Convert SharpCap RAW8 images

I took some images using my ZWO ASI034MC and Meade ETX90EC.  I used SharpCap to capture of still images and a couple of videos.  I reviewed the results and something didn’t look right.  The images of the moon were very low resolution and had a grid pattern over them.  The images of Saturn and Mars showed no color.  I am sure I saw some red for Mars.  I checked the Camera Settings view and noticed the Color Space was RAW8.  I thought I had changed this but out of patience using SharpCap since the last time was the solar eclipse last year.

I did some research and found this article https://docs.sharpcap.co.uk/2.9/10_CameraBasics.htm.  It explains what the differences are for the color spaces in SharpCap.  I guess it makes since that I captured a RAW format.  I have been capturing images in RAW using my Canon T3i but haven’t had to time to really learn what that means.  Related to SharpCap, I checked and I recorded the solar images in RGB24.  What was interesting is the article mentioned that SharpCap has its code so the image on the screen will be in color.  This explains my confusion.

So, I next wondered if I could get the images to display like I saw in the preview.  I did another search and found this article https://forums.sharpcap.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=254.  It provides a link to a PDF which explains how to “debayer” the RAW images to display color.  The process involves using a software called PIPP

In PIPP, one of the question is what debayer patter was used.  It said to do a search on the camera model.  I did for the ZWO ASI034MC but didn’t get a result.  Since, there are only four choices and just tried them and learned the correct patter was GRBG.

Here is the process I did to convert by SharpCap RAW8 files:

  • Organize the RAW files into a folder
  • Start PIPP
  • Drag-and-drop the images into the Image Files List
    • Click OK about joining
  • The Output Frame window appears to give a preview
  • Select the Input Options tab
    • Check – Debayer Monochrome Frames
    • Select GRBG
  • Click the “Test Options” to test image result
  • Select Output Frame tab
    • Select PNG
  • Select Do Procession tab
    • Click Start Processing
    • Click Open Output Folder to find results

For the AVI video, I just changed the Output Format to be AVI.  But, I did to add each file individually or it joined them into one AVI.

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Astrophotography with Smartphones

When doing visual observing at a telescope, I find myself wishing I could record the image.  I know some people sketch but sketching isn’t for me.   Astrophotography with a connected DSLR or dedicated camera is great but that isn’t visual observing.  So, I have been very interested in the concept of afocal astrophotography.  I earlier got an adapter for an old point-and-shot camera but was a lot of work to get the camera positioned and then figure out all the controls.  Again, I could use the DSLR.  But, then I found an article about using a smartphone.  So, I purchased a couple of adapters which sat gathering dust.  But, going to make it a goal to figure out afocal photography using a smartphone.

I first step was to do some researching on the Internet. A number of article I found are below.  Here are my takeaways:

  • Smartphones can take adequate images through the eyepieces.  This is partial due to the increasing technology in each new smartphone model.
  • An adapter is necessary to hold the smartphone steady over the eyepiece.
  • Something is necessary to take the picture to avoid movement
  • Dedicated apps will probably help with the process but curious how the native camera controls do.

The next step will be to re-review the two adapters I have.

Articles:

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Moon and Venus-March 20, 2018

I took a picture of the Moon and Venus low in the western sky on March 18, 2018.  The Moon and Venus are further apart.  A better image is located at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/March_18,_2018.

ClearSkyTonight_9916_20180319_moon_venus

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Moon and Venus-March 18, 2018

I took a picture of the Moon and Venus low in the western sky on March 18, 2018.  A better image is located at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/March_18,_2018

ClearSkyTonight_9904_20180318_moon_venus

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Venus and Mercury–March 6, 2018

Venus and Mercury were close together in the western sky after sunset on March 6, 2018.  A better image is located at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/March_6,_2018.

ClearSkyTonight_9864_20180306_venus_mercury

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Super Blue Moon

The clouds cleared and I was able to use the Meade ETX 90EC with the Canon to get some images of the moon.  Unfortunately, the clouds came back and I missed the lunar eclipse in the morning.

The full image is available at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/Jan_30,_2018.

ClearSkyTonight_20180130_9843_moon

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