Jerrabomberra Observatory

Jerrabomberra, NSW, Australia
-35° 23' 01" South, 129° 12' 50" East

This observatory is the world's first fully Feng Shui compliant astronomical facility employing contemporary eastern wisdoms and the southern hemisphere's best practice gratuitous self promotion. The observatory has provided the nutritional needs of mosquitos in Jerrabomberra for the past 0.1 decades. The technical staff at the facility are fully committed to the long term strategic scientific goals (unless the Playstation is available).

Jerrabomberra Home Page Astro Media Gallery Page Recommended Software Page Download AstroYacker (252 kB)

AstroYacker Software for MacOS X

AstroYacker is a MacOS X Cocoa Application which aids in the "stacking" and processing of multiple images stored as frames in a QuickTime movie. Intended users are amateur astronomers who use a webcam to capture movies of astronomical objects (such as the planets and deep space objects). Unintended users are people who want to align, clip, scale, rotate and compress QuickTime movies and images. It is free to amateur astronomers.

AstroYacker will evolve into a full fledged stacker. It relies heavily on its graphic interface to show in real-time the effects of various image and movie transformations. Ultimately, AstroYacker will do image stacking based on a QuickTime movie; single frame image processing using standard linear processing (wavelets, multi-resolution, image pyramids and bandpass filtering); and image capturing through QuickTime sequence grabbing.

Download AstroYacker (252 kB)

Go to the AstroYacker Resource Page for more information.

Astrophotography (Images and Movies)

Media were captured either as QuickTime Movies using a webcam or as series of RAW images using a Canon 10D Digital SLR Camera. They have been processed with a combination of AstroYacker, Keith's Image Stacker and Photoshop. Thumbnails are shown below: the Moon, short movie of Jupiter, Omega Centauri, Mars Movie, Saturn, Trifid nebula, Centaurus A galaxy, Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253) and M83 Galaxy.

Planets: To image planets webcams currently are the best choice. The planets are bright enough that movies can be captured at a rate of 10-15 frames per second. The frame exposure time need to be short enough to freeze the (lateral shifts in the) atmosphere. Stacking (spatial superposition) is employed to improve the signal to noise ratio. The problems with webcams are their poor calibration, marginal dynamic range (8 bits per channel), poor to modest sensitivity, modest data rate demanding compression, small sensor size (for example 4mm) making object centering difficult, difficulty of focussing, etc. Since the required magnifications is high, planets have the problems of susceptibility to atmospheric chromatic aberration. The planet's rotation causes blurring unless the total duration is short enough. The telescope is normally operating at F25 or higher when imaging planets. Agressive signal/image processing is necessary for planets. Telecope mount alignment and tracking is not critical. Go to Webcam Astro Media Gallery.

Deep Space Objects: DSOs are complementary to planets and require completely different imaging solutions. DSOs are typical large and relatively dim. The exposures need to be long (30 seconds to 10's of minutes). At the scale of the typcial DSO, the atmospheric variations are too small to be significant. Digital SLRs are good for DSOs because their sensors are large (for example 23mm) and their pixels are larger (making them more sensitive). Only a few Digital SLRs have the noise performance to make them suitable to astrophotography (such as the Canon 10D and Canon 300D). They have very precise calibration and good dynamic range (12 bits per channel). DSO photography is easier than planetary work. Telecope mount and tracking is critical. Go to Canon 10D DSO Astro Media Gallery.

Equipment and Software

ToUCam Pro PCVC740K Webcam, IOXperts Webcam drivers, a Meade 10" LX200 GPS, a Mogg Adaptor Webcam Adaptor, an iMac running Mac OS X 10.3.2, BTV Pro Carbon , AstroYacker , Keith's Image Stacker , MPj Equinox and GraphicConverter . These web pages have been prepared using Taco HTML Edit .

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