AstroBin + PixInsight Collaboration

Juan Conejero

PTeam Member
Sep 2, 2004
7,402
67
56
Valencia, Spain
pixinsight.com
Hi all,

I am very happy to announce a new collaboration between PixInsight and the absolute best image hosting solution for astrophotography: AstroBin.

Salvatore Iovene and I have been working hard since January to design and implement an exciting new feature for AstroBin: Automatic generation of astrometric solutions and image annotations. We are proud of this collaboration and glad with the results we have achieved, which we hope all of you will like and regard as a valuable contribution to the astrophotography community.

astrobin+pixinsight-forum.jpg

Here are a few nice examples:






How It Works

The PixInsight core application (version 1.8.8-6) is running permanently on AstroBin's Amazon EC2 servers under Ubuntu Linux. When an AstroBin user uploads a new image, AstroBin's website software performs a request to Astrometry.net to obtain approximate values of the scale of the image (arcseconds per pixel) and its central equatorial coordinates. These approximate values, along with a number of configuration parameters and an URL to the image, are sent to PixInsight using a dedicated network protocol. When it detects a new pending task, PixInsight computes an accurate astrometric solution, including correction of arbitrary field distortions, and generates an annotation drawing as an SVG document. When the SVG annotation document is ready, PixInsight sends it back to AstroBin, which makes it available as an overlay on the user's image.

Astrometric solutions and image annotations are being generated, respectively, with the latest versions of our ImageSolver and AnnotateImage scripts. As everybody here surely knows, these scripts have been written and maintained by Spanish software developer and PTeam member Andrés del Pozo; this project wouldn't have been possible without his contributions. We have been updating these scripts and implementing new features, such as the new label placement optimization algorithm and other improvements, in order to support this collaboration with AstroBin.

The SVG annotations and astrometric solutions we have implemented, besides invaluable from the aesthetic and informative points of view, are also adding interactivity to images on AstroBin. They allow you to get accurate readouts of equatorial, ecliptic and galactic coordinates by moving the mouse cursor over the image. We have planned additional interactive features, which we'll be implementing from now on in successive updates. See this document on AstroBin's website for additional information.

The automatic plate solving and annotation features are now available to all users of the AstroBin Ultimate subscription plan.

____________

Please stay safe and take care of yourself and your families.

Thank you for your attention.
 

dave_galera

Well-known member
Always nice to see plate solving being improved.
Can we get these 'approximate values' also from Astrometry.net via pixinsight without Astrobin subscription?
Or with other words what is in it for us if we are not AstroBin Ultimate subscribers?
Hi Ken,

Reading the above technical write-up it does say that it is AstroBin that requests the values from astronomy.net and passes these values to PI, it is not PI that gets the values from astronomy.net, but you can use astronomy.net to get the values as normal for plate solving in PI, but it looks like you cannot get these 'approximate values' from Astrometry.net via pixinsight.

Unless this has been automated as well...........
 
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GaryI

Member
Apr 21, 2016
20
0
This is excellent, Juan! A real added benefit for us PI imagers who also enjoy Astrobin. Thanks so much!
 

gnewell

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2018
60
2
Would like to see a script for this or otherwise have a blind solver in PI.

Or at a minimum add a function in the solver to grab "approximate" coordinates from the fits header in a sub exposure.

Thanks
 
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pfile

PTeam Member
Nov 23, 2009
5,311
64
that already exists, ImageSolver automatically preloads the coordinates if they exist in the FITS header of the frame under consideration.
 

gnewell

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2018
60
2
Interesting. I must have only used it with images that didn't have coordinates in the headers (tiff, jpeg, etc.)

Nice that the stacked images still have coordinates in them.
 

pfile

PTeam Member
Nov 23, 2009
5,311
64
it may also be that in the distant past ImageSolver didn't know how to pick up the coordinates. @Andres.Pozo would know as he wrote the script.
 

Juan Conejero

PTeam Member
Sep 2, 2004
7,402
67
56
Valencia, Spain
pixinsight.com
Would like to see a script for this or otherwise have a blind solver in PI.

Or at a minimum add a function in the solver to grab "approximate" coordinates from the fits header in a sub exposure.
As Rob has pointed out, the ImageSolver script always acquires metadata automatically for central coordinates, image scale and observation time from existing XISF properties and FITS header keywords. These metadata items should always be present in every raw frame acquired with any decent image acquisition software, and they are propagated throughout the entire preprocessing pipeline, from ImageCalibration to ImageIntegration and DrizzleIntegration. Even if these properties or keywords are not available for a given image, you can always use the online coordinate search feature to find an approximate position of the image on the sky.

As for a blind solver implemented in PixInsight, we have much more important ongoing projects and pending tasks. Since the required metadata is already available in raw frames, a blind solver would be a nice-to-have feature but its practical utility would be very limited.
 
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tommy_nawratil

Well-known member
Feb 28, 2012
74
2
Excellent, very nice to hear of this collaboration!
Astrobin annotations by Astrometry.net were a bit rough, and I regularly post an PI annotated pic along every project.
Juan, people have different habits. In DSLR raws there are no coordinates,
and my CCD/CMOS programs have no information too, as my spaceships mostly are manually driven. Oldschool.:giggle:
But don't care, blindsolving is just a convenience and not a must. Keep working on essentials.
And stay safe and healthy with your family these tough days!
Tommy
 
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Juan Conejero

PTeam Member
Sep 2, 2004
7,402
67
56
Valencia, Spain
pixinsight.com
Thank you so much Tommy. The AstroBin+PixInsight collaboration is a live project, so expect further improvements. AstroBin is a fantastic platform, an absolute dream for any astrophotographer.

We all must be united and solidary in these difficult times, staying safe and taking great precautions to protect us and ours. It's the only way we'll be able to overcome this situation.