What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th July 2022

All the latest news about new features and improvements to SharpCap
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What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th July 2022

#1

Post by admin »

Hi folks,

sorry, a bit delayed this week writing this update (the release has been out a few hours now).

First things first... there is a ZWO SDK Update in this week's version of SharpCap - that should allow SharpCap to see the very latest ZWO models including the 662 and 678. If you have one of these new cameras, please update now :)

Secondly, in the course of tracking down other issues I discovered a place in the code where a serious error occurring in image processing would just get logged into the SharpCap log and the program would continue. The most usual outcome of this seems to be that the image would freeze onscreen although new frames were still coming from the camera. I have changed the code now so that this sort of error occurring will generate a bug report. From the user's point of view, the change will mean that instead of just stopping working with hardly any way to find out why, SharpCap will instead show a bug report and close. From my point of view, errors that I was previously not finding out about will start to appear in bug reports and then get fixed. There will be more bug reports in the short term, but in the slightly longer term a lot of bugs should be found and fixed.

Finally, this week's big new feature...

The Target Selection Window

Last week I added the 'Goto co-ordinates' tool, in which you could either paste in the co-ordinates or choose from about 200 pre-loaded targets in a list. After using that for a while, I realised that it was a shame that the only targets you could select were the 200 or so pre-loaded ones (Messier and Caldwell catalogs). A particular shame since SharpCap already has over 20000 targets available in the NGC/IC and Bright Star catalogs for image annotation....

So... I decided we needed a way to choose one of those extra 20000 or so targets in addition to the 200 currently available. Obviously 20000 is far too many to have in a dropdown list, so a whole new window was needed to allow a way to filter, sort and find targets amount the larger list.
Capture.JPG
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To access the new target selection window, use the 'More...' button which is now present next to the normal target dropdown list. Note that you will also find this button in the Deep Sky Sequence Planner too. Pressing 'More...' will bring up the 'Select a Target' window, which looks like this...
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There's quite a lot going on here to help you choose a target:

* In the top left you can apply some filters to narrow down the list of targets, for instance specifying a minimum altitude or magnitude

* You can also search for a target by typing part or all of its name into the 'Search Name/Id' box. Search is case insensitive.

* In the top right you can choose which types of object you want to appear in the list by ticking and unticking the various categories. You can use the 'Select All' tickbox above to more quickly select all categories or clear all categories (for instance to select just globular clusters, press 'Select All' to clear everything, then tick globular clusters)

* At the bottom you see the list of objects that match your filter and object type criteria. By default, these objects are sorted by descending altitude, so the ones most nearly overhead are at the top of the list, but you can click on the headers of the columns to sort by that column (click again to reverse the order of sorting).

All of this makes it fairly easy to home in on the target you want - for instance the options selected below let me find galaxies which are currently above 35 degrees altitude and are magnitude 10 or brighter and also are at least 1 hour away from crossing the meridian.
capture3.JPG
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Once you have chosen a target, either double click on it or select it in the list and press 'OK' - that target will be transferred back into the GOTO co-ordinates or Deep Sky Sequence Planner window.

Just a couple of things to note:

* The 'Time to meridian' column shows how long before the target next crosses the meridian (requiring a meridian flip if you are tracking with an EQ mount). The 'Minimum time to meridian' filter allows you to exclude targets that are close to crossing the meridian, since it is not a good time to start imaging those targets.

* The 'Include Unknown' checkbox next to the magnitude filter controls whether objects with unknown magnitudes are included in the results. I have added magnitudes to several thousand NGC/IC objects in the default SharpCap catalog with this update, but there are still many objects that do not have a recorded magnitude. Note that I have not been fussy about *which* magnitude gets used, B, V, whatever is available...

* If you search for an object and it is not shown, remember that it could be excluded by the filter values - for instance right now if I search for M31, I don't find it because it's currently at an altitude of 2.35 degrees and therefore below the 35 degree minimum that I have set. You can, if you wish, set the minimum altitude to negative values to include targets currently below the horizon.

* Calculations of altitude and azimuth of targets are based on your current location reported by your ASCOM mount and the PC time. If either of these are significantly incorrect then the results of the calculations will be wrong.

Phew... that just about covers it... Oh, and some bug fixes too :)

cheers,

Robin
roelb
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Re: What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th July 2022

#2

Post by roelb »

Wow.
That's a very interesting addition.
Thanks.
Roel
Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 - Celestron Nexstar 6 SE - OTA 5 SE - StarSense
Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2 Mono -- ZWO ASI290MM -- ZWO ASI224MC -- ZWO ASI533MC-Pro -- ZWO ASI533MM-Pro
Buckrogers
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Re: What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th July 2022

#3

Post by Buckrogers »

Awesome addition, thank you so much.
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Re: What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th July 2022

#4

Post by admin »

Thanks for the feedback :)

I forgot to note that if you have set SharpCap up with custom annotation catalogs (see viewtopic.php?p=27143#p27143) then the targets from the custom catalogs will appear in the target selection window. If you have very large custom catalogs and the target selection window is too sluggish to use, please let me know - I can investigate whether it can be optimized.

cheers,

Robin
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