New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

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admin
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New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#1

Post by admin »

This week's SharpCap 4.0 update (4.0.8564) includes a new feature - Deep Sky Image Annotation - which will overlay names and information about stars, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters over the image from your camera. All you need to enable this is to have a plate solving application (we recommend Astap or Ansvr) installed and configured to work in SharpCap.
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You can enable the annotation from the tools menu - If you have already performed plate solving recently then the overlays will appear straight away. Otherwise you need to trigger a plate solving operation (either using one of the plate solve options in the tools menu or by double clicking on the image with the annotation active).

The plate solving information lets SharpCap work out where in the sky each pixel of the image is, and that data is compared with a built in database of objects (more on that in a moment). The objects that are in view are labelled with an overlay on the camera image (note : this info will not appear in any saved images, even 'save exactly as seen'). SharpCap tries not to clutter the display too much, so if there are a lot of objects in the same area, only the most significant ones (biggest, brightest) will be shown. Zooming in on the image to make that area larger will result in more objects being shown if some are initially hidden.

If you are using a GOTO mount in SharpCap then the overlay will track movements within a distance of about 10 degrees from the place that you ran the plate solving - if you move further then plate solve again.

If you are not using a GOTO mount then the overlay still works, but you will need to plate solve every time you move the mount otherwise you will see the objects still listed in the old location. Without a GOTO mount, it's best to use the double-click approach to run the plate solving, since after the first time it uses the last position as a hint to speed up the solving process (this doesn't happen if you use the tools menu).
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The built in catalog of objects consists of about 3300 bright stars and about 13000 other items from the NGC and IC catalogs. If you have a SharpCap Pro license then you can set up additional catalogs which SharpCap will read and use automatically. I will post a follow on post with more details on how to do this. Note that using the feature with the built in catalogs *does not* require a SharpCap Pro license :)

For now, you can turn off the annotation by selecting it again from the menu. In the next update I hope to add a small window providing added information and further functionality, which will also provide a nicer way of turning the feature off.

cheers,

Robin
carlomuccini
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#2

Post by carlomuccini »

Wonderful !

Carlo
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#3

Post by admin »

Setting up a custom catalog for image annotation - please follow these steps

1) Make sure you have a SharpCap Pro license - without a license, SharpCap will not display the data from the additional catalogs.
2) Save your data to a CSV file in the following format

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IDs|Names|Type|RA(decimal hours)|Dec(degrees)|VMag|RMax(arcmin)|RMin(arcmin)|PosAngle
IC0001|IC0001|Double star|0.14084722|27.717667||||
IC0002|IC0002|Galaxy|0.18357778|-12.822861||0.98|0.32|142
IC0003|IC0003|Galaxy|0.20169167|-0.41522223||0.93|0.67|53
IC0004|IC0004|Galaxy|0.22415|17.486444||1.17|0.84|12
IC0005|IC0005|Galaxy|0.2930361|-9.543361||0.99|0.66|9
IC0006|IC0006|Galaxy|0.3152889|-3.2760832||1.23|1.08|146
IC0007|IC0007|Galaxy|0.31476668|10.594694||0.9|0.63|174
Note the following:
* The fields in the CSV file should be separated by the vertical bar '|' character. This character should not appear in any of the fields
* Both IDs and Names can be a comma separated list of multiple IDs or names.
* The type field can be any text you like
* All number must use a dot, not a comma for decimal point
* The RA and Dec fields must be in decimal format (not HHMMSS or DDMMSS). RA should be in hours, not degrees, so 0..24
* VMag, RMax, RMin and POSAngle are optional.
* VMag is visual magnitude - you can use any magnitude value you like. This is used to sort objects when deciding which to show if the frame is crowded
* RMax/RMin are the max/min sizes of the object (assuming it is an ellipse) in arc minutes
* If RMin is missing, it is assumed to match RMax.
* PosAngle is the orientation of long axis of the object ellipse - 0 means N/S, 45 means NE/SW, 90 means E/W, 135 NW/SE
* If PosAngle is missing, RMin is ignored and a circle is drawn based on RMax

3) Place the resulting CSV files in the folder

Code: Select all

C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Roaming\SharpCap\AnnotationCatalogs
You will need to create the directory, as it does not exist by default.

4) Restart SharpCap to properly take account of any changes to add new catalog files or changes to the files - they are loaded the first time you show the annotation overlay.

5) If you have problems, look in the SharpCap log - it should log info if it fails to interpret data found in the files.

Robin
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vichman
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#4

Post by vichman »

Hi Robin,

that is a great and highly appreciated feature, particularly for occultation astronomy.

For that purpose:
Is it possible to use standard UCAC4 or GAIA etc. catalogues for stars instead of a costum made one?

Thanks,
Stefan
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#5

Post by carlomuccini »

Will it also work during live stacking?

It would certainly be interesting to save the image with annotations

Congratulations beautiful function, as usual !

Carlo
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#6

Post by admin »

Hi,

it should work with live stacking - I would recommend running the plate solving operation before starting to stack as that may not run well alongside the stacking.

I am not planning to add support for those sorts of catalogs at the moment - UCAC4 has 113 million stars, GAIA has over 1 billion. The code to do the overlay is not designed for dealing with that amout of data. By default it has about 16000 items to check, Adding 100000 custom items should be fine, but beyond that there may be performance issues.

cheers,

Robin
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#7

Post by Menno555 »

It's working great Robin! Cool feature! :D
Any future plans on adding an option for connection with Nomad? That would give a lot more objects (UGC, ARP, and so on), especially for those with longer FL who hunt for smaller objects.

Menno
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#8

Post by GaryS »

Robin
terrific new feature - thank you very much !

Is it possible to add a few stars/targets to your built-in catalog rather than creating new CSV files? It would be easier to just add a few custom stars to your existing CSV format.
Gary
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#9

Post by procyon12 »

Hi,

A great feature again, Robin.
From the view of the stellar occultations community I see that you won't be able to integrate catalogs like UCAC4 (our preferred one, GAIA is usually used to get the accurate star position).
But, as Gary wrote, could it be possible to add a potential occultation target star from a say UCAC4 catalogue (that we have installed locally, e.g. to platesolve and also for some occultation software) to your built in catalogue or to the csv file by only clicking this star in the catalogue?

Cheers, Christian
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vichman
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Re: New Feature : Deep Sky Image Annotation

#10

Post by vichman »

Hi Christian,

just a thought:
What about a function in OccultWatcher: Export the data for the star in question into a CSV file in the format required by SharpCap and store it at the respective location? Or even better, amend the CSV file there, so you do not loose the information that might be in an already existing file.
So when you use SharpCap you could easily identify just the occultation star.
Wouldn't that be easier and just do the trick? (of course this would still need to be implemented in OW, I do not know how "easy" this is... ;) )

CS
Stefan
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