Sunday, July 08, 2012

lots o' learning for Manuel

Spent the day teaching Manuel how to use astronomy-related software.

He invited me over for breakfast. In short order, we were talking about NASA, RASC, imagery, DSLRs, the new polar alignment software, etc. He was particularly interested in knowing how to make a mosaic out of the Moon images he had recently captured. The first thing to do was to figure out if he had software up to the task.

He showed me Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 on his Windows 7 laptop. My first impressions was this it was robust. It looked like it offered all the basic tools we'd need: professional photo processing, layers (with transparency), smart erasing, eyedropper, etc. So, I said, let's try it. And then I said, get your notepad. Left him with some good web site tutorials too...

Solar imagery was out of the question.

Manuel also wanted to know how to get the EQ Align software working. He had reported that the camera didn't work with it. But when we tried it, everything worked fine. In fact, we were able to run through the main steps in the alignment software. It looked very good. Smart features. As usual though with home-grown software, the documentation was weak. And, strangely, suddenly stopped, with the final steps missing. Happily, we were able to infer them. In the end, during testing, we didn't get a good alignment. Probably due to choosing alignment stars outside of the recommended "zone." But I left with a high degree of confidence that it would work fine with a full view of the sky.

He gave me a NASA t-shirt, from his recent Florida trip. Nice! Thanks, dude!

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