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Solar imaging ocean

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#1 dhkaiser

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:16 AM

OK, I have decided to dip my toes into the solar imaging ocean. Since I am fairly new to solar observing I may be rushing things however I'm going to give it a go.  I have a Lunt LS60Ha PT and a ZWO ASI178MM.  Although there has been no clear weather since the camera arrived I have been playing with Firecapture and Registax with the camera on a C90 imaging a telephone pole just to acquaint myself with the software.  Anyone willing to suggest camera settings suitable for solar imaging? Gain, exposure and gamma settings? Any other suggestions are welcome, thank you.

Dan


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#2 RickV

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:56 AM

Hi Dan,

 

I suggest...
a) Get the free software called:
     i) AutoStakkert 3 (AS!3 - use instead of Registrax for stacking)
     ii) PIPP (use for quality selection instead of AS!3)

 

b) Process
    i) run your videos (I prefer ser files) through PIPP
       My 'seeing' is usually poor to below average so I tell PIPP to select only the best 21 frames (out of 1200 or so) to make new shorter ser files.

    ii) I run those shorter high-quality ser files through AS!3 stacking only the best 20 out of the 21 frames.

 

c) Camera Settings
    i) Exposure - anything at or less that 12ms
    ii) Gain - as low as possible (for low noise) that still gives you a wide histogram that peaks at about 90% intensity
    iii) Gamma
     - low to medium contrast for capturing surface & proms together
     - high contrast for surface only
     - high contrast for proms only

 

I hope that helps.

 

Best,
Rick


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#3 BYoesle

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:01 AM

Here's my processing tips in The Best of Solar Threads. Keep gain very low, and I use minimal gamma to retain detail for later processing, and use exposure to get enough detail but not over expose. Just my penny.gif penny.gif - results can be seen here.

 

I'm sure you will get other responses as well, but I highly advise that as a beginner to avoid the digital imaging route until you've learned to absorb all the photons you can with the Mark I eyeball and putting pencil to paper - imaging the old fashioned way. You'll really hone you observing skills for subtile solar detail, feature changes, and an appreciation of what the Sun is all about. Non-visual imaging is a time consuming and intensive non-observing activity, and as far as I'm concerned, is putting the cart before the horse.

 

H alpha 3 16 1978 drawing adj.jpg

Bob Yoesle

 

 

P18012012Michael_Wendl.jpg

Michael Wendl

 

 


Edited by BYoesle, 13 January 2020 - 10:06 AM.

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#4 dhkaiser

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:12 AM

Thank you Rick and Bob.  I will certainly look into AutoStakkert. And Bob you are probably right I should slow down.  I am seeing so much more in the images it just seems a great challenge.



#5 descott12

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:13 AM

s a time consuming and intensive non-observing activity, and as far as I'm concerned, is putting the cart before the horse.

 

attachicon.gifH alpha 3 16 1978 drawing adj.jpg

Bob Yoesle

 

 

attachicon.gifP18012012Michael_Wendl.jpg

Michael Wendl

Very cool sketches. I would have loved to have seen that bottom one live!



#6 BYoesle

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:49 AM

 

I am seeing so much more in the images it just seems a great challenge.

Hi Dan,

 

Imaging is seductive, and we all derive a great deal of pleasure we get from a well presented image - and it indeed can be a challenging endeavor. And after all, this is the Facebook age, and this site and Solar Chat are basically social media - not too much discussion of solar observation or physics is taking place.

 

But the detail you refer to IS present to the naked eye, you just have to learn to see it during the fleeting moments of good seeing that "lucky imaging" freezes out. It is even more challenging to become a good solar OBSERVER, just as with becoming a good deep sky, lunar, or planetary observer. But don't underestimate the power of your eye and brain to ferret out the detail - subtile as it can be. And I know from experience how fast some events taking place 150,000,000 km away can transpire, and have missed experiencing them fully in a mad rush to get camera, computer, and other issues worked out. I wish I would have just relaxed and watched the show, rather than be preoccupied with capturing it to show others latter.

 

I don't want to discourage you from imaging forever. But go to the Grand Canyon a time or two and let the majesty sink into your being... After that you can get into Ansel Adams mode.

 

I guess that's penny.gif penny.gif penny.gif


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#7 RickV

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:49 PM

Ha, why slow down?

 

Dan, you have the gear: scope and a good matching camera - get into imaging.

 

Sketching?  I can't draw worth beans!

 

Visual?  Sure I did visual for a tiny bit... only to realize that:

a) I wanted a permanent record of what I was seeing.  e.g. You can't post an image of what you 'saw'.

b) Visual could never reveal all the details that a stacked, sharpened processed image could.

c) Eyepieces could cost as much as cameras.

 

Best,

Rick


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#8 wargrafix

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:21 PM

slow down?

 

 

Nah mate, speed up!


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#9 BeltofOrion

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:26 PM

Don't waste precious imaging time with "Mark I eyeball and putting pencil to paper" nonsense. Jump right in. There's nothing to it. And nothing more satisifying than processing a piece of video and getting an image that looks even better than what you've been seeing on your computer screen. Considering the cold weather and the clouds, I barely look through the eyepiece anymore. By the way, I use SharpCap rather than FireCapture and definitely make good use of the histogram. And I second what wargrafix said ... don't slow down, speed up ... esecially if you have clear skies. 


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#10 BeltofOrion

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:32 PM

Ha, why slow down?

 

Dan, you have the gear: scope and a good matching camera - get into imaging.

 

Sketching?  I can't draw worth beans!

 

Visual?  Sure I did visual for a tiny bit... only to realize that:

a) I wanted a permanent record of what I was seeing.  e.g. You can't post an image of what you 'saw'.

b) Visual could never reveal all the details that a stacked, sharpened processed image could.

c) Eyepieces could cost as much as cameras.

 

Best,

Rick

Excellent comment, Rick! I agree totally!


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#11 hopskipson

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:57 PM

Hi Dan,

Bob does make a good point.  You should put in some time visually to pick up the finer points and details that your eyes can see, but I see no problem supplementing it with imaging.  I guess I have a hard time with picking up low contrast features especially now when they are few and far between.  Sometimes I'll just watch the live view to see the features I can't see with my 58 year old Mark I eyeballs. Having software to control exposure, gain and gamma help bring out contrast, otherwise I might not see much detail.

 

I also have very limited observing time so I like to capture what I see so I have a record.  It is very satisfying to have a record and share it with others.  That being said take Rick's advice on software and most capture settings.  I look for a lower histogram fill more in the 70-80% fill.  It's easy to overexpose some areas when the histogram is high.  Another tip is to capture in the highest bit depth possible for your camera.  You will want to check off the 16 bit capture mode.


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#12 MalVeauX

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:59 PM

OK, I have decided to dip my toes into the solar imaging ocean. Since I am fairly new to solar observing I may be rushing things however I'm going to give it a go.  I have a Lunt LS60Ha PT and a ZWO ASI178MM.  Although there has been no clear weather since the camera arrived I have been playing with Firecapture and Registax with the camera on a C90 imaging a telephone pole just to acquaint myself with the software.  Anyone willing to suggest camera settings suitable for solar imaging? Gain, exposure and gamma settings? Any other suggestions are welcome, thank you.

Dan

Dan,

 

I would suggest you do both visual and imaging. Play with both. Whatever you have the most fun with, stick with. It's easy to think we have lots of time to get into something, but the cycles are long and it's easy to miss some prime moments, or not know they're happening, without really studying what is going on with our star at any given time. Your Lunt 60 is a great way to start! And your IMX178 based camera is also a great match to it, so you're set for anything really. Visually you can take a look and see what's there, get an idea of what features can be resolved and noted with your system rapidly and enjoy seeing it for real with your own eyes as seeing allows, this is great with a full disc FOV just to see what's happening. You can image too, to go deeper into keeping the data, processing it, presenting it and sharing it around. Great for those cloudy days when you can't do visual. So again, I would advocate to do both, they both have wonderful merits and lasting benefits. I often image with automation and do visual at the same time! Whatever floats your boat. But you're set either way already, so that's great.

I really enjoy binoviewers with solar visually, and it's also quite fulfilling to watch real time things happen on an LCD with a camera and do EAA or imaging, it works for both!

 

FireCapture would be my suggestion. Full pixel array (no region of interest), exposure time at 10ms or less to freeze the seeing. Gain minimum, whatever it takes to keep your histogram filled to around 70% or so when imaging. Leave gamma off when imaging, you can set gamma to 100 to focus critically if needed, but it shoudn't be needed, set gamma to around 37 to find faint prominences when hunting. When imaging, however, turn gamma off. The data is there, gamma is software manipulation, if you saw it, it's there. Send it through Autostakkert!3 for alignment and stacking. You can do levels and first pass processing with IMPPG (google this, it's brilliant software by a member on this forum just for this purpose!). And go from there! Acquiring good data is the first step. Processing is next. And you can always screen shot or sketch what you see!

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 13 January 2020 - 10:01 PM.

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#13 viewer

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:22 PM

I think sketching is something that's generally becoming a bit difficult to defend. You want to observe, fine do it. You want to capture? Fine, a camera does that the best, and it's increasingly less a cost thing. 

 

Think sketching is destined to become even a bit more less spread, but guess there will be those of us who continue. You just have to have a certain amount of factors pulling you in that direction, like I happen to have.


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