Remote-control imaging of Jupiter

Blog the previous nights viewing. Link to images on the gallery or simply describe what you observed the night before. Leave the technical and howto in another forum.
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rwilkinson
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Remote-control imaging of Jupiter

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:07 am

Last night I tried a new arrangement for planetary imaging from indoors (in the warm).
Rather than my usual setup of feeding three control cables in through the kitchen window, this time I left the laptop outdoors and used a wireless link to a second PC indoors.
rdp_garden.jpg
Imaging Jupiter with a C8 and Philips webcam, running SharpCap on the laptop. I've also got the mount linked up with a COM port, so I can control it with NexStarControl pad on the PC.
rdp_garden.jpg (245.39 KiB) Viewed 3460 times
rdp_indoor.jpg
Laptop indoors linked via a WiFi hub. With this Remote Desktop I can control SharpCap and NSCP from indoors.
rdp_indoor.jpg (273.06 KiB) Viewed 3460 times
The update rate of the video from the webcam was a little slow, but still easily fast enough for me to keep Jupiter centred using NexStar Control Pad - and then to see when it had clouded over! :roll:

It was handy to be able to control the system from anywhere in the house, but as I don't have a computer-link for my focus-motor, I still had to go out from time to time to give it a tweak.
But with the outdoor system all running from a battery, it could be set up much further down the garden than I could reach with my 10m control cables - so giving a view further to the South.

I was using an old wireless router as the WiFi hub, and the MicroSoft Remote Desktop to link the two computers (thanks to Carl for his advice in setting this up). And this arrangement could also be used to relay live images from an outdoor 'scope onto the big screen at any of our "activity night" meetings...

Incidentally, here are my two images of Jupiter, showing a transit of Europa's shadow in progress. I was intending to take images every 15 mins to make a time-lapse movie, but it clouded over soon after 8pm. :(
Jupiter 27_02_2014 19_36_37.jpg
Stack of ~ 500 images at 19:36. This capture was initiated from the laptop beside the telescope.
Jupiter 27_02_2014 19_36_37.jpg (15.2 KiB) Viewed 3460 times
Jupiter 27_02_2014 19_51_35.jpg
Stack of ~ 500 images at 19:51. This capture was initiated using Remote Desktop from the PC indoors.
Jupiter 27_02_2014 19_51_35.jpg (17.53 KiB) Viewed 3460 times
(All processing in RegiStax6)

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rwilkinson
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Re: Remote-control imaging of Jupiter

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:33 am

rwilkinson wrote:it could be set up much further down the garden than I could reach with my 10m control cables - so giving a view further to the South.
I tried this last night, and although the remote-control and wireless link worked OK, I encountered more challenges as Jupiter moved to the West...

Using my German equatorial mount, I needed to do a meridian flip after the planet passed through South - this needed careful supervision to avoid the webcam and focus-motor leads getting snagged. Then as the optical tube was "upside-down", I had to crawl underneath it to use the finder and flip-mirror to re-sync to my target!

But then, after having a reasonably steady image for the earlier part of the evening, I found that it was getting quite wobbly - what was happening? Well, as the planet moved West I was seeing it through the turbulent rising warm air coming from our neighbours' heating systems (whereas whilst it's to the East I'm looking over trees).

Anyway, here's an animation of my first three images:
Jupiter 28_02_2014.gif
Jupiter's rotation over 35 minutes, from 3x 500-frame captures.
Stacking in RegiStax6, subsequent processing in IRIS, GIF conversion in IrfanView and animation in unFREEz
Jupiter 28_02_2014.gif (102.67 KiB) Viewed 3443 times
After that the hazy cloud degraded the signal too far.

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