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Automatic Lunar Mosaicing?

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#76 Rolf

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 03:48 AM

Hi Mel,

 

Thank you very much for sharing your results with us! I'm glad you are making good progress.

 

How often did you check the alignment during the panorama recording? And how precisely did the telescope return to the landmark at those alignments? It is essential to monitor the alignment throughout the session unless you have a really high-precision mount with absolute encoders (such as the 10Micron mounts) which is aligned properly with celestial north. If I repeat the alignment often enough, and drift correction is active, I never see gaps between the tiles.

 

If it is not too inconvenient for you I would recommend that you do the camera rotation. If the orientation is wrong, gaps between tiles could be the result. In your example, however, I doubt that this was the primary reason.

 

Even with high enough overlap values, gaps could be the result of a wrong value for focal length. Sometimes it is difficult to find out the focal length of the whole imaging system. If the f value is set too low, MoonPanoramaMaker will use too few tiles. Of course, one can correct this by either increasing the value for focal length, or overlap size.

 

I never saw a decrease in FC frame rate on my computer when I switched on the plugin. Of course, you could run MPM in semi-automatic mode. To do this, you set "camera automation" to "False". You then have to start the videos in FC by hand when asked by MPM to do so. I would prefer this solution to binning.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing your next results!

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#77 Rolf

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 04:15 AM

Hi Mel,

 

Just as an addition to my previous post: I'm afraid my MPM plugin will not work with SharpCap.

 

I was very lucky that Torsten Edelmann created this plugin interface by which my program can control FC. I doubt that SharpCap offers anything similar, but I didn't check. Even if it did, I would have to develop a completely new plugin for the interface provided by SharpCap.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#78 HxPI

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:10 PM

Rolf,

 

Thanks for the follow-up. I'll keep your recommendations in mind for the next test. The mount alignment was pretty good but not imaging quality. I just did a quick alignment with PoleMaster and it was good enough for visual use. This test was done during an outreach event. I'll have to do a proper test at some point. I was so mesmerized by the automated movement and recording that I didn't really do any verifications during the process... plus my battery was about to die!

 

I verified with Sam at ZWO that the camera does indeed lower the framerate when overexposed. Strange but at least that might be part of the reason for the slow framerates during my last test. I did a quick tabletop test with MoonPanoramaMaker using POTH and didn't see any slowdown of framerate during simulated mosaic capture with FireCapture.

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 20 June 2016 - 10:19 PM.


#79 HxPI

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:24 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

 

That's a lotta tiles! Nice work. You did better than I did WITH the MoonPanoramaMaker!!!

 

Ciao,

Mel



#80 Rolf

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 01:57 AM

Rolf,

 

Thanks for the follow-up. I'll keep your recommendations in mind for the next test. The mount alignment was pretty good but not imaging quality. I just did a quick alignment with PoleMaster and it was good enough for visual use. This test was done during an outreach event. I'll have to do a proper test at some point. I was so mesmerized by the automated movement and recording that I didn't really do any verifications during the process... plus my battery was about to die!

 

I verified with Sam at ZWO that the camera does indeed lower the framerate when overexposed. Strange but at least that might be part of the reason for the slow framerates during my last test. I did a quick tabletop test with MoonPanoramaMaker using POTH and didn't see any slowdown of framerate during simulated mosaic capture with FireCapture.

 

Ciao,

Mel

 

Hi Mel, Thanks for the additional info on your test.

 

I understand that you wanted to avoid wasting time with re-alignments, especially since the battery was low. I'm looking forward to hearing how much your results will improve if you repeate the alignment every once in a while. With lunar imaging at high magnification the alignment must be very precise. Even if I align my mount as precisely as possible using my pole finder I still see some drift. After all, a full panorama session takes a long time (sometimes more than on hour), and even with the best polar alignment my mount drifts by a few arc minutes during that time. That's way too much for recording a panorama of tiles which measure only a few arc minutes on each side. Another issue is flexure in the scope/mount assembly, or mirror shift if one uses a SC telescope. With my C11 I once saw a sudden glitch in the live view. At the next re-alignment the landmark was off by more than an arc minute. I then discovered that I hadn't properly tightened the screw which holds the scope on the mount. After doing a re-alignment in MPM I could continue with the panorama session. (In such a case, be sure to repeat the tile which was affected by the glitch!)

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#81 pask

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 03:32 AM

Hi Rolf,
Between bad weather and my business trips, I have finally managed to photograph the Moon. Last night, exactly when it was "full moon" !.
Everything went well and everything worked perfectly. I only had a moment of uncertainty when the program asked me to make the small side of the sensor parallel to the lunar limb. Perhaps it is better to write "tangent" or I misheard?
It was taken to the prime focus of the C9.25, with R filter and an ASI174MM cooled at - 5°C, 300 of 1000frames taken per 10 final pictures.
Below, the result. Only a few problems during mosaicing, easily remedied, but I could not wait to share

Many many thanks Rolf!
Kind Regards,
Pasquale

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  • Moon_20160719_005847__PRusso-K480.jpg

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#82 Rolf

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 07:45 AM

Hi Pasquale,

 

Great to hear that everything worked perfectly! Thank you very much for sharing the gorgeous Full Moon panorama!

 

I'm sorry that you found the prompt "rotate the camera until the small side of the sensor is parallel with the moon's limb" misleading. At that point, MPM has positioned the mounting such that the limb should go through the FOV center. The task is to loosen the screws holding the camera and to rotate it until the limb crosses the FOV vertically, i.e. parallel to the small side of the field. "Tangential" in my understanding would mean that the user not only had to rotate the camera, but also shift the pointing such that the limb runs along the small side of the sensor. That is not what I had in mind.

 

I already anticipated some confusion caused by this prompt. That is why in the "User's Guide" I included two illustrations, one depicting the camera live view before, and the other one after the field rotation. My hope had been that this would make the task clear enough. Obviously, I was wrong.  :-(

 

Does anybody have a better wording for this prompt?

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#83 Rolf

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:01 AM

Hi everybody,

 

Thinking some more about the prompt to rotate the camera, it occured to me that I tacitly assumed that the camera field is very small as compared to the full moon. After all, with my camera and telescope I need at least some 70 tiles for covering the full disk. If I interpret Pasquale's posting correctly, he covered the full moon with 10 tiles only.

 

Why does this make a difference? If a single tile is very small, the live view centered on some point on the limb will show the limb almost as a straight line running through the field of view. If the tile, however, covers a substantial fraction of the disk, the limb will show a pronounced curvature, and the request to make the limb parallel to the straight border of the FOV does not make sense.

 

What could be the remedy? I could ask to rotate the camera "until the moon limb at the center of the FOV is oriented vertically". What do you think?

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#84 pask

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 10:31 AM

Hi everybody,

 

Thinking some more about the prompt to rotate the camera, it occured to me that I tacitly assumed that the camera field is very small as compared to the full moon. After all, with my camera and telescope I need at least some 70 tiles for covering the full disk. If I interpret Pasquale's posting correctly, he covered the full moon with 10 tiles only.

 

Why does this make a difference? If a single tile is very small, the live view centered on some point on the limb will show the limb almost as a straight line running through the field of view. If the tile, however, covers a substantial fraction of the disk, the limb will show a pronounced curvature, and the request to make the limb parallel to the straight border of the FOV does not make sense.

 

What could be the remedy? I could ask to rotate the camera "until the moon limb at the center of the FOV is oriented vertically". What do you think?

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

Hi Rolf,

you are right. Also about the word "tangent".

First of all, I read your guide in May and now I have forgotten that detail. The manual is very well explained. It's my fault I did not remember.
In any case I prefer as you explained here. May I suggest, if possible, in your prompt see the two pictures as they are in the guide? But I think it can only be a text-based message.

In anycase with my C9.25 and the ASI174MM I need only 10 pic but with the ASI120MC I need 80 tiles. 

 

Still I'm grateful.

Best Regards,

Pasquale



#85 Rolf

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 02:35 AM

Hi Pasquale,

 

Thank you very much for your advice! In the next software release I will change the prompt as proposed in my previous posting.

 

Your suggestion to show the pictures from the user guide during program execution sounds good. The problem, however, is that most users at the telescope have a laptop with a relatively small screen only. Already now there are  too many windows to accomodate (Firecapture, MPM main gui and tile visualization, ASCOM, mount driver, motor focus, ...), so I hesitate to add even more windows which pop up during MPM execution.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#86 HxPI

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 06:13 AM

Rolf,

 

I was doing another test run and noticed in Stellarium the position of the mount and the selected tile in MPM are different and at opposite ends of the moon. For example, Tile 1 would be at the top left in MPM and in Stellarium the mount would be positioned at the bottom right. It appears the image of the Moon in MPM and Stellarium is in the same orientation. Is there a feature or setup issue that would cause this?

 

Thanks.

 

Ciao,

Mel



#87 Rolf

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 02:43 AM

Mel,

 

You are right: The orientation of the moon is different in Stellarium and MPM. In MPM the phase of the moon is always presented such that the "phase poles" are at the top and bottom, and the sunlit limb is on the right. In the user's guide I call this the "normalized orientation". Close to full moon this orientation can differ very much from the appearance in the sky. At the exact time of full moon, the poles of the lunar phase in the sky are pointing to the right and to the left, which one hardly notices because there is no pronounced phase anyway. For waning moon phases (as currently) the sunlit limb of the moon in the sky is to the left, so  in MPM the moon seems to stand upside down.

 

The reason for MPM to rotate the moon into this "normalized" orientation is that the algorithm that computes the optimal tile coverage only works for this orientation. This made the algorithm a lot more robust, because otherwise I would have had to deal with many special cases. Of couse in the tile visualization window I could have "de-rotated" the view back to the appearance in the sky, but I must admit that I was too lazy to do so and did not see a big enough benefit. Therefore, I'm sorry that there is no configuation parameter to set the orientation in the tile visualization window as you would like it to be.

 

Perhaps there is a clever Python programmer out there who wants to implement this change to MPM (the module to be changed is called "tile_visualization.py"? After all, it's open-source software! I'm eager to receive a corresponding pull request on Github.  :)

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#88 HxPI

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 07:03 AM

No worries about the orientation! I was just curious  :grin:

 

Thanks for the explanation.



#89 HxPI

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 01:55 PM

So I tried MPM and was able to record another amazing panorama of a gibbous moon! However, I was not able to fully use the automated recording feature. It was quite frustrating trying to figure out what the issue was in the humid dark with bugs eating me alive! So I opted to use the manual recording option instead so I could capture at full resolution.The equipment used was CEM60EC, ASI178MC, and MBP 15" laptop running Windows 10, along with other support equipment. All the latest software and drivers are installed.

 

The issue is when Firecapture is running with MoonPanoramaMaker plugin selected, the framerate drops to 7 fps. When it is not selected, the framerate is 20-24 fps. I would prefer the highest resolution and fastest framerates so the best frames can be captured given the seeing conditions, which is the whole point of lucking imaging. Otherwise, I would just use my D810 and a 2X barlow to get the same high res images!

 

So it's still a work in progress and hopefully I can troubleshoot the issue and identify the suspect area. When I find something, I'll report back here. A few items I'll try out are use a different camera, and start software in a different sequence (iOptron Commander, Firecapture, MPM). Hopefully it is something that can be resolved so the full glory of automated lunar mosaic imaging can be realized. It is amazing seeing the software operate and this process produces great results when it works as advertised!

 

Thanks.

 

Ciao,

Mel



#90 HxPI

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:31 PM

Well I tried every combination to recreate the problem and wouldn't you know there is no problem now! Of course everything would work perfectly indoors!! My rig seems to enjoy being indoors more haha....

 

Hope to do another real test soon outdoors. Stay tuned.....

 

Ciao,

Mel


Edited by HxPI, 15 August 2016 - 08:39 PM.


#91 Awesomelenny

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 02:58 PM

Hello Rolf!

 

I am so excited with what you developed.  I posted a comment on your link in the Dropbox too.  I added my email for you if you're willing to share this software with me too to test it on the Full Moon tonight.  :bounce:


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#92 Rolf

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 04:13 PM

Hi Leonard,

 

I just sent you an email explaining where you can download the software. If you have read this whole thread you should have an idea already of how to get started.

 

I wish you good luck!

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#93 JonOz

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 08:42 PM

Hi Rolf,

 

The latest version of FireCapture  is v2.5Beta.09.x64 and uses Plugin interface version 1.1. According to the MoonPanoramaMaker User Guide, "MoonPanoramaMaker is consistent with FireCapture’s plugin interface version “1.0” which was introduced with the FireCapture version “v2.5Beta04.x64“. Unfortunately both programs currently seem incompatible, so my question is are there plans to rectify this in the near future?

 

Jon



#94 HxPI

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 10:58 AM

Oh wow guess I won't be upgrading FireCapture! I'll love MoonPanoramaMaker too much!

 

I'll wait until the compatibility issue is resolved.

 

Thanks for sharing.



#95 austrojoe

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:53 PM

HI Rolf, HI All !

 

HERE is al little report of yesterdays great MoonPanorama-Show presented by "MoonPanoramaMaker's master himself" --> Rolf Hempel :-)

 

Best regards from "Keplertown-Linz" / Austria

Joe

 

1.jpg


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#96 Rolf

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 01:20 PM

Hi Rolf,

 

The latest version of FireCapture  is v2.5Beta.09.x64 and uses Plugin interface version 1.1. According to the MoonPanoramaMaker User Guide, "MoonPanoramaMaker is consistent with FireCapture’s plugin interface version “1.0” which was introduced with the FireCapture version “v2.5Beta04.x64“. Unfortunately both programs currently seem incompatible, so my question is are there plans to rectify this in the near future?

 

Jon

 

Hi Jon,

 

Yes, I definitely plan to keep MoonPanoramaMaker consistent with FireCapture.

 

I must admit, however, that the versioning scheme of FireCapture is a complete enigma to me. Some time ago Torsten Edelmann, the author of FireCapture, informed me that he would change the Plugin interface in the next v2.5Beta version. So I knew that at some point I would have to adapt my software. The problem, however, is that I haven't found any way to tell when the new v2.5Beta download switches to the new version. Is it 2.5Beta04, 2.5Beta09, or what? There is no hint at all in the "Release Notes". Even the installer file you can download from the FireCapture web site is not labeled with the (sub-)version number. All you can do is download the software every once in a while, run the installer, and then check which version is actually installed.

 

Therefore, I waited a little before testing if the software has changed. From your note I conclude that this has happened in the meantime. Thanks for this info!

 

Perhaps next weekend I will look into this issue and prepare a new MPM release. When done, I will post it here.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#97 Rolf

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 01:26 PM

Hi Joe,

 

HI Rolf, HI All !

 

HERE is al little report of yesterdays great MoonPanorama-Show presented by "MoonPanoramaMaker's master himself" --> Rolf Hempel :-)

 

Best regards from "Keplertown-Linz" / Austria

Joe

 

1.jpg

Many thanks for this very nice report on my presentations during the "Astro Weekend" at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz. It was a great experience for me to see my panormas on this phantastic 3D screen!

 

Erich and I already made plans for technology upgrades which will (hopefully) merit a new event at AEC in the future. Stay tuned!  :)

 

All the best,

 Rolf


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#98 Awesomelenny

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 03:29 PM

Rolf,

 

So since I downloaded the software, the weather is terrible!  :lol: 

 

Len



#99 JonOz

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 04:02 PM

 

Hi Rolf,

 

The latest version of FireCapture  is v2.5Beta.09.x64 and uses Plugin interface version 1.1. According to the MoonPanoramaMaker User Guide, "MoonPanoramaMaker is consistent with FireCapture’s plugin interface version “1.0” which was introduced with the FireCapture version “v2.5Beta04.x64“. Unfortunately both programs currently seem incompatible, so my question is are there plans to rectify this in the near future?

 

Jon

 

Hi Jon,

 

Yes, I definitely plan to keep MoonPanoramaMaker consistent with FireCapture.

 

I must admit, however, that the versioning scheme of FireCapture is a complete enigma to me. Some time ago Torsten Edelmann, the author of FireCapture, informed me that he would change the Plugin interface in the next v2.5Beta version. So I knew that at some point I would have to adapt my software. The problem, however, is that I haven't found any way to tell when the new v2.5Beta download switches to the new version. Is it 2.5Beta04, 2.5Beta09, or what? There is no hint at all in the "Release Notes". Even the installer file you can download from the FireCapture web site is not labeled with the (sub-)version number. All you can do is download the software every once in a while, run the installer, and then check which version is actually installed.

 

Therefore, I waited a little before testing if the software has changed. From your note I conclude that this has happened in the meantime. Thanks for this info!

 

Perhaps next weekend I will look into this issue and prepare a new MPM release. When done, I will post it here.

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

Hi Rolf,

 

Thank you for your reply. I should have been clearer in stating that when I downloaded FireCapture v2.5.09 (and copied the MPM folder and jar file into FC x64 folder) that FC indicated that it could not start the plugin because of the incorrect version number.

If it is of any help for the future, I notice that Torsten has indicated in the Revision History for version 2.5.0.8 "plugin interface changed to v1.1 (see readme.txt in plugin folder for changes)". He also indicates that the changes are not available by update and that a new installation from website is needed.

Admittedly these statements appear well down the list of changes for v2.5.08 and could easily be missed.

Anyway I am confident that you have the situation in hand and look forward to your changes. Great software!

 

Regards,

Jon



#100 JonOz

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 04:18 PM

Hi all,

 

For anyone who is having trouble finding the revision history for FireCapture (I know I did), it can be found in FireCapture by scrolling down and clicking on Settings/General, then scroll down again to Misc/Software Update and click on 'Connect to server and check for updates'

 

Jon




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