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LoveChina61
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5833938 - 05/01/13 09:37 AM

I could use some help. I am using the older 200-series files as I was having very little success achieving plate solves with the newer 4000-series database files. Now the solving is pretty much hit or miss but at least I am able to solve some of them.

Here is a screenshot of my Astrotortilla settings. Every single solve has fallen within 25-31 arcmin range so I now just have the program search within those parameters. I take a 30 second or 60 second exposure with automatic dark subtraction, take a screenshot of the exposure, and then upload the screenshot with Capture and Solve.

Any further settings advice that you can give to me would be greatly appreciated!




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fmhill
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5834018 - 05/01/13 10:26 AM

LoveChina61,
First thing to do is set "scale minimum" to 0 (zero) The setting you have, (25.???) is choking it which is most likely the reason it only solves a few images, not most if not all images...

2nd suggestion - Upgrade your software and index files to Version 5 and the indexes to the 4200 series. Get a new install from the Astrotortilla web page and run it omitting the CYGWIN (you already have this), and select Indexes from 4219 down to 10% of the FOV of the telescope/camera you are using...

As you are using Arcminwidth instead of degreewidth for scale setting, I'm not sure what Scale Refinement of 0.1 is doing for you, normally Scale Refinement is defaulted to 0 (zer0) and left there.

Edited by fmhill (05/01/13 10:27 AM)


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ldesign1
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5835599 - 05/02/13 02:31 AM

My reply is in blue.

Quote:

LoveChina61,
First thing to do is set "scale minimum" to 0 (zero) The setting you have, (25.???) is choking it which is most likely the reason it only solves a few images, not most if not all images...

If you know the image scale range of your telescope/camera combination, then it is better to set both a minimum and maximum scale. This will give AstroTortilla a specific range to search instead of a broad range. It will solve much faster with less searching. I've saved configurations for all of my different scope and camera combinations with reducers and barlows lens from 400mm to 5000mm focal length. With each configuration, I set a minimum and maximum in Arcminwidth and get a solve within 30 seconds at most.

2nd suggestion - Upgrade your software and index files to Version 5 and the indexes to the 4200 series. Get a new install from the Astrotortilla web page and run it omitting the CYGWIN (you already have this), and select Indexes from 4219 down to 10% of the FOV of the telescope/camera you are using...

I've found that I get better and quicker results with the 200 series indexes. I've done a side by side comparison with both the 200 and 4000 series and found that I get faster and more consistent results with the 200 series.

As you are using Arcminwidth instead of degreewidth for scale setting, I'm not sure what Scale Refinement of 0.1 is doing for you, normally Scale Refinement is defaulted to 0 (zer0) and left there.

The use of Arcminwidth instead of Degreewidth makes no difference in the calculation of scale setting. I prefere to leave the setting on "0" because I want AstroTortilla to use my image a full resolution without any additional scaling. Also, I prefer Arcminwidth over Degreewidth for calculating my image scale for long focal lentghs. At 2500mm focal length with my camera, I'd have to use decimal points instead of whole numbers. Remember, 1 degree is equal to 60 arcminutes.




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ldesign1
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5835607 - 05/02/13 02:41 AM

My reply is in blue.

Quote:

I could use some help. I am using the older 200-series files as I was having very little success achieving plate solves with the newer 4000-series database files. Now the solving is pretty much hit or miss but at least I am able to solve some of them.

I totally agree with the success of the 200 vs. 4000 series. Now if you are solving from just one setup, you need to know your image scale and add a little buffer for the minimum and maximum scale. All of your images should solve in roughly the same amount of time. If some do not solve, that you need to adjust the sigma because of the noise level. I noise isn't an issue, then maybe you don't have enough distinguishable stars for the solving to work. I would suggest not doing a scree capture.

Here is a screenshot of my Astrotortilla settings. Every single solve has fallen within 25-31 arcmin range so I now just have the program search within those parameters. I take a 30 second or 60 second exposure with automatic dark subtraction, take a screenshot of the exposure, and then upload the screenshot with Capture and Solve.

Question: Why are you loading screen captures to plate solve? AstroTortilla can solve your captured image directly. I'm not sure if the format matters but I know it handles FITS and JPG files for sure.




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LoveChina61
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? [Re: ldesign1]
      #5835781 - 05/02/13 08:23 AM

I am taking a screenshot so that I don't have to load the entire Astrotortilla program and its star databases onto my ancient observatory computer. I can quickly FTP a 180k JPEG screenshot back to my host computer, but sending the 3.75mg original FITS file takes a while.

How much buffer should I give myself when setting the Scale Minimum and Scale Maximum ranges? For example, my imaging setup's FOV (per Astrotortilla) is 20.62(X)27.73 arcmins. What do you recommend I put as the Min and Max?

Lastly, how do I turn off the Config setting which automatically determines the range search of the next plate solve I will do? It seems to store the range of the previous successful plate solve, and then automatically begins with this range for the next plate solve I try to do. I would like to turn this feature off so that I can just set a permanent range for it to search within (e.g. the FOV of my current imaging setup +/- some buffer).

Thanks so much for all of your help! Mike


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ldesign1
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5836891 - 05/02/13 06:16 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

Quote:

How much buffer should I give myself when setting the Scale Minimum and Scale Maximum ranges? For example, my imaging setup's FOV (per Astrotortilla) is 20.62(X)27.73 arcmins. What do you recommend I put as the Min and Max?

It looks like you're imaging close to 2500mm. I get 18.82' x 28.27' arcmins with my 10" LX200GPS and DSLR combination. Try my setting below. I typically go 5-10 above the maximum and below the minimum. As long as your setup doesn't change, the FOV should always remain roughly the same. I don't know how your screen captures affect the final size if you are cropping the image or adding extra border information. The scale is 100% accurate only with your actual image file from the camera.

Lastly, how do I turn off the Config setting which automatically determines the range search of the next plate solve I will do? It seems to store the range of the previous successful plate solve, and then automatically begins with this range for the next plate solve I try to do. I would like to turn this feature off so that I can just set a permanent range for it to search within (e.g. the FOV of my current imaging setup +/- some buffer).

You must be talking about the Default setting. You are able to load, modify and save new settings from the file menu. The default configuration file [astrotortilla.cfg] is located in your local user folder under Windows 7. It may be somewhere else with another operating system.

C:\Users\YOUR USER\AppData\Local\astrotortilla.sf.net\AstroTortilla

You can either overwrite this file or create a new file which you will have to load each time you what to solve at setting other than the default. I've created six different setting for my various setups.






You will need to experiment with the SIGMA value to get the shortest amount of solve time. It all depends on the level of noise in your image.


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Phil Sherman
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Reged: 12/07/10

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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5839070 - 05/03/13 09:12 PM

I've just started evaluating AstroTortilla (AT) for my own use and also discovered that it wouldn't solve any of my existing images. After some experimentation, I discovered that AT won't solve images with stars down to mag 19 or greater. It wouldn't even solve an image of M45!

I took one of my images and edited it to show only the brightest stars and it solved it in 90 seconds. That's great time for a virtual machine XP system with only 1g of memory.

My biggest problem with AT is that I need to run it in multiple environments. I want to do this with only one shared copy of the astrometric data files, which is supported. Unfortunately, the cygwin installation included with AT does not include any text editor or the terminal utility to run it in. A text editor is needed to alter the astrometric configuration files to move the plate solving data to a shared location. Fortunately, I have a Windows editor that will edit Linux text files.

I'm now altering my imaging procedures to include a 5-10 second exposure of any field I intend to image. This will allow me to use AT's "reposition the scope" feature to continue imaging on a second or third night.

Phil


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ldesign1
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: Phil Sherman]
      #5839336 - 05/03/13 11:36 PM

Quote:

I've just started evaluating AstroTortilla (AT) for my own use and also discovered that it wouldn't solve any of my existing images. After some experimentation, I discovered that AT won't solve images with stars down to mag 19 or greater. It wouldn't even soylve an image of M45!




It solves both my uneditted JPG and my processed file of M45 in 38 seconds and less. You may need to fiddle with the settings a liitle more. Which index files are you using? My success comes from using the 200 series.


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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5841612 - 05/05/13 12:48 PM

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I've been very interested in getting AT working, but have had no luck.

I have everything hooked up and downloaded, but when I click capture and solve, I get an error in the log that says something like "Error Traceroute last call".

I figure it's something easy, but I'm stuck.

Thanks in advance.


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fmhill
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Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5841755 - 05/05/13 02:11 PM

Adam,
That is not an error I have heard of or seen before.

First thing I have to ask, have you been able to get Astrotortilla to resolve any image? Is this a very first attempt?

Please explain/describe your set up starting with the computer and operating system you are using, the camera and OTA, and what series and range index files you have installed...

This is all information needed to understand what might be happening...

Edited by fmhill (05/05/13 02:11 PM)


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Footbag
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5841780 - 05/05/13 02:31 PM

Quote:

Adam,
That is not an error I have heard of or seen before.

First thing I have to ask, have you been able to get Astrotortilla to resolve any image? Is this a very first attempt?

Please explain/describe your set up starting with the computer and operating system you are using, the camera and OTA, and what series and range index files you have installed...

This is all information needed to understand what might be happening...




First, I'm typing all of this from memory. I'll be by my computer later and will correct any verbiage mistakes. It quite likely I mis started a message.

I haven't been able to get it to solve anything. I have tried a few times in the past, but it always stops immediately after clicking capture and solve. The bottom of the page says something about the image not being solved "in 0.0s" And I get the Traceroute error.

Computer is a Gateway Core 2 Duo laptop running vista. I downloaded the 22~ arcmin files and down.

Camera is a Canon XS, OTA is an Edge HD 800. I have tried manually selecting the images, but when I click OK, nothing happens.

EDIT: I just installed it on a desktop to test it and it seems to be working fine. I may have to reinstall on my laptop.

Edited by Footbag (05/05/13 02:59 PM)


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fmhill
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Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5841844 - 05/05/13 03:10 PM

Adam,
It sounds like your setup on the laptop has a configuration error...

I ran into this when I switched to Version 0.4 on my HP DV6T laptop. For reasons I have never been able to figure out, the AT installer was not putting the index files in the astrometrey/data directory.

Whether it was a folder creation error or a malfunction of the installer I was never able to figure out. As I also have a desktop with AT installed and working, I simply copied the astrometry/data area complete with index files to a USB drive and manually installed it using cut and paste to the correct location and AT has worked fine on the laptop ever since...


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Footbag
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5842192 - 05/05/13 06:27 PM

I uninstalled it and reinstalled it, but it crashed the computer while installing cygwin. So that wasn't setup correctly. Maybe I can manually install it?

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fmhill
sage


Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5842440 - 05/05/13 09:00 PM

Quote:

I uninstalled it and reinstalled it, but it crashed the computer while installing cygwin. So that wasn't setup correctly. Maybe I can manually install it?




Yes, Make sure you have enough disk space on the Laptop and you can use the Windows file manager to cut and past from a USB drive or possibly you can link the two computers with an Ethernet cable if they both have Ethernet ports...

There is nothing special about the CYGWIN, it can be copied from the other machine as long as you put it in its own folder complete with sub directories on the Laptop C: drive... This is essential so AT can find it...

As long as CGYWIN is a carbon copy of what is on the Desktop, it should work...


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LoveChina61
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5842541 - 05/05/13 09:52 PM

I am now having better success doing plate solves. Thanks to everyone for your help!

I am still using screenshots to run the plate solves upon. I mis-spoke earlier on how I do that. My observatory computer displays the starry photo that I want to plate solve, and I use the Host computer in my home to take a screenshot of what is displaying on my observatory's computer. I then run this photo through Astrotortilla for plate solving on my Host computer. It works well as long as I am using a 30-second shot that has had a Dark frame subtracted. This is much more convenient for me than sending the original 3.75mg FITS file back home to my Host computer and then plate-solving that original FITS file. My observatory computer is an ancient dinosaur and I don't want to load the entire Astrotortilla program on there.

I have been playing around with Sigma values. Another fellow had mentioned that he sets the Sigma value so that he gets between 20-60 "Simplexy". Less than 20 Simplexy and he might not have enough stars to do a plate solve, and many more Simplexy than 60 and it can take a long time to plate-solve. So I have been using my mouse to click on the Sigma value in the Astrotortilla startup screen and change the value to get the correct number of Simplexy. I put a Sigma of 80 (for example: --sigma 80 --no-plots -N none) and then click Capture and Solve to load my screenshot into Astrotortilla. As it starts to solve, I look at the bottom line and within the first 5-7 seconds it will flash the number of Simplexy. My setup is a bit more flexible so if the Simplexy falls within the range of about 15-80, then I let it continue to plate solve. However, if it falls outside of this range then I quickly Abort (Aborting works well at this point but can freeze up Astrotortilla on my computer if Aborted at other times), set a new Sigma value, and then try to solve all over again. If I don't get enough Simplexy, then I lower the Sigma value (e.g. from 80 down to 40. For example: --sigma 40 --no-plots -N none), and if my previous Simplexy number was too high than I raise the Sigma value (e.g. from 80 to 100) and try again.

Thanks again to everyone for your help!

Mike


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Footbag
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: fmhill]
      #5843672 - 05/06/13 02:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I uninstalled it and reinstalled it, but it crashed the computer while installing cygwin. So that wasn't setup correctly. Maybe I can manually install it?




Yes, Make sure you have enough disk space on the Laptop and you can use the Windows file manager to cut and past from a USB drive or possibly you can link the two computers with an Ethernet cable if they both have Ethernet ports...

There is nothing special about the CYGWIN, it can be copied from the other machine as long as you put it in its own folder complete with sub directories on the Laptop C: drive... This is essential so AT can find it...

As long as CGYWIN is a carbon copy of what is on the Desktop, it should work...




That worked. Now just working on getting it to solve faster.


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pfile
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Reged: 06/14/09

Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #5844216 - 05/06/13 06:59 PM

Quote:

I've given up on AstroTortilla for now and have downloaded a trial for Sequence Generator Pro, which uses Elbrus and astrometry.net. I have been sucessful with Elbrus before. Last Saturday, I tried AstroTortilla but could not get it to open Nebulosity. It kept waiting on the camera, but the camera was working fine. I'm sure that it was my mistake, but I will wait for a more mature version.

Regards,

Charlie B




astrometry.net and astrotortilla use the same engine - astrometry's solve-field.

elbrus is supposedly a royal pain in the butt to install and get working, so there's no free lunch...

why don't you post some images so someone can help you with the parameters? i have been using astrometry.net's solver for years now with great success. astrotortilla really brings it to the next level with solve & sync.


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Charlie B
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Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? [Re: pfile]
      #5844312 - 05/06/13 07:46 PM

Quote:

astrometry.net and astrotortilla use the same engine - astrometry's solve-field.

elbrus is supposedly a royal pain in the butt to install and get working, so there's no free lunch...

why don't you post some images so someone can help you with the parameters? i have been using astrometry.net's solver for years now with great success. astrotortilla really brings it to the next level with solve & sync.




When astrotortilla worked, it solved fine with the parameters that I used on images that I had. I could not get it to open and use Nebulosity when actually trying to observe. I admit that it was likely my problem, but it seems to be finicky and overly sensitive to parameters.

My last excursion with astrometry.net was on Flickr, where I submitted some images to be solved. The returned solutions, at that time, were not correct. See here!

Elbrus is easily installed and reasonably easy to use, but does need a good scale and angle to work properly, and you need to know if the picture is inverted or not.

I've been plate solving with PixInsight mostly, but I wanted to automate the process, hence the trials of Sequence Generator Pro and Astrotortilla. I tried Astrotortilla first because it was free. I may return to it for this reason, but SGP has other benefits besides plate solving.

Regards,

Charlie B


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pfile
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Reged: 06/14/09

Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? [Re: Charlie B]
      #5844603 - 05/06/13 10:39 PM

i'll bet that both ImageSolver/AnnotateImage and astrometry are both wrong due to lens distortions. or there could be a bug in the flickr interface. i've never seen such a discrepancy between the two.

in fact i find ImageSolver to be very finicky and require a lot more tuning before it can find a solution. mainly if the # of stars detected is too many then StarAlignment just goes out to lunch trying to match stars.

i'm not using a camera control package which is supported by AT so i just use the open file dialog. i usually run with -z 2 and -H and -L, and that's it. solves every time though sometimes it takes a couple of minutes.

i actually want to switch to SGP but for now i'm stuck because i have the STT and so can't use PhD to guide while something else is connected to the camera via USB. one of these days i'm finally going to get tired of this and try to add the http support into phd2. just need to find the time.

the only thing that bothers me about SGP is that they require elbus, and only use astrometry as a backup. so far you can't promote astrometry to the main solver. added to that they wrote an interface for astrometry's web-based solver service... so if you want to run solve-field locally you have to install this hack which emulates nova.astrometry.net, which is really kind of a rube goldberg solution. it would be way more straightforward for them to just call solve-field and be done with it.


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LoveChina61
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Reged: 06/20/09

Re: AstroTortilla - how does it work? [Re: pfile]
      #5844773 - 05/07/13 12:14 AM

Quote:

i usually run with -z 2 and -H and -L, and that's it. solves every time though sometimes it takes a couple of minutes.




I sure would like to be able to say that Astrotortilla solves everytime that I try to use it. Where do you place the settings you mention in your quote above?

You can see an example of the settings that I use at the very top of this thread's second page. I usually start with the setting of "--sigma 100 --no-plots -N none". Should I just place your suggested string of settings at the end of this sentence so that my final setting string is "--sigma 100 --no-plots -N none -z 2 -H -L" ? I don't mind waiting a few minutes for it to solve as long as it will eventually be able to successfully complete the plate solve.

Mike


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