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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bringing some Knack into Astro-Photography

I've been meaning to do this for a long time. It is a neat little project that allows for a quick and satisfying mixture of electronics and astronomy. It has been described on the web many times: Take an old web cam (preferably one of the old eyeball-looking devices) and remove the lens (I found it very cool to expose the charge coupled device).
Take a plastic 35 mm film container (hurry, while supplies last!) and chop off the bottom. Tape the container to the sans-lens webcam. Here's the fun part: Insert 35 mm container and webcam into the focuser of your telescope. Bring laptop out to the telescope and take digital pictures with your telescope.
I used Billy's old Asus eeepc and a very simple program called Cheese. (There has got to be something better for this kind of work.) But my results were very good. Last night I got images of Jupter and two of its moons. This morning I got some great shots of our moon.
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  1. You can clean up the images by using Registax. I've used it some years back (Ver 4) to get better pictures out of the webcam microscopes we had at work. The engineers loved my pictures because they were "higher resolution" than the rest. www.astronomie.be

  2. In regards to Michael's post, I've also heard good things about DeepSkyStacker ( http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html ).

    You may also want to have a look at http://www.astropix.com/ , which also includes a lot of guides and tips regarding the techniques of astrophotography.

    Nicholas LaPointe, KB1SNG


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