Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_30_second_exp_2.thumb.jpg.7719b6f2fbecda044d407d8aba503777.jpg

neil phillips

who wants to be a great planetary imager

Recommended Posts

jon your 6" is worth a go especially on the moon which is brighter. But will be limeted a bit on planets.

Im assuming from the idea of taking the mystique out of good planetary images, that most want to achieve similar or better results than mine, but on a budget, This was my hope. I do feel now with sky watcher on the scene, that others could better what ive done, for a lot less than my outlay of 12 hundred quid,

A 1/18th wave skywatcher should be fine, and somewhat cheaper. But i did have a mini love affair with my Europa, even though the mechanics made it hard to collimate well.

i will continue my capture advice when i connect my DFK camera to the pc, so i can go through it stage by stage. Hope this is actually interesting to anyone.

I have been considering selling my custom spx 300 mostly on size and weight grounds, and getting a new 10" Europa and secondhand C11 but the price will be high, as its fairly new, if i dont achieve that price, then i will tweak its performance untill i out perform my old Europa, recently the signs are that indeed i can pull it off. ( recent jupiter images ) but its not exactly user friendly and woud benefit from a permant obs site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

......As I've give you reasons for beliveing seeing alone wouldnt make your setup under perform this much. Its a guess jon, i might be wrong. but this is what ive learned about the equipment ive used at my location. unless your location really is very very bad indeed whats your thoughts

My location is not bad. Once my quarry appears from behind the trees I sight over one house and then several miles of farmland / common in a dark(ish) location.

I am still new to this and I suspect I'm not getting results at the moment due to several factors. Focus, camera setup and collimation. I'm happy with the scope. Not an ideal planetary choice at F4.8 but should do me for now. As yet I'm still not prepared to totally commit to the solar system above all else so the scope stays for the time being.

Given more time to experiment (I need my sleep and its always cloudy ;)) I'm sure I will improve.

Thanks for taking the time out to give such detailed responses to my questions. :(

Would also appreciate your comments when I post images in the future.

Was hoping to get out this week but all the weather forecasts have changed overnight and its looking pretty carp at the mo. :p

Thanks again.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not an ideal planetary choice at F4.8 but should do me for now.

My feeling in this is that 1/6 wave f/4.8 may not be ideal but you should be able to match the images produced by SCT users, who have a bigger central obstruction and optics that are probably 1/4 wave.

The downdide of a short focus Newtonian is that you are definitely going to need a GOOD Barlow / Powermate as poor ones simply don't work well at short focal ratios and you need to be working at ~f/20 to get the best resolution out of the scope, using a monochrome camera like the DMK (longer still with a colour camera because of its inherently lower resolution).

I don't know what the seeing at your site is like but the number of nights which have good seeing at my site is very small. Also not having the optics properly cooled to ambient temperature will cause tube currents, which will wreck attempts to do high resolution imaging. If you don't have fan assisted cooling, a 10" mirror will likely take 3-4 hours to get close to ambient; if the ambient temperature is continuouskly changing (a common problem with my coastal location) you probably won't get close to temperature equalization.

When I did have a site with good seeing (or at least a better site than I have now, from this point of view) I only had a 6" f/8 Newtonian ... I found that insulating the aluminimum alloy tube (lining the inside with 3mm expanded polystyrene sheet, painted flat black) made a big difference, I suspect radiation from the top of the tube was causing overcooling & generating tube currents.

For planetary imaging, given a site in the UK with good seeing, my ideal instrument would be a 8", 10" or 12" long focus Netwonian (given that an apochromatic refractor of similar aperture is completely out of any sensible price range). Certainly no shorter than f/6, f/8 would be better. With premium grade optics (1/10 wave PV). And I'd want it on a steadier mount than the EQ6; not sure about the Vixen Atlux but the Losmandy Titan looks good. Such a setup would really need a permanent mount .... in the absence of an observatory, IMO the Celestron CPC 925 or 1100 is as good as you're likely to get - and pretty capable too, despite the consumer grade optics and the portable altaz mount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James i wll see if i can find some small section to post up soon.

David glad you find it ineresting i was in two minds to even try, due to my own lack of experiance and knowledge but will continue soon thanks guys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

continued from pc turn on.

Im actually going to get my camera out now, and run through where i left off. the scope is cool, the collimation good, its roughly polar aligned, pc is switched on.

Connect the lead to the pc. start IC CAPTURE, go to the top where it says select video size and colour format, select YUVY for the DFK.

Go to where it says capture at the top bar, open the list, and select toggle recording.

Once thats open, click the button that says codec at the top, you have three options that say codec - video file - and advanced.

Click codec. under video compressor tick UNCOMPRESSED And make sure that also says YUVY, now click video file ( where still on the same page here guys )

Now tick the box that says ENABLE AUTOMATIC VIDEO FILE NAME GENERATION, now tick timestam. I then select YY-DD HH-MM-SS Which records your date and time of the recordings.

Now on the same page click ADVANCED. I then tick the box AUTO STOP BY FRAME NUMBER, STOP RECORDING AFTER CAPTURING.

Then i write with the keyboard 7000. This tells IC capture not to stop recording untill 7000 frames have been recorded.

More than enough for jupiters 3 min time window at 30 frames per second.

You could if you wanted alter that figure and tell IC capture to stop recording, say after 3 mins at 30 frames per second, 5400 frames, then if you was distracted, it would stop at the end of your 3 min jupiter run.

But i prefer to just record and tell IC capture when to stop recording myself. Its easy you just say stop. If you was recording Mars at 30 fps dont forget you could shoot for 6 mins at 30 frames a second, so you would tell IC capture to stop recording after 10800 frames.

Dont forget to change the amounts, or it will stop prematurely. Now click APPLY AND OK, thats now set your date, time, and codec uncompressed, and your amount of frames to capture.

I often shoot at 30 frames per second, so at the top right hand side bar it says FPS highlight and click 30. Sets it to 30 frames per second.

I then go to the top left hand bar where it says DEVICE, open and click settings, then just double check it says UYVY, and frame rate is 30 FRAMES PER SECOND.

Now still under DEVICE click PROPERTIES, It has 3 options COLOUR - EXPOSURE - IMAGE click IMAGE which brings up GAMMA, set your GAMMA slider to full ON, slider full right, ( ill explain why shortly ) now click EXPOSURE put the BRIGHTNESS SLIDER MIDWAY, GAIN FULL ON ( slider far right ) and set EXPOSURE TO 1/30 SECs now click COLOUR and untick AUTO WHITE BALANCE ( we will set the colour shortly our selves ) HUE on the DFK should read 180, the slider at this setting should be midway.

Set saturation to either midway, or i often go up a bit from this, as i like to get a lot of colour information. ive tried full on, but it is a bit heavy, your choice guys experiment..

Now the reason i have gain full on, and gamma full on, is, when you put the camera in and look on screen, if your grossly out of focus you should still see a large out of focus ring on your pc or laptop.

Without these settings you may see nothing and think jupiter is not there.

Right, after jupiter is sitting nicely ( bang in the middle ) in your 10 mm eyepeice and your drive is running, Very gently remove the eyepeice, if you knock the scope recentre with the eypeice.

Now gently and slowly put the camera and barlow ( attached ) in the focusser. ( i recomend at least a 3x at F6 ) keep looking on the pc screen, you should see a large bright ring probably on the edge of the pc screen, with your other hand grab your hand controler and pull jupiter down ( or up ) left or right. depending where the out of focus ring of jupiter is on your pc screen.

Gently continue to insert the camera fully home. lock it down, recentre the large out of focus jupiter ring, and now start to focus.

WE HAVE OUR PLANET HAVE A FAG GUYS brb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now focus the planet by standing a little bit away from the pc screen and keep focusing and un focusing untill your sure you can see as much detail on the disc, or the leading edge of the out of focus ring, is as tight on the globe as you can get it.

Some use jupiters moons for this, i prefer the planet as its what you will get during capture.

BAck to IC capture, drop the gamma down to 10 ( on the DFK ) SLIDER FAR LEFT. look at jupiter and study the middle section it might be over bright, or burnt out, gently lower GAIN untill all the over brightening on the middle of the planet ( burnout ) dissapears, if the image looks dim then your scope is smaller than my ideal 10" i love so much, and you might have to change the exposure to 1/27 secs.

your frames per second will drop. Hard luck guys should have got a 10". if this happens, once at 1/27 secs EXPOSURE, raise the GAIN untill you see the middle of the planet start to burnout again.

Then as you drop the gain, you will see the burnout become under control. Some prefer to use the HISTOGRAM GRAPTH for this, if thats you, google away my friends, the info is on the net. But my eye ball method is extremely accurate. Because by forcing burnout by raising the gain, then slowly dropping it again you can easily see when the burnout just dissapears. When the burnout is just under control. your at optimum in my opinion. or certainly not far off.

Now re focus the planet by standing a little bit away from the pc screen and keep focusing and un focusing untill your sure you can see as much detail on the disc.

Now to set colour balance, and here im afraid eyeballing will not do. Its COLOUR HISTOGRAM TIME GUYS. On the bar at the top click VIEW then click histogram, set it to RGB, tick LOGARITHMIC and tick VISUALIZE zeros you will see the 3 colours flanked by yellow bars, just make sure the yellow bars all line up exactly in line with each other by adjusting the WHITE BALANCE BLUE, and WHITE BALANCE RED, sliders under colour, once all 3 colours are in line, jupiter should have no colour cast at all.

It should look fairly white.If the yellow histogram bars are all in line then it most defiantly will look white.

Were now set for our first capture.

If you have previously closed the capture window, then click capture at the top, then toggle recording, centre the planet on screen with your hand controller. NOW CLICK THE RED BUTTON ON record VIDEO FILE. wait 2 or 3 mins ( your choice ) then press stop. You have a capture congrats.

Hope its a good one guys because we are now going to process it, Im not waiting all night for you lot to get a better one he he.

In the real world of course be stubborn, work at it, keep refocusing fine tuning the settings, and maybe experiment with different exposures and gain settings. Phew its registax time, Now the fun begins we have a lovely shot. Time for another fag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now focus the planet by standing a little bit away from the pc screen and keep focusing and un focusing untill your sure you can see as much detail on the disc, or the leading edge of the out of focus ring, is as tight on the globe as you can get it.

Some use jupiters moons for this, i prefer the planet as its what you will get during capture.

BAck to IC capture, drop the gamma down to 10 ( on the DFK ) SLIDER FAR LEFT. look at jupiter and study the middle section it might be over bright, or burnt out, gently lower GAIN untill all the over brightening on the middle of the planet ( burnout ) dissapears, if the image looks dim then your scope is smaller than my ideal 10" i love so much, and you might have to change the exposure to 1/27 secs.

your frames per second will drop. Hard luck guys should have got a 10". if this happens, once at 1/27 secs EXPOSURE, raise the GAIN untill you see the middle of the planet start to burnout again.

Then as you drop the gain, you will see the burnout become under control. Some prefer to use the HISTOGRAM GRAPTH for this, if thats you, google away my friends, the info is on the net. But my eye ball method is extremely accurate. Because by forcing burnout by raising the gain, then slowly dropping it again you can easily see when the burnout just dissapears. When the burnout is just under control. your at optimum in my opinion. or certainly not far off.

Now re focus the planet by standing a little bit away from the pc screen and keep focusing and un focusing untill your sure you can see as much detail on the disc.

Now to set colour balance, and here im afraid eyeballing will not do. Its COLOUR HISTOGRAM TIME GUYS. On the bar at the top click VIEW then click histogram, set it to RGB, tick LOGARITHMIC and tick VISUALIZE zeros you will see the 3 colours flanked by yellow bars, just make sure the yellow bars all line up exactly in line with each other by adjusting the WHITE BALANCE BLUE, and WHITE BALANCE RED, sliders under colour, once all 3 colours are in line, jupiter should have no colour cast at all.

It should look fairly white.If the yellow histogram bars are all in line then it most defiantly will look white.

Were now set for our first capture.

If you have previously closed the capture window, then click capture at the top, then toggle recording, centre the planet on screen with your hand controller. NOW CLICK THE RED BUTTON ON record VIDEO FILE. wait 2 or 3 mins ( your choice ) then press stop. You have a capture congrats.

Hope its a good one guys because we are now going to process it, Im not waiting all night for you lot to get a better one he he.

In the real world of course be stubborn, work at it, keep refocusing fine tuning the settings, and maybe experiment with different exposures and gain settings. Phew its registax time, Now the fun begins we have a lovely shot. Time for another fag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im no expert at registax but ill do a quick run through and keep it simple, if anyone wants to add anything or i forget anything be my guest.

Open registax 5 click select, open videos select your avi, click open.

Find a nice sharp frame, near the begining of the capture, Tick alignment size 256, place over jupiter, then left click the mouse.

Set alignment method to default, Tick the colour box, Under quality settings set 80, tick FFT GRAPTH then press recalc FFT. Now press ALIGN were now running have a coffee.

Registax now sorted the frames at 80% quality. Press the limit button then press the create button. I set create to 100 meaning 100 frames, on wavelets i set slider 2 and 3 to about 8 just a little bit of sharpening, But others may do something different here, important point is not to over sharpen, if you see any grain noise pull back more, as registax can become confused by the noise. Its only a referance we are creating here not a final image. Once done click do all,

and continue.

Under optimizer settings click v5 style and untick fast optimizer. unless you just won the lottery and wish to go celebrate lol.

Now press optimize were running again. when it stops, click the stack button, under stacking options tick show stackgrapth

The left hand slder is your missaligned frames slider. the bottom slider is your quality

.As we set it to 80% you may wish to leave the quakity slider alone. If your not happy with the low end quality, drop it back a bit. Now drop the missaligned slider down untill it goes below all those nasty peaks you can see.

Its the peakes that are your somewhat missaligned frames. You may have to suffer some, or your stack size will not be enough. just keep looking at your frame count on the bottom as you move the sliders, and you will see them dropping.

From 5000 frames, you should be able to get a good 2000 maybe 3000 frames to stack.

Depending on quality. When happy press the STACK button. When finished go to the wavelets page, Push the RGB ALIGN button if you have edges that look red and blue and click estimate.

Registax will guess the colour alignment, i now press do all. To make sure all is processed.

Now what i do ( others may have other methods ) i use slider 2 3 4 5 and 6 just a liitle in a tilted ( tilted right ) sequence, with the number 2 slider more left.

But all the others progressing slowly right. The top slider ( Slider 1 ) I sometimes use a little, its the finest detail slider, but also noisy.

Other methods might be to tilt the sliders differently. its good to experiment i think.

At this point i save the image as TIFF but you can go on to FINAL if you want it has a few options, like rotate, Theres brightness and contrast, Histogram stretch, gamma, rgb balance settings, again you can experiment.

Once done i will send the image to image analyzer, But that will have to wait, Hope you get any help from this guys, good luck, Time for a nap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neil,

Thats a hell of a lot of information! Great thread.

I have an SPX 8" F8 which I understand would be good for planets but I have had problems. I use a 2x Barlow and have been too lazy to turn the fan on.

so from your information I really MUST use the fan (and I am an idiot!) and I could use a 5x Barlow?

It is the Barlow arrangement that interests me, is a single 4x Barlow better than 2 2x Barlows?

Great pictures...

Neil C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent stuff :(;)

Found, downloaded and installed Image Analyzer. I'm Ready! :p:)

Cheers

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neil your 8" spx is my lower limit for a seriouse planetary shot, but ive seen some real corkers with that instrument so your blessed to have such a fine instrument. Going up to a 5x barlow is dependent on quite a few things, and ill highlight them here 1 collimation must be good. 2 seeing must be fairly calm, 3 either your exposure must be set so the planet is not to dim ( or a bright target will probably be needed at 5x with a 8" scope ) MARS is good JUPITER too. but saturn will be tricky. Transparency of the sky also plays a part for achieving a 5x shot, but ive mananged a 5x shot on venus. MARS and saturn with my 10" But everything ive mentioned here will to a degree affect its use.

Probably better to get your feet, by choosing a 3x barlow. then up the power a little by using different length tube extenders. A 4 x barlow could be used the same way to achieve a 4x shot, and higher still by using tube extenders.

But 3x will be more usable more of the time, Its what i consider to be strong safe ground. ALways use the fan Neil cooldown is essential. You can stack barlows and ive seen some good results, one is better but not by a great deal i wouldnt have thought, probably just a slight light loss. So experiment away.

Ill explain about image analyzer tonight Jon, its my secret weapon, and your all getting it free. stay tuned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Planetary imaging is so different to DSO work. You have to be very dedicated and patient to get those great images. Tweaking the set up and getting out at every opportunity ready to periods of good seeing seems to be the key. Night after night of frustration then 2 or 3 times a year everything turns rock solid steady and that must be when the patience pays off.

That is a spot-on assessment Martin. Also why I gave up on it to focus on deep sky...lug big scope out onto patio, leave an hour to cool down, check collimation, focus, get planet on chip at 6 metres f/l, sit around for hours waiting for the wobbly disk to stop wobbling, record a few avis, do a quick process, realise seeing isn't up to it, pack away. ;)

Those who do planetary imaging deserve a lot of credit for their patience and dedication!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for the detailed answer, perfect.

I am toying with the idea of putting the SPX back on the mount and playing with the web cam I have, so I will try to pick up a 3x barlow.

Thanks again

Neil C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Chris getting encouragement from your responses

Hi Dave long time no Chat good to see you still being active

Im still preaching the virtues of image analyzer Dave you know me lol.

Jon just to show you how superiour image analyzers noise reduction is, heres a example for you of your recent shot, at first you might think the noisy image is showing more and in a way it is, but the extra detail is MOSTLY noise detail, not nice in my book. What it loses just a little in information ( and really im convinced most of the time its a illussion ) it really makes up for in noise removal. unlike other noise removal it doesnt blur it away like a gaussian blur. it actually subtracts it. leaving the image virtually the same MINUS THE GRAIN hope you agree hope your interested enough to want to use it, ill explain tonight

right now your image

4057722115_1f1a80da85_o.png

Now using freuquency domain filter

4058465596_45b2db48d2_o.png

now extra sharpening with deconvolution on analyzer, and a mild High pass sharpen on paint shop pro 12

Now the detail is back minus most of the noise, infact the detail may be even slightly enhanced with less noise, what do you guys think. Dont forget JPEG is not good for this, Tiff would have been even better

4057723705_0311b778ff_o.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now the detail is back minus most of the noise, infact the detail may be even slightly enhanced with less noise, what do you guys think. Dont forget JPEG is not good for this, Tiff would have been even better

Really impressed ;) Thanks for that.

I am preparing a TIF for later :(

Cheers

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right last bit of info, im moving to a permanent loction tomorrow. so might be out of a internet connection for a bit.

Out of regstax i would do the wavelets sharpening as decscribed earlier.

Though often i may not touch the lowest wavelets, saturns cassini ive noticed takes on a very thick high contrast black appearance with the lower wavelets. But poor quality jupiter shots might benefit.

Noise from the wavelets i would deal with like this. go to image analyzer drop your image on, zoom up to about 200% using your mouse, click operations, then filters, then open frequency domain filter, you will see a large white mass at the top middle of the page.

Sometimes with a white line underneath it.The large white mass is your imige if you touch it with the pen, your image will be trashed, so stay away from it by about a inch.

Now click the top arrow pointer twice on VIEW SCALE. you will see lots of white dots fill the page. these are your noise. Now go to pen size and increase it with the arrow pointer to about 80% now using the pen. left click the mouse and hold it while moving the pen.

You will see the white dots wipe away. continue wiping untill the intire page is black. But not forgeting to say about a inch away from the image. Now click ok. and your noise should be gone.

Next go to operations then filters, and open restoration by deconvolution under MODEL bring up circular blur, then press ESTIMATE SPECTRUM, then press DO ITERATION if you find its too much deconvolution just lower it using the RADIUS arrow button. I might reszize and change brigtness and contrast, curves ec. COLOUR MAPPER is good. so experment

I may sometimes use high pass sharpening on paint shop pro 12, maybe another frequency domain clean, and post a PNG file to flickr. Hope ive helped you guys. or any newbies that are learning. Im still learning too.

Good luck guys

Neil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again great website, I noticed a small omission, namely Mercury.

Are you able to photograph Mercury or is it too difficult for you?

Cheers Stevie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.