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Moon and Saturn. 8SE/ASI120MC 6/16/13

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#1 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:21 AM

Hey everyone.

Had a fantastic night last night. I believe I captured my best Saturn to date (only 3rd attempt) and also imaged the moon for the first time.

I started a little early on the moon since I need to get to bed at somewhat of a decent hour since I have to be up for my shift at 5:30am. But all in all I'd say I got a lot accomplished. Even though some images may be saturated, I kept a log of how each image was captured for future reference.

Hope y'all enjoy.

1st, and for my 7 month old son, an image of Mickey Mouse with a detached ear. :grin:

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#2 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:22 AM

The rest are just random bunches of craters, since I have yet to get my Lunar atlas in from Amazon.

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#3 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:23 AM

And another.

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#4 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:24 AM

And

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#5 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:24 AM

And finally the northern region.

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#6 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:26 AM

And Last but not least, Saturn, in all its glory.

Hope y'all liked them.

I'd love some feedback on lunar imaging.
Thanks :)

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#7 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:28 AM

Also, I cleaned the camera like someone (can't remember who) suggested, using the air can. There was some particles on the sensor.

And as far as the "cut" frames issue: That only did it in any of the 640 modes.

All images were captured using 512x400

#8 sfugardi

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:01 AM

Matt, excellent image set! I especially like the Saturn. Very impressive for only the 3rd try. Thanks for posting

Regards,
Steve

#9 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:10 AM

Thank you very much Steve. I am just trying to hone in capture and processing waiting for Jupiter and Mars. :grin:

#10 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:37 AM

And Last but not least, Saturn, in all its glory.

Hope y'all liked them.

I'd love some feedback on lunar imaging.
Thanks :)


Your Saturn is way better than I can hope to get with my NexImage 5 / C8. Did you use a Barlow? I'm considering getting the ASI120MC. What frame rate do you use on Saturn and what focal ratio?

I brightened up your Moon picture a little. I put it into RegiStax and in the histogram feature I brought the right side in. Then I used the gamma feature to brighten the low end without making the bright things brighter.

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#11 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 12:40 PM

Steve, watching your vid on youtube a month ago is how I learned to best process in registax. So I thank you for that.

Last night I took detailed notes during capture for future reference and for any questions.

I used a 2x powermate, and used FireCapture
EX 10-100ms
Gain: 30
Exp (ms): 37
Gamma: 70

This made it 27 fps actual.
I used 3000 frames at 512x400.

Registax:
Used 22 Alignpoints
45% stack
and Level 1 100%, Denoise .25 / Sharpen .140

I noticed that at .150 on sharpen, the Cassini Division is very crisp, but the C-ring gets lost. at .130 the C-ring is very prominent, but the CD is blurred.
.140 seemed the best of both worlds. I have seen superb images with the NI5.

Although, i must admit, I would have a helluva lot more difficulties if I hadn't stumbled upon your vid. Thank you for posting it.
And I HIGHLY recommend the ASI120MC.

#12 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 12:44 PM

With the Lunar images, I tried several different settings on the same area. I had 10 lunar images total, those were the best out of the 10.

I tried to play around and make it look natural. The histogram toyed with me in the polar regions with that black background and terminator being black, but I really loved the 3-D effect the craters made on the curvature of the moon before the horizon hits deep space.

#13 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 12:50 PM

And I HIGHLY recommend the ASI120MC.


Yeah, I will get one soon. Right now they are out of stock and also, here in Florida, we are having rain all the time. Summer is a bust here, we just pack our scopes away for several months. Fortunately there is Cloudy Nights.

#14 joelimite

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

Matt, your Saturn is terrific! Very good colors and processing. The lunar images are a little dark, in my opinion, but look great otherwise. I agree the ASI120MC is an awesome camera.

#15 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

Thanks Joel.

Yea, last night was a kinda "trial-n-error" night. But I noted all settings used for the images, so next go round I can up the exposure a tad.

Next Saturn plan: animation. :grin:

#16 zAmbonii

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:08 PM

That is a lovely Saturn. I really can't complain about how it turned out, but there were a couple of things with your capture settings that I would like to comment on.

1) "Gain: 30
Exp (ms): 37
Gamma: 70"

I have the 8SE + ASI120MC, and I am only using an Orion Shorty Barlow instead of your Powermate. It looks by scale between your Saturn image and one of mine, the powermate nets an image about 90% the size of mine. (maybe f/18 instead of f/20). Nevertheless, with your capture settings your Gain seems a bit low and Gamma is a bit high. I think Sam says you should stay at 50 for Gamma.

When I shot Saturn on Friday, I had gain at 100, exposure around 33ms and gamma at 50. That gave me around 50% on the histogram. Was your histogram around 50 also?

I did a direct comparison with your image and mine (You had a lot better seeing than I did, it was about average here) after resizing and rotating, and it looks like the disc of Saturn looked a little bit flat, which I think is caused by the high gamma setting. But like I said before, your image is fine, but wanted to point out some things just because you are starting out with the camera.

Wanted to point out a couple of things about your moon images. I'm guessing you used Registax wavelets for the processing? It took me a while when I first started doing moon images, that Registax may not be the best way to sharpen the images. I would take images that I had and compared them to images of others and I found them lacking. For me, sharpening with wavelets in registax made the images too contrasty, and it would goof with some of the finer details. That is what I feel is happening in your moon images.

When I was reading about processing back in the day, I ran across this great procedure for using a bit of unsharp masking in combination with high pass filters to get better results. I tried to find the page again and it looks like it is gone. The procedure was called "Goodbye Wavelets" by Tony Gondola. An example on how it is a bit better can be found here. I really cant remember the steps now so I cant help. Maybe Bart Declercq still remembers? I know he posts here in the forums every once in a while.

I forgot how to do the high pass filtering routine mainly because after I found the lucy-richardson deconvolution routine in AstraImage, I havent tried anything else. I seem to get better results out of it than wavelets or high pass filtering. At the bottom ive attached a quick process of a moon image I took on Friday with a 2x barlow. On the left, I did some wavelet sharpening, on the right, I did a quick l-r deonvolution. I took the image around 6pm local and desaturated the colors because everything was blue!

I found that I had to try a lot of different settings and routines for sharpening before I found a way I liked. Just looking in the registax window or what a single image looked like is really not enough. You kinda need to process/save/tweak the settings/save/andsoforth, and then flip between the images to find which one looks best.

Just two other things before I let you go. :).
1) were you using the latest FireCapture Beta for capturing?
2) If you didn't know already, you can use a Cut-out in FC that floats around the planet and will allow for smaller file sizes.
3) It appears that you only captured for ~120s. With Saturn, you can capture for quite a bit longer, I actually capture for 5 minutes. That gives me ~9000 frames and I stack just about half of them.

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#17 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:38 PM

Thanks zAmbonii,

Thats ALOT to take in on the moon. HAHA.

The Saturn image is exactly why I took notes last night. My previous usage, I didn't, then I couldnt remember HOW I did it.

I will try those settings maybe tonight if the clouds stay away.

I was just playing around with the moon captures and settings, to see what I could accomplish. I have seen many a good lunar images and just as many over-saturated ones. I was trying to be gentle. And yes, I was using registax for wavelets.

Yes, the latest version.
Didn't know about the cut-out.
and never knew how many frames to take, just kinda went with my gut. HAHA.

I really appriciate the feedback. And I will definately continue keeping that log book with me. Anything else to share? I can always use more secrets. :grin:

#18 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:42 PM

And I have the Shorty Barlow, just left it at home.... Darnit. I checked out your Flickr, and your last Saturn does seems to be just a tad bigger. Who woulda thunk it, Orion beating a powermate.

What kinda settings are you using on the moon, if I may ask.

#19 zAmbonii

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:39 PM

I just looked on the TV site about the 2x Powermate. Looks like the FL doesnt change much with the Top distance to the chip. So I am guessing you were at f/20, and I was at F/22 just because of distance from the barlow element. ( see here). With the shorty barlow, the further away (like using an extension) the larger the image will be. I probably should do a calculation from the image size to confirm I was at f/22 or something.

Don't worry too much about the overload of information. A lot of time, the best thing is to try and tweak this and that to find a comfortable procedure for yourself. Experience is really the key, but it is also nice to know a starting point on where to tweak things.

For the last moon images, I used the same settings on all of the frames for the mosaic (the two other images I have came from frames of the mosaic). After getting things in focus, I found the brightest spot on the Moon and then adjust the exposure to around 80-85% of the histogram. You have a bit of latitude in gain and exposure rates. Higher gain will be higher noise. Because I was capturing full resolution my max framerate would have been 35fps. so I basically could have used any exposure from 1/35s (28.5ms) to 0, and ajusted gain to give me the 80-85% on the histogram.

These are the settings I had for one of the captures that I took:

Duration=30s
Frames captured=1053
File type=AVI
Extended AVI mode=true
Binning=no
ROI=1280x960
FPS (during start of capture)=35
Shutter=3.479ms
Gamma=50 (off)
WBlue=99
Gain=14
WRed=51
USBTraffic=100
Brightness=0
Histogramm(min)=45
Histogramm(max)=186
Histogramm=72%
Noise(avg.deviation)=10.12
AutoAlign=false
PreFilter=none
Limit=30 Seconds

If you don't want to do a mosaic and just want to capture individual areas of the Moon, just choose an exposure combination that will give you around 80-85% on the histogram (I usually don't want to go higher on the histogram so I don't blow out any really bright areas).

BTW...of those 1053 frames, I stacked 800 of them because seeing was pretty good that night.

#20 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:52 PM

I haven't used the histogram during capture. I guess that would be a handy bit of info to use huh? LOL.

#21 Smittty692k4

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:17 AM

Zam, I checked your Flickr again.

What changes did you make from March to May to almost rid the image from "onion rings"?

There seem to be a lot of conflicting stories/posts online in regards to that. But with you having practically the same setup, I wanted your views on the matter.

Thanks.

#22 zAmbonii

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:09 AM

Could you list the images with the onion ringing? I'm not sure which ones you are referring to.

#23 Smittty692k4

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:37 AM

The "Saturn Animation sneek peek" on 3/30/13 has some on the left side of the sphere, where as the one from 5/25/13 seems to be much better.

I have the onion ringing on the left side of mine as well.

#24 zAmbonii

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:30 PM

got ya.

Its because the collimation was not spot on.

This goes into the whole experience thing. Before I got the ASI camera I never really gave Saturn a try because it was too dim for my webcam. Then I got the ASI camera and now I had the chance to image Saturn a bunch you start noticing things. At first I attributed it to bad seeing because I really had nothing else to pin it on.

Then I had images before and right after a meridian flip, and there was a HUGE difference between the quality of the images. Then I decided it HAD to be mirror shift in the 8SE when doing the meridian flip.

I have to be honest. For the past several years I totally ignored collimation with the scope. When I first got it, I wasn't sure that I was going to keep the scope and I was intimidated with the collimation. Didn't have any Bob's Knobs and didnt want to mess around with a screwdriver so I never messed with the collimation.

Thing was, I was imaging with the webcam and the images I got were "good enough", I could always use the excuse of having a webcam or blame bad seeing for not that great images. I would get those type of edges on one side of Jupiter, but I saw them on a lot of images here in the forums. Sometimes you get that hard edge because from the bright edge of Jupiter (or so I thought) :).

It wasn't until shooting Saturn with the new camera I noticed the edges, sometimes it was bad, sometimes not noticeable. Because there are a lot of hard edges because of the rings of Saturn, it became noticeable. On some images it would look like there was a second image of Saturn superimposed on the main image. It wasn't until this that I realized it had to be bad collimation.

So I got a set of Bob's Knobs and really started to pay attention to collimation. Before imaging I now check the collimation and if I do a merdian flip, I check it and adjust it again. If you do a meridian flip, it will most likely be out of collimation.

To test this, one night the scope was collimated pretty well and I took a video and processed, and then at the meridian flip, I took another image WITHOUT adjusting collimation and processed it and there was a HUGE difference in quality. You can see it from the image below: Top is after the meridian flip and without recollimating and the bottom is before the meridian flip with good collimation. The stuff on the left is what Metaguide showed when Collimating on Arcturus high in the sky.

Also, you need to make sure to collimate on a star that is high in the sky. I did a few times trying to collimate on Spica and the collimation was not quite perfect. There was a difference in collimation when I then slewed to Arcturus and checked.

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#25 Smittty692k4

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:59 PM

I've had the 8SE for 2 years now, and the only way I've checked collimation is with a visual star test. Unfocusing for that doughnut shape.

Also, last night I tried the camera settings you mentioned with the histogram, and with gain at ~70, exp - 30 and gamma at 50, I was only getting about 38%..

I had to move gain to 100 to get 48% histogram, but Saturn looked really, really bright and over-exposed.

Thoughts?






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