Jasem Mutlaq thanked Brian Morgan in topic Unitron Model 142 1 week ago
Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Unitron Model 142' in the forum. 1 week ago

Everyone has been great, and I want to acknowledge that.
Here is a sample of my latest works.
This is M13. 50x30sec Lights. 10x30sec Darks. Post-processed hard to show the dimmest stars.
I compared it to UCAC4 and I believe that I am showing 16th magnitude stars.
If that was not impressive enough what would you say if that was accomplished with $80 optics?
In fact, that image was taken with a Celestron TravelScope 70 piggybacked on my Unitron mount.
Polar alignment thanks to SharpCap.
There is some star drift but I think that the bigger issues are the diffraction bands around the two bright stars.
That can be explained by the 45 degree Erecting Star Diagonal that I used. It stinks but I had to use it at the time.

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Brian Morgan created a new topic ' Unitron Model 142' in the forum. 1 week ago

Hi everyone, it's been a few months since I last logged in. I hope everyone is well.
I never made mention of the fact that I have a Unitron Model 142 (3-inch f/16).
A few months ago I purchased a ASI120MC. I am amazed at what I can do with it.
My question to you is better characterized as a pleading. I have no Go-To ability but I do have Setting Circles.
I attached four photos. Two of the Right Ascension vernier and two of the Declination vernier. Notice that the vernier has two scales, one atop the other. I am ashamed to say that this causes me a great deal of confusion. (I do know that the Right Ascension scale is really Hour Angle. I have no problem converting Right Ascension and Local Sidereal Time to Hour Angle.)
Basically I am looking for usage guidelines. For example, if I live in the Northern Hemisphere do I left-align only?
I thank anyone and everyone for their help.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

I never received a reply from kstars-devel webmaster -- sad but true.

I've watched 3 online courses on Qt. It is very cool.

I am wondering though -- is it possible to write a Qt app in which C++ calls a JS function but the JS code is undefined at application build time? In other words I would like the user of the Qt app to choose a file from a dropdown list that contains the JS code. Once it is selected then the C++ code in the Qt app can call that JS function.

If that is not possible in Qt/QML, is it possible with D-Bus?

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

Sorry for sending you this reply on the INDI forum. Yesterday, I signed up to join kstars-devel but I have not received the email confirmation yet. (I just finished sending an email to the webmaster to see if he/she could expedite.)

Have you heard of pluralsight.com ? It is an invaluable resource for learning new technologies. I found a 4.3 hour course called "Introduction to Qt: A C++ Cross Platform Application Framework" presented by Tod Gentille. Does that name ring a bell? It was released 29-May-2014; that is almost 3 years ago. Can you think of any major changes since then that I should be aware of?

Thanks.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

Yes, I think that import/export buttons would be a good first project for me although I would want to take it further but one must learn to walk first.

I programmed in C++ from 1989 through 2004 then I switched over to more weakly-typed languages. I am completely unfamiliar with cross-platform development and tools. Is KStars "all C++ all the time"? or does it use a SpiderMonkey-like core where I can use C++ for CPU-intensive operations and JavaScript for user-interface programming?

Thanks.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

I finally had success (see attachment).

Before discovering KStars, I was a C2A / OccultWatcher user. Today I returned to C2A and followed their directions to quickly compose my horizon in a single region file. I took what I learned and tried to do the same in KStars but unfortunately it will not properly handle a 360 degree horizon definition in a single region. So I broke it down into four quadrants and finally had success.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

@knro, concerning the artificial horizon editor:

1. Why have a rule saying that First and Last points must be on the horizon? If there is a UFO blocking my view why do I have to anchor it to the horizon?

2. There is a peculiar tendency for the software to want to "auto-complete" my polygon. I can understand that this can be helpful when choosing the input method that allows me to point-and-click using the Sky Map. But when I choose to use numerical entry via the grid control it is quite annoying and prevents me from building the polygon I want.

3. Are the region files text-based that I can edit outside of KStars or is the data stored in binary?

Thank you.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'clean the sensor' in the forum. 1 month ago

Has anyone tried Sensor Gel Stick ?

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

Please excuse my crude drawing. This is how I propose to modify the polygon by keeping my interior points but then adding points around the horizon.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

Thank you, everyone. TallFurryMan has got me thinking...

Where does KStars keep the artificial horizon user input file(s)? It would be great if I could experiment and edit this in a text editor. Thanks!

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Brian Morgan created a new topic ' Living amongst the trees' in the forum. 1 month ago

Using KStars and images that I took with my camera's 150 degree lens, I plotted my Artificial Horizon. (Where's my chainsaw? Just kidding!)

This is probably not the best forum to bring up issues with KStars so please excuse me. I was wondering what I can do to tell KStars to reverse colors? I would like the region that is colored red to be black and the region that is black to be colored red. I am attaching the altaz points that I am using.

Thank you!

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'clean the sensor' in the forum. 2 months ago

Vielen Dank, Andreas!

Here is the English site for that product: www.tesa.com/consumer/tesafilm-crystal-clear.html#

I am surprised that it says: "Strong adhesion".
Are you not concerned that it will grab your sensor and not give it back? :-)

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'clean the sensor' in the forum. 2 months ago

Tesa Duct Tape. I found Tesa's website and looked at photos. The "blue" colored tape jumped at me. It looks similar to what we in the U.S. call "painter's tape". I am familiar with it when I paint. You place it over a surface to protect it from fresh paint that is applied nearby. The tape is designed to be easily peeled off without damaging the underlying surface. I have never had a problem with a sticky residue.

I hope that this is the answer to my dust problem. I have had my new camera for only about three weeks, and the accumulation of dust on the IR-cut window destroyed my session last night.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Color issues with ASI120MC' in the forum. 2 months ago

Just some added info:

SharpCap renders colors properly under Windows 7, with or without the "compatible" firmware. The only issue with running the "compatible" firmware under WIndows is lots of dropped frames but the colors are fine. When running "non-compatible" firmware with SharpCap under Windows produces proper colors and fast frame rates having very, very few dropped frames as per the advertised ZWO performance specs.

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Brian Morgan created a new topic ' Color issues with ASI120MC' in the forum. 2 months ago

In a previous topic, rockstarbill wrote:

As for the color in your images, I would say that you should post up the same FITS images that have the issue so someone can look at them. Hard to troubleshoot a problem without a sample of the data in question.
Sorry for taking so long to respond -- I have been having lots of fun with my new camera!

I set up my camera on a tripod indoors and pointed at two 2-liter soda bottles: one Coca-Cola and the other Pepsi. I think that everyone recognizes that Coke is Red and Pepsi is Blue.

I performed two tests. Test #1 just used the INDI control panel. Test #2 used Ekos. Using my laptop with Ubuntu 16.04 and installing INDI/EKOS/KStars daily updates as they become available. Since I am running Linux I loaded the "compatible" version of firmware as recommended by Jasem and nmac.

First thing to know is that when the INDI server starts it always defaults to RAW8. I have to manually go to the Controls panel and change it to RGB24. (Perhaps there is a way to perform this automatically.)

For Test #1, after I set RGB24 as described above, I go to the Streaming panel and click Stream On. I took a snapshot of the window and attached with the name: "Screenshot of Streaming Video Window.png". You will see that the colors are wrong: Coca-Cola is Blue and Pepsi is Red. I can repeat this multiple times and I always get the same results. Then I tried "Record (Duration)" and "Record (Frames)" to a SER file. I get the same bad results.

For Test #2, I create a profile for the ZWO ASI CCD, I start INDI, connect, and then set RGB24 as described above. I click on the CCD panel. I set the exposure to 0.03. (I attached a screenshot with the name "Ekos-Panel.png") Then I click the "Live Video" button. (I attached a screenshot with the name "Ekos-Live-Video.png") Notice that the colors are not right. Then I click the "Preview" button. (I attached a screenshot with the name "Ekos-Preview.png") Aha the colors are correct. I closed the FITS viewer and clicked the "Preview" button again. Again it is OK (i.e. "Ekos-Preview-2.png") But the third time I get bad colors ("Ekos-Preview-3.png"). There doesnt seem to be a pattern. I may get 5 previews in a row that are good, and then the sixth is bad and then it reverts to a string of good images. One thing that seems to be consistent is "Live Video" is always bad.

I hope this helps.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Brand new ASI120MC works on Windows 7 but not Ubuntu 16.04' in the forum. 2 months ago

Here is an interesting discovery that I made last evening while imaging the Moon and Mercury with a 12mm lens attached to my ASI120MC:

Yes, the atmosphere was turbulent; even Mercury was twinkling. I could see that with my naked eye. But when I switched my attention to the computer screen I saw something else in addition to the twinkling: a secular change of color from white to blue to red and back to white again.

I am trying to rationalize what I saw. I don't think it was chromatic aberration. I have a refractor and I know what it looks like. For now I will rule that out. What I think was happening is this:

The camera was on a fixed tripod -- no guiding. Mercury steadily moved across the pixel matrix. Since the sensor has a color mask there are adjacent pixels that are red, green or blue. The center of the diffraction disk, where the light intensity is greatest, moves across the matrix from one color-filtered pixel to the next.

What I failed to understand a couple weeks ago when I did the math was that the diffraction disk is not of uniform intensity. My calculations told me that for a 3.5-inch aperture at prime focus that the diffraction disk would cover a 2x2 pixel matrix for this particular sensor. I (incorrectly) surmised that a red star would be seen as red by the sensor since the light touched all pixels in the 2x2 matrix. That would be true if only the light from the diffraction disk were uniformly distributed. Now I see my error.

So having said that, now I completely understand that "serious" astronomers only use monochrome cameras with a filter wheel.

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Brian Morgan replied to the topic 'Brand new ASI120MC works on Windows 7 but not Ubuntu 16.04' in the forum. 2 months ago

Thank you, nmac. Shortly after I posted I realized that perhaps Jasem meant to say "flash" not "flush"!

I am attaching an image that I made last evening of the Moon and Mercury at 8:09:52pm EDT, 41.3 deg North latitude. The location is a cemetery built on the side of a mountain near where I live. (I was surrounded by a mausoleum to the left and right with the howls of coyotes in the distance!) Here is the metadata provided by SharpCap:

[ZWO ASI120MC]
Pan=0
Tilt=0
Output Format=AVI files (*.avi)
Binning=1
Capture Area=1280x960
Colour Space=RGB24
Temperature=6.5
Discard Split Frames=Off
High Speed Mode=On
Turbo USB=56(Auto)
Flip=None
Frame Rate Limit=Maximum
Gain=50
Exposure=0.2
Timestamp Frames=Off
White Bal (B)=95
White Bal (R)=52
Brightness=0
Gamma=50
Auto Exp Max Gain=50
Auto Exp Max Exp=30
Auto Exp Max Brightness=100
Mono Bin=Off
Subtract Dark=None
Display Brightness=1
Display Contrast=1
Display Gamma=1
I had the camera on a fixed tripod, no guiding. The video clip is 100 frames in length. At 200ms exposure per frame, the clip spans 20 seconds. I used RegiStax to stack all the frames, then cropped the image with Microsoft Paint and erased a few hot pixels. There was quite a lot of wind so the trees are blurred somewhat.

RegiStax did a great job canceling out the noise but there is an anomaly in the image that I cannot see in the video. Do you see it? Vertically, from the horizon to the tree tops, there are bands of light/dark/light/dark. Normally, I would say that this is the direct effect of quantization given the mere 8-bits of red, green, and blue. But I would have expected to see steps from lightest-to-light-to-dark-to-darkest, and not the bands that I see. The best explanation I have is that conditions were changing rapidly during that 20 seconds of video, and you get that effect after stacking those 100 frames. That, or I am using RegiStax improperly!

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