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New stacking software project "PlanetarySystemStacker"

astrophotography imaging moon planet solar
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#51 Tom Glenn

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:35 AM

Rolf, thanks for the update.  I'm not worried about the noise.  180 frames will always have some noise if sharpened, so I just interpreted this as a test run of your batch processing.  I'm impressed that it only took 91 minutes for 75 videos.  I will be interested to test your software on my lunar files, because they are quite large and slow to process.  For me, a typical lunar video is about 100GB in size, with 5000 frames of 5496x3672 pixel frames.  These files typically have multiple thousands of APs (often ~6000), and take about 4 hours to process in AS!3.

 

One question I have is whether your stacking software introduces any Gaussian blur to the image for alignment purposes.  In AS!3, there is the option to do this under the experimental features menu.  The Gaussian blur (on the order of a few pixels) is only added before alignment, and is then removed before stacking.  This reduces the likelihood of aligning on pattern noise in low contrast regions such as the lunar maria.  Indeed, if I don't select this option, I frequently have a grid-like pattern noise in the maria.  Although it is subtle, it is unacceptable to me, but fortunately, this is completely removed when using the blur feature for alignment.  Also, does your software have multi-size APs available with automatic placement?  The maria seem to align and stack better with larger size APs, whereas other "busier" regions of the Moon take better to smaller APs.  



#52 DMach

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 06:18 AM

The prospect of being able to batch process multiple videos sounds very good to me ... took me hours to pump all of my Jupiter captures through AS3 after some recent extended imaging sessions.

 

Following this thread with interest, can't wait to take it for a spin ... thanks Rolf!



#53 jp_oc

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 01:22 PM

I was able to get PSS fully working on MacOS 10.13. It runs without error and produces useable output. This is an excellent piece of software and Rolf has done a great job. 

 

For us 1% of users trying to do astrophotography on a Mac this is what I found: The issue was that Brew (a package manager for MacOS that many people use to install Python) does not install Python as a framework (a Mac specific way of grouping shared resources such as libraries). The matplotlib library needs Python3 to be a framework so it can properly access the Tcl/Tk window manager/GUI. As usual when dealing with Python, OSS or JIT interpreted scripting languages this leads to dependency hell and hours of tracking down obscure bugs in scripts or incompatibilities in various libraries or toolkits...

 

Sidebar - God I miss the days of single compiled executables that included all their own resources and dependencies. Someone mentioned Delphi up above, I loved Delphi for that reason alone; you could distribute a single file and guarantee it would work on any supported system, it contained everything it needed. Now you see people distributing entire JRE's and multiple copies of very specific versions of a package just to get a 100 line script to work. None of this is a critique of Planetary System Stacker, it's just the way of "modern" open source development, still constrained by decisions made decades ago when 420MB HDD's were standard and more storage was very expensive. Le sigh....

 

I had to clean up a bunch of version issues on my system and make some minor config changes in a couple of libraries. I already had different versions of Python and Xcode installed. Unfortunately as every person's system is different I can't say if these changes would apply to someone else trying to get PSS running on MacOS. The easiest path would be if you don't already have Python, gcc or Xcode installed. Assuming you have a regular Mac and don't write software this should be the case for most users. If so follow these steps:

 

  1. Install Python 3 as a pre-built package from https://www.python.org (MacOS includes a version of Python pre-installed but PSS will NOT work with it.) - This will set up Python as a framework and now includes a built-in version of Tk. You now have two versions of Python on your system; you need to be explicit about calling the correct version from the terminal (Python3.7) or modify your PATH to point to your preferred default.
  2. I believe that the pre-built Python package now includes pip by default. I already had pip installed so I'm not sure. Verify pip is installed by opening a terminal window and typing "pip --version" you should see an output similar to this: 
    jp-iMac:~ jp$ pip --version
    pip 19.0.3 from /usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pip (python 3.7)
    

    If pip is not installed you will see an error. Install pip from https://pip.pypa.io/...ble/installing/

  3. Install the various required libraries. This is not currently in the PSS documentation but a brief read through the source code suggests you need:​

    PyQt5
    numpy
    matplotlib
    scipy
    scikit-image
    opencv-python
    pathlib
    
    

    In a terminal window enter: "pip install <pkg name>", for example "pip install PyQt5". Do this for each of the libraries. If you get any errors, google the error to see if there is an easy resolution.

  4. Download and unzip the PSS files from Github https://github.com/R.../tree/prototype. I put this in a folder named PSS inside my Applications directory.

  5. If all went well you should be able to open a terminal in the "Source" directory of the PSS files and type "python3.7 planetary_system_stacker.py". 

  6. You should see the main program window. Open the file you want to process from the "File" menu and go to town.

Rolf has made a major contribution to the astrophotography community with this project. I am very excited to have a new option that is platform neutral and in active development. Thank you Rolf!


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#54 Dunc

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 01:28 PM

This looks amazing Rolf, how do I get a copy of the Windows Installer, there is a link in the documentation on GitHub but it leads nowhere. I am a long term frequent user of AS!3 with Registax as the sharpening agent but it often doesn't do a great job. PSS looks like the next gen and I'd love to give it a go.

 

Keep up the good work,

 

Duncan



#55 Rolf

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 02:48 PM

Hi Joe,

 

Thank you so much for your valuable work on the MacOS version! You are several steps ahead of my own plans, so it is difficult for me to keep up with you.

 

In the end, I think it would be best to distribute a single installer file for Mac users, rather than telling them how to install Python on their machine. When I published my earlier software "MoonPanoramaMaker", I did the same for Linux. You are completely right with your criticism of "modern" open source software, where you have to move huge install files around to get a small script to run on another system. The advantage of a single install file, however, is that users who have never heard a thing about "Python" would be able to use the software easily.

 

Another thought on the pros and cons of "modern" software: I started programming in 1975, so I know the technology development since them pretty well. Software was much smaller by then, and it could be ported much more easily. After all, most scientific software was written in Fortran, anyway. But you had to write a large fraction of your code from scratch. Today, with the wealth of open source modules being available, this would be foolish. I could only write the PSS in half a year's time because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants! Think about the powerful Qt5 GUI toolkit, the OpenCV library, and all the Numpy stuff. Much more than 95% of the software active when PSS is running was developed by others. I only had to add a tiny part. This is why I love modern software technology, and why I will never return to programming in languages like Delphi!

 

I'm working hard on writing the user guide document. As soon as it is finished, I will make the Windows installer available to the community. Just wait a few more days, please!

 

All the best,

 Rolf

 

 


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#56 Rolf

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:02 PM

Hi Tom,

 

Rolf, thanks for the update.  I'm not worried about the noise.  180 frames will always have some noise if sharpened, so I just interpreted this as a test run of your batch processing.  I'm impressed that it only took 91 minutes for 75 videos.  I will be interested to test your software on my lunar files, because they are quite large and slow to process.  For me, a typical lunar video is about 100GB in size, with 5000 frames of 5496x3672 pixel frames.  These files typically have multiple thousands of APs (often ~6000), and take about 4 hours to process in AS!3.

 

One question I have is whether your stacking software introduces any Gaussian blur to the image for alignment purposes.  In AS!3, there is the option to do this under the experimental features menu.  The Gaussian blur (on the order of a few pixels) is only added before alignment, and is then removed before stacking.  This reduces the likelihood of aligning on pattern noise in low contrast regions such as the lunar maria.  Indeed, if I don't select this option, I frequently have a grid-like pattern noise in the maria.  Although it is subtle, it is unacceptable to me, but fortunately, this is completely removed when using the blur feature for alignment.  Also, does your software have multi-size APs available with automatic placement?  The maria seem to align and stack better with larger size APs, whereas other "busier" regions of the Moon take better to smaller APs.  

Your huge moon videos will be a challenge to my program! I never tried processing a 100GB video file. I can only hope that PSS can handle this case.

 

Yes, adding Gaussian blur is essential in the alignment process. Actually it took me a while to find that out when I developed my algorithms. In stacking the original images are used, not the blurred ones. In my software the Gaussian blur feature cannot be unselected, but its strength can be set.

 

So far automatic AP placement uses uniform AP sizes only. You can remove / resize / add APs manually if you like, but that is not an option if one wants to process large numbers of videos in batch mode. My program architecture is flexible enough to add multi-size APs later if it is really useful. At the moment I'm not fully convinced yet.

 

All the best,

 Rolf


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#57 Tom Glenn

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:31 PM

Hi Tom,

 

Your huge moon videos will be a challenge to my program! I never tried processing a 100GB video file. I can only hope that PSS can handle this case.

 

Yes, adding Gaussian blur is essential in the alignment process. Actually it took me a while to find that out when I developed my algorithms. In stacking the original images are used, not the blurred ones. In my software the Gaussian blur feature cannot be unselected, but its strength can be set.

 

So far automatic AP placement uses uniform AP sizes only. You can remove / resize / add APs manually if you like, but that is not an option if one wants to process large numbers of videos in batch mode. My program architecture is flexible enough to add multi-size APs later if it is really useful. At the moment I'm not fully convinced yet.

 

All the best,

 Rolf

I'm not totally convinced either that multi-size alignment has any real effect, but I have no evidence one way or another.  It's just a pattern I've settled into, and because I'm happy with the results, it has become a habit.  The effectiveness of the Gaussian blur for alignment is something that I am certain of however, so I'm glad to hear that your program uses a similar method.  I have done direct comparisons with and without the option selected in AS!3, and the results are always better when using it.  


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#58 LauraMS

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:32 PM

I was able to get PSS fully working on MacOS 10.13. It runs without error and produces useable output. This is an excellent piece of software and Rolf has done a great job. 

 

[...]

 

  1. Install Python 3 as a pre-built package from https://www.python.org (MacOS includes a version of Python pre-installed but PSS will NOT work with it.) - This will set up Python as a framework and now includes a built-in version of Tk. You now have two versions of Python on your system; you need to be explicit about calling the correct version from the terminal (Python3.7) or modify your PATH to point to your preferred default.
  2. I believe that the pre-built Python package now includes pip by default. I already had pip installed so I'm not sure. Verify pip is installed by opening a terminal window and typing "pip --version" you should see an output similar to this: 
    jp-iMac:~ jp$ pip --version
    pip 19.0.3 from /usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pip (python 3.7)
    

    If pip is not installed you will see an error. Install pip from https://pip.pypa.io/...ble/installing/

  3. Install the various required libraries. This is not currently in the PSS documentation but a brief read through the source code suggests you need:​

    PyQt5
    numpy
    matplotlib
    scipy
    scikit-image
    opencv-python
    pathlib
    
    

    In a terminal window enter: "pip install <pkg name>", for example "pip install PyQt5". Do this for each of the libraries. If you get any errors, google the error to see if there is an easy resolution.

  4. Download and unzip the PSS files from Github https://github.com/R.../tree/prototype. I put this in a folder named PSS inside my Applications directory.

  5. If all went well you should be able to open a terminal in the "Source" directory of the PSS files and type "python3.7 planetary_system_stacker.py".

  6. You should see the main program window. Open the file you want to process from the "File" menu and go to town.

Rolf has made a major contribution to the astrophotography community with this project. I am very excited to have a new option that is platform neutral and in active development. Thank you Rolf!

Thanks Rolf for this wonderful piece of software.

 

Just wanted to mention that I was able to install it under MacOS 10.14 (Mojave) within a few minutes given jp_oc's (post #53) instructions. I don't have good data here but with the single video file I found on my travel laptop it seems to run very quickly. A few minor graphics formatting issues on my MacBook 12 screen, and unfortunately it will read only avi (no ser-file format) but I can live with that. Rolf, I won't complain here and would wait for the final version - if you want to know the formating issues, just let me know.

 

Thanks again,

Laura


Edited by LauraMS, 14 May 2019 - 03:39 PM.

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#59 Rolf

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:32 AM

Hi Laura,

 

Thanks Rolf for this wonderful piece of software.

 

Just wanted to mention that I was able to install it under MacOS 10.14 (Mojave) within a few minutes given jp_oc's (post #53) instructions. I don't have good data here but with the single video file I found on my travel laptop it seems to run very quickly. A few minor graphics formatting issues on my MacBook 12 screen, and unfortunately it will read only avi (no ser-file format) but I can live with that. Rolf, I won't complain here and would wait for the final version - if you want to know the formating issues, just let me know.

 

Thanks again,

Laura

Thank you very much for your positive comments! I'm glad that it is not too difficult to get my program running on MacOS. In the long run, however, I still think an automatic installer would be preferable.

 

Adding other input file formats (.mov, .ser) is certainly on my agenda! I just started out with .avi for my first tests Adding other formats should be not too hard to do. At the moment getting the user guide finished is my highest priority, though.

 

All the best,

 Rolf



#60 jp_oc

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 06:37 PM

I don't see any options in the configuration for debayering. Am I missing them? 

 

Autostakkert always get it wrong with my OSC camera and I have to force GRBG.



#61 Rolf

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 02:23 PM

Hi Joe,

 

I don't see any options in the configuration for debayering. Am I missing them? 

 

Autostakkert always get it wrong with my OSC camera and I have to force GRBG.

At the moment PSS relies on OpenCV to do the debayering. So far I didn't invest much work on this aspect yet, because with my cameras (Canon DSLR, ASI120MM-S) it just works fine. I'm sure that at some point I will have to add some parameters to give users more control.

 

Best wishes,

 Rolf



#62 Rolf

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 02:32 PM

Hi,

 

Today I finished writing the user guide. You can download it from this Github folder. The name of the PDF is "PlanetarySystemStacker_User-Guide.pdf".

 

This weekend I plan to publish the Windows installer. If you are curious what to expect, you can meanwhile read the guide! smile.gif

 

All the best,

 Rolf


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#63 DMach

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 05:39 PM

Looking forward to taking it for a spin! Thanks Rolf



#64 Rolf

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 02:17 PM

Hi,

 

Today I uploaded the first release of my PlanetarySystemStacker software on Github. You will find the installer for Windows here. As usual, after downloading the installer, just start it and follow the instructions. I only tested the software on Windows 10, but I'm fairly confident that it will run on Windows 7 and 8 as well.

 

Please note that this is a prototype. I know that there are many small features which are not supported yet (such as .ser or .mov import, sub-pixel resolution, RGB shifting, ...). On the other hand, I'm happy to have finished this job completely on my own in about half a year's time. The hardest part was developing all the algorithms from scratch, since none of the previous authors had published theirs. The largest part of the coding went into the graphical user interface which I tried to design as user-friendly as possible. I hope that you will find the program as useful as I do.

 

So far I only testet the software with my own moon images and a single Saturn video. I'm sure that unforeseen problems will arise for different kinds of input data. If you run into problems which you cannot resolve yourself by carefully reading the user guide, it would be great if you could send me a note.

 

There will be many improvememts to the software in the months to come. So, please bear with me if your favorite feature is not included yet.

 

Since this is open-source software, it would be even better if others offered their help in developing the software further rather than just asking me to implement their favorite features for them. I stil have the hope that eventually this will become a community project.

 

All the best,

 Rolf


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#65 mikefulb

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 02:41 PM

Rolf,

  Great to see someone else using python to solve astronomical problems - hopefully we'll see plenty more as the professional astronomical community already uses python heavily and no reason the 'amateur' side can't as well!



#66 carballada

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 03:43 PM

Hi,

 

Today I uploaded the first release of my PlanetarySystemStacker software on Github. You will find the installer for Windows here. As usual, after downloading the installer, just start it and follow the instructions. I only tested the software on Windows 10, but I'm fairly confident that it will run on Windows 7 and 8 as well.

 

Please note that this is a prototype. I know that there are many small features which are not supported yet (such as .ser or .mov import, sub-pixel resolution, RGB shifting, ...). On the other hand, I'm happy to have finished this job completely on my own in about half a year's time. The hardest part was developing all the algorithms from scratch, since none of the previous authors had published theirs. The largest part of the coding went into the graphical user interface which I tried to design as user-friendly as possible. I hope that you will find the program as useful as I do.

 

So far I only testet the software with my own moon images and a single Saturn video. I'm sure that unforeseen problems will arise for different kinds of input data. If you run into problems which you cannot resolve yourself by carefully reading the user guide, it would be great if you could send me a note.

 

There will be many improvememts to the software in the months to come. So, please bear with me if your favorite feature is not included yet.

 

Since this is open-source software, it would be even better if others offered their help in developing the software further rather than just asking me to implement their favorite features for them. I stil have the hope that eventually this will become a community project.

 

All the b

Thank you so much for this really good piece of software!!

I tested right know for the first time and It's really good!!

 

thank you again 


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#67 RedLionNJ

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 04:16 PM

Hi Rolf,

 

Thank you for the installer - here's some quick feedback......

 

Can it handle SER files? Nearly all my recordings over the last few years have been undebayered SERs. I don't see an option for that...

 

Progress indicator - not sure I see the point of the little green bar whizzing toward the right, then starting all over again - frequently

 

Crashing - when I pick the Save option (windows 10), the application just crashes out.... I can't find the documented "PlanetarySystemStacker.log" file anywhere on my HD.

 

Debayering - I tried an AVI from a DSLR - never did see color on the screen. Appeared to treat it as monochrome....

 

Thanks

 

Grant



#68 Rolf

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 03:27 AM

Hi Grant,

 

Hi Rolf,

 

Thank you for the installer - here's some quick feedback......

 

Can it handle SER files? Nearly all my recordings over the last few years have been undebayered SERs. I don't see an option for that...

 

Progress indicator - not sure I see the point of the little green bar whizzing toward the right, then starting all over again - frequently

 

Crashing - when I pick the Save option (windows 10), the application just crashes out.... I can't find the documented "PlanetarySystemStacker.log" file anywhere on my HD.

 

Debayering - I tried an AVI from a DSLR - never did see color on the screen. Appeared to treat it as monochrome....

 

Thanks

 

Grant

Thank you for your feedback! Here are my quick answers to the points you raised.

  • As I wrote yesterday, .ser  import is not implemented yet. This will be easy to implement, and it is on the agenda. It just needs some time.
  • The progess indicator is nothing I implemented myself. Its style depends on the OS, in this case Windows 10.
  • Did you check the option "Write protocol to file"? Otherwise there is no protocol.
  • What do you mean with "never did see color on the screen"? If you refer to the viewers used by PSS during the stacking workflow, this is intended. Those viewers show a monochrome version of the scene. After all, those views are not used to judge the quality of the final image, but to select workflow parameters. Only for a postprocessing job the viewer shows the original color. Here the user must be able to see the effect of corrections to the image and its colors.
  • The program should not crash, so this must be some bug. It would be interesting to know what kind of input you used, and where exactly in the workflow it happened. Can you reproduce the problem with a small input file which you can put somewhere so I can download it and test myself? That would help.

Best regards,

 Rolf



#69 RedLionNJ

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 11:57 AM

Hi Rolf,

 

This is encouraging (I think). Thanks for the response.

 

I did have "Write protocol to file" enabled, but it looks like the content only gets flushed out to disk when one gracefully exits the application ("Quit"). Else it sits empty.

 

The crash symptom is peculiar (I'm on Win10, btw). I need a bit more time to figure out how to reliably reproduce this.

 

On the AVI files I was able to process to completion, I notice Registax does not like something about the TIFF format - even color TIFFs are interpreted as monochrome by R6, creating a kind of bas relief effect. They do display appropriate in other Windows apps, like Photoshop or Image Viewer.

 

The only AVIs I can find are from my earlier days dabbling in this sport, before I switched to SER format a few years back.  All the AVIs are of considerable size :(

 

Maybe it's best I hold off a bit until SER capability is available.

 

Thank you very much, though!

 

Grant



#70 RedLionNJ

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:07 PM

Hi Rolf,

 

I managed to find one (small) AVI which PSS appears to process just fine, yet the output TIFF is not interpreted correctly by Registax....

 

https://www.dropbox....chrbsCzTK8IyrfE

 

I would strongly recommend you make the final TIFF format something Registax can handle.

 

 

 

Grant



#71 DesertRat

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 04:05 PM

Rolf, good work. Planetary imagers will need to experiment with the various settings associated with "Align box width" and "Minimum structure" so we can establish best practices, depending on image sizes, planet features etc.

 

As Grant noted there are some difficulties with the stacked result from PSS.

 

In a test run I conducted with a planetary video the result at the end was a .tiff file with LZW compression.  I don't know if that can be changed within PSS. I had to decompress it using MaximDL in order to process the image in Registax 6 (R6).  Otherwise R6 cannot deal with it, although it tries, the presentation is corrupt.

 

A .tiff file cannot be drag and dropped into R6, but R6 will read a .tiff file from the "Select" button.  A .tif file can be drag and dropped.  This is not a major issue however.

 

After the decompression there is another more significant difficulty.  Almost any wavelet setting of any strength is applied in R6 the image saturates immediately.  One can adjust contrast and brightness levels in R6 to account for that, but I think this may impact the dynamic range of the result.  Ideally a properly normalized stack should not require any histogram manipulations, although in some cases like bright polar caps on Mars one may need to.

 

Using the same video and the same number of stacked frames in PSS & AS3 tiffinfo reports the following for the stacked images:

 

------------------------------------------------
                      PSS
------------------------------------------------
TIFF Directory at offset 0x6ee7c (454268)
  Image Width: 442 Image Length: 383
  Bits/Sample: 16
  Compression Scheme: LZW
  Photometric Interpretation: RGB color
  Samples/Pixel: 3
  Rows/Strip: 3
  Planar Configuration: single image plane
  Predictor: horizontal differencing 2 (0x2)

stats:
  min  :  361.00   max : 31552.00
  mean : 5473.78   std :  9393.16


------------------------------------------------
                      AS3
------------------------------------------------
  Subfile Type: (0 = 0x0)
  Image Width: 440 Image Length: 440
  Resolution: 72, 72 pixels/inch
  Bits/Sample: 16
  Sample Format: unsigned integer
  Compression Scheme: None
  Photometric Interpretation: min-is-black
  FillOrder: msb-to-lsb
  Orientation: row 0 top, col 0 lhs
  Samples/Pixel: 1
  Rows/Strip: 9
  Planar Configuration: single image plane
 
stats:
  min  :    0.00   max : 49151.00
  mean : 6964.24   std : 13991.23
------------------------------------------------

 

Recommend the stacked tiff file for a monochrome video be output also as monochrome.

 

More importantly, it appears R6 "thinks" the right hand side of the histogram is 32k instead of 64k for the PSS image.  Note the AS3 result has a larger max pixel intensity, but you really have drive the wavelets hard to saturate, while the PSS result saturates almost immediately with any sharpening - in R6.

 

Of course one can read the PSS stack into PixInsight, MaximDL or most any IP and convert it into something that behaves better in R6.

 

Glenn


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#72 Rolf

Rolf

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:52 AM

Hi Grant,

 

 

Hi Rolf,

 

I managed to find one (small) AVI which PSS appears to process just fine, yet the output TIFF is not interpreted correctly by Registax....

 

https://www.dropbox....chrbsCzTK8IyrfE

 

I would strongly recommend you make the final TIFF format something Registax can handle.

 

 

 

Grant

Thank you for your feedback.The video import will definitely need more work. That's a relatively straightforward topic which I had postponed until the difficult stuff was finished. In the end the program must be able to process .avi, .ser and .mov with as many camera-specific variants as possible. In the meantime programs like PIPP can be used to convert videos into .avi, and to reduce their size. Also, if you are processing large videos, make sure to set the buffering level in PSS to 0.

 

I see the incompatibility of the TIFF output with Registax 6 as a problem of Registax, not of PSS. Registax is legacy software which has not been maintained for eight years. In PSS I try to use current file formats to optimize the compatibility with today's image processing software. I had similar problems with the other legacy program AviStack2 which cannot handle video files from my ASI camera properly any more.

 

Best regards,

 Rolf



#73 LauraMS

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 11:17 PM

Dear Rolf,

 

thanks very much again for this nice piece of software. Now, I had a chance to reprocess one video file from last week from solar imaging. I guess, solar was not your intention, but it is "solar system" as well lol.gif

 

Anyway, here is active region AR12741 from last week processed with PSS:

2019-05-15 Sun AR12740 AR12741 LauraMS +PSS.jpg

 

It was obtained in continuum (white light, 540nm) using a Solar Szintillation Monitor and GenikaAstro software to trigger image acquisition in moments of calmest atmosphere. Images were stored only if seeing was better than 0.7''. This gave 157 images during a 20sec run. Image scale is 0.21'' per pixel. Further details can be found in the image legend.

 

The ser-file from GenikaAstro was converted to avi using ser-player software, and then processed using PSS and sharpened with PSS. Image cropping in XnView.

 

Here is the version processed using AutoStakkert3 from last week

 

2019-05-15 Sun AR12740 AR12741 LauraMS -PSS.jpg

 

If I compare both versions I like the sharp filament detail in the penumbra and the light bridge in the PSS-version of the image. Also more umbral detail is visible with PSS. I haven't been able to get that amount of penumbral detail with AutoStakkert3 and any other postprocessing software I tried. The granulation cells are sharper in the PSS-processed version but I tend to think that they are a bit oversharpened.

 

This also hints to the one issue I have with this software: in postprocessing mode I was not able to zoom in into the image to really see the small details during adjustment of the sharpening work. Maybe I missed how to do that from the documentation, but the missing zoom function made it really difficult to judge if image sharpening was appropriate or not. This is not obvious from the image above which is cropped to 760 PX width, but the original file (1920 x 1280px) was much too large to be judged appropriately. With a zoom function I would expect that the final image could be better than the first image shown above. Also, a crop functionality would help.

 

What was also missing from my point of view was the missing image normalization (flat, bias and/or dark). Flat fielding is an issue in solar since I typically stack very view images (7). There is no related issue visible on the images above but there are dust mottles on the original 1920x1280px  file right after stacking and/or postprocessing.

 

Another minor point is that I used PSS on a 10.6 inch display at 1920 x 1280 resolution. This resulted in text clipping in a number of buttons in the stacking menu and in the postprocessing menu (e.g., "remove" button).

 

Overall, I was surprised to find that I was able to process this file quickly on a Samsung Galaxy Book Windows 10 computer with m3 processor and 4GB of memory. I know, the video was very small but anyway: I never tried AutoStakkert on that computer before.

 

Overall, PSS is a very interesting software but as with every new software I need to get used to the individual steps and the somewhat changed workflow. From my point of view what is really missing is image normalization (flat, bias, dark) in stacking mode and the missing zoom function in postprocessing mode.

 

Rolf, please see my comments as enthusiastic replies and meant to help you further improve PSS  if you think it is feasible. Anyway, you really achieved a lot in very short time - thanks again to support the astro community with your open-source!

 

Best, Laura


Edited by LauraMS, 20 May 2019 - 11:35 PM.

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#74 LauraMS

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 12:01 AM

ok, I reread the documentation and found the zoom function undecided.gif

 

LauraMS_AR12741_Solarcontinuum_540nm_PSS-zoom.jpg

 

I zoomed in, did image sharpening, then wrote the image to disk, cropped, reset black and white point, and denoised a little bit in XnView.

 

This looks very nice. Granulation can be seen also near to the penumbra which usually is very hard and which was not possible in the Autostakkert3-processed file. Again: Very nice.

 

Best, Laura


Edited by LauraMS, 21 May 2019 - 12:06 AM.

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#75 Rolf

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:25 AM

Hi Laura,

 

Thank you so much for you nice report! I was so happy that you could use my software successfully on the sun, and that the results are even better than with AutoStakkert!3.

 

Good that you found the zoom function yourself. I thought that being able to zoom into areas of interest is crucial in many places, and in postprocessing in particular. Another phase where it is very important is in the AP editor. There I even added undo/redo functionality because otherwise a single mistake could cause a lot of work to be lost.

 

Your point on the missing image normalization is very valid! This shouldn't be difficult to implement, but so far I had concentrated on the core functionality. I will put this point on the agenda. In fact, a user in a German forum had tried PSS on the sun. He had very much dirt on his sensor which caused lots of trouble in PSS when it tried to compute local shifts. After all, it is hard for my program to differentiate between real surface features and sensor dust. A flat frame could have helped a lot, of course! Additionally I will try to change PSS such that it is not fooled any more by dust specks.

 

The problem with small high-resolution monitors is well-known but difficult to solve. I will have to think about this one!

 

Best wishes,

 Rolf

 

 




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