on FLO)
Dedicated SW 0.85x reducer/flattener (see FLO for more details)
Aluminium Carrying / Shipping Case
The RRP is over £720, so grab a bargain while you can.
Collection from Nottingham, or DHL for £20 (within UK)
By Mandy D
I've just bought a Daystar Solar Scout 60mm DS for H-alpha imaging of the Sun. I am now looking for a suitable camera to use with it. I know I could use my DSLR, but for H-alpha that is not going to give best results, so am looking for a dedicated monochrome imaging camera. I have identified the ZWO ASI178MM as a possibility that fits my budget and has a large enough (I think) sensor to image the entire Solar disc if I use a 0.5 focal reducer which will give me a total focal length of 465 mm.
Does anyone have any experience of this camera in this application, or know if it will be suitable? I know it does not have an IR blocking filter, which I understand is an advantage for H-alpha. The spec is available here:
I am wanting (not really 😪) to sell my Stellarvue SV105-3SV with tube rings [not shown in pictures]. The telescope is in great condition with very little dust and no scratches. There is one very small ding in the dew shield paint but it is not dented and it is almost not even noticeable. It happened when I took the telescope out of the saddle and it lightly hit the saddle. The telescope has never been dropped or had any issues and is optically perfect with a strehl of .95 or higher (claimed by Stellarvue).
I've only used this telescope for imaging however I've once or twice thrown an eyepiece in it during a star party or two and it's VERY crisp with no false color.
Currently I live in Italy so that's where it can be picked up or shipped from. Price is negotiable however Stellarvue says it is worth around $1200-$1500 USD. The nice thing is you wouldn't have any VAT from Stellarvue . Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or are interested.
Lastly, here is a link to some images that I've taken with it and what it looks like mounted up: https://www.astrobin.com/users/chriscorkill/
Aperture: 105mm Apochromatic Precision Triplet Focuser: 3" Dual Speed Focuser with 2" and 1.25" eye piece adapters F Ratio: f/7 Focal Length: 735mm Color Correction: Excellent Minimum Tube Length: 16" in travel mode Tube Diameter: ~ 4-1/8" (105mm) Dew Shield Diameter: ~ 5-3/8" (137mm) OTA Weight: ~12lbs (5.4kg) Retractable Dewshield: Yes