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PT Grey Cameras why are they only good 4 Planets?

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#1 Napersky

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

Since we have a PTGrey rep on board here in the forum I thought I would post this.

I wonder why we can't use PT Grey cameras for Deep Sky.

Mark

#2 bunyon

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

I don't know about all of them, but the max exposure for the Flea3 is 30s.

#3 PiotrM

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:52 PM

Not really - you can't use it for typical DS imaging. Some surface-bright DS objects can be imaged by such cameras but don't expect it to be comparable with DS cameras in the long run.

#4 Sunspot

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

Also the FOV on the cameras are pretty small. I nailed the trapezium in my C14, but that is about it.

#5 bunyon

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

They are good for double stars. I hadn't thought to try on the trapezium. That's a good idea.

#6 astrovienna

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:53 PM

Well, I use my Flea3 as my guide camera. So I guess I do use it for deep sky! ;)

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#7 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:01 AM

There is no cooler on the camera.. Hot pixels everywhere with long exposures...

On my Grasshopper, I can do long exposure by jumping 2 wires on the GPIO connector..

I did make my own unregulated Peltier cooler for my Grasshopper.

#8 DonAtPointGrey

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi there, your friendly neighbourhood Point Grey lurker chiming in... with the usual caveat that I'm not an astrophotographer. So, my answer for why our cameras are not used for DS is all information that I learned from talking to you guys...

... and Dave has nailed it. We do not provide cooling with our cameras since our cameras are not astrophotography specific and cooling is not relevant for most of our markets (such as industrial vision).

Different Grasshopper models have features that might be interesting for DS. We can do long exposures (up to 90 minutes), we have "low noise" modes for several cameras where the pixel clock is slowed down to reduce noise (most applications for our cameras require high frame rates so our standard pixel clocks are fast). On the Grasshopper2 with the ICX285 we also have a mode that turns off various power components including the CCD amplifier to reduce the thermal noise.

We have a Technical App Note and KB article on this that can be found here:
http://www.ptgrey.co...x.asp?a=4&q=364

Milton Aupperle did a review on using Grasshopper cameras for DS and seemed quite happy with them - I'm trying to find the link for this article because the Astro IIDC website seems to be down. But I did ask him how he managed to get such clean images and he did admit he was using his own cooling on the camera.

I lurk on this subforum only because I assume planetary, lunar and solar are by far the main uses for Point Grey cameras.

I hope this makes sense.

Don

#9 Napersky

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:45 PM

Thanks all,

Don, when I was at NEAIC this year the Point Grey cameras seemed all the rage amoung many Planetary photographers. One of the speakers from the Phillipeans uses your cameras.

So now I have my FLEA3 and am very excited about getting started.

Thanks for the information about the Grasshopper line, glad to know about it!

Mark

#10 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

Astro IIDC went out of business. And yes, he does use a cooler on his camera that he made himself.

If you are going to cool the camera, you have to watch out for Dew forming inside the camera. Great caution must be observed.

The Grasshopper Express line uses the same CCD's as used in the highly acclaimed Sony 674 and 694 chips, except the low resolution model.

#11 Napersky

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

http://www.ptgrey.co...photography.asp

"The Grasshopper 2 is a superb general purpose camera for doing both bright field fast imaging of lunar, solar or planetary and long exposure faint DSO targets. The low noise and uniform image characteristics should also make it a very good camera for doing astrometry and photometry on exoplanets, variable stars, asteroid, novae and cometary targets."

How about getting enough frames to discard the hot pics.

#12 tim53

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

I've been an Astro IIDC user now for about 7 years. Loved the program so much that I bought myself one of the golden keys so I could keep installing it on my macs as I replace them over time.

Yes, Milton Aupperle took many deep sky images with his Grasshopper and other cameras.

I've used mine for some deep sky, and find they do a nice job. Astro IIDC has options for acquiring dark and flat frames and processing "video" on the fly, including removing hot pixels. I find these to work very well with my flea2 (1032x768 color) and Scorpion (1600x1200 mono).

Here are a couple of my faves that I took some years back with the flea2:

Posted Image

M65 and M66 from Milford, Utah, 2012-04-21. Six 1minute lights and 1 dark. Gamma .40 Pt Grey Flea2 color camera. No guiding.

An even older example with a Flea"1" 640x480 color camera

Posted Image

That image and this one were both acquired from my home, just 7 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The one below was taken from "Hatch Observatory" (in my roof), in 2006, with a Megrez SD 80 and the Flea 640x480 color camera. I wanted to see how faint I could go from a VERY light-polluted site:

Posted Image

Caption: Crab Nebula. Three 5-minute exposures with color Flea. No darks or flats. Posted to show potential of long exposures. I'm still learning, though. Will do this again under better conditions! Megrez 80 II SD, piggyback on Nexstar 9.25, guided with ST2000XM.

And, while not strictly Deep Sky, this shot of Uranus and its satellites was taken (and annotated) to see how faint I could go without a lot of trouble with the C-9.25:

Posted Image

Caption: Nexstar 9.25 GPS at f/6, stack of 50 frames at 5 sec. each, Pt Grey Color Flea. January 2007.

I've never tried cooling my cameras. If I could afford one of the larger-chip Exview HAD cameras, I might give it a go, though. But for deep sky, Atik and Starlight Xpress have cameras with those chips for about $1K less than the Pt Grey offers. They just can't run at the high frame rates, which would only be needed for lunar, solar, and planetary imaging.

-Tim.

#13 tim53

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

Well shoot. I tried linking to my posted images on the astro iidc yahoo group. Will try uploading them directly from my computer at some point.

Tim

#14 Napersky

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:32 PM

Looking forward to the pictures Tim. You got me interested in these PTGREY cameras with your Jupiter picture on Classics last year or was it early this year with your Cameleon.

#15 guyroch

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

Hi there,on the Black Blackout your friendly neighbourhood Point Grey lurker chiming in... with the usual caveat that I'm not an astrophotographer. So, my answer for why our cameras are not used for DS is all information that I learned from talking to you guys...

... and Dave has nailed it. We do not provide cooling with our cameras since our cameras are not astrophotography specific and cooling is not relevant for most of our markets (such as industrial vision).

Different Grasshopper models have features that might be interesting for DS. We can do long exposures (up to 90 minutes), we have "low noise" modes for several cameras where the pixel clock is slowed down to reduce noise (most applications for our cameras require high frame rates so our standard pixel clocks are fast). On the Grasshopper2 with the ICX285 we also have a mode that turns off various power components including the CCD amplifier to reduce the thermal noise.

We have a Technical App Note and KB article on this that can be found here:
http://www.ptgrey.co...x.asp?a=4&q=364

Milton Aupperle did a review on using Grasshopper cameras for DS and seemed quite happy with them - I'm trying to find the link for this article because the Astro IIDC website seems to be down. But I did ask him how he managed to get such clean images and he did admit he was using his own cooling on the camera.

I lurk on this subforum only because I assume planetary, lunar and solar are by far the main uses for Point Grey cameras.

I hope this makes sense.

Don


Don,

Any news on the Blackfly availability yet? I'm waiting patiently for them to be released.

Guylain

#16 tim53

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:37 PM

Okay, one more time!

M65 and M66 from Milford, Utah, 2012-04-21. Six 1minute lights and 1 dark. Gamma .40 Pt Grey Flea2 color camera. No guiding.


-Tim.

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#17 tim53

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:39 PM

Not overly awesome, but with no guiding I couldn't go more than a minute before stars would trail. I'll try again at some point with a guider.

Caption: Crab Nebula. Three 5-minute exposures with color Flea. No darks or flats. Posted to show potential of long exposures. I'm still learning, though. Will do this again under better conditions! Megrez 80 II SD, piggyback on Nexstar 9.25, guided with ST2000XM.



-Tim.

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#18 tim53

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:40 PM

Eskimo:

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#19 tim53

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

Caption: Nexstar 9.25 GPS at f/6, stack of 50 frames at 5 sec. each, Pt Grey Color Flea. January 2007.

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#20 Napersky

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

Tim,

Thanks for the post of pictures, especially the Eskimo.

Mark

#21 Widespread

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

Wow, Uranian moons?!

#22 AlanL

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

I've used my Basler Ace to image a few of the brighter planetaries such as Ring, Eskimo and Cat Eye. Reasonable results can be obtained on some globular clusters also. Many DSO's are too big to fit on the small chip in these cameras in one frame.

M15

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#23 Napersky

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

I checked my laptop brand new last December 2011 has 3 USB 2 ports no USB 3 and my camera is USB 3.

B&H photo shows it is inexpensive to buy a USB 3 card and install it in place of the USB 2 dual port card, this still gives me a USB 2 port that I use incessantly.

Mark






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