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Showing posts from September 13, 2020

Running Linux Astronomy Apps on Chrome OS

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I got a Pixel 2 XL for its unique astrophotography features, along with a tripod for long-exposure photography with the phone. This is not enough, though. The workflow for producing images of the sky is best achieved with specialized astronomical image viewing and processing software.There are two good such Linux apps that work fine on my Chromebox in Crostini, Siril and SAOImage DS9. I can install the .deb files from the Chrome OS Files app or the Terminal.
Siril is an advanced image processing app. Although it loads all the major general-purpose image and video file formats, it internally works with FITS, the leading format for astronomical images and data. Siril supports calibration, stacking, background and noise removal, scripting, and many more features.With the Pixel 4 XL I take photos of the sky in RAW and export them as DNG files, the format the Google camera app that ships with Pixel devices saves RAW photos to. Siril can import DNG files and convert them to FITS.DS9 is a FIT…

A Tripod for Smartphone Astrophotography

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As an amateur astronomer, Astrophotography mode is one reason why I got a Pixel 4 XL.But there’s another essential piece of gear for taking long-exposure photos of star fields or astronomical phenomena, a tripod. The one I bought for the Pixel 4 XL is a Phinistec photo tripod.I do all my astrophotography from an apartment building in Milan, Italy, where I live. It’s a light-polluted urban area, but these days I can’t wander around much.I observe the sky from the apartment’s small balconies, which have the area of a medium-sized carpet. This constrains the camera holding gear I can use. I wanted a full-height tripod that can extend to at least waist level, not a tabletop tripod, as I can’t use tables or other elevated surfaces to set the photo equipment on.The Phinistec tripod can extend to a height of 125 cm. It’s cheap, compact, and very light. It comes with a smartphone adapter, a Bluetooth remote shutter, and a handy carrying pouch. There’s also a Gopro adapter I don’t need.Althou…