Last updated: 26 April 2005
This page documents the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. I have posted a review of using the Autostar Suite and LPI on the Macintosh. In order to showcase the LPI you may occasionally see images taken with other telescopes on this page.
Subject: Jupiter image Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 19:08:23 From: Rob Kosinski (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm a new EXT90 owner (haven't looked through a scope since I was a kid 20 years ago...) and I found your site to be INVALUABLE whenever I'm looking for answers! Although I've been getting Sky & Telescope almost my entire adult life I was mostly ignorant in telescope operation and terminology. At any rate, I've been experimenting with lunar and planetary photography for the past 4 months I've had the scope and I noticed you accept images to your Guest Gallery. After many MANY hits and misses and much frustration, I obtained this image of Jupiter which I hope you can use.
This image was taken with the Meade LPI on my ETX 90AT using an Apple iBook using the third party SN9C102 WebCam Driver for Mac OS X. This is the sum of 22 frames stacked with Keith's Image Stacker and contrast enhanced in Photoshop. Thanks for your time. Rob Kosinski http://www.dirtyskies.com PS - Your book just arrived today. ;-)
Subject: What an ETX-105, 2xBarlow and LPI can do!!! Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2005 11:47:31 From: Chris Newsome (email@example.com) here is an example of what an ETX-105, a Meade LPI and a 2xBarlow can do under excellent seeing conditions. Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina taken on 15th April 2005. The effective magnification is, I believe, around 490X.
Kind regards Chris Newsome (Derby, UK)
Subject: LPI Saturn Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 12:42:02 From: JAMES BESTON (firstname.lastname@example.org) Despite the weather not being perfect (I forget the difference between seeing and transparency) but there still has been sufficient haze to prevent me seeing the coast of France from my front garden I managed to get my best yet image of Saturn, which I attach.Mike here: Regarding seeing and transparency, see the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
It was taken with the Meade LPI using my 10" LX200GPS (f/10) using a 2 x barlow. I have adjusted the contast/brightness, used the unsharp mask and applied a median cut in the noise, in Paint Shop Pro and I am very pleased with the result. - Can't wait for really clear weather to see if I can do better! I'll do the same thing with the DSI and see how the images compare! Best Regards and thanks again for all your help! Jim
Subject: Re:LPI & windows home edition Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 08:08:42 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am using the LPI on a Inspiron 1150 with XP Home Edition, SP2. So far, there haven't been any problems. When I connect or disconnect it, I hear a musical note indicating a device has been added or removed. It appears in the Device Manager list under Imaging Devices and in the Control Panel under Scanners and Cameras. If you haven't installed Service Pack 2, perhaps you need to. If you do, you should be aware that some Inspirons will have a drastic decrease in performance. There is another patch to correct this, but I haven't been able to find it again. If you need it, let me know and I'll continue looking. As a last resort, maybe you need to completely uninstall AutoStarSuite and start over again, making sure to follow the sequence for installation and when to connect the LPI. Hope this helps. MikeAnd:
From: Dave Wallace (email@example.com) I've had the LPI working with XP Home on my Inspiron 1100. But watch out for long USB cables and certain brands of USB hubs.And more:
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 03:50:43 From: DAVID_MANN@SIMONSGROUP.COM (DAVID_MANN@SIMONSGROUP.COM) Re: your LPI on Windows home edition. I'm assuming your using XP home edition, if so the main difference between XP home and XP pro is the ability to include your PC in a corporate network environment when using Pro, the drivers themselves are the same for each environment, Microsoft just like charging business users more for their software!! That said I had similar issues connecting my logitech quickcam pro4000 to my XP pro machine. I installed the infamous XP service pack 2 on my PC and the problems disappeared. If you haven't already updated your PC it's worth downloading the service pack from Microsoft using windows update or direct link to the download here -> http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=049c9dbe-3b8e-4f30-8245-9e368d3cdb5a&DisplayLang=en Once you've done that give the LPI install another go. Hope this helps DaveAnd:
thanks Dave, I will give it a try ! Jane
Subject: LPI & windows home edition Sent: Saturday, April 9, 2005 06:26:21 From: Jane Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have installed the LPI on my Inspiron with Windows Home Edition, trouble is every time I attach the camera it wants to run the wizard to reinstall the drivers, if I don't it says 'LPI not found'. I installed AutoStar Suite on my main PC with Window Pro & it recognises the camera every time. I have searched your site for earlier occurrences of this problem but found nothing, do you have any ideas or do I need to keep the CD handy everytime I use the camera. many thanks for a great site Jane Evans Hampshire UKMike here: I don't recall any reports from Home Edition users. And since I avoid Windows whenever I can I don't have much experience with Windows so can't answer about any differences in the stripped down Home Edition. Perhaps someone else will respond.
Subject: LPI and the Partial upcoming solar eclipse. Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2005 14:54:29 From: Jim Holland (email@example.com) Since I'm fairly new to astronomy and CCD imaging using both DSI and LPI, I'd like your take on using the LPI - as long as some sort of good quality solar filter is on the scope? Regards Jim HollandMike here: Should work.
Subject: LPI improvements Sent: Sunday, April 3, 2005 12:22:46 From: Luis Villa (ETX_125EC_from_arizona@msn.com) I have installed Autostar Suite Update and Autostar model #497 version 33Ef. I had never been able to image ANY of the deep sky objects, but now it appears that Meade has made some improvements to its imaging software. I wasn't even going to try imaging any, but Orion was too tempting a target. I slewed to Orion, after centering it in my 25mm eyepiece which I use for LPI work since I have a parfocal ring on it, I then inserted the LPI and to my surprise M-42 was dead center on the laptop screen! I could actually see it on the laptop. First time I have ever seen any Messier on the laptop using the LPI. I am submitting my first Messier with my LPI, FAR from the results others have had. But gratifying nevertheless since I took this one. Now all I have left to do is use polar alignment, in order to have longer exposures. Also you will find the two other pictures, one of Jupiter and the other of Saturn. Purely by accident I was able to image Io as it cast a shadow on Jupiter! It seems that Meade has improved its software for the LPI. Not the best seeing, but acceptable.
Subject: Re: lpi question from beginner Sent: Friday, April 1, 2005 03:38:09 From: mike montreal (firstname.lastname@example.org) thanks for answering a couple of my questions. could you be more specific on which format to use or what do most users select if they use the autosuite ip software, also is there anything else i should be doing other than following the directions from the manual. any hints or anything else they left out?Mike here: Following the manual is a good idea. As to format, it has been so long since I've used the Autostar Suite software (it is Windows, after all...) but I think BMP is one of the native choices.
Subject: lpi question from beginner Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 19:21:07 From: mike montreal (email@example.com) hope you can help with several problems i`m having using the lpi. 1st. problem, live image is constantly moving on laptop screen can`t achieve focus. is this the nature of the beast for all imagers or just the lpi? does even the slightest movement of the usb cable do this. i kind of find it hard to believe that you can`t even breathe around the scope so that the camera does not shake. tried an image of saturn last night, focused as best as i could, live image of saturn was white in color, when i hit the start button to take images, the image of saturn after a few shots became very blurry and un focused and after 50 shots when i hit stop image was awful. what am i doing wrong??? i was looking at some of your writers questions and i remember you saying something about not using JPEG when you image because you can`t use the image processing software of autosuite, could you explain further. sorry to sound so stupid about this stuff but this is all NEW to me. the only thing that isn`t new to me is the lx 200 i`m using. could you please help me with some pointers from the start of taking pictures to the end. i`m not even close to comming up with pictures of jupiter or saturn like i saw on some of your questions and answers forum. and those were from first time users! i must be doing something really wrong. please help!!! thank you very much! mike montrealMike here: It isn't the camera that is moving (probably), it is the telescope. Any movement of the telescope will make the image dance around. So be certain you have a stable mounting system and that you are shielded from vibrations (ground or wind). As to the native format of the Autostar Suite software, JPEG is one of the formats that it doesn't understand. Just pick another format.
Subject: Meade LPI Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 08:00:10 From: Michael Bauer (firstname.lastname@example.org) My question: I am trying out the LPI at my telescope. I want to save several pictures of an object. So far, when pushing start, only one picture is saved (i.e. saturn1.bmp). How can I save several pictures of an object (saturn2.bmp, saturn3.bmp etc.)? Shall I push start/stop several times to get several pictures? Meade Autostar Suite provides the Image Processing tool. I have not understood how to combine several pictures of an object (saturn1.bmp plus saturn2.bmp plus etc...). How to do that and make a composite of several pictures? Your advice to save pictures in *.bmp was very helpful. Now, I can at least see the picture in the image processing tool. jpeg did not work. Best regards, Michael Bauer Landshut GermanyMike here: It has been awhile since I used the Windows software (since it IS Windows software) but as I recall it was fairly simple to start the capturing and then combining (stacking). Check the manual for more details.
Subject: ETX 90 with Televue 3X Barlow and LPI Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2005 14:51:05 From: Richard Plowman (email@example.com) I thought you might like to see have far you can stretch the ETX 90 with a 3X Barlow and the LPI imager. It was a half moon on March 18th and the LPI settings were 20 images at 80% with the hard edge kernel. I had to increase the exposure time slightly to compensate for the 3X Barlow but the results on the moon particularly the detail for the Cassini crater ( top left) were I think outstanding. Kind regards Richard Plowman Chichester England
Subject: Saturn Image Sent: Tuesday, March 8, 2005 14:11:56 From: Marco Bensi (firstname.lastname@example.org) I send You my first image of Saturn. I have ETX 90 AT with LPI. Bye
Subject: ETX-125 image shake Sent: Monday, March 7, 2005 04:47:59 From: RAK (RAK@radley.org.uk) Many thanks for the fantastic site - its has been of great use when using my new ETX-125. I have been trying out taking some images of Saturn using the LPI imaging suite. I have taken some pictures of low exposure (4 x 0.25 s) typically, and the quality has been satisfactory. However, with any more than 4 layered images, I notice that the captured images do not centre over each other - they move either off to the left or to the right. This gives a fuzzy outline to the compiled image and spoils it. I use a field tripod and normally take pictures in the evening at about 2000-2200. Find attached an image that was produced last night - 2 images of exposure 0.25 s. Any more than 2 images was resulting in poor alignment (stacking) of the images taken.Mike here: I also experienced a similar problem when I first used the LPI (http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/autostar_suite/autostar_suite_mac_6a.html). There are many variables that can cause the problem. Wind, vibrations through the ground, motor-induced vibrations. You can alleviate some but using "vibration suppression pads" on the tripod feet, adding weight to the tripod, using Polar mode, redoing the CALIBRATE MOTORS and doing an accurate TRAIN DRIVES, shielding the telescope from the wind, etc.
Any advice? Thanks in anticipation. Regards, Rob King
Subject: ETX-125 LPI Astrophotography Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 19:32:08 From: Jim Holland (email@example.com) No picture(s) right now - but I saw my first Jupiter moon rise tonight! It was cool as hell! I've got the pictures - but there on my laptop attached to the telescope, I'll send them tomorrow after I get a few more, just to make sure the object is moving (some more). I also go some more of Saturn. All of these are in color to boot. regards JimAnd:
I've probably missed something somewhere - but here goes. Last night while using the LPI program, all of the image tabs of the pictures I took were in color while the LPI program was active. This morning while looking thru either the LPI program or the Image Processing program, all I see are B&W pics. The LPI program shows the better detail. It appears that the LPI program does some image processing (other than stacking) while the photo session is active (true or not?) the image is crisp, clear and in color. The image processing module when doing a file open function (after the fact) shows 4 files that would appear to be the composite of what is displayed above. Each of these files apparently are B&W and show no detail at all. I've played with many of the processing controls but can't seem to recapture what was displayed last night during my LPI session. I am an image processing neophite, can you offer suggestions, a link (I've already investigated many on your site this morning as well as looked at the pitiful image processing manual from Meade) or other helpful hints? I realize you are in the process of updating the Site, so whenever you have time to respond.Mike here: I haven't seen that occur. It sounds like you have opened up the Red, Green, and Blue channels of the color image as separate images.
Sorry, there will be no pictures! The photos/images were done in .FITS format which implies some sort of post image processing needs to be applied. Since I'm a image processing neophite. Well you'll just have to wait. I'll try a different format next time.And:
One follow up question concerning the LPI program and camera. Which in your opinion is the best file format to save the images in, and the easiest to work with for post processing? I also made a donation to your site this morning - keep up the good work! JimMike here: There are some formats that the Meade image processing app can use but if you want to use another app then you will have to use a format that is available in that app.
Okay, Here they are, I've tries different file formats (but not the .fits format).
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