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#126 Davester9

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 01:04 PM

Don't know what happened.  The other thread is locked.  I haven't seen a live broadcast on either NSN site in months.



#127 Relativist

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 02:14 PM

Don't know what happened. The other thread is locked. I haven't seen a live broadcast on either NSN site in months.


NSN had been up for a while now. I did notice a slight decrease since the Olympics started, but that's probably more due to weather.

#128 CharlesC

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 04:19 PM

And forest fires.  Much of the west and central US has been covered by smoke.



#129 Davester9

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 04:23 PM

And forest fires.  Much of the west and central US has been covered by smoke.

Don't I know it!



#130 Relativist

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 04:59 PM

Check the broadcast announcement thread as well. Don in HI tries to broadcast from the big island each week on NSN.

#131 Don Rudny

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 06:11 PM

Check the broadcast announcement thread as well. Don in HI tries to broadcast from the big island each week on NSN.

Weather permitting, we should be on NSN tonight by 8:00pm HST.

 

Don


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#132 Don Rudny

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 08:14 PM

 

Check the broadcast announcement thread as well. Don in HI tries to broadcast from the big island each week on NSN.

Weather permitting, we should be on NSN tonight by 8:00pm HST.

 

Don

 

Well, weather isn't permitting today, so we're going to try tomorrow or Wednesday.  Same time, same station.

 

Don



#133 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 09:39 AM

I plan to broadcast this Fri night starting around 8PM PDST on my channel Californiaskys.com   If you are interested to see the ASI224MC camera in action on a Celestron 6SE with an Alt-Az mount please join me.  This is one of the Lightweight, Portable and Low Cost setups I wrote about on this site.  I will use the free software, Sharpcap, to stack images live.

 

If you cannot make it on Fri, check as I may broadcast again on Saturday night.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#134 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:43 AM

Just an update.  Looks good for my broadcast tonight using the ASI224MC, Celestron 6SE and Sharpcap.  I will be on by 8PM PDST but the skies won't really be dark until around 9.

 

Please note, I will be broadcasting on my channel California Skies on Rock's network which is http://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca/.  I gave the incorrect one above which is the original network.  I still have not set thatone up, but will soon and will broadcast on it as well, but not tonight.

 

If you are interested to see what this camera can do, or how Sharpcap can stack and improve images, or want to see what you can do with a small scope please join me.

 

Regards,

Curtis


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#135 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:50 PM

Still planning to broadcast tonight but it, won't get dark enough here to align the scope until closer to 9PM.   I promise to be on as soon as I can

 

Curtis



#136 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 10:21 PM

Looks like my channel on Rock's network is gone.  I has been a few months since I broadcast there last so I don't know if that is the problem.  I registered a channel with Joe at https://www.nightskiesnetwork.com/ and I see its there but haven't gone through the setup.  I will try and get this one setup now and broadcast there.

 

If I can't I apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Regards,

Curtis



#137 CharlesC

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 10:00 AM

Curtis,  looks like you had a hard time with software last night.   I had to sleep, but was able to setup OBS studio to record screen overnight.  Looks like you got M27 and M13.  Very interesting to see work flow with 6SE and ASI224. 8-10 seconds seem to be minimum exposures to stack?  What problems were you having?  NSN or SharpCap?  I didn't capture audio.



#138 Relativist

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 10:29 AM

Remember, when using YouTube to broadcast you can also use the built in browser/encoder method.



#139 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 11:54 AM

For anyone who tuned in or tried to tune into my broadcast last night I apologize for the difficulties.  I think many of us have had nights like these:

 

1.  Used a 12.5mm EP with illuminated reticle to align the mount.  SkyAlign failed to align - I thought for a moment and then checked, yep, I had the wrong latitude entered from the star party I last used the scope.  Corrected and alignment was a piece of cake.  Both DSOs I was able to look at later were in the field of view, although not centered.   OPERATOR ERROR.  Scope worked well.

 

2.  Replaced EP with ASI224MC and fired up Sharpcap.  The ASI224MC showed up in the "Camera" pull-down, but at the bottom of the list.  When things work right, it shows up on top and the Sharpcap menu items show up on the right side panel .  No menu items.  Selected ASI224MC at the bottom of the list and got a warning and then an error.  Tried several times and got the same problem.  I have had this happen to me once before and could not figure out the root cause.  I tried Sharpcap 2.7 and 2.8 and it happened with both.  Eventually, after disconnecting and reconnecting the camera to a different USB port it worked like it should have.  COMPUTER GLITCH OR OPERATOR ERROR.   More delay and time wasted.

 

3.  Logged into nightskiesnetwork.ca (Rock's site) to broadcast but found that my channel "California Skies" was no longer there.  It has been about 4 months since I last broadcast there, but I've gone that long before due to weather/work/family and my channel survived.  Oh, well, I'll just have to apply again.  I'd like to be able to reach more people and I think that some gravitate to some sites and not others.  BAD LUCK.  And more delay

 

4.  Fortunately, I had signed up for a channel by the same name on Joe's site, nightskiesnetwork.com back in April, but did not have the time to set it up and test it.  Now it was getting later than I had told people I would broadcast and was feeling bad about that.  I logged into the site and sure enough, my channel was still there.  (Thanks for your patience Joe).  Could I get up and running quickly - I hate to rush, this is supposed to be fun.  Anyway I got into my channel and was able to broadcast.  Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to get the sound working and I could not see if anyone was logged into my broadcast.  Went inside to another computer and from there I could confirm that I was broadcasting and that some folks were tuned in.  Why couldn't I see this on the computer outside?  Also saw that Joe was checking in and later saw that he posted a question of which browser I was using - I could only see the message on the computer inside, not on the computer I was broadcasting from.  He sent an email indicating that the broadcast works best with Chrome and I was using Internet Explorer 11.  I logged out and logged back into the channel on Chrome and now could see others on line.  But I still wasn't sure about getting the mike to work.   None the less, I was able to broadcast.  OPERATOR INEXPERIENCE

 

5.  During my confusion about how the broadcast tool worked, I was able to image M27.  I used a 10sec exposure with Gain at 400 and just let Sharpcap stack, adjusting the histogram.  I think the image looked pretty good with nice round stars and lots of color which I think was about right.  What was amazing to me was not long into the broadcast the fog from the San Francisco Bay rolled in.  I could not see stars with my naked eye, but the camera kept pulling in M27 through the fog - at least up to a point.  By this time I am sure anyone who was tuning in got horribly bored by my broadcast.  I switched to M13 and could see it clearly but it wasn't what it should be because the fog got worse.  I waited for a while to see if things cleared, but no luck and I shut down.   MOTHER NATURE

 

Joe offered to give me phone support today, which I will gladly take advantage of so that I can broadcast correctly.  I will be on tonight about 8:30 - 8:45 PDST when it is dark enough to broadcast.  Hopefully this time I am ready and won't go through any of the above problems, excepting Mother Nature.

 

In answer to Charles question above - since I was having so much trouble with all these other things, I did not have a chance to try different settings on Sharpcap, so don't assume that the 10sec exposure is the best.  I can play with exposure tonight, as well as, other settings assuming I have eliminated all the distractions.

 

Moral of the story - keep as much the same as possible so you don't create your own headaches.  When you do change something, give yourself plenty of time to work out the bugs, and expect bugs to show their ugly face.  I normally use my scope in my observatory which I debugged long ago - although I do sometimes get a computer gremlin here or there.  But, I seldom have trouble and am able to get running in 5min or less.  I also used to have a dickens of a time when I setup at star parties.  One problem after another and each real problem often led to my creating another problem for myself.  The solution to that was to get a separate set of cables, adapters, connectors, USB hubs, etc. which I tested out thoroughly in my home observatory and then put into a case which is now my travel setup.  I haven't had any problems in star parties since I have done this.  Also, when using computers, as others have said, you should always plug USB devices into the same ports.  Macs may not care, but pcs do.

 

As you can read above the equipment worked well once the operator did the right things.  And the ASI224MC and 6SE did a really nice job on M27.  Hopefully, I can do more tonight.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis


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#140 CharlesC

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 12:20 PM

Curtis, some nights things just don't work out well.  FYI, There is a v2.9 SharpCap now.  I quit using eyepieces completely.  I've found it easy to do alignment with camera if red dot finder is aligned. SharpCap has crosshair function to center star too.

 

I'll tune in tonight and probably record with OBS studio so I can don't have to stay up late (MST time here).  Your brief time on objects last night looked encouraging. :waytogo:



#141 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 12:38 PM

Charles,

 

I was waiting for you to tell me about v2.9 (really I was).  Thanks.  If I have time today I had intended to download v2.9.  Need to talk with Joe later and get straight on the broadcast "syntax" which is different than I was used to.  It is all about "syntax."   Once we understand it, we're good.

 

Yes, I think this setup, ASI224MC and the 6SE is a good light weight, portable and reasonably priced EAA rig.  Coupling with Sharpcap, or AstroLive which is free with ASI cameras, totally expands the systems capabilities.  As I have said before, I am an EQ guy but got hold of this 6SE to try out what one could do without having to worry about polar alignment and with something very portable.  I really can't say enough good about it for those looking for something in this price, size and weight range.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#142 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 06:08 PM

Charles,

 

I downloaded Sharpcap v2.9 to use on tonight's broadcast.  Can you please remind me of the key improvements as far as you are concerned?

 

Also, Joe was kind enough to send to me a step by step setup for broadcasting on nightskiesnetwork.com, plus he spent and hour on the phone with me walking me through the process step by step.  I really appreciate the support. It really is not difficult to set up and broadcast.  My difficulty was the fact that I found out at the last minute that my Mallincam network channel was deleted and had to get Joe's network downloaded and setup on the fly right when I had promised to broadcast.  Also, using Internet Explorer instead of Chrome made it more difficult than it should have been.  

 

I look forward to tonight's broadcast up until the fog rolls in, which it might do again tonight.   Will do what I promised last night - ASI224 on 6SE with Sharpcap.  Shooting for some time after 8:30PDST.

 

Regards,

Curtis



#143 CharlesC

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 06:22 PM

Curtis, I don't know all the improvements, but its a work in progress, so it gets better with newer versions.  The big thing to know is when stacking, under Alignment tab, you need to set "Digital Gain" to at least 2X for stacking to work.  That wasn't present in older versions.  There is a lot of new stuff in Alignment tab I don't know much about.  Unfortunately, the Histogram was changed to industry standard 3 slider, but I liked the old 4 slider better.  My time lapse python scripts I wrote will only work with v2.9.

 

One of the big things added in v2.9 is plate solving for polar alignment when using EQ mounts.  I have Alt-Az so can't use it.  Supposedly its fast and precise eliminating need for a PoleMaster alignment camera.


Edited by CharlesC, 27 August 2016 - 07:12 PM.


#144 ChrisFC

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 08:01 PM

Hopefully broadcasting tonight on nightskiesnetwork.com. Starting about 7-8pm Aus EST.
Refractor 80mm ASI224 sharpcap.
Going for some sthn objects

Edited by ChrisFC, 27 August 2016 - 08:01 PM.

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#145 alphatripleplus

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 10:29 PM

Curtis, I don't know all the improvements, but its a work in progress, so it gets better with newer versions.  The big thing to know is when stacking, under Alignment tab, you need to set "Digital Gain" to at least 2X for stacking to work.  That wasn't present in older versions.  There is a lot of new stuff in Alignment tab I don't know much about.  Unfortunately, the Histogram was changed to industry standard 3 slider, but I liked the old 4 slider better.  My time lapse python scripts I wrote will only work with v2.9.

 

One of the big things added in v2.9 is plate solving for polar alignment when using EQ mounts.  I have Alt-Az so can't use it.  Supposedly its fast and precise eliminating need for a PoleMaster alignment camera.

 

Curtis,

 

Another big improvement in the production v2.9 of SharpCap is that dark frame subtraction works correctly now if using RAW16 colour space. In the prior SharpCap version using RAW16 with the ASI224, I noticed either hot pixels not removed, or other artifacts with dark frame subtraction. I was able to confirm that this is fixed.

 

CharlesC is correct that the Digital Gain in the Alignment tab may help with stacking in sparse fields, although I did not always need to set it to 2x for stacking to work. I found that If you set the Digital Gain too high, stacking may also fail. So some experimentation may be helpful depending on the number and faintness of stars in the field. As an alternative or in addition to using the Digital Gain, you can also tweak the black level detection threshold in the Alignment tab down from the default value of 50 to make fainter stars available for detection. I found that using one or other of these two controls (digital gain and black level threshold), there were very few fields that wouldn't stack with 5sec exposures @350Gain and f/4 with my C8.

 

Hope this helps.


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#146 Robrj

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 10:11 AM

I've seen the same thing with the digital gain.  Too much and it fails, remove it and it stacked fine.  

 

It also has a built in Polar Alignment utility.  It needs to be fairly aligned (within 5 degrees I believe).  It includes a walk through that tells you what to do on each step.  You'll probably want the camera a wide finder type scope like the Orion 50mm guidescope.



#147 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 10:59 AM

Charles, Errol and Rob, thank you.  I had no trouble stacking with Sharpcap during my broadcast last night using a Digital Gain of 2x.  

 

Thanks to those who joined my broadcast and kept me company while we looked at M13, M16, M27 NGC6888 and NGC7635 before the battery I was using to power the scope ran low on juice - I had thought it was fully re-charged but was not.  I wanted to wait until M20, the Triffid Nebula cleared my house, but decided to shut down instead of hooking up another battery and re-aligning the scope.  Skies were good, no fog this time.  We tried different exposures and looked at stacking versus non-stacking.  We could see how the exposures were limited by field rotation, especially for objects at high altitude or nearest the meridian.  I was pleased with the image brightness and colors.  Most stacks looked best with round stars using exposures of ~10sec.  Specifically, M27 looked a lot better with exposures of 10sec versus 2 sec when stacking even after the same cumulative time.  I am a fan of using the longest exposure the sky conditions and tracking allow, even when stacking.  NGC6888 and 7635 were not as detailed as I have seen them before.

 

The broadcast went much more smoothly now that I understood how to use the broadcast tool.  The only trouble I had was when I inadvertently locked up Sharpcap by trying to change the exposure while stacking.  Don't do that!  I thought I had stopped the stacking process but had not.  When Sharpcap locked up, the broadcast continued with those who were watching at the time, but was no longer visible on the main channel page for anyone new looking for it.  I had to shut down the broadcast and start it up again which only took a minute.  But, once again the problem was me, not the equipment or software.

 

I did not capture any images, should have.  I may do some quick captures without broadcasting tonight and post them on the "Light weight, low cost... " thread later.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#148 Relativist

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 11:24 AM

You can always do what I do and take a screen shot, I often have no record of my viewing session except a screen shot or two. That is one reason why I might start simulcasting on YouTube live and NSN, so I can have a saved record of my broadcast.


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#149 Don Rudny

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 01:20 PM

Weather permitting, we are planning to broadcast from Mauna Kea at 9200' tomorrow night starting at 7:30 - 8:00 pm HST.  Nightskiesnetwork.com and our channel is White Mountain Skies.  We will be using an Ultrastar C in an Evo 6 at F6 and possibly an Ultrastar M with NB Ha in a wide field 50mm mini at F3.2.

 

Please join us if you get a chance.

 

Don


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#150 Thrifty1

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 01:28 PM

Curtis - do you have a link to your broadcast channel?  I thought I was in the correct place last night but never saw any channel called California Skies.  Sorry I missed it.  

 

Randy




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