New Planetary Imaging Set-up - 1st test

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New Planetary Imaging Set-up - 1st test

Postby gammalog » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:10 pm

I recently aquired one the new Philips SPC900NC web-cams, that has replaced the now discontinued ToUcam Pro. I was interested to see how it compared with my Meade LPI.

I also bought a TeleVue X5 Power Mate to use with it, when attached to my ED80 Refractor.

Last night, depsite less than ideal conditions, a very bright sky due to the almost full moon and breezy, I decided to give it 'first light' on Saturn.

I set the camera to capture an 1800 frame video sequence at 15 fps, under the control of QCfocus software (very good and freeware). Despite the image being distubed at times, due the breeze affecting the scope's stability, the end result was quite encouraging.

The resulting 1800 frame video was aligned, optimised and stacked using Registax 3, and a little 'unsharp masking' applied to the final image.

Given the conditions under which I was testing the camera, I was quite impressed by it's performance. It is certainly more sensitive than the LPI, which is to be expected as it uses a Sony CCD, as opposed to a CMOS sensor as in the LPI. This has the advantage of allowing much shorter exposures and as such, a better chance of capturing those brief momenst when the atmosphere steadies.

Clearly, the SPC900NC camera has the potential to produce some fine planetary images, when the 'seeing' permits. I am looking forward to trying out the camera under better conditions.

Note, that apart from removing the lens, and replacing it with an 1.25" adaptor, the camera was un-modified.

I have attached the resulting image here, but be aware that under the right conditions, this camera is capable of producing much better.

I hope this 'post' is useful to anyone considering web-cam Lunar and Planetary imaging.

Dave
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RE: New Planetary Imaging Set-up - 1st test

Postby big dipper » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:00 pm

A very interesting mini review there Dave. That Saturn image is, indeed, a very fine result. Nice one.
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RE: New Planetary Imaging Set-up - 1st test

Postby jsc248 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:33 pm

As Andy says a very interesting review Dave. Saturn picture shows plenty of detail. Well captured!
John.
To me astronomy is looking up and thinking "What the heck is going on up there!!"
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