Tuesday, 17 January 2017

M42/3, an LN300 video camera, USB capture card and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

An LN300 composite video camera was placed at the prime focus of an f/5.5, 80mm, ED refractor mounted on an iOptron Cube Pro, AZ, GOTO mount. A KWORLD DVD MAKER 2 USB capture card was used to capture the colour, composite video stream using Nicola Mackin's AstroDMx Capture for Linux, on a Linux Mint laptop. The LN300 video camera was used in long exposure mode and 3 x 60-frame SER files were captured of the Orion Nebula, at each of the following exposures: 0.64s, 1.28s and 2.56s. AstroDMx Capture was used in time-lapse mode to capture unique frames at each exposure. The images were extracted from the SER files as TIFFs using SER player. The 180 resulting images were de-rotated and stacked in lxnstack. The resulting image was processed in the Gimp 2.9.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture acquiring SER data on a Linux Mint laptop

The final image of the Orion Nebula

The SER movie file format is superior to the older AVI format. It is, like an AVI, or a VOB file, a container for sequential images. There are no size limitations to the SER format and it can contain 16 bit images. The SER Player software can extract images from the SER file if, as here, individual images are required for processing.