In need of a SharpCap tutor

Somewhere to ask questions about the best way to use SharpCap
psy1280
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by psy1280 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:37 pm

Phew! I have a lot to 'chew' on after reading your post. As I continue to chew and digest, it may be awhile before I get to post some of your suggestions.

In the meantime, as soon as your book is available, I want two copies, one for each hand :-) I've published 6 psychology self-help books and I know the process of getting to print can be arduous...hopefully, your valuable book will be available soon. Right now I would gladly pay a king's ransom to get such a book in my hands!!! It may be true that your audience for such a book is somewhat limited, so be sure to tell your would-be publisher that video astrophotography is beginning to explode and the market will only increase over time. Case in point: I just finished writing my latest book on neuroplasticity (ability to change brain anatomy through learning) and after taking about three years to write it, what was an emerging, new science three years ago has exploded and is no longer emerging--it's become mainstream in psychology. Your book may well be ahead of the curve.

Best of luck with the book, can't wait to see it.

Joe

psy1280
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor/ Day image question

Post by psy1280 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:03 pm

I was using my Revolution Imager to view a terrestrial object about a mile away. In the 7" monitor that came with the imager I was able to get a perfectly focused and crisp picture of the tower. I then switched the wires to view this same image on SharpCap, nothing! Black screen. I don't understand why the image would be perfect on the monitor and not show up at all in SharpCap. ??????

Thanks to anyone for solving this newest of mysteries.

Joe

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turfpit
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by turfpit » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:50 pm

Joe

You need to supply some info to help with this. Some suggestions:
  • A photo of the monitor showing the image.
  • The camera settings used to obtain this image e.g. exposure, gain (AGC) etc.
  • A screenshot of the actual SharpCap screen when you have the problem.
  • Try a capture anyway as this will generate a camera settings file and post the settings file as an attachment.
  • How is the camera connected to the capture PC?
  • Anything else you might think is relevant.
Dave

donstim
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by donstim » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:18 am

Joe,

I have the same camera and telescope as you and just a smidge more experience with it. The fact that you can get an image on the monitor, but not in Sharpcap is very interesting. I've hardly used the monitor, but in principle I would expect the video signal to provide the same image in Sharpcap preview as on the monitor. (I will test this premise tomorrow with my equipment.)

This leads me to believe that you may be having a signal issue with regards to the signal getting to the laptop (though this would not explain your difficulty in seeing dark sky objects with the monitor). I had the USB capture card go bad on me after a short period of successful use, but I was getting a series of oscillating colored horizontal lines separated by some gray and black borders slowly drifting down the screen rather than just a black screen. Its possible that you may have a bad connection somewhere. Are all the connections tight (do you get the light on the USB card to illuminate, or some other indication that it has a good connection)? What do you see if you bring up a histogram in Sharpcap?

One image setting in Sharpcap that does seem to work with our camera is the brightness setting (in the image controls on the right side of the Sharpcap preview screen). I assume this didn't somehow get set at zero. which might give you a black screen. You might dry varying this slider to brighten the image and see if it makes a difference (in either the image or the histogram).

If there is ever a clear night here (I'm in Seattle), I can take a look at M42 and provide you with some suggested settings for that object, which should be a good test subject.

Don

psy1280
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by psy1280 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:36 pm

Thank you both Don and Dave, I have some "fact-finding" to do and will post my results soon (skies here outside of NYC are not helping). I hope one day (hopefully not the too distant future) after mastering this "art" form of video capture to be in a position to help others as you guys have so generously offered your help.

More to come,
Joe

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turfpit
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by turfpit » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:08 pm

Joe

The state of the skies are a side show. Everything listed in my previous post can be provided with a setup inside your home. If we can get the basics sorted then you will be able to progress to working the night sky.

I am afraid there is no ‘art’ in this just discipline and organisation.

As an example, I have just got a ‘new to me’ telescope working. I spent several hours testing out various combinations of cameras and optics to ensure scope balance and focus could be achieved. It turned out the new equipment was ‘back heavy’ which meant I have had to order a longer vixen dovetail. Also a webcam could not achieve focus so an extension had to be purchased. All this work was done during the day, against a distant mobile mast, when it was raining. When the first decent skies arrived last Thursday I was able to take advantage. If I had taken the new scope directly outside, I would have wasted an imaging opportunity.

Watch out for a post later in my ‘M42 Chronicles’ thread which documents my journey with this hobby.

Dave

psy1280
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by psy1280 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:03 pm

Dave & Don,

I suspect Don was correct about a loose cable. I dismantled everything, i.e. Revolution Imager's 7" monitor and all other connections. Re-connected everything securely and, guess what? Success! (well at least seeing a tower about a mile away). I focused the tower in the 7" inch monitor, than re-connected everything to SharpCap, and there it was, my tower! (attached). Now, my question. Since I can see things in my 7" monitor, I suspect that this should be applicable to any night object, i.e., anything I see in the 7" monitor I should be able to see in SharpCap without any extreme control manipulations right. There should be something visible, right? If this is the case, then I assume the next test other than continuing to familiarizing with day-time practice, would be to see if I can see stars, etc., at night only using SharpCap. I'm going to guess that if I do nothing else, next time I look at the stars, I should see them in SharpCap (assuming adequate focus, shutter speed, etc.

If I'm on the right track please let me know.

Thank you again,
Joe
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oopfan
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by oopfan » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:52 pm

Joe,

Why not try the Moon? For an observer in NYC, the Moon crosses the meridian at 7:50pm tonight at an altitude of 54 degrees. That would be due south. You don't need to view it exactly at that time but it is highest then. It will be visible several hours before and afterwards, just lower in the sky.

Here is what you will see. The red dot is on the crater Copernicus which ought to be spectacular. By the way you can see the current state of the solar system here:

https://hammerharden.herokuapp.com/app. ... ewer/339/0

Brian
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turfpit
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by turfpit » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:35 pm

Joe

That is real progress. You have focus (near enough to see stars), the equipment is proven and you have used the SharpCap controls. If it is practical, leave the scope and camera pointed at the mast and wait for dark. You know you are on the object and can experiment with the camera's controls to try to bring up the mast. I do this with a distant mobile mast - I cannot see it at night with the scope but cameras can pick it up. An alternative object would be a tower building which will be lit at night or some distant street lamps.
anything I see in the 7" monitor I should be able to see in SharpCap without any extreme control manipulations right
Correct.

If you have a Bahtinov Mask then street lights will work for learning how to focus. See
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1151

If it is raining or cloudy, then useful time can be spent reading in the manual about the histogram.

Dave

psy1280
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Re: In need of a SharpCap tutor

Post by psy1280 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Thank you Dave, I'll try the tower at night. And thank you Brian, as much as I'd love to try the moon, my southern sky is obstructed leaving me only with an east, north-east sky. I haven't worked out how to move my camera/scope/laptop, etc., to a remote position. For now, I need to wait for an eastern moon.

Hoping to see some stars soon!!!

Joe

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