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 Forum Index > Activities & General Discussion > Astrophotography
 Using a WebCam for Astrophotography
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By: SJPorter (offline) on Tuesday, August 30 2005 @ 01:15 PM EDT (Read 11574 times)  
SJPorter

I use an Orion 8" Newtonian on a Celestron CG5 ASGT Equatorial mount.
I use all Celestron Eyepieces.
I use a TouCam Pro 840 webcam for imaging. The software I use is as follows:-

The Camera Itself:

How to make a TouCam do Long Exposure stuff (not for the faint hearted or people with 10 thumbs). I have done these modifications and can describe how to do it without lifting legs on expensive delicate chips.

The modifications are copyrighted by Steve Chambers:-

http://www.pmdo.com
http://www.pk3.org/Astro/index.htm?astr ... sc_mod.htm
http://astro.ai-software.com/articles/c ... ucam2.html

Best driver controller for TouCam Pro type Cameras - WcCtrl V 1.2.20

http://www.burri-web.org/bm98/soft/wcctrl/index.htm




The Telescope Mount Itself:


I use a combination of other telescope control software:-

For the Celestron people (I am one of those)

Check out Micheal Swanson's Site http://www.NexStarSite.com for all the best a Celestron GoTo can do, or not do as the more usual answer.
For those of you who like Meade - a great one is Paul Rodman's AstroPlanner at http://www.ilangainc.com/

For Image Acquisition:

some great image acquisition programs:

Vega - http://www.planet.uk.com/qc/vega_1_2_2.htm (Broken at the moment, but Colin is working on it)
Desire - http://www.pmdo.com/wdesire.htm
K3CCD - http://www.pk3.org/K3CCDTools/


For Image Tweaking and So On:

Merging of small pictures into one very large one (for example, my camera will only take pictures of the moon that cover about 10 arcminutes)

iMerge

http://www.geocities.com/jgroveuk/iMerge.html

To stack many pictures on top of each other, and to turn .avi movies into something useful

Registax (Cor Berrevoets)

http://registax.astronomy.net/

And final processing with JASC PaintShop Pro



Most of this software is freeware or shareware. Clear Skies and Happy Computing


Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of those astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is Charm, Strangeness and Quark
HAWKWIND - QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM


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By: SandyM (offline) on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 08:04 AM EDT  
SandyM

As someone who has tinkered with a modified webcam (Thanks Joe Zelinski!) A Logitec that I use for lunar and planetary, I find that my biggest problem is achieving a good focus.

How do you do your focusing?

Thanks,
Sandy


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By: Anonymous: Donna () on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 10:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous: Donna

Sandy,

You can use a mask. Mine is very cheap and easy -- got an embroidery hoop that will fit over the dew shield and glued 2 wooden shishkabab skewers at right angles -- you know, a + sign. (That's not fully necessary though, being perfect.) When you focus on the star, there will be diffraction spikes and the longer and thinner they are, the better focus you've achieved.

Donna





       
   
By: SandyM (offline) on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 01:12 PM EDT  
SandyM

Donna,

Excellent suggestion. I will try it. I had experimented with a Hartman mask, with only moderate success.

Thanks for the reply.

Sandy


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By: SJPorter (offline) on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 02:53 PM EDT  
SJPorter

I actually use a Hartman mask. i also use an embroidery hoop, with some black felt stretched in it. I have two holes cut either side of center point (standard Hartman mask) but then between the holes, above the center, I have a triangular hole. With this, either side of good focus, not only do you get two stars, or two moons, but you also see a little triangle that always points to the center. The triangle swaps direction each side of focus.

The software VEGA that I referred to, also has a FOCUSSING feature. Basically a full screen streamed video from your webcam that is very easy to use with a Hartman mask to get focus. It also supports binning so you get very bright objects to focus on. I generally use 2x2 binning.

Unfortunately, the link to Colin Bownes VEGA is broken so the software is not available. However, it is freeware, so I am sure no-one will mind if I made copies for other people. Let me know.


Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of those astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is Charm, Strangeness and Quark
HAWKWIND - QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM


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By: SJPorter (offline) on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 02:56 PM EDT  
SJPorter

Oh, I forgot, I also use a remote electronic focusser. I built several myself on limited budgets that worked very well. I now own an Orion remote focusser. It fits on almost any Rack and Pinion or Crayford focusser. I do not know if it will work on a SCT.


Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of those astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is Charm, Strangeness and Quark
HAWKWIND - QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM


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Regular Member

Status: offline

Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 71

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By: Anonymous: MikeEddinger () on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 11:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous: MikeEddinger

Remote focuser? How does this work?

I have been considering modifying my LX200 cover to serve as some sort of focus mask. Is there a good general description of how to make a good mask? I have seen some that just have two holes... others have diamonds, others have "crosses". I need a primer on the theory behind all these...





       
   
By: SJPorter (offline) on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 09:49 AM EDT  
SJPorter

Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of those astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is Charm, Strangeness and Quark
HAWKWIND - QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM


Forum Regular Member
Regular Member

Status: offline

Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 71

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By: Anonymous: MikeEddinger () on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 12:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous: MikeEddinger

Thanks for the links... but what is a remote focuser? Just another name for electronic focuser?





       
   
By: SJPorter (offline) on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 03:05 PM EDT  
SJPorter

You got it. Remote = Electronic. Just something to keep my clumsy hands away from the telescope when focusing.


Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of those astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is Charm, Strangeness and Quark
HAWKWIND - QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM


Forum Regular Member
Regular Member

Status: offline

Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 71

Profile Email   PM
   



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