Chastened by recent posts of 'worst planetary photos' looking better than many of my best, I'll dip my toe in the water after a long hiatus.
2 weeks ago I received my new ASI224MC and have been waiting for 'magical seeing' to come close to what many here post routinely. Paired with a 10" Meade LX200 SCT operating at f20, I took a number of 1 minute long color videos at 200fps. Stacking in AutoStakkert 3.1.3; wavelets in Registax 18.104.22.168 and Photoshop CS5. Collimation is decent. Focus is always a challenge when working at F20 and the atmosphere boils. I receive a Bahtinov mask today so maybe that will add some quantitative input into an otherwise 'hunt and poke' exercise.
AutoStakkert runs much more quickly that does the same function in Registax so that's something, but I still haven't found an explanation of the 'Quality Graph' so as to make informed decisions as to how many frames to stack of a 12,000 frame SER file. I'm guessing the 'green' s-curve is a normalized ranking of 'sharpness' (frequency content of the images) and the 'grey' scatter line is the 'relative motion' of the centroid of the center of mass? Should we expect a correlation between the two? eg. when the atmosphere is stable, the centroid is motionless and the sharpness will be high?
Moving on to Registax wavelets, processing proceeds as a 'monkey' would paint the Mona Lisa. After n-factorial random clicks and adjustments of sliders, a picture that resembles either 'pumpkin pie' or an 'orange bowling ball' emerges ... neither come close to what I expect a 10" aperture should yield.
Last night's seeing was average with high haze filtering in from the west south west causing the temperature to remain around 32F for the evening ... which for Connecticut typically spells better than average seeing. And yet I still get 'pumpkin pie' for an image. I've included images from the same SER file: 1) 600 frames 2) 2500 frames. As expected the 2500 frame stack is a 'smoother' image, though for my money the 600 frame stack, though 'noisier' shows a more faithful rendering of detail, i.e. the polar cap is round as opposed to triangular. Again, I think the clue here has to do with being able to understand the 'quality graph' and know where to set the optimum number of frames to stack as a function of seeing. I include a screen shot of the the AS3 setup screen just in case something jumps off the page to anyone in the know.
Can anyone direct me to a tutorial that actually explains what the software is doing as opposed to a 'cookbook' recipe for mediocrity?
Many thanks in advance