Monday, 6 August 2018

AstroDMx Capture for Linux and the Raspberry Pi 3

In May 2017 I wrote here about using AstroDMx Capture for Linux to capture long exposure images with the Raspberry Pi 
However, Nicola did not make a release as she was busy implementing more cameras in the 64 bit RPM and DEB versions of the software.
Nicola has now been working again on a 32 bit version of AstroDMx Capture for Linux for the Raspberry Pi 3 running the latest Rasbian with Desktop (Based on Debian), but this time, implementing all of the cameras implemented in the 64 bit version. It is her hope to release both versions very soon, after a small number of known bugs are fixed and a new way of visualising the incoming data from a 16 bit (or 12 bit data in a 16 bit container) has been completed.
The Raspberry Pi version was tested using two cameras; the QHY 5M-II-C 12 bit colour camera and the Atik 314L 16 bit mono camera. At this stage, the data were transferred to another computer for processing, although subsequent experiment will be done to determine how much can be done on the Pi itself.
QHY 5M-II-C testing with the Raspberry Pi 3
A Celestron Nextstar 8 OTA was mounted on a Celestron AVX EQ, GOTO mount. A QHY 5M-II-C camera fitted with a 2x Barlow was used to capture a 1500 frame SER file of Saturn.

The Raspberry Pi capturing data on Saturn with AstroDMx Capture for Linux

The best 80% of the frames were stacked in Autostakkert! 3 running in Wine and wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 also running in Wine. The image was post processed in the Gimp 2.10 and Neat Image.
Saturn with the QHY 5M-II-C and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

The QHY 5M-II-C was kindly loaned by Derek Francis of the Swansea Astronomical Society to help with the development of the software.
Atik 314L testing with the Raspberry Pi 3
A Skywatcher Explorer 130 PDS 130mm, f/5 Newtonian was mounted on a Celestron AVX EQ, GOTO mount. An Atik 314L mono camera fitted with a narrowband H-alpha filter was placed at the Newtonian focus and AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture 50 x 60s exposures of M16, the Eagle nebula with the Pillars of creation. 10 matching darkframes were also captured. The best 90% of the frames were registered and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker running in Wine and the resulting  FITs image was processed in ESO, ESA, NASAs Fits Liberator software running in Wine and FastStone image viewer running in Wine.

M16 H-alpha data on M16 being captured by the Paspberry Pi 3 and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

Closeup of the screen showing the real time display of the captured data

Final image of M16 in H-alpha light

Full size

The new versions of AstroDMx Capture for Linux will soon be released, including the version for the Raspberry Pi 3.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that the Raspberry Pi 3 is a viable astro-imaging device.
Watch this space for further developments and more news on releases.