Thursday, 21 March 2019

A problem now fixed with the .rpm installer of AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Nicola has discovered a problem that she has now fixed. This is what she has put on the website:
There seems to be a permissions problem with the RPM release of 0.50.11. Nicola has uploaded a new version to fix this problem. The faulty version has been taken down and replaced with the new version. The version number allocated to the new .rpm installer will keep the version numbering in sync for future releases.

Monday, 18 March 2019

The future direction of AstroDMx Capture development

Nicola has been working very hard on AstroDMx Capture, and there are a number of developments in the pipeline. She works very long hours on the project which is now an enormous code base.

A picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, so the following splash-screens show the current development direction. The detail says it all.

The project is now almost three years old and it is to be hoped that Nicola retains her current level of enthusiasm for further development. So many projects that are essentially freeware eventually stall through lack of motivation. We can all think of them.
Releases will be made when we are sure that the software is fully stable.
There is another, secret project that will be revealed in due course.

DSLR tethering, AstroDMx Capture for Linux and AstroCrop for Linux

A Canon EOS 4000D DSLR was placed at the Newtonian focus of an f/5, 130mm Newtonian. The camera was controlled by USB tethering to a Lubuntu Laptop running AstroDMx Capture for Linux. 100 images of the Moon were captured as tiff files.
The images were initially very large, with lots of black space

Single, unprocessed image

The 100 images were precisely cropped to 1600 x 1600 pixels in Nicola's AstroCrop for Linux.

Screenshot of AstroCrop showing the selected cropping region

Screenshot of AstroCrop showing the progress of the cropping

The best 90% of the cropped images were stacked in Autostakkert! and wavelet processed in Registax 5.1, both running in Wine. The resulting image was post processed in the Gimp 2.10.

86%, Waxing, gibbous Moon

The version of AstroDMx Capture for Linux with DSLR tethering support will be released after further testing.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Deep Sky results from DSLR tethering in AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Gaynor Thomas has kindly loaned us a Canon EOS 1000D DSLR with which to implement Canon DSLR tethering in AstroDMx Capture for Linux.
The Canon EOS 1000D DSLR fitted with a 2" nose-piece and a light pollution filter was placed at the Newtonian focus of an f/5, 130mm Newtonian and tethered to a Fedora Linux laptop. The rig was mounted on a Celestron AVX, EQ GOTO mount. 70 x 30s exposures (ISO 800) of M42 were captured automatically by Nicola's AstroDMx Capture For Linux along with 20 matching dark-frames. The best 66 frames were registered and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker running in Wine and the final image was post-processed in the Gimp 2.10, Neat Image and FastStone running in Wine.

The tethered camera at the Newtonian focus

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux capturing data from the tethered camera

The Orion nebulae showing M42/43 and the Running Man nebula

Full size

The same data processed as a monochrome image in Darktable, to reveal more nebulosity

Full size

There is still a way to go, but Nicola is making progress in the implementation of USB DSLR tethering in AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Saturday, 16 February 2019

More tethered DSLR testing with AstroDMx Capture for Linux with stacking in AstroCrop for Linux

We again tested the DSLR USB tethering function that Nicola has put into AstroDMx Capture for Linux (pre release). The ability to zoom a captured image makes focusing a dream. 50 images of the Moon were automatically captured with an f/5, 130mm Newtonian and a Nikon D5100 mounted on an AZ GOTO mount. The images were then precisely cropped and stacked in our stacking prototype of AstroCrop for Linux. The stacked image was wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 running in Wine and post processed in the Gimp 2.10

 Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux
with the display zoomed to facilitate focusing

Stacked, processed image of the Moon

Screenshot of a 30s exposure of the Orion Nebula being captured by a tethered Nikon D5100 DSLR camera and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Not all camera manufacturers have properly implemented tethered capturing in all of their models. Moreover, many of them have neglected bulb capture. Nevertheless, Nicola is implementing the functions that have been made available by the manufacturers. A version with tethered capturing capabilities will be released when it is stable

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Tethered DSLR image capture in AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Nicola is working on the next phase of the AstroDMx Capture for Linux project, that is, implementing DSLR control and image capture with USB tethered cameras.
So far, Nikon cameras are being implemented, but Canon and maybe others will follow shortly. All of the functions have yet to be implemented but at twilight this evening, we had first light as a demonstrator that things are working.

First light

The tethered camera can be seen attached to the scope, and a captured image displayed in AstroDMx Capture for Linux on the screen.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux and a Nikon DSLR image

When everything is working correctly for Nikon and Canon DSLRs, the program will again be compiled for the ARM processor and the Raspberry Pi.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Stacking with AstroCrop in Linux

Back in 2014 Nicola wrote the code for the first version of AstroCrop. This was for Windows. We worked on the algorithms for precisely cropping a series of images, and controlling the precision of the cropping. We were motivated by capturing Lunar and solar images with 60 x and 40 x optical zoom Bridge cameras using a static tripod and burst mode capture. We were capturing about 100 images over a very short period of time and wanted to stack the images.

With this technique of capture, it is almost inevitable that there will be some movement of the object of interest (Sun or Moon) between bursts of capture. Moreover, the images captured contain a relatively large amount of black space surrounding the object. The result of this was that there was frequently too much movement of the object among the images for stacking software such as Registax and Autostakkert! to be able to cope. Moreover, the large amount of black space around the object was undesirable.

This image has been re-scaled to about 1/4 its original size for display here if clicked on
Note the large amount of wasted back space in the image.

We wanted to crop precisely, every image to exactly the same, user defined size.
So, Nicola coded AstroCrop and it is available at  .Both Windows and Linux versions are available for download.

When the original program was written, an automatic stacking function was included after the images had been cropped. However, it was decided to comment out all of the stacking functions in the initial release as software such as Registax and Autostakkert! were available in Windows.

Whilst there is stacking software available in Linux such a lxnstack, and Registax & Autostakkert run perfectly under Wine, We decided to un-comment the stacking code in the Linux version of AstroCrop for testing purposes, but not to release it at this stage. The reason for this is that we intend to implement a quality estimator so that the user can specify a stack of the best x% of the cropped images. Moreover, with the techniques that Nicola has developed for the rapid handling of images whilst developing AstroDMx Capture for Linux, she has decided to re-write the whole AstroCrop project to use some of these techniques and increase the efficiency of AstroCrop even further.

A data set of 60 bridge camera images of the Moon captured on March 4th 2015 was used to test the cropping and stacking in the version of AstroCrop for Linux with the un-commented code. The pixel search perimeter (which is user selected from 5 pixels up to 60 pixels) was set to 30 pixels. This will give better correlations between the cropped images. The resulting stacked, cropped image was wavelet processed in Registsx 5.1 and post processed in the Gimp 2.10.

The process worked well and we look forward to the time when a stacking version of AstroCrop is released for Linux

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Maintenance release with bug fixes for AstroDMx Capture for Linux, including the Raspberry Pi version

Nicola has released version 0.50.11 of AstroDMx Capture for Linux. This release fixes a number of bugs.

It can be downloaded from
There is an RPM, a DEB and a Raspberry Pi Version.

Pi 3 Screenshot

Any current user should download and upgrade to this version to get the best experience from AstroDMx Capture for Linux.

Raspberry Pi imaging the Moon

AstroDMx Capture for the Pi screenshot

Monday, 3 December 2018

A new release of AstroDMx Capture for Linux (0.50.9) PLUS a simultaneous release for the Raspberry Pi

AstroDMx Capture for the Raspberry Pi Logo

Whilst implementing AstroDMx Capture for Linux for the Raspberry Pi computer, some additional features were required that will also prove to be useful in the general release. One such feature is a function to reduce any lag in the image being previewed from UVC cameras. This will enable the user to set the point where lag is at a minimum and frame rate is as high as possible, commensurate with the lag reduction. This is particularly important during focusing and setting exposure etc.

The CPU useage has also been generally reduced and in particular for the QHY cameras. A number of other post-release issues have been fixed.

The result, is the simultaneous release of version 0.50.9 for the Raspberry Pi ARM processor and release version 0.50.9 for x86_64 processors.

Screenshot  showing Splash screen of AstroDMx Capture for the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Version of AStroDMx Capture for Linux works with the Official Linux OS for the Pi: Rasbian Stretch with Desktop.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

AstroDMx Capture for Linux maintenance (Version 0.50.4) released

Nicola has released a maintenance release (0.50.4) of 
AstroDMx Capture for Linux.

This version fixes a couple of bugs and allows real-time frame correction in frame-integration mode.
Although this release follows quickly on the heels of the previous version, it is worth installing it to replace version 0.50.1.

Nicola is working on, and hoping to release shortly, a full version of AstroDMx Capture for the Raspberry Pi computer. Although we have successfully tested previous versions of AstroDMx Capture for Linux on the raspberry Pi computer, Raspberry Pi test 1  ;  Raspberry Pi test 2 Nicola has not yet taken the Pi version to the release stage. Watch this space