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Astrowl Project : Highly portable EEA

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#101 tgrlx200

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Posted 04 November 2022 - 11:45 AM

I currently use a ZWO224MC,which is a slightly smaller chip than the 461 and with platesolving it is fine as long as I use a .33 reducer but without platesolving it is a nightmare because of the narrow FOV. I typically hunt small obscure galaxies that are normally not much more than 5 to 15 arcseconds across so the small FOV is ok as long as I am pointed in the right spot.

#102 Astrowl

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Posted 20 November 2022 - 09:55 AM

I made a quick session last friday on Mars with the Astrowl box. As usual I just install the Astrowl box in the focuser to replace an eyepiece and compare view displays by both the eyepiece and the Astrowl box. The Astrowl box with automatic settings shows more details than unaided eye through my eyepiece (and that's what I am expecting from the Astrowl box). The picture attached is a snapshot of the box 4" screen display, which can also be seen on the user interface from a browser (through wifi connection). I use a 8" Newton to catch this picture and I am pretty sure that I could get better images with my refractor (next test).

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Edited by Astrowl, 20 November 2022 - 09:59 AM.

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#103 wykbbb

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Posted 20 November 2022 - 02:36 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.

 

If your mobile device can connect to the internet, you can send the photo from Astrobowl to astrometry.net https://nova.astrometry.net. 

 

How would adding plate solving  to Astrobowl would be helpful since the Astrobowl does not control the mount, does not have planetarium software? Celestron StarSense uses plate solving and planetarium software to create a push to system. Imaging software uses plate solving to move the mount.

 

I made a quick session last friday on Mars with the Astrowl box. As usual I just install the Astrowl box in the focuser to replace an eyepiece and compare view displays by both the eyepiece and the Astrowl box. The Astrowl box with automatic settings shows more details than unaided eye through my eyepiece (and that's what I am expecting from the Astrowl box). The picture attached is a snapshot of the box 4" screen display, which can also be seen on the user interface from a browser (through wifi connection). I use a 8" Newton to catch this picture and I am pretty sure that I could get better images with my refractor (next test).

 

That's neat photo of Mars. All I get is a blurry red dot with my ZWO camera and small refractor. smile.gif


Edited by wykbbb, 20 November 2022 - 02:41 PM.


#104 Astrowl

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Posted 20 November 2022 - 04:41 PM

If your mobile device can connect to the internet, you can send the photo from Astrobowl to astrometry.net https://nova.astrometry.net. 

 

How would adding plate solving  to Astrobowl would be helpful since the Astrobowl does not control the mount, does not have planetarium software? Celestron StarSense uses plate solving and planetarium software to create a push to system. Imaging software uses plate solving to move the mount.

 

That's neat photo of Mars. All I get is a blurry red dot with my ZWO camera and small refractor. smile.gif

Thanks wykbbb, a small refractor is a great instrument for DSO and usually for wide field, but I guess that it is really hard to catch something on planets. On planets, aperture rule... I would be glad to test Astrowl Box on a big Cassegrain (10" or bigger).

Regarding plate solving, yes it would be a nice feature, I have started to read some topics on it to see if I could add it to the Astrowl Box (not Astrobowl :-) ), but surely not a small development, and to reduce calculation time I need to approximately know where the scope is pointing to. So it means it will need some data input from the user. If not I will have to compute all the stars catalog and the micro computer of the Astrowl Box is clearly not a ready for that.


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#105 Astrowl

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 09:22 AM

Some news on the latest features and improvements of the Astrowl box. If you are tempted to receive a prototype do not hesitate to contact me. These are the last 3 or 4 prototypes that I will send before deciding on the next stage of the project.
From now on, the new prototypes are distributed with a T2 compatible box. So, it opens up many possibilities for connecting astro accessories (corrector, eye projection, screwing directly to the focuser, etc.).
The software has also been improved, the automatic frame alignment algos in live stacking mode have been improved and it is now possible to activate a light pollution filter which will darken the sky background.

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#106 donjulio

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 12:40 PM

Wow, you have made a lot of improvements, the case looks totally different than the one I got many months ago.  If only the clouds would dissipate then I could try out the latest release. 



#107 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 20 December 2022 - 09:06 AM

Are you working on any bluetooth mobile apps to have the image display on a tablet or mobile phone vs on the included screen?



#108 Astrowl

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Posted 20 December 2022 - 09:24 AM

Are you working on any bluetooth mobile apps to have the image display on a tablet or mobile phone vs on the included screen?


The image can be displayed both on the internal screen of astrowl box and on a tablet, computer, smartphone,... Any devices than can run a web browser (chrome, edge, safari,...) so virtually any device. The astrowl box user interface is displayed in a web browser through the wifi connection between your device and the astrowl box. I don't use any other applications to run the astrowl box.
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#109 Mark9473

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Posted 02 January 2023 - 06:19 AM

Not hindered by any technical understanding of the topic, I am curious if you might be exploring any synergies with what your compatriot is posting here: https://www.cloudyni...eep-sky-videos/

 

It appears to me an opportunity to merge interesting hardware with interesting software.



#110 Astrowl

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Posted 03 January 2023 - 04:16 AM

Thanks Mark, I always read with great interest everything related to realttime image processing, to help me to improve my own project.

However there is two main points which have motivated my project : EEA and highly portability (I really don't want to bother with computer, cables, camera, complex softwares, ...).

EEA without portability does not really interest me and does not answer my needs.

 

If I well understand the project you mention, it is a kind of wide field EEA software wich works with NVidia graphic card (like Jetson Nano) ? However portability is not really there. You still need an external camera, an external display... However Jetson Nano could be a great alternative to Raspberry but with a smaller community and less accessories.


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#111 Astrowl

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Posted 17 February 2023 - 06:32 AM

Hi guys,

Just come back to you to give you some news about the project.

First, you can now follow Astrowlbox on Instagram to get last pictures and news. Just search for astrowlbox.

 

Second, I would like to give you some updates about the new features that will be included in next software release that will soonly be availabe :

- All saved images are now of full quality (no compression, quality or details lost), but it also means larger picture file size,

- With the Display Live feature you can now see on your computer, tablet or smartphone the live image of the targets observed by Astrowl Box and also display on the onboard screen of the box, and share it with public audience, family and friends. The display is also now full quality (no image compression, no details and quality lost),

- The stack view adds some new useful filters : Wiener deconvolution, Richardson Lucy Deconvolution, Hard Sharpen, Smart Sharpen, Gauss Blur and Median Blur (I will probably not keep all this filters, but they are here for test purpose),

- Working also to add the ST4 autoguiding protocol, to correct mount tracking in realtime and keep targets in the field of view.

 

This new release should be available in few weeks and a commercial release could be available in next few monts.

 

Keep in touch


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#112 Neanderthal

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Posted 17 February 2023 - 11:12 AM

Been following your progress and it looks very promising - the concept of real-time view at the eyepiece is a winner! waytogo.gif


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#113 Rasfahan

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Posted 20 February 2023 - 06:11 PM

I've had the beta Astrowl for several months now, and most of the nights were cloudy and the few clear ones were filled with other commitments. But I managed to get it out at my 130mm f/7 refractor for more than a few seconds between clouds - during full moon, of course. So, here, finally, is the feedback I promised:

 

The documentation was generally good. I would have liked a bit more information about the stacking algorithms, and when to choose which one. Still, very good for the standards of astro products and especially a beta product.

 

I found the FOV quite limited, so next time I'll put it on one of the smaller scopes for a wider FOV. I believe it will greatly benefit from a faster scope, too. Stacking was hit and miss, sometimes hanging the box totally and needing a restart - I would assume this is fixed in the newer firmwares. In hindsight, I certainly should have updated that before testing.

 

In my Bortle 6 skies, I will need several minutes to get decent images of nebulae and galaxies (star clusters work very well, though). What I see is far brighter than in the eyepiece, but also of far lower resolution. I only now thought about adding one of my visual filters (O3 and UHC) or even a dual-narrowband to improve on the SNR.

 

Currently the astrowl does add quite a bit of overhead to setup: I need to frequently switch my phone wifi between the astrowl (to adjust parameters) and the mount (for SkySafari). There's another power supply/battery connection. It needs far better polar align (and, for best results, probably auto guiding) than visual to get good results. Depending on the target, one has to guess at the correct parameters. This is cutting it very close to the hassle of setting up an AP rig which for me is characterised by the many cable connections, the exacting PA and the careful planning of the session.

 

The idea of adding a camera and screen to plug in instead of an eyepiece is very nice, especially for bright skies such as mine, and for sharing a scope with several people. It does seem like a good alternative to an expensive (or legally unattainable) NVD.

 

I have the following ideas I'ld like to toss out without knowing about their feasibility, cost or difficulty of implementation. The goal would be to make the Astrowl as standalone and plug&play as possible:

  • Some kind of "auto-exposure/autostack" mode, preferably one where you can actually see the image stacked "live" instead of only presenting the finished image
  • An encoder-based interface to adjust parameters on the fly without having to use a cell phone - I believe a touch screen would actually provide a worse UX in the limited space of the device, although not necessarily more expensive
  • Station mode for Wifi
  • A battery compartment for disposable batteries/akkus to have a fully self-contained unit - of course I can tape that somewhere, but integrated is much nicer
  • One of my first ideas was ST4 auto guiding - good to see that is in the works
  • A method to increase saturation of the images

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#114 Astrowl

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Posted 21 February 2023 - 03:08 AM

Hi @Rasfahan, thanks for your feedbacks. I make a quick answer to some of your points.
First regarding live stacking, that's exactly what it is doing, when you start the stacking mode it stacks every new frames to the final stack image and display the result. You can also define the stack size, either limited stack size, which means that only a limited number of frames will be added to build the final stacked image, but even when you have reached the number of frames it continues to add newest frames and delete the oldest ones to the final result. You can also choose unlimited stack size, which means that every new frames will be added to final stacked image without deleting the old ones.
Regarding auto exposure, you already have predefined modes for planetary, nebulae, galaxies... They are not perfect but it is a shortcut to set several parameters in one click.

I don't know what is the release of your astrowl box software, but as it is a beta release I really suggest to make every new update asap. Last release is 1.12.
I am also updating the documentation to make it clearer on stack filters.

#115 Rasfahan

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Posted 21 February 2023 - 03:13 AM

Thank you. When I enable stacking, the whole box hangs for quite some time (1/2 to a few minutes), then the image is updated and then it hangs again. That‘s why I assumed it would only display the fully stacked images. I‘m on 1.9 - I‘ll update and report again if the problem is fixed or not.



#116 Astrowl

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Posted 21 February 2023 - 03:31 AM

Yes understand, it is the alignment algo of frames which sometimes takes times, because it fights to find similarity between frames. I really suggest to upgrade your software (what is your release ?) and stay on KUB alignment method. DSO method needs improvement to be efficient.

#117 Astrowl

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Posted 03 March 2023 - 11:20 AM

Some pictures of night cession on Orion Nebula. You can see a small box with some wires on the left of astrowl box, it is the first tests to integrate ST4 autoguiding in the Astrow box

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#118 Astrowl

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Posted 07 May 2023 - 04:41 PM

Hi guys, I am really happy to let you know that the Astrowl website is now online and you can order your Astrowlbox from this website : www.astrowlbox.com

I will first take limited number of orders.

 

Feel free to contact me for any informations. See you soon.


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#119 Joko

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Posted 08 May 2023 - 06:51 AM

Hi guys, I am really happy to let you know that the Astrowl website is now online and you can order your Astrowlbox from this website : www.astrowlbox.com

I will first take limited number of orders.

 

Feel free to contact me for any informations. See you soon.

Congratulations !

I look forward to try the Astrowl Box on the night vision eyepieces. This can be a great combo for easy astrophotography.


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#120 rommor

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Posted 09 May 2023 - 09:55 AM

This is what I dream of!!!



#121 rommor

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Posted 17 May 2023 - 09:45 AM

Hi all! And it would be interesting for me to look not at the screen, but through such an eyepiece https://aliexpress.r....1abb4de6ShLHXr



#122 Astrowl

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Posted 17 May 2023 - 10:20 AM

Hi Rommor, that was my first guess when I started this project but quickly consider it was not a good idea. Why ?

Because each time you will put your eyes on the eyepiece you will shake your telescope and blur live view or stack view image.

I know that Unistellar has an electronic eyepiece on their eVscope however it means that they probably reject frames during stacking if they are too shifted regarding previous frames. So I think that sometimes they probably reject lots of frames.



#123 Astrowl

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 10:19 AM

Hi guys, I come back with some feedbacks about the Astrowl Box.

 

First the official website is now opened : www.astrowlbox.com and ready to give you informations.

 

The full documentation is available online and will give a full view of Astrowl Box functionalities.

 

Last release of internal software brings new great features :

- Lots of parameters are now managed automatically by the internal software, so Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, RGB colors are not anymore manually set. You just need to set Gain and Exposure if you switch to expert mode.

- From stack view, the software will continue to automaticaly align and stack frames, you can on your hand decide to apply some filters like sharpen, blur and more sophisticated filters like Wiener Deconvolution or Richardson Lucy Deconvolution.

 

If you are interested to get ones or want some more informations don't hesitat to contact me.


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#124 Astrowl

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Posted 12 August 2023 - 09:16 AM

Hi guys, the new release of the astrowl box internal software increase a lot sensitivity. Following are some pictures done with a 130mm apo refractor with total exposure around 2 mn.m17_rl.png


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#125 Astrowl

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Posted 12 August 2023 - 01:26 PM

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