A nice night for a change, Friday evening.
Maybe a little hazy (what? why with a forecast of freezing fog?

Took out the old DSLR on a tripod and did a run of 60 second exposures of Orion Rising.  Too bad the focus at infinity was not in focus   The old display screen is so small and poor that you cannot judge focus at all.  So now will have to experiment with moving the lens to focus at infinity and then move it back a “smidge”.  Size of smidge to be determined.

Then moved over to the northern skies in the hopes of aurora, but in reality the lens was fogging over and the red cell tower lights were lighting up the lens face, so mostly nothing there.

And the built in battery also was almost dead after an hour in the cold.

So… find a bigger external power source.. work on a dew heater strap.. work on a camera bag (cause the camera was covered in frosties), and experiment with infinity.

Also opened  up the Serenity observatory with the Centres 20cm LX200gps.  The last session it had a twostar alignment and then was parked.  The theory is when you next power it up, it should still be aligned.  Told it to go to Betelguese.. ended up 30-50 degrees away. Argh!  drove it to Betelguese and sync’d.  Then told it to find Polaris.  20-40 degrees away Argh! Drove it to Polaris and sync’d .  OK.. lets try Mars!

5-10 degrees away.  To be expected I guess with a bad alignment model and only two syncs to attempt to correct it.  Methinks Syncs are only to fine tune an existing good alignment model, not build a new model from scratch.

Still commissioning the new ZWO ASI290MC camera.. got it to work with Firecapture and also tried some autoalign and autoguiding with Firecapture.  Surprise surprise it worked on the 2nd attempt.

Firecapture autoguides on the actual single camera image you are taking in realtime.  It only works on planetary objects, not stars, moon or sun, by using the “centre of mass” of a planetary image on the screen.  I left it taking 180 second exposures at 3ms for a total of around 24k frames in a file size of about 18GB.

Went inside the house and brought up chrome remote desktop to see what was going on and  saw that it successfully tracked and guided Mars for the entire run!

Also saw that the 120GB SSD drive that started with 90GB free, filled up after only 5 runs and it aborted the rest of the runs.

I have a script to move images off the drive onto the house file server but neglected to start it up.  Will have to put that on a win10 scheduled task next time.

Still no progress on adding a wider field finder camera, so that I do not have to crawl inside the observatory, remove the camera, insert an eyepiece and try to get a two star alignment done.  That is such a pain!  Even with a small 4’x4′ platform that I had thought I overbuilt, when I step inside with my 100kg, the pointing of the scope does in fact move!

This morning (Saturday, astro 2019 day 5/5!) we were out in the freezing fog and haze and caught the ISS pass at 05:26.  Very nice!

The rest of the day is trying to remember and adjust the process process for the Mars imagery.

Seeing was poor, transparency was poor.  Even with autoalign (the camera capture software move the image around to try and minimize jitter, kind of like image stabilization in cameras and binoculars), and then PIPP to crop and centre the planet, the resulting image still jumps around in 3 dimensions (left-right, up-down, in-out).

At present we are running with autostakkert! v3 to pull out the best 5,10,25,50% of the images and stack them.  So far only the 5% looks good.  Mars is only 7.2 arcseconds large, which doesn’t help a lot but some surface features are coming out.

When that is all done, all of the original 100GB of avi files will be moved onto an archive drive to free up space and we will start with Registax for wavelet processing.

Too bad Saturday night looks cloudy/flurry like.

Registax v6 was then run to process wavelets to sharpen up the image a bit and then some linux bash scripting to add text annotation. This is one of the end results: