EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Imaging and processing techniques, tips and tricks.

EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby craig-shine » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:20 pm

This thread is a bit of an experiment given the lack of activity on this forum. I thought it might be interesting to have a place for members to share their Electronically Assisted Astronomy observations and tips. I see EAA as a great way to learn the basics of astrophotography - you can gradually ease into longer exposures and post processing work when you feel comfortable.

If you haven't come across EAA before (it's also known as video or "live view" astronomy) then this deck that I presented at the Club's November AGM might be a good place to start: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gbBmNGEH1HSXN7iP8DsOy-BSM79dyQBZy0_RJRVNk98/edit?usp=sharing

The semi-official home of EAA is this CN forum: https://www.cloudynights.com/forum/73-eaa-observation-and-equipment-label-your-images-indicate-software-used-include-integration-time-and-no-post-processing
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby craig-shine » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:56 pm

In response to a recent email on the HAS email list I wanted to post some sample observations taken last night of M42 and Hubble's variable nebula. The Sharpcap settings to the right of the image and histogram below may help others trying the same kind of targets. M42 has a very high dynamic range (very bright core, faint outer regions) and unfortunately SharpCap doesn't support HDR-style captures with varying exposure parameters, so you need to go for a happy medium. Total exposure time of 6 minutes using Celestron C8 with 6.3 focal reducer and ASI294MC camera:

Capture2.JPG


And here's Hubbe's Variable - obviously much smaller and fainter so let the capture run for 20mins:


HubbleVarNeb.JPG




Close-up:

HubbleVarNeb4.JPG
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby james-mclarty » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:25 pm

Those are great Craig,
Glad to see we have the same camera and I can see its capabilities.
I need to visit the dark site and get with you. My workflow is still a work in progress.
I will probably be going with Sharp Cap, I like the features it has.
Like everything in this one thing at a time. Lol.
Thanks for starting the thread.
James McLarty
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby clamison » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:40 pm

Craig --> Thank you for getting this thread started. With too many astro irons in the fire I haven't delved much into using my Revolution Imager yet. Having a thread here in the forum as a resource for asking questions should help spur me on.

Checked out your presentation and it looks like I have a workable system. I don't have WiFi on my 8 SE or connect it to a laptop but this week I finally got it to go-to really well with the hand control. Put all targets in an 24 mm E.P. FOV and tested one target and it was in an 8 mm FOV even.

My first question: I save pictures and videos via the cameras WiFi app to my i-Pad or phone. Can I adjust the histogram in SharpCap after the fact using these files rather than on the fly? This looks like a useful feature from your examples!

(Any other respondents should probably refer to me as Craig L. to avoid confusion.)
Regards,

Craig Lamison
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby craig-shine » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:45 pm

james-mclarty wrote:Those are great Craig,
Glad to see we have the same camera and I can see its capabilities.
I need to visit the dark site and get with you. My workflow is still a work in progress.
I will probably be going with Sharp Cap, I like the features it has.
Like everything in this one thing at a time. Lol.
Thanks for starting the thread.
James McLarty


Hi James, happy to help where I can. I'm pretty new to this too and definitely still learning the ropes. Glad you found those examples helpful. There were taken under a full moon so you can expect better results than this under better conditions. I've only had my EAA setup at the darksite once and the moon was out then too.. hopefully the next few weeks will provide an opportunity to meet up out there and try some EAA under a properly dark sky. Just bring something to keep the laptop screen dimmed and reddened :)
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby craig-shine » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:22 pm

clamison wrote:Craig --> Thank you for getting this thread started. With too many astro irons in the fire I haven't delved much into using my Revolution Imager yet. Having a thread here in the forum as a resource for asking questions should help spur me on.


Hi Craig L.
Yes, hopefully we see some activity here so we can share ideas, problems and solutions.

clamison wrote:Checked out your presentation and it looks like I have a workable system. I don't have WiFi on my 8 SE or connect it to a laptop but this week I finally got it to go-to really well with the hand control. Put all targets in an 24 mm E.P. FOV and tested one target and it was in an 8 mm FOV even.


That sounds like a solid start.. a reliable go-to saves a lot of time hunting around. I was using a StarSense with my 8SE but recently moved on to using platesolving in SharpCap instead.. so now I don't need Starsense and I don't need to do any kind of Star Alignment.. The StarSense was great when I was using it though.

clamison wrote:My first question: I save pictures and videos via the cameras WiFi app to my i-Pad or phone. Can I adjust the histogram in SharpCap after the fact using these files rather than on the fly? This looks like a useful feature from your examples!
(Any other respondents should probably refer to me as Craig L. to avoid confusion.)


The Histogram is definitely key to the entire experience and it takes a while to get the hang of it (I figure out something new every time I'm out there). I don't know much about the Revolution Imager camera to be honest. I think you will need to connect the camera to a laptop directly and tweak in real time. SharpCap doesn't have the ability to open files after the fact as far as I know. Did you catch see this video on using Sharpcap with the RI?

https://www.revolutionimager.com/pages/ ... y-computer
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Re: EAA "Live View" astronomy from Houston

Postby craig-shine » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:54 pm

Last night was really clear and pretty steady and I managed to get about 4 good hours of viewing in. Thought I would share 2 captures of well known objects, starting with M3 (50 x 30secs, 10mins total exposure). I continue to struggle with bloated stars as you can see..

M3_50.jpg


I planned to wrap up around midnight after 30mins on M51.. but I got a little bit carried away with the clear sky and just let the stacking continue. I was pretty surprised and excited to see the detail that was coming through so I sat there and tweaked the histogram for a full 90mins to tease it out as best I could. I didn't expect to be able to see the faint, smeared out "trailing arm" in the lower left. Like I said in my first post above, I see EAA as a logical stepping stone into "real AP" and this was my first capture that got close to an AP integration timeframe.

M51-5_2_50-small.jpg
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