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    Default Astrophotography with a web cam



    I dont know much about astrophotography but I once heard that you can use a web cam hooked to a telescope and record a object. Then take the recording and stack the best frames to get the finished pic. Has anyone ever heard of or tried this?
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    Default

    Plenty of people do this, and to great effect. Most widely used program for stacking I believe is registax:

    RegiStax- Free image processing software

    There are webcams more suited to the task than others. As for which ones make the grade, I can't answer that. But I am sure if you google for information you will find a wealth of it.
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    Default

    astronut74,
    yes,as said,a fair few people do use the method.it can be a cheaper way into
    the field,compared to some of theimagers that can cost thousands.
    it will be a decent way to get into it.
    clear skies,
    andy

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    Default

    Astronut,

    The celestron neximager works great for taking images of planets and has a great price. The meade LPI was also a popular one, though I own the LPI the celestron neximager is a better choice. Here is a link with some info on various cameras Astrophotography Cameras|AstroPhotography Tonight
    Last edited by DaltonSkyGazer; 07-09-2010 at 09:57 PM. Reason: reword

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    It's the best way to image planets and the moon. And the sun...
    Last edited by Leo; 07-09-2010 at 10:00 PM.
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    Default Web Cam Imaging

    Hi Astronut74,
    Web cam imaging is a comparatively inexpensive and painless way to break into astroimaging. I see you visited my thread in the Moon forum earlier (thanks for the very kind words!), all of those images were acquired using this technique with a modest size ED refractor. Basically what you are doing is collecting multiple frames (typically thousands to tell the truth) and using a software like the two freeware applications RegiStax or AviStack (my favorite for lunar work) to sort and discard inferior frames and stack the rest. Once a stack is co-processed it can be manipulated with a powerful tool called "wavelet sharpening" to help enhance the final image. Afterward, the image (once saved) can be further processed in GIMP2, Irfanview (both freeware), Photoshop (not even remotely free, but not essential), or other image processing software to further enhance/alter your base image. It is a lot of fun to learn and does not have to cost an arm and a leg. One response mentioned the Celestron's Nextimager, a fine tool from what I hear, I will put in a plug for the tool I use Orion StarShoot Planetary Imager and AutoGuider | Orion Telescopes or the less pricey Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imager III | Orion Telescopes which lacks the auto-guiding capability. You can even modify commercial web cams like the Phillips SPC900nc, a fine option. As I said before, you need not break the bank for your kit, the set up I used for those July 4th images, the Skywatcher 100ED on a SW EQ-5P goto equatorial mount and the Orion SSPIAG, altogether cost less than a mid-range planetary imaging camera like the Lumenera SKYnyx 2-1 or modest CCD "DSO" camera. This stuff can be done incrementally. You just need to read up, folllow the forums, and ask questions...as many questions as you need. So think about it, but I don't think you would be disappointed with what you could do with a modest investment and a little bit of effort.

    Good Luck and Clear Skies, Brian

    Here are a few more images from my gallery, all were taken with the Orion StarShoot Planetary Imager and Auto Guider...







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    Default

    hi brian and thanks for the post.
    imaging can seem daunting to a newcomer tbh,me included,but to see
    what you can achieve without having to break the bank gives people
    like me alot of encouragement.thanks once again.
    clear skies,
    andy

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaltonSkyGazer View Post
    Astronut,

    The celestron neximager works great for taking images of planets and has a great price. The meade LPI was also a popular one, though I own the LPI the celestron neximager is a better choice. Here is a link with some info on various cameras Astrophotography Cameras|AstroPhotography Tonight
    Why is this better than something like the Panasonic GH1 which is an interchangeable lens camera capable of cinema grade video at 1080p 60, 30, 24 FPS with this mod, Just price? Or is the image sensor sensitivity range superior for astrophotography?

    The GH1 can be had for about $400 to $500 on e-bay for the body only BTW. The Neximager seems to be between $100 to $170 for those not knowing already.

    Anyway, thanks for that link to that tute! I'm going to try this with my GH1 through a cheapy refractor and see what I get.


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    Default

    There is a lot of information about modding webcams to use for astroimaging. The main thing is to take the lens off and make an adapter so the lensless webcam can fit into the EP holder or the optical back, depending on the scope. Some webcams are better than others, I understand; I see a lot of people using the Philips Toucam.

    The Meade LPI and the Celestron NexImage are both sort of "webcam" devices, and are seen by Windows as webcams. I own them both, and each has its value for specific functions. I like the LPI/Envisage combination for lunar images, and I like the Celestron with wxAstroCapture for movies of the moon and planetary frames that I can stack using RegiStax. I have even used the LPI with PHD and the ETX125 OTA as a guide cam/ guide scope for the CGEM mount...if there's a bright guide star it actually works OK. I couldn't get the Celestron NexImage to work properly for this purpose, the CCD is too noisy at the exposures required.
    Last edited by alsetalokin; 07-10-2010 at 12:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tesselator View Post
    Why is this better than something like the Panasonic GH1 which is an interchangeable lens camera capable of cinema grade video at 1080p 60, 30, 24 FPS with this mod, Just price? Or is the image sensor sensitivity range superior for astrophotography?

    The GH1 can be had for about $400 to $500 on e-bay for the body only BTW. The Neximager seems to be between $100 to $170 for those not knowing already.

    Anyway, thanks for that link to that tute! I'm going to try this with my GH1 through a cheapy refractor and see what I get.


    .
    Price to hop into astrophotography and good setup to learn the steep curve of post processing on.

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