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Astrowl Project : Highly portable EEA

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#76 The Ardent

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 01:15 PM

I mostly use the presets in Astrowl.

In expert mode usually I change gain and exposure time , little else.

Any editing of the photos is with the standard iPhone photo editing .

UB_Astro I would ask in this forum for advice. I don’t know what I’m doing so have little to offer.

https://www.cloudyni...ep-sky-imaging/

#77 Leafus

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 04:36 PM

Hi,

Very interesting project. I just posted a topic asking why there are no Bluetooth cams you can just drop into a diagonal. So your concept is not too far from that and there’s a definite gap for something even easier than an asiair and equalling an EVscope.

I can see it’s easier for you to control it all in if you make it one hardware unit but to me it make no sense to duplicate a screen when nearly everyone has a much better one on their phone.

I also don’t like the idea of it going into the focuser.

I was hoping for something that could just quickly swap in and out of a diagonal during a mainly visual session. Like bolting on your iPhone for afocal but better quality and easier even than that. Like swapping eyepieces.

The Astrowl partially seems to me like a pre smartphone style solution.

#78 The Ardent

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 04:43 PM

Where is it supposed to go?

I also don’t like the idea of it going into the focuser.



#79 Leafus

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 05:08 PM

I have been looking for something that I could swap in and out during a visual session. Like swapping an eyepiece so in the diagonal. A cam eyepiece basically. Streamed to smartphone. Maybe with optical zoom too. I can dream can’t I.

#80 The Ardent

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 05:11 PM

That’s what I do with the Astrowl. Remove it from the diagonal and put an eyepiece in for aiming when needed.


I have been looking for something that I could swap in and out during a visual session. Like swapping an eyepiece so in the diagonal. A cam eyepiece basically. Streamed to smartphone. Maybe with optical zoom too. I can dream can’t I.



#81 Leafus

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 05:22 PM

Interesting. I thought it might need a short back space if it was designed to fit straight into visual back.

I’m guessing it’s 2 inch. Might be time for me to get a bigger diagonal.

#82 Astrowl

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 06:45 AM

Hi Leafus, the Astrowl box is designed to be inserted in a 1.25" hole (diagonal or directly in the focuser ). So you can use a standard eyepiece, remove it and install the Astrowl box.

It could be technically possible to display images on the smartphone screen even it is not yet the case, but I think it is also interesting to keep a screen on the astrowl box to feel closer to night sky. Looking only to your smartphone is like looking to someone else pictures.

 

Smartphones will probably never be the rigth device to practice EAA, because their sensors are not designed for that : not quite sensitive, have lens front of the sensor...  



#83 Leafus

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 01:20 PM

Hi Astrowl,

It’s possible to get some good shots with a focal smartphones - see the smartphone thread. But it’s still a bit of a pain and there is no align and rotate app out there.

The screens are very good though and easier to see if the owl box is pointing down.

Anyway I like the idea. I was looking at the £100 electronic eyepiece versions with 2inch screens but they seemed a bit pointless. Worse than afocal.

Maybe the built in screen could be an optional extra if you can also stream to the phones.
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#84 Astrowl

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 03:59 PM

Anyway I like the idea. I was looking at the £100 electronic eyepiece versions with 2inch screens but they seemed a bit pointless. Worse than afocal.

Is it the electronic eyepiece you are talking about : https://fr.aliexpres...ayAdapt=glo2fra


Edited by Astrowl, 10 October 2022 - 03:59 PM.


#85 Leafus

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 05:34 PM

No, I was referring to these. But they a low res and seem a bit pointless.

https://www.ebay.co....trkparms=ispr=1

#86 Astrowl

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Posted 11 October 2022 - 03:06 AM

No, I was referring to these. But they a low res and seem a bit pointless.

https://www.ebay.co....trkparms=ispr=1

Ok I see, it does exist for several years now in different package. It is just a webcam with low res and low sensitivity not really adapted to specific needs of astronomy. You will never get decent results with such a toy (no faint ojects like nebulae, galaxies, ... is visible, moon will be blurry, planets will be really disapointed). That's probably the reason why nobody publish a picture caught with this item. Honestly don't waste your money in such item. You will use it once and put it in a drawer quickly. Astronomy needs specific sensors and needs specific post imaging process to get interesting results.


Edited by Astrowl, 11 October 2022 - 03:36 AM.


#87 Leafus

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Posted 11 October 2022 - 03:53 AM

I totally agree and I would not waste money on such an item. I doubt it’s better than visual. Or worse.

I was just referring to the concept not the execution.

#88 Astrowl

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 09:57 AM

Hi guys, just to let you know that I have added a new useful functionnality to the Astrowl box software. It is now possible to also display on the user interface the picture displayed on the 4" screen of the box. It is not a live streaming, interface auto refresh every 5 seconds and you can also force refresh by clicking on the 'Reload View' button.

 

This functionnality can be useful if you want to share on bigger screen with other people the live view or stack view of the Astrowl box.

 

The Astrowl box will also soon have a new box, with a more professional look, with a T2 extension rather that 1.25" nose.

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#89 jag32

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Posted 26 October 2022 - 02:10 AM

Where can the Astrowl be purchased?



#90 Astrowl

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Posted 26 October 2022 - 10:38 AM

@jag32, the astrowl box is still a prototype. I have already provided several samples to some beta testers. Contact me if you are interested and want to know conditions.

#91 Ford Prefect

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Posted 28 October 2022 - 04:36 AM

I already have a Raspberry Pi4 and was trying to do a portable setup for EAA with a Svbony camera I already had, with no luck and not enough time to spend on this.

Your project seems great!

May I contact you for more information about price and availability of the prototypes?

 

I have a C5 and a TS60ED (60/330 ED refractor), and a SW AZ-GTi mount: the idea is to use your system especially for outreach in very light-polluted areas. 

 

Can the live image be shared to a PC, to project it on a larger screen?

Are you thinking to add an HDMI port (since there is already one on the Raspberry) to send the image on a larger monitor or even to a pocket-size projector (that will be great for lunar and solar observing at outreach events)?



#92 Astrowl

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Posted 28 October 2022 - 09:59 AM

I already have a Raspberry Pi4 and was trying to do a portable setup for EAA with a Svbony camera I already had, with no luck and not enough time to spend on this.

Your project seems great!

May I contact you for more information about price and availability of the prototypes?

 

I have a C5 and a TS60ED (60/330 ED refractor), and a SW AZ-GTi mount: the idea is to use your system especially for outreach in very light-polluted areas. 

 

Can the live image be shared to a PC, to project it on a larger screen?

Are you thinking to add an HDMI port (since there is already one on the Raspberry) to send the image on a larger monitor or even to a pocket-size projector (that will be great for lunar and solar observing at outreach events)?

Hi Claudio, I also use the Astrowl box on very light polluted place near Paris. I must also admit that sometimes I use it with a nearly full moon, which is a nonsense for real astrophotograph who are looking for the darkest place possible.

However some of us cannot travel several hours to find a dark sky, spend all the night waiting for good conditions, bring tons of materials, cables, computers... and spend at home several hours to post process images...

 

And for visual observers, even in dark place, some DSO are frustrating. Nebulae are grey clouds, globular cluster are fuzzy ball... That's the reasons why I decide to work on this project, first for my personnal use and curiosity and then for other astromarter who are interested. At this stage it  is still a prototype, but seriously thinking about a commercial release.

 

And to answer your second question, the user interface to control the Astrowl box runs in a web browser, like the one you use to read this forum. Web browser are present on all devices : smartphone, tablet, computer, ...

From this user interface you can display the images caught by the Astrowl box and also visible on the onboard screen of the Astrowl box (see two posts above). So if you use the user interface from a computer it is pretty easy to connect to a projector with hdmi plug and show the image on big screen.

 

You can contact me on PM to get details.


Edited by Astrowl, 28 October 2022 - 10:01 AM.

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#93 The Ardent

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Posted 31 October 2022 - 09:52 AM

In my limited experience a 60mm refractor is very adequate with the Astrowl. 



#94 wykbbb

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 03:31 PM

It could be technically possible to display images on the smartphone screen even it is not yet the case, but I think it is also interesting to keep a screen on the astrowl box to feel closer to night sky. Looking only to your smartphone is like looking to someone else pictures.

The people who already do EAA aren't looking at eyepiece area for the images; they are looking at computer, phone, tablet, projection screens.  Some people like EAA because they can view the images inside their comfortable house while the scope is outside in uncomfortable temperatures (too hot, too cold).  

 

Have you've surveyed the beta testers about whether they use the Astrowl box screen or a computer/mobile device screen? I'm guessing the Astrobowl would be cheaper without a built in screen.


Edited by wykbbb, 01 November 2022 - 04:14 PM.

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#95 Leafus

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 07:10 PM

+1 on the last post.

Having an integrated cheap display seems a big mistake. Have it as a plug in option. Whatever display you use it will be worse than my iPhone or iPad.
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#96 The Ardent

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 09:15 PM

I bought the Astrowl specs because the display is right there for viewing. If happy with the settings, the phone or tablet can be dispensed with.

#97 eyeoftexas

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 09:19 PM

Actually where the integrated screen comes in handy is public star parties.  You can show people objects on the screen without having them grab your phone or tablet.  



#98 Astrowl

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Posted 02 November 2022 - 12:34 AM

Actually where the integrated screen comes in handy is public star parties.  You can show people objects on the screen without having them grab your phone or tablet.  

With the last update (1.09) of Astrowl box you can do both. Looking at the screen and also display box image on whatever screen you want (smartphone, tablet, computer,...). So everybody is happy. For my personal use, I prefer the integrated screen.


Edited by Astrowl, 02 November 2022 - 12:36 AM.

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#99 tgrlx200

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Posted 03 November 2022 - 04:28 PM

I am very much interested in one but the sensor size coupled with the fact that my main scope is a Meade 10" LX200 means that the FOV is very small. Even with a .33 field reducer. I know I asked this question before in July but figure I will ask it again to see if there are any updates on the status. Are you able to add plate solving to this system? I see this as a great outreach tool but without platesoving it is not as user-friendly as I would need it to be.

#100 Astrowl

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Posted 04 November 2022 - 09:46 AM

I am very much interested in one but the sensor size coupled with the fact that my main scope is a Meade 10" LX200 means that the FOV is very small. Even with a .33 field reducer. I know I asked this question before in July but figure I will ask it again to see if there are any updates on the status. Are you able to add plate solving to this system? I see this as a great outreach tool but without platesoving it is not as user-friendly as I would need it to be.

I don't have other sensor available at present. The SC is not really well suited for DSO. You can make great pictures of planets, moon or small DSO (you can have a look to pictures I made of Jupiter with a Mewlon and the Astrowl box on vendor forum). It is quite good.

Regarding plate solving I think it is a good idea but not so easy to implement. So I must study it, but clearly a very nice feature.


Edited by Astrowl, 04 November 2022 - 09:50 AM.



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