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Thread: video camera to laptop

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    Default video camera to laptop



    Folks
    I have a new Celestron 6SE telescope. I would like the capability to use a phone to control my telescope and am planning to purchase the Celestroc wifi module. I also have starry Nights loaded on my laptop and Sky portal on my phone. I have connected my laptop with Starry Nights to my scope and control it through the cable for now. My Question Can you purchase a video camera and view the telescope
    view from the scope on the laptop??? Can this be done wirelessly?
    Is this what the celestron cameras do which are listed on their website?
    Celestron 6SE with stock finderscope.

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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    I used my Canon T5 in video mode with a T adapter attached to use in my telescope. I put it in video mode and use the EOS utility software that came with the camera. Works great or you can just purchase one of the many digital telescope cameras that are for sale.
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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    You can ... and there are different ways to do this.

    Starry Night *does* support networked connection to the scope as well as the serial port method. Simulation Curriculum (maker of Starry Night and Sky Safari) make a wifi device that connects to nearly any scope and I *think* the Celestron module imitates it (the Celestron SkyPortal actually *is* simply a stripped-down version of Sky Safari ... it has a very limited object database and is slightly crippled so that it will _only_ work with Celestron scopes. the full version of Sky Safari (Plus or Pro) works with any go-to scope and has a vastly larger object database.) I occasionally use Starry Night to drive my scope, but I don't have the Celestron SkyQ Link (I have the Simulation Curriculum SkyFi module).

    As for cameras.

    There's no one "best" camera. Some cameras have tiny imaging chips. Some have large imaging chips. Some have a very fast frame-rate and can work as a video camera. Some have slower frame rates and while they can capture images, they don't do it as "video" (they are still images).

    Very bright objects such as the moon & planets, work well in "video" modes. But faint objects (deep-sky objects) usually require longer exposures. Things can get complicated when you need "long" exposures because any perceived movement (vibrations, tracking errors, etc.) will result in a smeared image. The Celestron 6SE mount is setup in an alt/az orientation and it's not really optimized for imaging ... so you might just want to go for brighter targets that can be captured as video.

    On a budget ... a ZWO ASI120MC-S would work well. It's about a $150 here in the US. As you're in Canada, I'm sure they'll stick you for a bit more. Be careful on the model number ... ZWO cameras that have "MM" in the name are monochrome. If they have "MC" in the name they are color cameras. But the ASI120MC came in an older USB 2 version (not recommended) and has since been updated to support USB 3 (which is recommended). The USB 3 version has a "-S" suffix. Having the USB 3 version is a big deal when it comes to things like frame rate and even some of ZWO's own devices (such as their ASIair) don't support USB 2 devices. (Whenever possible get USB 3 or better).

    (This is basically the least expensive camera that ZWO makes and it's a great camera to start on. If you REALLY get bit by the astronomy bug and want to get into imaging ... a side-bonus is that if you buy a better/more-expensive camera later, this camera can be used as an auto-guider camera).

    You can use software such as SharpCap (SharpCap is free) to run the camera (actually there are several free choices ... and some not-free choices).
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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    You can use a webcam or its more modern equivalent the electronic eyepiece. You use Sharpcap pr wxastrocpature to capture an AVI file. You use Registax or an alternative to produce a still image file. You then use Photoshop, GIMP, etc to finish off.
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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    Thanks to everybody's replies. All the options are a littler overwhelming at the start.

    Mark
    Celestron 6SE with stock finderscope.

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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    I realized I didn’t answer your “wireless” question.

    Astro-imagers who use Windows typically load up the software and connect the devices via hard wires to a single computer. But there are those who do remote controlled imaging. In reality they just use a 2nd PC with some sort of remote desktop sharing ... such as VNC or TeamViewer, or Microsoft Remote Desktop (the latter requires Windows “Pro” editions which cost more.)

    I use a Raspberry Pi (a low-cost single-board computer). My first Raspberry Pi was the ZWO ASIair (an astronomy gadget that controls ZWO brand cameras and camera accessories). I later discovered the StellarMate — another astronomy gadget used for imaging ... but more open and can use loads of cameras.

    But the real benefit to these gadgets is for running long astro-imaging sessions. I can tell it to collect a few hours worth of image data of an object and then ignore it ... and the gadget will continue to operating the cameras, auto-guiders, etc. while it captures shot after shot. It’s not *really* meant for electronically assisted astronomy (EAA).

    If you are physically with the scope, then using a wired connection (e.g. USB connection to the camera) is going to be the easiest .. and the lowest cost.
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    Default Re: video camera to laptop

    There are a few inexpensive Chinese WiFi telescope CMOS cameras on the market (sold on Amazon), but beware. They are low resolution and low image quality. Basically cheap entries into the WiFi Telescope camera field. I do not recommend them. At this point in time, one would be better off sticking with the reliability of a corded camera or, if handy, building their own WiFi camera using a wireless camera and modifying it similarly to how one modifies a webcam to slip into an eyepiece focuser (prime focus).

 

 

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