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Automatic Lunar Mosaicing?

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#51 Jon Rista

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 07:48 PM

Suddenly, one can't wait for the moon to appear. It's no more like it used to be ;- )

 

Hah! So true! And so...odd. ;)



#52 Rolf

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 10:23 AM

Thank you very much for your patience when my first installer did not work on your systems, and for your positive remarks on the successful "dry runs". As you all I'm very much looking forward to hearing from you how the system works in practice. Next week the moon should be placed favorably in the evening sky. I hope that the weather and seeing will cooperate!

 

Here are some suggestions for your first tests:

- It helps if you align the mount with the north pole as precisely as possible. Although MoonPanoramaMaker can track the drift, at least at the beginning of an observing session the extrapolation of the alignment is not very precise otherwise. With a well-aligned mounting you need fewer realignment points in MoonPanoramaMaker.

- Be sure to place your tripod on solid ground, and to fasten all screws properly. If one tripod leg sinks in by 1/500 of an inch, this is already beyond the tolerance. I also had trouble when I hadn't fastened the telescope on the mounting properly. All of a sudden the camera view shifted. Onother potential problem can be mirror shifting. If such a thing happens, you need to produce a new alignment point immediately.

- Don't set the overlap too small (in the configuration editor, sub-window for the camera selected). It's better to start with a somewhat larger overlap, and perhaps reduce it when the first panoramas worked without any trouble.

- After an observing session I always save the MoonPanoramaMaker.log file (located in your home directory) together with the video files of that night. You can then delete the file from your home directory, so that the logfile starts anew with the next session.

 

BTW: In Joe's screenshot you saw the moon crescent oriented with the bright limb to the right, although it was taken a few days before new moon. The reason (as explained in the manual) is that MoonPanoramaMaker always turns the moon around to this standard orientation, and then does the tesselation of the sunlit part. In this case, the south pole is at the top in the tile visualization window. As a consequence, the panorama always has the moon phase standing exactly upright, even if in the sky the cusps were located to the right and to the left.

 

Good luck to all of you!

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#53 Rolf

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 02:41 AM

Yesterday I found a way how you can do a very realistic "dry run". I installed the latest version of "Stellarium", together with the helper application "Stellarium Scope" (Release 2016-05-01 (beta)). The latter is required if in Stellarium you want to control a telescope via ASCOM.

 

In Stellarium you configure the telescope connection as shown here:

 

Stellarium-Telescope.jpg

 

Then, in Stellarium Scope you connect to the ASCOM hub POTH:

 

Stellarium-Scope.jpg

 

Be sure to configure your observing location properly in Stellarium. If you want to test the setup when the moon is below the horizon, you also have to switch the horizon off. Move to the moon and keep it centered (select the object and press the space key). Reduce the size of the Stellarium window somewhat to make space for the other windows.

 

Then you can start the MoonPanoramaMaker as before. If you now run through the workflow in MoonPanoramaMaker, Stellarium will show you in realtime where the telescope is pointing. You even see coordinate corrections you enter in MoonpanoramaMaker by pressing the arrow keys. This snapshot shows the complete configuration:

 

MPM-Session.jpg

 

I found it pretty cool to watch the telescope move across the disk of the moon in Stellarium while the MoonPanoramaMaker went throught the recording workflow.

 

This test is very powerful in finding any potential bugs. After all, Stellarium computes the position of the moon completely independent of MoonPanoramaMaker. If both match (as they did in my test) to a few arc seconds, the only remaining source of trouble could be the ASCOM driver of your telescope mount. That is the only component not involved in this dry run.This independent test is escpecially useful to find out if the MoonPanoramaMaker deals with time zones and things like daylight saving time correctly. After all, so far I only testes it for my German observing location.

 

Unfortunately, at the moment the moon is very close to new moon. For your test, therefore, it could be a good idea to change the date of your computer temprorarily.

 

I would be glad to hear about your experiments!

 

All the best

- Rolf


  • charotarguy and Gucky like this

#54 HxPI

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 05:46 PM

I'm very much looking forward to trying this out for real with my setup. In anticipation to testing this out, as well as my own curiosity based on previous experience, I'd like to ask a question concerning focus during tile captures. I was wondering if anyone has noticed a need to refocus during lunar mosaic tile captures, particularly when going from the center to the edge? I think this might be more relevant at longer focal lengths. If so, what methods do you use, i.e. manual or some automated process? If refocus is a necessary procedure, I'd recommend this might be added to the MoonPanoramaMaker software. Perhaps the same POTH connection could be used to issue focuser movements. A routine to determine focuser offsets could be added and the focuser movement commands could be issued after the mount movement commands.

 

Just some thoughts I had while waiting for the next opportunity to get out under the stars. I'll be looking out for this as well as other things during my tests!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 15 May 2016 - 05:53 PM.


#55 Rolf

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 02:07 AM

Mel, Refocussing is indeed necessary every once in a while, in particular if you set up your telescope shorty before taking the videos. The reaon is not the change in distance in going from the moon center to the edge, but the changing temperature of the telescope. If the temperature does not change, there is no need to refocus. Therefore, I left it to the user to decide at which time interval he/she wants to refocus during panorama recording.

 

I usually combine refocussing with realigning the mount. For this I press the escape key at some point during video acquisition to interrupt the automatic workflow. When control is given back to me, I first press "G" to go to the focussing area, and refocus the telescope. I then press "A" and set a new alignment point. At the beginning of a session I interrupt the workflow after some five videos. Later on, when drift correction is active and several alignment points have been set, it's okay to process a whole column of videos before interrupting. Since at this point the telescope has come closer to thermal equilibrium, longer intervals are okay for refocussing as well.

 

For a long time I did not like motorized focussing, but instead focussed manually. In the presence of quickly changing seeing, focussing is a tricky procedure. If you are close to optimal focus, there are always times when the live view is sharp, just because the turbulence cells on the line of sight add the right diffraction to compensate the current focus error. You have reached the exact focus position when the picture is sharp more often than at other settings. If I do this manually while turning the focussing knob back and forth, the "brain hand coordination" is a tremendous help in findinng the optimal position intuitively. If instead I use a motor focussing device with those two arrow keys for going back and forth, this does not work.

 

A few months ago I built my own motor focusser which is driven by a small program on my laptop and an Arduino micro controller. Instead of the two arrow keys I drive the focusser with an aluminium wheel. When I turn the wheel, the focusser at the telescope turns in sync with the wheel. This way, the "brain hand coordination" works as with manual focussing. As a side effect, I can now control the whole panorama recording remotely from the house (which is a great advantage with low winter temperatures or mosquitos in summer).

 

By the way, last Friday I again recorded a panorama with MoonPanoramaMaker. The whole process worked very well.

 

I wish you good luck with your own experiments. Did you already do a "dry run" using the ASCOM telescope simulator and Stellarium planetarium program (as I explained in detail above)? I strongly recommend doing so for two reasons: First, it is a good test if your geographical location and time zone are handled correctly. And second, you get practice in working with the program.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#56 Mert

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 11:37 AM

Thanks a lot Rolf for sharing your hard work with us.

It has been difficult for me to make moon-mosaics and I am

looking forward to try your software.

This is a very interresting thread and I hope to read more

form others trying your software and see the resuts.

Thanks again :waytogo:



#57 Rolf

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 03:32 PM

Thanks a lot Rolf for sharing your hard work with us.

It has been difficult for me to make moon-mosaics and I am

looking forward to try your software.

This is a very interresting thread and I hope to read more

form others trying your software and see the resuts.

Thanks again :waytogo:

 

Mert, Thank you very much for your nice words. I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences when you try my software. Make sure to test it with simulators (ASCOM simulator and Stellarium) first to find out if it works in your environment and to get practice.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#58 pask

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 02:20 AM

Hi Rolf,

thanks a lot for sharing. Your work is amazing!

I have tried your software with my Vixen Sphinx DX with NEXSXD-platform and I simulated with Stellarium: everything worked perfectly!
I hope, as soon as possible, to be able to try it in the real world.

So maybe I can avoid results like the attached picture: it is a panorama of 80 images, from 80 videos, taken with the C9.25, the ASI120MC and many hours of work ... I did not believe it.

Thanks again,

Pasquale

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20150202_moonpano.jpg

  • HxPI, Jon Rista, Gucky and 2 others like this

#59 Rolf

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 07:26 AM

Hi Rolf,

thanks a lot for sharing. Your work is amazing!

I have tried your software with my Vixen Sphinx DX with NEXSXD-platform and I simulated with Stellarium: everything worked perfectly!
I hope, as soon as possible, to be able to try it in the real world.

So maybe I can avoid results like the attached picture: it is a panorama of 80 images, from 80 videos, taken with the C9.25, the ASI120MC and many hours of work ... I did not believe it.

Thanks again,

Pasquale

 

Hi Pasquale,

 

That's great news! I'm glad your "dry run" worked perfectly. And I appreciate that you followed my recommendation to test everything with Stellarium first. Since that test was successful, I'm pretty confident that you are ready to try the software under the real sky.

 

As you are using the same telescope mounting as I do, you can leave most parameters as pre-set by the program. If possible, I suggest that you align the mount using the polar finder. This makes drift correction less of an issue, and you don't have to repeat the alignment as often as otherwise. Just make sure you always approach the landmark from the same side in declination!

 

I wish you good luck with your first real test!

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#60 HxPI

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:28 AM

Yesterday I found a way how you can do a very realistic "dry run". I installed the latest version of "Stellarium", together with the helper application "Stellarium Scope" (Release 2016-05-01 (beta)). The latter is required if in Stellarium you want to control a telescope via ASCOM.

 

In Stellarium you configure the telescope connection as shown here:

 

attachicon.gifStellarium-Telescope.jpg

 

Then, in Stellarium Scope you connect to the ASCOM hub POTH:

 

attachicon.gifStellarium-Scope.jpg

 

Be sure to configure your observing location properly in Stellarium. If you want to test the setup when the moon is below the horizon, you also have to switch the horizon off. Move to the moon and keep it centered (select the object and press the space key). Reduce the size of the Stellarium window somewhat to make space for the other windows.

 

Then you can start the MoonPanoramaMaker as before. If you now run through the workflow in MoonPanoramaMaker, Stellarium will show you in realtime where the telescope is pointing. You even see coordinate corrections you enter in MoonpanoramaMaker by pressing the arrow keys. This snapshot shows the complete configuration:

 

attachicon.gifMPM-Session.jpg

 

I found it pretty cool to watch the telescope move across the disk of the moon in Stellarium while the MoonPanoramaMaker went throught the recording workflow.

 

This test is very powerful in finding any potential bugs. After all, Stellarium computes the position of the moon completely independent of MoonPanoramaMaker. If both match (as they did in my test) to a few arc seconds, the only remaining source of trouble could be the ASCOM driver of your telescope mount. That is the only component not involved in this dry run.This independent test is escpecially useful to find out if the MoonPanoramaMaker deals with time zones and things like daylight saving time correctly. After all, so far I only testes it for my German observing location.

 

Unfortunately, at the moment the moon is very close to new moon. For your test, therefore, it could be a good idea to change the date of your computer temprorarily.

 

I would be glad to hear about your experiments!

 

All the best

- Rolf

 

I'm trying to test using POTH. However, it appears that both StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker don't work together when connected at the same time. When I don't connect StellariumScope, then using MoonPanoramaMaker with POTH works. However, when connecting StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker to POTH, the simulated mount doesn't move to the first location. It just keeps saying "Slewing telescope to alignment point, please wait". It was doing this when the moon was above the horizon. I am running Windows 10 and Ascom 6.2, along with the latest versions of Stellarium and StellariumScope. MoonPanoramaMaker has to be shutdown and it reports there were errors. Below is what is in the log file. Also the image attached shows the error received when trying to open POTH settings in MoonPanoramaMaker. I'm not confident the two programs will work well together with a real mount hub driver at the moment. Hopefully a resolution can be found!

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "moon_panorama_maker.py", line 13, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 12, in <module>
  File "PyQt4\QtCore.pyc", line 10, in __load
ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application.
Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2147221005, 'Invalid class string', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 123, in run
  File "<COMObject ScopeSim.Telescope>", line 3, in SlewToCoordinates
com_error: (-2147352567, 'Exception occurred.', (0, u'ASCOM Scope Simulator', u'Wrong tracking state', None, 1000440, -2147220473), None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 123, in run
  File "<COMObject ASCOM.Simulator.Telescope>", line 3, in SlewToCoordinates
com_error: (-2147352567, 'Exception occurred.', (0, u'ASCOM.Simulator.Telescope', u'SlewToCoordinates is not allowed when tracking is False', None, 0, -2147220469), None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2146959355, 'Server execution failed', None, None)

Exception in thread Thread-1:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "threading.pyc", line 810, in __bootstrap_inner
  File "telescope.pyc", line 96, in run
  File "win32com\client\__init__.pyc", line 95, in Dispatch
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 114, in _GetGoodDispatchAndUserName
  File "win32com\client\dynamic.pyc", line 91, in _GetGoodDispatch
com_error: (-2147221005, 'Invalid class string', None, None)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Ciao,

Mel

Attached Thumbnails

  • POTH Error.JPG

Edited by HxPI, 12 June 2016 - 01:59 AM.


#61 Rolf

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 08:12 AM

I'm trying to test using POTH. However, it appears that both StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker don't work together when connected at the same time. When I don't connect StellariumScope, then using MoonPanoramaMaker with POTH works. However, when connecting StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker to POTH, the simulated mount doesn't move to the first location. It just keeps saying "Slewing telescope to alignment point, please wait". It was doing this when the moon was above the horizon. I am running Windows 10 and Ascom 6.2, along with the latest versions of Stellarium and StellariumScope. MoonPanoramaMaker has to be shutdown and it reports there were errors. Below is what is in the log file. Also the image attached shows the error received when trying to open POTH settings in MoonPanoramaMaker. I'm not confident the two programs will work well together with a real mount hub driver at the moment. Hopefully a resolution can be found!

 

Mel, That looks very strange to me! After all, the whole purpose of the POTH.telescope hub is to allow several programs to share the same telescope driver. I tried this successfully on different computers, and it seems that Pasquale (see above) succeeded, too.

 

I wonder if this is a Windows 10 issue. I did not try my software on Windows 10 yet. What worries me most are the error messages "ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application." which seem to happen long before the program fails to connect to the telescope driver at runtime. I have no explanation why this happens.

 

What if you start MoonPanoramaMaker first, connect to the POTH hub and start StellariumScope only when MoonPanoramaMaker is already slewing the telescope towards the alignment point? At that time MoonPanoramaMaker must have loaded the required DLLs and made the ASCOM connection. I wonder if StellariumScope will be able to connect to ASCOM at this point.

 

Has anybody else tried using the ASCOM POTH hub under Windows 10?

 

Best regards,

 Rolf

 

 



#62 pask

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:19 PM

 

Hi Rolf,

thanks a lot for sharing. Your work is amazing!

I have tried your software with my Vixen Sphinx DX with NEXSXD-platform and I simulated with Stellarium: everything worked perfectly!
I hope, as soon as possible, to be able to try it in the real world.

So maybe I can avoid results like the attached picture: it is a panorama of 80 images, from 80 videos, taken with the C9.25, the ASI120MC and many hours of work ... I did not believe it.

Thanks again,

Pasquale

 

Hi Pasquale,

 

That's great news! I'm glad your "dry run" worked perfectly. And I appreciate that you followed my recommendation to test everything with Stellarium first. Since that test was successful, I'm pretty confident that you are ready to try the software under the real sky.

 

As you are using the same telescope mounting as I do, you can leave most parameters as pre-set by the program. If possible, I suggest that you align the mount using the polar finder. This makes drift correction less of an issue, and you don't have to repeat the alignment as often as otherwise. Just make sure you always approach the landmark from the same side in declination!

 

I wish you good luck with your first real test!

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

Hi Rolf,

thank you for your suggestions, but unfortunately I do not see the North from my position. In any case I align with the Bigourdan method, I think it is even better. Or Not?
I hope the weather soon will give me the chance to make a test on the real sky. I'll keep you updated.

Thank you again.
See you soon,

Pasquale



#63 pask

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:21 PM

 

 

Mel, That looks very strange to me! After all, the whole purpose of the POTH.telescope hub is to allow several programs to share the same telescope driver. I tried this successfully on different computers, and it seems that Pasquale (see above) succeeded, too.

 

I wonder if this is a Windows 10 issue. I did not try my software on Windows 10 yet. What worries me most are the error messages "ImportError: DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application." which seem to happen long before the program fails to connect to the telescope driver at runtime. I have no explanation why this happens.

 

What if you start MoonPanoramaMaker first, connect to the POTH hub and start StellariumScope only when MoonPanoramaMaker is already slewing the telescope towards the alignment point? At that time MoonPanoramaMaker must have loaded the required DLLs and made the ASCOM connection. I wonder if StellariumScope will be able to connect to ASCOM at this point.

 

Has anybody else tried using the ASCOM POTH hub under Windows 10?

 

Best regards,

 Rolf

 

Hi Rolf and Mel, 

just to be sure I made the test with Windows 8.0.

Best Regards,

Pasquale



#64 Rolf

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:56 PM

Hi Pasquale,

 

Thank you very much for the clarification.

 

So it seems as if everything works well for Windows 7 and 8. Unfortunately, I don't have a Windows 10 system at hand, so I cannot track down the problem myself.

 

Best regards,

 Rolf



#65 HxPI

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:53 PM

So I did another test of POTH using SGP and StellariumScope. Both are working flawlessly together. I can slew in Stellarium and see POTH and SGP show the correct RA/Dec. I can slew in SGP and see Stellarium move the scope reticle to the target. I can access the POTH settings from both apps as well. So I think this is a good sign that ASCOM/POTH works with Windows 10.

 

One thing I noticed is when closing the connection to POTH in StellariumScope, the interface closes and POTH is no longer running even though MoonPanoramaMaker is still supposedly connected to it. Shouldn't POTH stay up until all interfaces are closed? It appears that MoonPanoramaMaker doesn't make a connection to POTH when it is already running. Vice versa, when MoonPanoramaMaker is connected to POTH first, other apps cannot make a proper connection to POTH.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

P.S. I threw BYN into the mix and it connects/operates with POTH as well. Shutting down each app doesn't close POTH until the last app connected is closed. Everything seems to be working well together except MoonPanoramaMaker!

 

P.P.S. When trying to connect to POTH in BYN after MoonPanoramaMaker is connected, I get an error in BYN "ASCOM Telescope disconnected (or unable to connect). Make sure the correct COM port is assigned to your device". I know BYN works because it worked in the previous test without using MoonPanoramaMaker. This confirms there may be an issue in the way MoonPanoramaMaker connects to POTH, at least in Windows 10.


Edited by HxPI, 12 June 2016 - 02:04 PM.


#66 HxPI

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 02:26 PM

So I did a test using my actual mount. I have an iOptron CEM60-EC using their ASCOM hub driver. I was able to connect both StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker to the mount with no errors. I used the dummy cam in Firecapture for test purposes. I am able to see the mount move in Stellarium when MoonPanoramaMaker is making adjustments. I did a dry run with my mount and everything worked well. The mount moved as needed, Stellarium showed the position on the Moon for each tile, and Firecapture recorded the tiles. So it does appear that the software will work using the actual mount. I'm ready for an actual run when the opportunity arises. There's still an issue with POTH but that's not so much an issue now. Hopefully the issue with POTH can be sorted out.

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 12 June 2016 - 02:29 PM.

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#67 Rolf

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 03:47 PM

So I did a test using my actual mount. I have an iOptron CEM60-EC using their ASCOM hub driver. I was able to connect both StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker to the mount with no errors. I used the dummy cam in Firecapture for test purposes. I am able to see the mount move in Stellarium when MoonPanoramaMaker is making adjustments. I did a dry run with my mount and everything worked well. The mount moved as needed, Stellarium showed the position on the Moon for each tile, and Firecapture recorded the tiles. So it does appear that the software will work using the actual mount. I'm ready for an actual run when the opportunity arises. There's still an issue with POTH but that's not so much an issue now. Hopefully the issue with POTH can be sorted out.

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

Mel, Thank you very much for the good news! I'm glad you completed the dry run successfully. Since you could watch the pointing of the mounting on the Moon's image in Stellarium, all settings seem to be correct and all software items seem to cooperate as planned. You are ready for a real recording session for which I wish you good luck!

 

I don't know the iOptron mount, so I just looked around a little on the internet. An interesting feature of the iOptron ASCOM driver is that it includes its own hub. That is why you could share it between MoonPanoramaMaker and StellariumScope without using POTH. On the other hand, I wonder if this is the reason for the strange behaviour of POTH. In your test with POTH, did you configure POTH to use the ASCOM simulator, or did you connect it with the iOptron mount driver?

 

Just another question: In a goto operation, does the iOptron approach the target always in the same direction in declination? You know that this is important to eliminate backlash.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you how your first real panorama session turned out.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#68 HxPI

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 07:08 PM

 

So I did a test using my actual mount. I have an iOptron CEM60-EC using their ASCOM hub driver. I was able to connect both StellariumScope and MoonPanoramaMaker to the mount with no errors. I used the dummy cam in Firecapture for test purposes. I am able to see the mount move in Stellarium when MoonPanoramaMaker is making adjustments. I did a dry run with my mount and everything worked well. The mount moved as needed, Stellarium showed the position on the Moon for each tile, and Firecapture recorded the tiles. So it does appear that the software will work using the actual mount. I'm ready for an actual run when the opportunity arises. There's still an issue with POTH but that's not so much an issue now. Hopefully the issue with POTH can be sorted out.

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

Mel, Thank you very much for the good news! I'm glad you completed the dry run successfully. Since you could watch the pointing of the mounting on the Moon's image in Stellarium, all settings seem to be correct and all software items seem to cooperate as planned. You are ready for a real recording session for which I wish you good luck!

 

I don't know the iOptron mount, so I just looked around a little on the internet. An interesting feature of the iOptron ASCOM driver is that it includes its own hub. That is why you could share it between MoonPanoramaMaker and StellariumScope without using POTH. On the other hand, I wonder if this is the reason for the strange behaviour of POTH. In your test with POTH, did you configure POTH to use the ASCOM simulator, or did you connect it with the iOptron mount driver?

 

Just another question: In a goto operation, does the iOptron approach the target always in the same direction in declination? You know that this is important to eliminate backlash.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you how your first real panorama session turned out.

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

 

 

When using POTH, I set it up using the telescope simulator. I could test POTH with the iOptron mount but that would be weird to have a hub connect to another hub! Also I'm not sure about the declination approach. The test positioning was perfect and backlash on the mount is limited. I'll check on these things next time I set up the mount.

 

Thanks for the support and all the best with your software.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 12 June 2016 - 07:12 PM.


#69 Rolf

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 02:28 PM

So I did another test of POTH using SGP and StellariumScope. Both are working flawlessly together. I can slew in Stellarium and see POTH and SGP show the correct RA/Dec. I can slew in SGP and see Stellarium move the scope reticle to the target. I can access the POTH settings from both apps as well. So I think this is a good sign that ASCOM/POTH works with Windows 10.

 

One thing I noticed is when closing the connection to POTH in StellariumScope, the interface closes and POTH is no longer running even though MoonPanoramaMaker is still supposedly connected to it. Shouldn't POTH stay up until all interfaces are closed? It appears that MoonPanoramaMaker doesn't make a connection to POTH when it is already running. Vice versa, when MoonPanoramaMaker is connected to POTH first, other apps cannot make a proper connection to POTH.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

P.S. I threw BYN into the mix and it connects/operates with POTH as well. Shutting down each app doesn't close POTH until the last app connected is closed. Everything seems to be working well together except MoonPanoramaMaker!

 

P.P.S. When trying to connect to POTH in BYN after MoonPanoramaMaker is connected, I get an error in BYN "ASCOM Telescope disconnected (or unable to connect). Make sure the correct COM port is assigned to your device". I know BYN works because it worked in the previous test without using MoonPanoramaMaker. This confirms there may be an issue in the way MoonPanoramaMaker connects to POTH, at least in Windows 10.

 

Mel, Thank you very much for all the tests you made on your Windows 10 system with POTH and various applications connected to it. The way MoonPanoramaMaker connects to POTH and blocks other applications from connecting as well is strange indeed. I did not observe anything like that when using Windows 7. Another strange thing is that this problem does not seem to occur with the iOptron driver acting as a hub. There both MoonPanoramaMaker and StellariumScope seem to share the connection without problems.

 

BTW: I didn't mean that you should connect your iOptron driver to POTH. That would be weird, indeed. I just wanted to make sure you were using the telescope simulator with POTH.

 

At least it looks like you can proceed with your setup without using POTH. I will look into the possibility to install my software on some Windows 10 system and check if I can reproduce the problem. Probably that will take a while, though. In the meantime it would be interesting to hear from anybody else using Windows 10 if the same problem occurs there as well. At the moment my best guess is that something in the Windows COM software has changed between Windows 7 and 10, so the software I built on Windows 7 includes some outdated library. Who knows?

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#70 xiga

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 07:59 AM

Really interesting thread this!

 

As someone who recently tried their first moon mosaic recently (and failed, see below) I'd love to try this myself. Problem is, I am a DSLR guy, I use a Canon 60D (no fancy planetary camera yet).

Will your software work with a DSLR? I'm also not sure if Firecapture works with DSLR's either?

 

below pic was 44 frames taken at F10 with my C8 and Canon 60D. MS ICE stitched the bottom half together, I had to do the rest myself manually (can you tell? ;-)

ps - The image is too big for me to attach (I'm at work and can't access photo editing software) so here's a link instead:

 

https://onedrive.liv...thint=photo,jpg

 

 

 

 


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#71 kbev

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 09:36 AM

Xiga, were these full frames or did you use the video mode to capture them?

 

I believe that MPM could work with a DSLR in that it would be able to determine the tile layout and move the scope between tiles (if it is configured properly) but it would not be able to control image capture.  As far as I know Firecapture will only work with dedicated planetary imaging cameras such as the ZWO, Point Grey or other video cameras and not any of the DSLRs with video mode.  For a DSLR if used in video mode you would need to start and stop the captures manually then command MPM to move to the next tile and repeat.  

 

I'm sure Rolf will chime in with better advice when he has time.



#72 xiga

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 08:36 AM

Xiga, were these full frames or did you use the video mode to capture them?

 

I believe that MPM could work with a DSLR in that it would be able to determine the tile layout and move the scope between tiles (if it is configured properly) but it would not be able to control image capture.  As far as I know Firecapture will only work with dedicated planetary imaging cameras such as the ZWO, Point Grey or other video cameras and not any of the DSLRs with video mode.  For a DSLR if used in video mode you would need to start and stop the captures manually then command MPM to move to the next tile and repeat.  

 

I'm sure Rolf will chime in with better advice when he has time.

Thanks Kev, I suspected as much :(

I have a couple of quick questions if you don't mind:

 

1. I do already use Eqmod, so for someone in my position would there still be any benefit to using MPM over Eqmosaic?

2. The next time I have a go I intend to align the camera to the RA & Dec axis of my HEQ5 Pro. What's the easiest way to go about doing this? I was thinking, after doing a good PA then slew to a bright star and start a bulb exposure, and during the capture slew the scope in RA to move the star across the screen. Then view the picture to see how horizontal the star trail is, rotate the camera and repeat until I get it more or less horizontal. Does that sound right, or is there an easier way?

 

ps - The 44 frames from my image above were all taken using the 60D's 'movie crop' mode, a special mode that only records the central 640x480 pixels, effectively giving a x7 crop factor and 1:1 pixel resolution, hence the need for so many frames. Each one was a 1 min video, stacked in AS!, sharpened in R6, then half-stitched in MS-ICE (before I had to do the rest by hand, which was a total PITA btw!).



#73 Rolf

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:17 PM

Hi Xiga,

 

Sorry,I'm on a business trip with limited internet access. So I only now read your discussion with Kevin.

 

Kevin is right: You can use MPM in semi-automatic mode if you take the pictures with a DSLR. FireCapture is not designed to control DSLRs. In the configuration dialog you can create a new camera entry for your camera. You only have to enter the numbers of pixels in x and y, the pixel size (make sure it is the effective pixel size in case the camera does some binning in video mode) and the overlap widths.

 

I was surprised to see so many tiles in your moon image, given that you did the recording at 2000mm focal length. Then I saw the explanation in the fact that only a tiny part of the sensor is used for the videos.

 

Before I moved on  to use USB cameras, I took Moon panoramas with a Canon 5D MKII for several years. I had experimented with the video mode as well, but soon returned to taking pictures in DSLR mode. The reason was image quality. First of all, the videos were recorded in 8bit mode, while the DSLR had a much better dynamic range. Second, and more importantly: The video files were compressed, which resulted in a bad quality degradation. What I did instead was taking up to 1000 full-frame DSLR pictures and process them with AVIStack2 (in my opinion still the best stacking softwae). At a focal length of some 4000mm the full moon was recorded with four tiles only. Therefore, I didn't need anything as sophisticated as MPM. I just steered the mounting by hand towards the four moon quadrants.

 

To sum up: If you really want to shoot in video mode, I would recommend using some USB camera. Some very good models, such as the ASI120MM-S are not terribly expensive. Otherwise, I suggest to try out stacking many DSLR images (some 150-200 per tile). This results in very low-noise images with high dynamic range and good reslolution.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#74 Rolf

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:30 PM

 

Xiga, were these full frames or did you use the video mode to capture them?

 

I believe that MPM could work with a DSLR in that it would be able to determine the tile layout and move the scope between tiles (if it is configured properly) but it would not be able to control image capture.  As far as I know Firecapture will only work with dedicated planetary imaging cameras such as the ZWO, Point Grey or other video cameras and not any of the DSLRs with video mode.  For a DSLR if used in video mode you would need to start and stop the captures manually then command MPM to move to the next tile and repeat.  

 

I'm sure Rolf will chime in with better advice when he has time.

Thanks Kev, I suspected as much :(

I have a couple of quick questions if you don't mind:

 

1. I do already use Eqmod, so for someone in my position would there still be any benefit to using MPM over Eqmosaic?

2. The next time I have a go I intend to align the camera to the RA & Dec axis of my HEQ5 Pro. What's the easiest way to go about doing this? I was thinking, after doing a good PA then slew to a bright star and start a bulb exposure, and during the capture slew the scope in RA to move the star across the screen. Then view the picture to see how horizontal the star trail is, rotate the camera and repeat until I get it more or less horizontal. Does that sound right, or is there an easier way?

 

ps - The 44 frames from my image above were all taken using the 60D's 'movie crop' mode, a special mode that only records the central 640x480 pixels, effectively giving a x7 crop factor and 1:1 pixel resolution, hence the need for so many frames. Each one was a 1 min video, stacked in AS!, sharpened in R6, then half-stitched in MS-ICE (before I had to do the rest by hand, which was a total PITA btw!).

 

 

Xiga, Just some quick answers to your questions:

 

1. As I wrote in my previous post, I don't see an advantage using MPM if you shoot in DSLR mode. If in video mode the moon spans more than40 tiles, I think EQmosaic is not good enough to account for the complicated motion of the moon. And, EQmosaic does not take the moon phase into account, so many tiles will be black.

 

2. If you use MPM, the program will instruct you how to align the camera (assuming you have some live view of the camera image available). Be careful: MPM does NOT align the camera with RA and DEC, but with the symmetry axis of the apparent moon phase. As a nice side effect the panoramas created by MPM always stand upright.

 

If for some reason you want to align the camera with RA and DEC, I would recommend to view some landmark on the moon as it moves across the screen if you move the mount in one coordinate direction. I find that much easier than recording a star trail.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#75 HxPI

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 12:03 AM

So I was able to do an actual test of the software and the results are promising! The hardware/software used to create the mosaic:

 

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15", early 2013)

iOptron CEM60-EC mount

ES127 CF refractor

ES 3x extender

ASI178MC camera

 

Windows 10 Pro

MoonPanoramaMaker v0.9.2

iOptron Commander v5

Firecapture 2.5 beta

Autostakkert 2.6.6

Microsoft ICE v2.0.3.0

 

See attached image resulting from 33 tiles stitched with Microsoft ICE. A couple tiles had only the moon's edge and were not able to be stacked with Autostakkert so I left them out. See attached a processed image using autofill, which did a decent job of hiding the gaps!

 

I think the gaps were due to a combination of some drift in tracking, cropping out processing artifacts, and/or perhaps the camera wasn't' correctly aligned. I'll admit I didn't do the rotate camera step since I always image with the camera in the same position. I'm thinking more overlap in the future will help the coverage; it was set to 250. Setting overlap to 500 looks good... is that too much? One issue that did arise relates to Firecapture and framerates. I have noticed an odd relationship between gain and framerate when using the ASI178MC. If the gain for any of the RGB channels goes towards 100%, the framerate drops dramatically. So normally I can adjust for proper exposure/gain to get 20-29 fps. However, if the camera is pointed towards a bright source or gain is set so the histogram goes towards 100%, the framerate drops to 7 fps! Has anyone else noticed this behavior in Firecapture? I don't really get this behavior in SharpCap. It's been my experience that SharpCap runs smoother than Firecapture!

 

As for MoonPanoramaMaker, the only issue I had was when the plugin was activated in Firecapture, the framerate would decrease. I wanted to record the moon using the full 6mp of the ASI178MC but with the plugin activated and the exposure settings for a proper histogram, the framerate dropped to 7 fps. When I disabled the plugin, the framerate returned to normal 20-29 fps. So I had to record in 2x2 binning in order to get the desired framerates and exposure/gain to the correct settings for a proper exposure, at the cost of taking away half of the resolution I wanted to record. I'm curious if it is possible for this plugin to run in SharpCap?

 

So overall, I'm halfway there! Once the issues with the ASI178MC, Firecapture and mount tracking are worked out, I should be able to get great high resolution mosaics of the moon. This software will be very helpful and has great potential. When I have more opportunities to setup, I'll test other camera/software/setting combinations. I look forward to continued testing and sharing the results.

 

Ciao,

Mel

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2016-06-19-0216_8-L_Tile-000_g4_ap792_stitch.jpg
  • Chesapeake Park Movie Night - Full Moon-3.jpg

Edited by HxPI, 20 June 2016 - 12:53 AM.

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