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Introduction to Webcam Astrophotography. Ed Ting Lowbrow June 15, 2012. Scale. Scale 2 – 10X Previous Scale. Scale 4 – 2 X Previous Scale. Scale 5 – 5 X Previous Scale. Scale 6 – 10 X Previous Scale. Scale 7 – 20 X Previous Scale. Conventional Wisdom…. Astrophotography is… Expensive

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introduction to webcam astrophotography

Introduction to Webcam Astrophotography

Ed Ting

Lowbrow

June 15, 2012

conventional wisdom
Conventional Wisdom…
  • Astrophotography is…
  • Expensive
  • Time Consuming
  • Frustrating
  • Steep Learning Curve
webcam astrophotography is
Webcam Astrophotography Is…
  • Inexpensive
  • (Relatively) easy
  • Fun
why does this work
Why Does This Work?
  • Video is just a series of stills run together.
  • If you take enough stills, some of them are bound to catch moments of good seeing.
  • We have software (Registax) that will throw away the images in bad seeing, and keep the good ones.
  • Stacking the good ones brings out detail in the images.
imaging 2011 vs 1981
Imaging, 2011 vs 1981
  • C90 Image from 2011
the hero of this scenario
The Hero of This Scenario…
  • The lowly computer webcam.
  • Philips ToUcam (L), SPC900NC (R)
on paper this doesn t look good
On Paper This Doesn’t Look Good…
  • Resolution is low (640 X 480)
  • One shot color reduces this even further
  • Some rows of pixels are masked off, reducing pixel count even more
  • Jupiter will not even come close to filling the chip (200 pixels across is excellent)
  • 1 Gb of video  one image 7K – 50K
so then why do this
So Then - Why Do This?
  • Some of the best planetary images EVER have been taken with this method.
equipmemt the low end celestron neximage
Equipmemt – The Low End: CelestronNexImage
  • A modified Philips ToUcam
  • $129 list, about $100 street
  • Uses the Sony ICX098QB chip, 640X480, ¼”
equipment midrange imaging source d k series
Equipment – Midrange: Imaging Source D*K Series
  • $350 - $810 depending on model
  • Uses the Sony ICX098QB chip, 640X480, ¼”
equipment high end flea3 atik
Equipment – High End: Flea3, Atik
  • $800 - $1000
  • Flea uses the 4X more sensitive Sony ICX618 chip
what you need
What You Need…
  • Webcam (NexImage, ToUcam, etc)
  • Telescope with 1.25” focuser
  • Laptop running 1) Capture software, 2) Registax (both are FREE)
  • LOTS of hard drive space
problems you ll face
Problems You’ll Face
  • Centering of the image
  • Focus
  • Dust on sensor
image scale
Image Scale
  • 4000 mm to 4500 mm is ideal
  • 8” f/10 SCT with a 2X barlow
  • 4” f/8 refractor with a 5 X barlow
  • 6” f/8 reflector with a 3X barlow
  • 80 mm f/6 refractor with 3X and 2.5X barlow stacked
  • Start collecting barlows!
image scale1
Image Scale
  • (L to R) – 2400 mm, 3000 mm, 3600 mm, 4000 mm, 4700 mm
the very first image i took
The Very First Image I Took
  • TeleVue Pronto, prime focus, unguided Alt-Az mount
my first jupiter and saturn images
My First Jupiter and Saturn Images!
  • Oct 19, 2010/ Nov 28, 2010
jupiter and saturn
Jupiter and Saturn
  • Dec 2, 2010/ Jan 2, 2011
jupiter and saturn1
Jupiter and Saturn
  • January 2012
neximage l vs imaging source dfk r
NexImage (L) vs Imaging Source DFK (R)
  • Both cameras use the same chip!
registax
Registax
  • Step 1 – Sorting through individual frames
raw image to final image
Raw Image to Final Image
  • C6 w/ 2X barlow, NexImage, Registax, 1/2/11
slide35
Tips
  • Start with the moon
  • Venus is easy but not terribly interesting
  • Jupiter is the next easiest
  • Saturn is a little more difficult
  • Mars is not easy
  • Uranus is hard
visual vs webcam priorities
Visual vs Webcam Priorities
  • Visual Priorities – Optical quality, steadiness of mount.
  • Webcam Priorities – Steadiness of mount, Seeing, Image Scale (Emil Kraaikamp’s imaging rig pictured.)
ed s image gallery
Ed’s Image Gallery
  • Celestron C9.25, 1.8X barlow, Imaging Source DBK
jupiter io occultation sequence dec 13 th 2011

Jupiter/ Io Occultation Sequence, Dec 13th 2011

6:31 PM

6:53 PM

6:58 PM

7:01 PM

Concord NH, C6, 1.8X , DBK camera

ed s image gallery1
Ed’s Image Gallery
  • Clavius (143 miles) Plato (62 miles)
ed s image gallery2
Ed’s Image Gallery
  • Archimedes and the Alpine Mountains (L), Copernicus (R)
ed s image gallery3
Ed’s Image Gallery
  • Ptolemaeus (90m) Alphonsus (72m) Arzachel (60 m), Straight Wall (72m). Right: Aristarchus (24 m)
moon mosaic
Moon Mosaic
  • C90, DBK @ Prime Focus
members image gallery
Members Image Gallery
  • Gardner Gerry, Orion XT8, G11
members image gallery1
Members Image Gallery
  • Herb Bubert, C9.25
members image gallery2
Members Image Gallery
  • Pat Adams, C8 – First attempt (L), Much Better (R)
members image gallery3
Members Image Gallery
  • Rich Schueller, C14
gallery of master imagers
Gallery of Master Imagers
  • Emil Kraaikamp
  • Christopher Go
  • Damian Peach
  • Zac Pujic
  • Eric Ng
emil kraaikamp
Emil Kraaikamp
  • Netherlands
christopher go
Christopher Go
  • Philippines , DMK and Flea 3 cameras
the astonishing damian peach
The Astonishing Damian Peach
  • Selsey, West Sussex, UK – Point Grey Flea3 Webcam
zac pujic cont
ZacPujic (cont)
  • Aristarchus
zac pujic cont1
ZacPujic (cont)
  • The Alpine Valley
erig ng
Erig Ng
  • Singapore – These are ToUcam images
eric ng
Eric Ng
  • 10” f/6 reflector, Vixen Atlux, shared with friend Dennis
the end
The End
  • Lowbrow Astronomers – Let’s see your images!