Jul 282014

A brilliant cloud free day in Inverness, Scotland allowed me to capture 7 hours of solar activity with my PST telescope. This is played back here at 375x real time and then as inverted. It then plays back at 1200x real time several times to show the plasma movement.

Captured with a PST and DMK21 and PowerMate2.5x combo.

 Posted by at 2:42 pm
Jan 012014

m42b2 gimp

Just tried out my new 1100D at prime focus thru my 4SE’s optical port in alt-az mode. I captured 90 frames (each 20s x ISO6400) using Canon EOS Utilities and then used AstroKam to filter them down to 56 good frames. DeepSkyStacker did its stacking magic and then Star Tools brought out the detail and colors.

Click on the image to see the original or click this link to see a zoomable version.

Update: I actually captured in 3 batches to give a total of 114 good light frames. Below is the new result and it looks like the extra frames give more detail in the fainter regions.

m42 ST threshold 5 114 frames median filter jpg


Again, here is a zoomable version.

 Posted by at 9:11 pm
Dec 112013

This was taken with my Canon A810 looking thru my Nexstar 4SE in alt-az mode. Stacked in DeepSkyStacker and processed in Star Tools then Gimp.

M42 in Orion

M42 in Orion – Click for full size image

 Posted by at 2:07 pm

DVS Tips

 Tutorials  Comments Off
Dec 062013

We recently got a request to help a user align a series of full disk Sun images while keeping the Sun’s position static. The normal method of aligning on a surface feature would result in the disk moving sideways as the Sun rotated. We came up with the idea of using the entire Sun as the alignment target and it worked like a charm. You can see how this works in the screenshot below. This is really stretching DVS so you need to give it time to work thru each frame.



The second tip was suggested by the user who came up with the idea of having 2 sets of processed images for hard-to-align image sequences. The first set has the contrast or sharpness or gamma cranked up so that DVS can easily lock onto the alignment targets and perform an alignment pass. The second set is processed normally to give the desired images for the final animation. The trick is now to load the second set of images and load the first set’s alignment results using the Data button. This will align the frames and you can now export your animation.

Big thanks to Matthias Mass for these suggestions.

 Posted by at 10:56 am

AstroKam M42

 CHDK AstroKam  Comments Off
Dec 052013

Here is my latest AstroKam shot of M42 in Orion taken with my £50 Canon A810 mounted on my Nexstar 4SE in alt-az mode. AstroKam automatically slewed to M42 during an all-night survey and spent 60 minutes shooting lights, darks and offsets. The best 43 lights were selected using AstroKam’s Sort module and stacked in DeepSkyStacker and processed in the beta version of Star Tools.

Click for full size image


 Posted by at 5:46 pm
Dec 012013

UPDATE: Ivo of Star Tools showed me how to process my FITS files and here is his take on my M42 below. He used Star Tools’s Repair module to turn my arrowhead stars into points – not bad for an alt-az mount.

M42 rework by Ivo of Star Tools

M42 rework by Ivo of Star Tools

I just tried out my new 1100D with a Canon 75-300 zoom on some deep sky objects. The camera was mounted on a Nexstar 4SE mount in alt-az mode aligned using 1 star with no guiding. My location is in a heavily light polluted city. Capture was by the Canon EOS utility program which captured around 30 shots at 30 seconds and 1600 ISO for each object. Stacking was done in DeepSkyStacker and post processing in Star Tools.

Still getting the hang of the software but I am pretty pleased with my first efforts at deep sky. I am still trying to figure why the stars are little triangles – vibration or lens distortion? Click on any image to view the original frame.



M81 and M82

M81 and M82




 Posted by at 6:59 pm
Nov 222013

AstroKam v4 is now available from the link at right. The main change is that you can now edit your automatic capture plans in-programme before you capture.

screenshot 20131122@133548

The Image Sort module can also now handle Canon .CR2 and .CRW raw files.

 Posted by at 1:47 pm