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Automatic Lunar Mosaicing?

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#1 Jon Rista

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 12:59 PM

Since I am not much good at processing galaxies, and rarely have the time in spring to acquire enough data on them from my back yard, I've been playing with planetary imaging. Much simpler, easier to set up and tear down, easier to do in general. I don't really have the seeing for it, but I've been imaging anyway. I wanted to do a mosaic of the moon last time the sky was clear (and I actually DID have the seeing for it that night), however managing that manually proved too slow, and I was only able to get data on a small portion. 

 

Does anyone know of any software that might assist in doing mosaics? Something that I could program a panel matrix for, given my FoV with the necessary overlap, with a chosen video sequence for each panel...and then just let it rip?


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#2 RandallK

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:07 PM

I believe EQMOD has a mosaic module [Free] (for Synta Mounts, which would be your Orion Atlas). SGP has an add-on Mosaic & Framing Wizard module but first you have to have SGP and the Mosaic Module is (I think) $39.95 US.



#3 Jon Rista

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:20 PM

I have the EQMOD mosaic module...but it doesn't really sync with the planetary camera. I was hoping for something more automated.



#4 DaveB

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:29 PM

My first thought was also SGP's framing tool. However, I question if it would work efficiently if you were planning on capturing video-like frame rates for processing. (I have no experience with this - I'm just evaluating SGP myself at the moment.)



#5 Jon Rista

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 06:54 PM

Any chance this could be moved to the Solar System & Planetary forum? I think that might be a better place for it. 



#6 nitegeezer

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 10:23 PM

Jon,

 

I can only move this once and then I lose control as I am not a mod in the other forums.  Do you want:

 

Solar System Imaging & Processing

Solar System Observing

or

Solar Observing and Imaging?

 

I would bet on the first, but as I said I lose control after the first move and so I want to get it right.

 

Chuck



#7 Jon Rista

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 10:37 PM

Solar System Imaging & Processing, Please. 



#8 nitegeezer

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 10:38 PM

And away we go!!



#9 ToxMan

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 11:17 AM

For lunar work, Jon, I found Microsoft's Image Composite Editor works well. But, you have to pay attention to your image sequences when you load them into program. It used to be an application you could download and have on your computer. Now, you have to go to a MS site to use it.



#10 yock1960

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 12:00 PM

For lunar work, Jon, I found Microsoft's Image Composite Editor works well. But, you have to pay attention to your image sequences when you load them into program. It used to be an application you could download and have on your computer. Now, you have to go to a MS site to use it.

 

Paul, I think he's talking about the capture end of the deal. I'm not a big lunar guy Jon, but I've never heard of such a thing. My last half moon mosaic, I took 70 or so 1 minute vids, because I wanted to make sure of overlap! I only used half or a bit more, but still skipped a spot, which fortunately was mostly overlapped and on the terminator and in shadow.

 

Best thing is to have a big chip and low f number.

 

Steve


Edited by yock1960, 20 April 2016 - 12:02 PM.


#11 ToxMan

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 12:25 PM

My apologies. I mis-read the post.

 

I don't have mount control software and manually move the scope in a serpentine fashion with ample overlap. If overlap is too much, I crop images to get MS ICE to stitch them. I sweep the entire surface in this fashion once. And, repeat the process to have additional data, rather than trying to get 2 or 3 shots of the same spot before moving to the next.

 

Obviously, if you are working a large mosaic, high resolution, stitching 100 frames, a nifty little program to control the scope and give ample overlap would be great. I'd be interested in trying it. The largest lunar mosaic I've done is 16 panels, 4 x 4. 

 

Sorry for the mix up.



#12 HxPI

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 12:46 PM

I wondered how to do automated lunar/solar mosaics also. If SGP would allow setup of a mosaic on the moon/sun, which I don't think it allows, you might be able to script Firecapture or another program to record video clips during the mosaic sequence. Maybe SGP will add video capture capabilities in the future, but I doubt it!

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 20 April 2016 - 12:48 PM.


#13 Jon Rista

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 12:53 PM

My apologies. I mis-read the post.

 

I don't have mount control software and manually move the scope in a serpentine fashion with ample overlap. If overlap is too much, I crop images to get MS ICE to stitch them. I sweep the entire surface in this fashion once. And, repeat the process to have additional data, rather than trying to get 2 or 3 shots of the same spot before moving to the next.

 

Obviously, if you are working a large mosaic, high resolution, stitching 100 frames, a nifty little program to control the scope and give ample overlap would be great. I'd be interested in trying it. The largest lunar mosaic I've done is 16 panels, 4 x 4. 

 

Sorry for the mix up.

 

No problem, Tonk. I appreciate the reply. I have ICE, it's great.

 

I was looking for the operational/imaging side of things, however it doesn't really appear anything quite like what I am looking for exists. Maybe I could put in a feature request to the authors of FireCapture, SharpCap, etc. Maybe it's something one of them could add. ;)



#14 Jon Rista

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 01:00 PM

I wondered how to do automated lunar/solar mosaics also. If SGP would allow setup of a mosaic on the moon/sun, which I don't think it allows, you might be able to script Firecapture or another program to record video clips during the mosaic sequence. Maybe SGP will add video capture capabilities in the future, but I doubt it!

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

Does FireCapture support scripting? I have been having trouble keeping FireCapture working with my QHY lately. I can go for hours without issue with SharpCap, however FireCapture tends to hang on me within a few minutes. I can't figure out why. 

 

Anyway, if it supports scripting...that may be an option. I'm a programmer by trade, shouldn't be hard to figure out if it's possible. 



#15 HxPI

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 01:12 PM

 

I wondered how to do automated lunar/solar mosaics also. If SGP would allow setup of a mosaic on the moon/sun, which I don't think it allows, you might be able to script Firecapture or another program to record video clips during the mosaic sequence. Maybe SGP will add video capture capabilities in the future, but I doubt it!

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

Does FireCapture support scripting? I have been having trouble keeping FireCapture working with my QHY lately. I can go for hours without issue with SharpCap, however FireCapture tends to hang on me within a few minutes. I can't figure out why. 

 

Anyway, if it supports scripting...that may be an option. I'm a programmer by trade, shouldn't be hard to figure out if it's possible. 

 

 

Yes Firecapture supports scripting and performs reliably from my experience. Sharpcap should be able to do the exact same thing if that is working better for you!

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 20 April 2016 - 01:14 PM.


#16 astrovienna

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 01:19 PM

Jon, the short answer is no, as far as I know.  But if you're willing to do some programming, you might be able to kludge together some kind of interaction between Firecap and another program.  IIRC, Virtual Moon Atlas (or mayb it's Cartes du Ciel - same authors, I think) has a "goto-like" function that allows you to move from one lunar target to another.  BTW, while Firecap has some scripting capability, I don't think it's open-ended.  Torsten programmed in a defined set of functions.

 

Good luck, and let us know what you learn.

 

Kevin



#17 t_image

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 02:22 PM

Good luck as you would think it would be a simple process.

The solution shouldn't be too complicated you would think?

The thing that comes to mind is my Gigapan100,

which allows multiple pictures at the same location before moving on to the next programmed tile.

As for trigger it has a configurable mechanical trigger I have hacked to even do short video segments.

Hmm, I just realized I could put my gigapan on my EQ mount to offset Earth motion! Long exposures here I come!

The killer limitation is the weight limit.

Thanks for providing an ah-ha moment.

I can't believe I didn't think of mounting it on my mount before?



#18 Jon Rista

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 02:25 PM

You would think the solution for an operational real-time mosaicing setup wouldn't be difficult, but, this is astrophotography. It's DECEPTIVELY "simple." ;)

 

I have EQMOSAIC, and I have FireCapture and SharpCap. I was hoping for something automated, but, I guess EQMOSAIC will have to do. It definitely supports the mosaicing features I need...the FoV size and overlap specification. I can manually handle starting and stopping the exposures if I have to. It just won't be as fast as I was hoping. 



#19 HxPI

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 03:10 PM

Good luck as you would think it would be a simple process.

The solution shouldn't be too complicated you would think?

The thing that comes to mind is my Gigapan100,

which allows multiple pictures at the same location before moving on to the next programmed tile.

As for trigger it has a configurable mechanical trigger I have hacked to even do short video segments.

Hmm, I just realized I could put my gigapan on my EQ mount to offset Earth motion! Long exposures here I come!

The killer limitation is the weight limit.

Thanks for providing an ah-ha moment.

I can't believe I didn't think of mounting it on my mount before?

 

Woah Alt/Az mounted on GEM! That might just work. The Alt/Az can do the zig zag and the GEM keeps everything on track. I enjoy panorama photography and was looking at the iOptron iPano Allview. You've given me something new to think about!!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 20 April 2016 - 03:11 PM.

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#20 Rolf

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 02:29 AM

Hi,

 

Torsten Edelmann, the author of FireCapture, pointed me to this discussion.

 

Since I'm new to this forum, please let me shortly introduce myself. I'm a German amateur astronomer. Since about eight years ago I concentrate on lunar photography. Taking images of small surface details always seemed rather unsatisfactory to me. In the beginning, I took moon panoramas using an apo refractor and a full frame DSLR. You can find a galery of my panoramas at http://lunar.baasite...nks/MoonPhases/. Meanwhile I'm using a Celestron 11 and USB cameras, such as the ASI120MM-S.

 

It seems you are discussing the same problem I had about a year ago. When I was looking for a mosaic software for the moon I thought that such an obvious problem must have been solved. Except for the rudimentary solution EQMosaic, however, I didn't find any. So I embarked on a very intensive software project which I recently finished. I named my software "MoonPanoramaMaker". It covers the current moon phase with an optimized tile pattern, and in a fully automatic workflow takes videos of each tile. It is connected to FireCapture through FCs "preprocessing" interface. Therefore, the user sets all camera parameters in FC, and then the MoonPanoramaMaker triggers FC to record the videos. The software is based on ASCOM, so it should be portable.

 

What sounds quite easy in principle turned out to be rather challenging. The motion of the moon among the stars, the effects of libration and parallax, the misalignment of the telescope mount and many more aspects had to be taken into account at very high precision. After all, the moon spans a very small patch of sky, so I had to hit each tile center with a precision of better than 10 arcseconds.

 

I would love to share with you the MoonPanoramaMaker's user manual (PDF, 29 pages, written in English), but with its size of 1,4 MB it exceeds the 500KB file upload limit of this forum. Too bad! Any idea how I could upload a larger file to this forum?

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

 


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#21 kbev

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 04:17 AM

Rolf, first off thanks for taking the time and initiative to work on a solution to this problem!  I'm sure many of us would like to take a look at what you've come up with.  As far as posting the PDF I would suggest a site such as Dropbox or one of the other cloud-based services to host the file and then you could simply place a link to the file in a post, just make sure you have it set to 'public' so everyone can access it.  Or perhaps one of the other members could host it on a personal website and link to it?  I'm sure a solution can be found.  



#22 Rolf

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 06:05 AM

Kevin, thank you for your suggestion to use an external cloud space. I will set up something tonight, and then I will post the link here.

 

Rolf


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#23 Rolf

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 01:14 PM

The description of my MoonPanoramaMaker software is now available for download. I welcome your remarks / criticism. What do you think about it?

 

Please note that so far I'm the only user of this software. I just started giving it to a few experienced users for beta testing. Therefore, I can give no guarantee whatsoever that the software works with any hardware other than the models I used during development.

 

Anyway, for me the software works just great. Last month I took some good panoramas with it in fully automatic mode. This one was taken on March 13 with my C11 on a Vixen Sphinx SXD mount (with the NexSXD modification) and an ASI120MM-S camera. Be sure to view the picture at 100% zoom. Otherwise it's not anything special.

 

Best regards,

 Rolf


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#24 kbev

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 02:12 PM

That moon image is just amazing!  I downloaded the manual and will have a chance to read thru it later this afternoon.  I'm hoping you'll also share the software with those who want to try it out?  Looks like it will be much easier than some of the other methods mentioned for acquiring all the images to compose a mosaic.  



#25 Rolf

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 02:59 PM

Kevin, thanks for your positive remarks on my panorama photo. I'm looking forward to your comments on the manual.

 

As to the software, I don't mind sharing it with interesting amateurs. I only hesitate giving it "to the whole world" at once because I would not be able to reply to user questions if there are too many at the same time. Therefore, I first wanted to build up some experience with a few users who know what they are doing. For example, they should be familiar with ASCOM, coordinate systems and alingment procedures.

 

Technically, installation of the software is quite easy. There is a standard installer for Windows 7. (Most likely it will work with later Windows versions as well, but I didn't try.) The whole thing is explained in the user's manual.

 

Best regards,

 Rolf




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