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  1. #1
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    Default CCD hookup for laptop/control scope from Iphone? decent scope for light polluted?



    This is just one example of a scope i was considering:

    SKYWTCHR EQ5P 254N NEWTONIAN REFLECTOR - S11650 (10" reflector)..

    I believe it comes with the standard controlling computer and tracking ability (?).. but if i wanted to take exposures/images on my laptop... what would i need to buy to interface with it?

    Is this generally the same from scope to scope that i'd need to buy? (A ccd camera installed in the scope then hooked up to laptop (or are there other options other than ccd)? via usb? wireless wifi connection these days?)..

    Are there any apps that can run on the iphone to have the scope aim at sky objects? I know that Starry night v6 has an interface ability (again, not clear on what type of interface that would be or if its generic to all newer scopes).


    The $1000+ scope above is more of a longer type goal.. it would be great if i could find a total cost of $400 that would let me do some imaging and decent photos even in my own backyard which is suburban, where things like the planets and moon and bright stars are only visible (perhaps could do long term exposures on galaxies even here)?

    I can take a scope out to the "country" 6 miles away for some pretty dark skies, but a scope like the 10" may be harder to transport (eventually desiring to build an observatory out there permanently).

    Thanks for any advice on equip/info.

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    For the iphone side, I use starmap pro which is great. It does have some scope control, but I've not looked into it as my scope is totally manual. Check their website or ask around for more details.

    For imaging: there's a few options. A dedicated CCD camera is one, but be very careful to check what support is like - it seems many only support windows XP, and don't support 64bit. Considering that you pretty much can't buy a computer with XP, and 64bit is pretty much necessary now, that's going to be hard to keep using as time goes on. If you're on linux or mac the rules will be different - I'm on mac and writing an imaging app, and I've found some cameras are totally unsupported while others will work fine with a driver.

    Apart from CCD, you could go with a webcam (cheap and pretty effective) or DSLR (expensive but good). Pretty much everything connects by USB from the imaging side, although there are firewire cameras out there too (firewire has the benefit of an actual video standard so you won't be fighting driver issues).

    No idea on the light polution issues I'm afraid - I'm in a borderline redzone but not really experienced enough to know what the options are there (I've seen filters for light pollution, but I'm sure they must affect the image - probably in a way that's bad for photography).

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by psonice View Post
    For the iphone side, I use starmap pro which is great. It does have some scope control, but I've not looked into it as my scope is totally manual. Check their website or ask around for more details.

    For imaging: there's a few options. A dedicated CCD camera is one, but be very careful to check what support is like - it seems many only support windows XP, and don't support 64bit. Considering that you pretty much can't buy a computer with XP, and 64bit is pretty much necessary now, that's going to be hard to keep using as time goes on. If you're on linux or mac the rules will be different - I'm on mac and writing an imaging app, and I've found some cameras are totally unsupported while others will work fine with a driver.

    Apart from CCD, you could go with a webcam (cheap and pretty effective) or DSLR (expensive but good). Pretty much everything connects by USB from the imaging side, although there are firewire cameras out there too (firewire has the benefit of an actual video standard so you won't be fighting driver issues).

    No idea on the light polution issues I'm afraid - I'm in a borderline redzone but not really experienced enough to know what the options are there (I've seen filters for light pollution, but I'm sure they must affect the image - probably in a way that's bad for photography).

    How does the CCD or web cam or standard camera fit into the scope.. ie: do you take a standard digi cam and somehow mount it on the eye piece..

    I've heard some saying that their regular digital cam often outperforms cheaper ($300) CCD units out there, but if it requires tearing apart my camera, then i'd rather go CCD or webcam i guess (i use it regularly for regular stuff).

    Thanks on the iphone app recommendation.

    I just want to make sure i buy the right telescope, so that i can apply any CCD /imaging option to it.. so i guess also what i need to understand is what i should look for in a scope to make sure it will work ok, regarless of whether its a 4" refractor or 14" reflector.

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    Hi Mark, welcome to the site!

    i was just outside tonight for an hour using an RS-232 to usb cable which i connect to my laptop. I paid a bit more because i was excited to get one, but I had found Ebay cables for around $5 which you can order.

    The 8" scope is a great deal (200N) at $795. The 10" has been done with astrophotography by Gordon here (ghswen), but I believe he sets it up very near his home. If you have to transport it, it will be a bit heavier than the 8" and may pick up more wind/unbalance the mount a bit more than the 8". I am not sure how long this special will last (although they say till October 31rst 2009):

    $795 - 8" Sky-Watcher 254N with EQ5 Pro Mount and Goto



    The 8" and 10" both have the same mount, but the 8" would be a bit more stable. They both have Goto, and tracking abilities with their built in motors but to track objects for astrophotography longer than 30-60 seconds perfectly you would need an autoguider. I leave objects in the eyepiece and can come back an hour later and they are still in the eyepiece so visually its a great motor for viewing.

    You can find used Canon 350D's for about $300 and you don't need to modify them. I use my 450D/XTi Canon unmodified and i am happy with it for astrophotography and its a great camera for portraits with the family.


    As for light pollution, my friend i am in the same boat as you here in Sydney. I will be lucky to see Mag 3 stars with my naked eye although tonight I could push it to 4 - not sure why maybe everyone is at the pub here and they turned the lights out for a Saturday night.

    What I can tell you is visually with a telescope, you can still see planets, the moon exactly the same basically as everyone else.

    Faint fuzzies like galaxies you can see in larger telescopes 4" plus but much worse than people in the suburbs, and nebulaes you will have big trouble with especially the fainter ones/dark/reflection ones even with 30+ second shots - so you will need an autoguider for those. Again astrophotography wise, you can still photograph galaxies and nebulaes although the brighter ones ie M31 and M42. Clusters are ok from the city. Full moon here with the light pollution and a bit of haze/clouds and you will be lucky to see even the brighter objects, so plan for good nights.


    clear skies
    cheers
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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  6. #5
    psonice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markm75 View Post
    How does the CCD or web cam or standard camera fit into the scope.. ie: do you take a standard digi cam and somehow mount it on the eye piece..

    I've heard some saying that their regular digital cam often outperforms cheaper ($300) CCD units out there, but if it requires tearing apart my camera, then i'd rather go CCD or webcam i guess (i use it regularly for regular stuff).

    Thanks on the iphone app recommendation.

    I just want to make sure i buy the right telescope, so that i can apply any CCD /imaging option to it.. so i guess also what i need to understand is what i should look for in a scope to make sure it will work ok, regarless of whether its a 4" refractor or 14" reflector.
    The way the camera is mounted seems to vary a lot. In general there's 3 ways to do it:

    1. Piggy back. You effectively tape a camera to the top of your scope. You can photograph in the same direction you're pointing, but you use the camera lens so it's low magnification/low aperture.

    2. Prime focus. This is where you stick a CCD, webcam or DSLR into the main tube. I think the CCDs tend to come with a mounting to attach it, for DSLR you need an adaptor to screw into the camera body, and for a webcam it's probably a string and sticky tape job. You might need extra things like a focal reducer or an extension tube - if you're considering going this way I'm sure somebody who's been there before can help

    3. 'Through the EP'. Normally for webcam/camera rather than CCD I think. You just point the camera through the eyepiece and shoot. You can get brackets of various types to hold the camera in place, or make your own. Potential issue: if your camera's lens is bigger than the EP lens, it's hard to avoid taking a photo of the eyepiece. I have this trouble - big, non-removable lens on the camera, and I always get a circle with the image, then a bit of the lens around it.

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