clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Time Lapse video of comet 168P/Hergenrother

A few days ago, I imaged 168P/Hergenrother and today I created a time lapse video using the frames I had stacked to produce the image I created a still with.  Deep Sky Stacker for some reason didnt like the comet too much, as it still tried to leep the stars round.  I therefore attempted a time lapse video using the 21 frames I had taken.

It really wasnt as difficult as I thought.  I'll explain what I did to create the video.

First, I opened the frames in Deep Sky Stacker.  I used no darks or flats, although one could use calibration frames.  I just chose not to use any.  There is a setting in DSS to "Create a registered / calibrated file for each light frame.  Its located in Settings > Stacking Parameters > Intermediate Files.
I let DSS stack, and it added a tiff of each light frame in the source folder.  When DSS was done, i discarded the stacked image and closed DSS.

I then opened photoshop and loaded the first frame in it.  Created a new action.  I ran some simple processing - curves and levels, some sharpening - nothing too complex, cropped, and finished by saving as a jpg.  The cropping works because the frames are all aligned.

I then ran a batch process on all of the frames using the action I created.  It created a numbered sequence of jpg's, all cropped and nicely enhanced.

I moved all the finished jpg's to a different folder.  Then I loaded the first jpg in Virtual Dub. It made a video out of all the files in the folder.  I copied the frames several times back to back, appending to the original video, so the sequence repeats 6 times in this video.  Set the frame rate for 10FPS, so it will run slow enough to see it move, but not so slow for it to chop.

After it finished, I uploaded the video to youtube and ended up with this:

Now you know how to create an aligned video of a small celestial object.  This method should work for small objects, such as a distant comet, the outer planets, or possibly an asteroid as it moves thru space among the stars.  The longer the imaging session, the farther the object will move.  Being this video was experimental, the number and duration of the imaging was really too short to do a project such as this.  I didnt even think of doing a video until someone from my local club did the same thing with a 3 hour duration.  Theirs came out really cool, so I thought I would see if I could figure out how to do it, and I'm pleased with the results.  I want to do more of these using images of other objects.


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