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Suggestions on getting better at imaging Jupiter

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#51 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 10:35 AM

Another update

 

I think I finally done all of the things suggested here so far. Shown is the shot last night. In addition to the previous update, I have done the following:

 

(1) Used FireCapture. The 2.7 beta version runs on Mac! It is a game changer. With the auto-center feature, I can spend a long time to dial in focus. I can now more consistently achieve better focus. Would a autofocuser make the focus better? lol.gif. The ROI and cut out feature helps with the frame rate. In this shot my frame rate was 140  fps. Also the sequencing is very helpful, reducing a lot of time staring at the screen like an idiot sitting in the yard while the neighbors sleeping lol.gif .

 

(2) Reduced the back focus and screwed the Barlow element on to ASI462MC nose piece. The effective f-ratio is 17 according to the log. This also helps with the frame rate. Much brighter image.

 

Last night Jupiter was wobbling quite a bit. According to medeoblue the jet stream was above 30 km/s and the second seeing index was 1/5. Nonetheless, the image turned out be decent with 10% stacking in AS3.

 

Part of fun of astrophotography is experimenting for better results. I think I can say that this forum really gave me very sound advice waytogo.gif

 

Harvey

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2021-09-30-0222_03-Jupiter_Derotated_PS_OriginalScale.jpg

Edited by HarveyDeckAstro, 30 September 2021 - 10:55 AM.

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#52 dcaponeii

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 11:29 AM

Another update

 

I think I finally done all of the things suggested here so far. Shown is the shot last night. In addition to the previous update, I have done the following:

 

(1) Used FireCapture. The 2.7 beta version runs on Mac! It is a game changer. With the auto-center feature, I can spend a long time to dial in focus. I can now more consistently achieve better focus. Would a autofocuser make the focus better? lol.gif. The ROI and cut out feature helps with the frame rate. In this shot my frame rate was 140  fps. Also the sequencing is very helpful, reducing a lot of time staring at the screen like an idiot sitting in the yard while the neighbors sleeping lol.gif .

 

(2) Reduced the back focus and screwed the Barlow element on to ASI462MC nose piece. The effective f-ratio is 17 according to the log. This also helps with the frame rate. Much brighter image.

 

Last night Jupiter was wobbling quite a bit. According to medeoblue the jet stream was above 30 km/s and the second seeing index was 1/5. Nonetheless, the image turned out be decent with 10% stacking in AS3.

 

Part of fun of astrophotography is experimenting for better results. I think I can say that this forum really gave me very sound advice waytogo.gif

 

Harvey

Now that you're using Firecapture, I find that using the autocentering button to hold the image steady while focusing is a huge help.  Also in marginal seeing use the Post-Processing feature called averaging and average 5 - 10 frames in conjunction with autocentering make focusing much easier.  I find that I need to focus on one of the moons to get optimum focus for that instead of averaging I'll use live-stacking and stack 5 or so frames.  This yields a bright enough image to focus on the moon's without having to crank up the GAIN.  Turn off live-stacking and the image is right back to normal.  Focusing using the moons had been a game changer for me in recent months.


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#53 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for the tip! Will try this moon and live stacking technique!

#54 Borodog

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 01:33 PM

Now that you're using Firecapture, I find that using the autocentering button to hold the image steady while focusing is a huge help.  Also in marginal seeing use the Post-Processing feature called averaging and average 5 - 10 frames in conjunction with autocentering make focusing much easier.  I find that I need to focus on one of the moons to get optimum focus for that instead of averaging I'll use live-stacking and stack 5 or so frames.  This yields a bright enough image to focus on the moon's without having to crank up the GAIN.  Turn off live-stacking and the image is right back to normal.  Focusing using the moons had been a game changer for me in recent months.

These are great tips, Don. Also, when focusing, turn the Gamma right down to zero. Makes it much easier. Remember to put it back when you're done, though.


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#55 jake20

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 01:40 PM

got lucky with the RED spot out last night. This was the result of 2 short 21 sec RAW captured videos stacked and post processed.

 

M29 202200000 autoS lapl5 ap32 conv gimp2

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#56 dcaponeii

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 01:44 PM

These are great tips, Don. Also, when focusing, turn the Gamma right down to zero. Makes it much easier. Remember to put it back when you're done, though.


Don’t forget you can use the display controls to adjust gamma without affecting the capture settings just the display. Then you don’t have to remember to reset gamma.
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#57 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 03:56 PM

got lucky with the RED spot out last night. This was the result of 2 short 21 sec RAW captured videos stacked and post processed.


That’s nice image!
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#58 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 03:58 PM

I was wondering about that gamma checked. What does it do in FireCapture? Should it stay at 50 as default?

#59 dcaponeii

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 04:50 PM

I was wondering about that gamma checked. What does it do in FireCapture? Should it stay at 50 as default?

Leave it unchecked is a better option.  If you want gamma while focusing use the preview window controls.  Gamma changes in your preview window do not affect the capture settings.


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#60 RedLionNJ

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:06 PM

It would be nice if there WAS a way to autofocus on the likes of Jupiter. Alas, the way you're doing it is likely the best way. Just observe the preview for a while, waiting for the finest details to be visible, then try rolling through rough focus a few times, making sure to try to stop when the maximum amount of detail (EZ blue wisps, small white ovals, etc.) are visible.

 

As the seeing changes throughout the night (and possibly your OTA shrinks slightly), you may need to revisit focus every half hour or so. Once you get the hang of it, it quickly becomes second nature.


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#61 GSBass

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:10 PM

Just a note in case it was not mentioned…. Sharpcap has a center stsbslization button now too located in preprocessing, you just need to turn it back off before starting capture…. For focus I more and more rely on the screen zoom…. I’ll concentrate on the highest contrast feature and Rock the focuser back and forth til I think I am good….. also it increases your odds to do this between each exposure, I’ll usually do 4 or 5…. Lastly as I alluded to on another thread, I’m convinced the fastest frame rate and lowest exposure time combined with 10k frames is the best chance of great images


Edited by GSBass, 01 October 2021 - 09:11 PM.

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#62 Borodog

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:04 PM

Don’t forget you can use the display controls to adjust gamma without affecting the capture settings just the display. Then you don’t have to remember to reset gamma.

I’ll have to find this. Did not know.



#63 Borodog

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:06 PM

It would be nice if there WAS a way to autofocus on the likes of Jupiter. Alas, the way you're doing it is likely the best way. Just observe the preview for a while, waiting for the finest details to be visible, then try rolling through rough focus a few times, making sure to try to stop when the maximum amount of detail (EZ blue wisps, small white ovals, etc.) are visible.

 

As the seeing changes throughout the night (and possibly your OTA shrinks slightly), you may need to revisit focus every half hour or so. Once you get the hang of it, it quickly becomes second nature.

SharpCap Pro supports autofocus. I often flip back and forth between FC and SC now for various features supported in one but not the other.



#64 GSBass

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:30 PM

I kind of abandoned firecapture because I was using a beta due to the regular version not supporting my 4K screen, various bugs ruined a few sessions so I returned to sharpcap….. I’ll try it again sometime though, I know it’s a good program also

SharpCap Pro supports autofocus. I often flip back and forth between FC and SC now for various features supported in one but not the other.



#65 dcaponeii

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 09:07 AM

Just a note in case it was not mentioned…. Sharpcap has a center stsbslization button now too located in preprocessing, you just need to turn it back off before starting capture…. For focus I more and more rely on the screen zoom…. I’ll concentrate on the highest contrast feature and Rock the focuser back and forth til I think I am good….. also it increases your odds to do this between each exposure, I’ll usually do 4 or 5…. Lastly as I alluded to on another thread, I’m convinced the fastest frame rate and lowest exposure time combined with 10k frames is the best chance of great images


Cool. So now you can use Firecapture OR SharpCap whose slogan will have to now be: SharpCap - Yesterday’s technology tomorrow!

#66 GSBass

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:51 AM

I still have not done a deep dive in to all the settings you have available in these programs, I just want 100% reliability when I capture and sharpcap gives me that, and it does live stacking well too so I have been very happy, it’s kinda nice not having to get in to the weeds too much when all your after is enjoying the evening under the stars, my biggest hurdle is stretching the image to make sure I’m on target and then trying to make sure I have reasonable color balance…. I would prefer color balance be automated also because that can be pretty difficult, easier on imx464 but the imx485 can be very hard 

Cool. So now you can use Firecapture OR SharpCap whose slogan will have to now be: SharpCap - Yesterday’s technology tomorrow!


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#67 RedLionNJ

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 12:01 PM

SharpCap Pro supports autofocus. I often flip back and forth between FC and SC now for various features supported in one but not the other.

Can anyone post an image whose data was captured after focusing in this manner?  I am extremely skeptical as to the ability of any software to autofocus on the fine details only visible while in optimal focus.


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#68 MarMax

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 01:37 PM

Fantastic tips on focusing so thank you all!

 

I've been trying to get more comfortable with FireCapture, mainly because I like its ADC tool better than the one in SharpCap, but the FireCapture interface is much harder for me to grasp.

 

 



#69 GSBass

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 01:53 PM

I would be very skeptical too, however it does largely depend on your optical system, I’d say my refractor has one precise focal point while my mak has a range which can make it very difficult to know the exact right spot…this probably is due to f number. I’ll have to go back and forth to find the sweet spot and still will do multiple exposures to ensure I’m on, I would have my doubts that autofocus could do this because it’s usually very tiny details on the surface that clue you in….focus on Saturn will be different than focus on Jupiter to my eyes 

Can anyone post an image whose data was captured after focusing in this manner?  I am extremely skeptical as to the ability of any software to autofocus on the fine details only visible while in optimal focus.



#70 APshooter

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 02:29 PM

I find this map to be very useful for setting the winds aloft. Blue regions indicate steady air, and you want this over you to get the best images. Purple is high speed jet stream overhead and I've found seeing is horrid when the jet stream is on top of you. Combined with Meteoblue and CDS, this gives you a pretty reliable indicator of seeing conditions.

Zoom in on the earth and rotate it for you location. Click on Earth, air, animate, wind, set height to 250.

https://earth.nullschool.net/

Edited by APshooter, 03 October 2021 - 02:34 PM.


#71 Borodog

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 07:13 PM

Can anyone post an image whose data was captured after focusing in this manner?  I am extremely skeptical as to the ability of any software to autofocus on the fine details only visible while in optimal focus.

Hopefully experimenting with this tonight.



#72 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 08:44 AM

So far I have never seen festoons I my images and I am convinced that my focus is off. Can’t blame the seeing I suppose, it out of my control.

I put a big cap on the Meade stock focuser but still I am sure it is not ideal.

Would motorized focuser a necessity? I am hesitant on adding external focuser on the image train because of the back focus. So far for Meade I found the 3D printing bracket to use with ZWO EAF, and JMI motor focuser for Meade.

Would really appreciate advices on this issue.

Harvey

#73 RedLionNJ

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 10:17 AM

So far I have never seen festoons I my images and I am convinced that my focus is off. Can’t blame the seeing I suppose, it out of my control.

I put a big cap on the Meade stock focuser but still I am sure it is not ideal.

Would motorized focuser a necessity? I am hesitant on adding external focuser on the image train because of the back focus. So far for Meade I found the 3D printing bracket to use with ZWO EAF, and JMI motor focuser for Meade.

Would really appreciate advices on this issue.

Harvey

I use a JMI Crayford-style on the back of my 12" Meade.  I don't really care very much about backfocus - it's a SCT - it has an enormous range of focal positions/lengths.

 

Personally, I think you're just not imaging (or attempting to image) at the times which correspond to acceptable seeing for NJ. These are few and far between. If the sky is mostly-clear, I go out and try almost every night. A bit of haze doesn't deter me, clouds with big gaps between them don't deter me.  If you sample enough nights (or even hours within some nights), you'll eventually encounter genuinely good seeing. People in some parts of the country/world can expect acceptable seeing almost every night. Not up here. All you can do is be ready for it and take advantage when it arrives.


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#74 HarveyDeckAstro

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:58 PM

I do image every night that is clear. Hopefully I will hit that illusive good seeing…
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#75 rehling

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 12:56 PM

It is not impossible that local seeing is systematically / universally bad for you.

 

I sometime image looking right over a door which is only a few feet from the telescope. When that door is opened, the seeing suddenly becomes horrifically bad, as warmer air inside flows up in a column blocking the line of sight. When the door is close, seeing returns to normal within seconds.

 

You may (of course, I have no idea) have something very local that gives you worse effective seeing than you might have if you were, say, 100 meters or 1000 meters away.

 

I inevitably have lines of sight that go over urban features… whether those are km away or only meters away. That could mean roofs that are cooling from the heat of afternoon. Or vents from building heating or passive cooling systems. I have even noticed my seeing suddenly and temporarily worsening when a bus or truck drives by, due to the air currents stirred up by motion (and not, likely, by ground vibrations).

 

Christopher Go once mentioned turning off the air conditioning in a house on his line of sight to improve his local seeing.

 

Almost all of my planetary viewing has to look over a very close-by rooftop, which has vents for passive thermal cooling. This may be significantly destructive to my efforts, but I have no way to avoid this that wouldn't be wildly impractical.

 

It might be interesting to check if your seeing is equally good/bad when you look at objects with about 35° altitude in a variety of directions. If it's not the same in every direction, that might reveal a plume of rising warm air from something on the ground. On a clear night, you'll have plenty of stars to choose from.

 

I get about 4 nights per year – often, two consecutively – that offer exceedingly superior seeing to what I experience typically. This matters a lot for planets below 40° altitude. Last fall with Mars up high, it wasn't so important, and I got more good images of Mars in 2020 than I have gotten of Jupiter in 5 years.


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