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Mars Animation 2020-12-03 [DSLR]

dslr Maksutov planet astrophotography
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#1 BQ Octantis

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 10:48 PM

G'day DSLR imagers,

 

Last night, I captured what may be my last Mars of the year. It was bloody hot, but the atmosphere was blissfully stable at sunset. The RGB was decent, but I also split out the blue and generated a synthetic luminosity from the red and green channels to bring up some details. They made for a nice animated compilation:

 

Preview at 70%:

apngb-animated.png

Animated PNG @ 100%

 

Cheers,

 

BQ


Edited by BQ Octantis, 03 December 2020 - 10:49 PM.

  • jimandlaura26, Starman27, Jerry Lodriguss and 4 others like this

#2 rbmcmurt

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 10:55 PM

Absolutely amazing. And I'm really impressed a DSLR is able to do this with the right technique. I'm very new to the DSLR planetary imaging world - Would you mind sharing some of your process? I assume you shoot video and then go through the standard stacking? What video mode do you use? Do you prioritize pixel rate (ie 4K over FullHD) or speed?

 

Thanks in advance. If I could get a shot like this, I'd be very very happy. 


Edited by rbmcmurt, 03 December 2020 - 10:55 PM.


#3 BQ Octantis

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 01:56 AM

Hi RB,

 

Thanks for the feedback! And I'd be happy to share, but my setup and workflow are fairly unorthodox…some might even say heretical.

 

The real magic is the optical train. I use a 7-in f/15 Mak OTA, which does the heavy lifting for magnification. And I do eyepiece projection with orthoscopic eyepieces, which yield a flat, crisp, high-contrast image on the sensor. I shoot at very high magnification (in this case, ~f/52), which makes focusing quite easy and quite forgiving. It also samples at closer to the limit of the detail the aperture can detect.

 

post-273658-0-73884900-1556697456.jpg

 

post-273658-0-96655700-1556698565.jpg

 

For imaging, I do Canon Live View capture over USB with AstroDSLR 1.3. It outputs a very lightweight .mp4 (in this case, 64 MB for each 3 min 45 sec capture), which I then align and stack in Lynkeos 2.10. If you're going to use these, the version numbers matter—later versions were catastrophic upgrades.

 

The rest is just typical processing magic with Photoshop and Lynkeos. Here's what I documented for what I do on Jupiter earlier in the season:

 

gallery_273658_12412_28691.jpg

 

How far have you gotten with yours?

 

BQ


Edited by BQ Octantis, 04 December 2020 - 05:51 PM.


#4 rbmcmurt

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 08:21 AM

Ha, not that far at all. I've lacked the magnification you have until recently, and I've had cloudy skies for about the last 6 weeks of non-work nights, so I'm trying to read as much as I can while unable to get out and image. 

 

Thanks for such a good explanation of your setup and your equipment. I've been stressing over video frame rate, and your post makes clear that you can achieve a good result without super-high frame rates. My scope has a bit less magnification than yours (EdgeHD 8in w/ focal length of 2032), but I'm shooting through a 2.5x televue powermate, so I think we end up in the same ballpark. 

 

My takeaway from your post is that I shouldn't worry about what I'm worried about. I think my focus for now will just be on capturing the data and then developing a workflow like yours. The animations were really cool. And they're exactly the kind of thing that my wife (aka "necessary approver of funding decisions") would find interesting.

 

Thank you.



#5 BQ Octantis

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 09:06 AM

Televues are purportedly on par with orthoscopic eyepieces, so hopefully you get good data.

 

There are two actual important elements to capturing and stacking for each planet: the maximum duration before rotation smudges a stack, and the minimum number of frames needed for an image. At the planet sizes I use (larger than most), those are

 

  • Mercury: N/A, 256 frames
  • Venus: N/A, 80 frames (RAW)
  • Mars: 3m45s, 512 frames
  • Jupiter: 3m20s, 1024 frames
  • Saturn: 6m40s, 2048 frames

 

So 9.5 fps gives me the frames I need for those planets. Note that for Venus, I use RAW vice LiveView. This is because to get any color variation, I need the 12-bit color (vice the 8-bit from LiveView).

 

Clear skies and good seeing!

 

BQ

 

P.S. I've recently found that I get much better color results if I use Auto White Balance in Live View vice the typically recommended Daylight. I can only assume this is because I get better spread of all channels across the histogram—important for LiveView since the data is stretched at 8-bits per channel.


Edited by BQ Octantis, 04 December 2020 - 09:09 AM.


#6 rbmcmurt

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:06 PM

Televues are purportedly on par with orthoscopic eyepieces, so hopefully you get good data.

 

There are two actual important elements to capturing and stacking for each planet: the maximum duration before rotation smudges a stack, and the minimum number of frames needed for an image. At the planet sizes I use (larger than most), those are

 

  • Mercury: N/A, 256 frames
  • Venus: N/A, 80 frames (RAW)
  • Mars: 3m45s, 512 frames
  • Jupiter: 3m20s, 1024 frames
  • Saturn: 6m40s, 2048 frames

 

So 9.5 fps gives me the frames I need for those planets. Note that for Venus, I use RAW vice LiveView. This is because to get any color variation, I need the 12-bit color (vice the 8-bit from LiveView).

 

Clear skies and good seeing!

 

BQ

 

P.S. I've recently found that I get much better color results if I use Auto White Balance in Live View vice the typically recommended Daylight. I can only assume this is because I get better spread of all channels across the histogram—important for LiveView since the data is stretched at 8-bits per channel.

This is VERY helpful information. Thank you! I would have completely screwed up Jupiter by spreading out my capture for too long of a period of time and not realizing what i'd done wrong. You just saved me a giant headache. 



#7 BQ Octantis

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:59 PM

No worries at all, mate.

 

If you're not a Mac user, the typical Windows workflow is

 

  1. BackyardEOS (capture—gets ~20 fps)
  2. AutoStakkert! (alignment & stacking)
  3. Registax (deconvolution & wavelet sharpening)

 

BQ




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