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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Planetary Camera for Dob
      #5642258 - 01/25/13 10:11 AM

I've got an Orion XT10i and I would like to begin doing some planetary imaging. I've read through many threads and I'm still having trouble pinpointing a good camera to image planets with. It's not a Goto so I'd simply be taking video of the object drifting through the FOV and stacking. I realize my imaging capabilities are limited almost exclusively to planetary/lunar objects so I don't think I need to spend a lot of money. I'm wondering if I should go with one of the cheaper cameras that Orion and Celestron offers or should I modify a webcam? If I was to modify a webcam, does anyone have any current suggestions? Seems all the threads I come across reference models no longer made.

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5642783 - 01/25/13 03:18 PM

You need to use a short shutter time (between 10 or 15 ms depending on the focal length) to avoid that the planet drift results in a blurred image.

A good choice is to by a BW camera.

This is a great value:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Point-Grey-Research-USB-2-0-Digital-Camera-/290845851...

Even if they just increased the price!
Follow this tread:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5316325/page...


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Mirzam
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5642784 - 01/25/13 03:18 PM

I think you are going to need an equatorial platform to provide some level of tracking. Without it you will have only a few seconds at best before a planetary image drifts off your camera chip.

JimC


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ToxMan
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5642888 - 01/25/13 04:09 PM

Even alt-az mounting is better than none. There will be some field rotation after a couple minutes.

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Jeff2011
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: ToxMan]
      #5643400 - 01/25/13 09:28 PM

+1 on the EQ platform. I built my own but there is at least one company that will build one for you. Just google equatorial platforms.

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jgraham
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Jeff2011]
      #5643953 - 01/26/13 08:34 AM

You might find this thread interesting...

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/169220-webcam-imaging-with-a-dob/

I wonder how well the 5x movie mode of a Canon DSLR would work. The idea being that you can use the super wide field of the full frame mode for locating and focusing, then the movie mode for imaging. Backyard EOS makes this fairly easy to do. I've done lunar imaging with my Lightbridge 16, but I haven't tried the planets yet. It'll be interesting to try.


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: jgraham]
      #5647769 - 01/28/13 10:39 AM

ToxMan, I don't understand what you mean about field rotation. I know what it is but I won't be able to capture more than about 8-10 seconds before any planet passes completely through my FOV. I realize I'm very limited with no tracking at all but I've seen some decent results with people using Dobs and a webcam. I may be in the wrong location here. I was hoping to get some answers from someone who has some experience with my very crude set up. My understanding is that I should be able to get a decent final product by stacking several AVI's with Registax. Lunar should be fairly straight forward. I'm needing some help with Mars/Jupiter/Saturn. All the help I can get. There's limited info on my setup, I'm afraid.

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bunyon
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5648046 - 01/28/13 12:37 PM

You can let the planet drift through the field but that will still limit you to very short avis. The only undriven images I'm aware of ever seeing are from folks who "hand-guide" the scope. That is, let the planet drift onto the chip and then try to track it as best you can manually (by moving the scope as you normally would). I'd think it very hard to pull of but have seem some decent results.

I just don't think letting the planet drift through the FOV will get you far. It will drift through in a few seconds, allowing you to get a few hundred frames. You need more.


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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5648051 - 01/28/13 12:38 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

I have a LB Dobson (12") and a Intes mak (7") on a manual alt-az mount. I am able to obtain reasonable images using a spc900nc and a firefly MC cam and letting the planet to drift during the movie.

The problems are
1)field rotation (it is stronger the higher the planet is in the sky) that limits the total acquisition time to 2-4 minutes and
2) the drift speed of the planet.

The drift speed depends on the focal length. With a focal length of 4860mm and a pixel size of 6micron, you should limit the total exposition time below 1/50, 1/60 sec.


Here is a example with the firefly the mak 7" with an average turbulence.


Edited by pippo (01/28/13 12:39 PM)


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bunyon
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648057 - 01/28/13 12:40 PM

Also, a good camera to use would be the best ones. There won't be any difference with a Dob than any other scope. The two "leading" cams seem to be the Flea3 and the ZWO ASI120. The DMK21-618 is also very good.

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bunyon
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648113 - 01/28/13 01:00 PM

pippo, how long does the planet stay on the chip as it drifts across? How many frames do you get?

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648281 - 01/28/13 02:04 PM

I take 60 fps for 120 seconds: 7200 frames.

5000/6000 contains a full jupiter.


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bunyon
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5648298 - 01/28/13 02:11 PM

So do you "guide by hand"?

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648339 - 01/28/13 02:25 PM

no I let jupiter drift and when it is out of the sensor I reput jupiter on the other side of the sensor, it let it drift again,...,...,

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mikewirths
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648346 - 01/28/13 02:26 PM

Leibowitz-- I image using a dob, but of course it is driven. I think you will be very frustrated trying to do it by hand, check out this link for a very reasonable eq platform:

http://www.faintfuzzies.com/ObservingAids.html

Its near the bottom of the page. This is far cheaper than a Tom O platform, and with it given good seeing you could get superb results!

cheers

Mike


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5648385 - 01/28/13 02:44 PM

Yes, I'm wondering how many frames you processed to get that image. Can I not let the object pass through the FOV, re-aling the scope to catch it again, and stack multiple AVI's together? Let's say for Jupiter and Saturn?

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5648433 - 01/28/13 03:03 PM

> Can I not let the object pass through the FOV, re-aling the scope to catch it again, and stack multiple AVI's together

It is what I do.

For the image, I staked 2000 frames selected among 5000 by pipp
https://sites.google.com/site/astropipp/

stacked with registax.

Obviously an equatorial platform is much more practical and allows for longer focal length than 4800mm and longer shutter time than 1/50 s. However you can also play without it in the beginning...

Edited by pippo (01/28/13 03:10 PM)


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5649572 - 01/29/13 12:38 AM

How do you get 120 seconds of video? If you get maybe 10 seconds before Jupiter passes through the FOV, are you repositioning 12 times to get that many frames?

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5649668 - 01/29/13 03:27 AM

Yes more or less:
it takes about 10 sec, and I reposition about 10 times (some seconds are lost in repositioning Jupiter at the correct place).

Edited by pippo (01/29/13 03:30 AM)


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5650203 - 01/29/13 12:26 PM

I won't be frustrated if I get images like that. I'm wondering if I can get similar results with a modified webcam rather than spending $300-$500 on one of the above mentioned cameras. I'm not sure I can justify spending that kind of money when all I can do is solar system imaging. I'd love to have it but surely there's a webcam out there that can get me close? I wonder if this would be a waste of time or not.

http://www.telescope.com/Astrophotography/Astrophotography-Cameras/Orion-Star...


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bunyon
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Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5650204 - 01/29/13 12:28 PM

The Microsoft life cam hd5000 goes for $35 or so and worked well for me.

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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: bunyon]
      #5652606 - 01/30/13 03:53 PM

The reviews are mixed on the Orion, I'm not sure. Anyone know of any other webcams from recent history? I'm just looking for options. I'm going to make a purchase soon.

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5653532 - 01/31/13 02:08 AM

without drive you need a fast camera like the camera on ebay that I suggested you in my first post. It is cheap and fast.

Edited by pippo (02/01/13 06:13 PM)


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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5655497 - 02/01/13 02:22 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Here is an other image of Jupiter + Europa taken on the 30th without drive on a alt-az manual mount a mak 7" and a firefly MV camera an IR filter and with a fair turbulence (pickering scale 5)
http://www.damianpeach.com/pickering.htm


Edited by pippo (02/01/13 03:10 AM)


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5656706 - 02/01/13 04:34 PM

So, I guess that Orion camera is not nearly fast enough for unguided planetary imaging. I've re-read through your link about the camera in your OP. You've got me 98% sold. My only concern is the modifications that need to be done to it. I know absolutely nothing about photography. Your step by step instructions seem fair I guess. I've got to start somewhere.

Edited by Leibowitz (02/01/13 04:39 PM)


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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5656892 - 02/01/13 06:10 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

I do not know the Orion camera. My opinion is that either you buy a very cheap one (like the Firefly, a used spc900nc or an other cheap webcam) or a camera like the ASI 120MM...

You do not need to modify anything for the Firefly (just to use the beta version of Firecapture). You need to by an adapter (the model for the sp900nc camera) to attach to your scope. So if you compare the price consider also the cost of the adapter.

I got nice pictures (in color) on Jupiter also with a sp900nc at 10fps and my un-driven 7" mak, but not as good (resolved) as those with the Firefly. With a BW camera and an undrive mount it is impossible to use color filters. So you have to stick to BW images.

However on Saturn with the spc900nc I am forced to use 1/25s at f/26 to get enough signal. With this exposition time (even with perfect seeing) I get a blurred image because of the planet drift during the 1/25 s.

You have a 10" telescope, and without drive it is very difficult to use focal lengths exceeding 5000mm with 6micron pixels. Thus it is likely that a used spc900nc can work fine for you (since more light will arrive on each pixel with respect to my 7" case).

Obviously 60fps makes life more easy with an un-driven scope.


I attach an image on Saturn of last year (spring 2012) taken with my 7" undriven mak a spc900nc and very good seeing. I do not get the maximum resolution (the Cassini division should be better resolved with a 7") because I use 1/25s exposition. I did a test with a star, at 1/25s close to Saturn and I get a 3 pixel blur in the direction of the drift. This 3 pixel (of 5.6 micron) blur matches the theoretical expectation with a 4800 mm focal length.



Edited by pippo (02/02/13 05:23 AM)


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Leibowitz
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Reged: 01/18/13

Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: pippo]
      #5668580 - 02/08/13 09:31 AM

It seems to me that your both adjusting the sensor sensitivity and manipulating the cameras registers from your link? Also, you say that I need to buy an adapter for my scope? I was under the impression that I would be modifying the camer to fit into the eyepiece, and not vice versa? Sorry for all the questions, I'm quickly trying to educate myself and I'd like to buy one of these cameras before they are gone.

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pippo
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Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Planetary Camera for Dob new [Re: Leibowitz]
      #5670139 - 02/09/13 04:30 AM

For the Firefly you have to remove the camera lens and to put an adapter to insert the camera in your 1.25" telescope eyepiece connector. The models for the spc900nc webcam work:


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Webcam-Adapter-for-telescope-1-25-to-Philips-SPC900NC...

You also need to buy a mini-usb cable to connect the camera to your pc.


Finally (but this is needed for any webcam/camera), you need to have a Barlow to increase the focal length in order to have a correct magnification of the planet. To follow manually the planet (with 6micron pixels) I suggest you to use a focal length below 5000 mm. Above this value it is very difficult to recenter manually the planet on the webcam sensor.

Edited by pippo (02/09/13 06:03 AM)


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