View Single Post
Old 28-10-2015, 04:01 PM
csb's Avatar
csb (Craig)
Registered User

csb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Adelaide, Sth Australia
Posts: 896
Visual observing with a digital screen - Video Astronomy

Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
Video Astronomy - is it for me?

A common city slicker problem:

I have a nice scope, one that I am happy with and a nice mount. I'd love to go bush, but for whatever reason I'm stuck at home (no car, work the next day, too far, don't want to drive, etc, etc). Light pollution kills everything I would chase down. I could do astrophotography, but I don't have the funds, or maybe the time, or maybe the patience for it. It's a clear night, AND I WANT TO SEE SOMETHING!

Then video astronomy could be for you.

Video Astronomy (VA) involves using a video camera to capture a live video feed through a telescope, and display the image on a computer screen or other monitor (such as a portable DVD player). No many hours of exposure times, no post-processing, minimal fuss with setting up, minimal learning curve, and an instant deep sky image. Even under light polluted skies.

VA is also a powerful outreach tool. With an ever dirtier light polluted sky in urban centres, those very objects that we crave to see are becoming just about impossible to see with much detail, and galaxies are all but invisible to novice eyes. Yet VA provides an electronic 'boost' to an outreach evening, where participants can both get a visual experience through a telescope, and a VA image can compliment that experience and help people understand the real problem that light pollution is. It is disturbing to hear that there are some cities in the world were no stars are visible at all due to light pollution.

This is just a little introduction to what Video Astronomy is and can offer following on from the recent 'sticky status' bestowed on this thread.

The idea of this thread is to now provide an Australian information source on VA, how it works, where to get gear, and how-to info.

Believe it or not, Australia is at the forefront of VA, with some of the most high profile practitioners of VA in the world being Aussies, and one astro retailer being a producer of Video Astronomy hardware AND software (the GSTAR range from {G'day Steve! }).

VA is not overly expensive. It can be as simple as converting a webcam to a astro video camera (there is an article here in IIS on how to do this!), or splashing out on some quite sophisticated equipment to produce outstanding images of deep sky objects. And like all aspects of astronomy, VA also benefits from a dark sky situation, but can handle light polluted skies very well - I've seen the Horse Head nebula from my home in Sydney's east through a humble 8" SCT this way .

I am in no way a guru on the topic. Far from it. But I am a big fan of VA, and I can only share my limited experience and help out how I can and point out people and resources that best serve.

I hope that the VA community will find this IIS thread a comfortable place to share their knowledge and photos. It can only work with everyone's participation.


I only do visual observing however I would like/LOVE to be able to see more detail and possibly more colour in nightsky objects, especially dso's. I like what can be seen with video astronomy.

What digital imaging device with a built-in screen can I attach to the telescope that will let me do visual observing and not have to have extra equipment (same as video astronomy but without seperate monitor/laptop and no real need to record).

I am considering a DLSR camera because it has a built-in screen.

With the DSLR:
Will I have a live image?
Will it have more detail than visual observing through the eyepiece?
Will the be colour?
Will the image be larger scale/size than what the eye sees through the eyepiece?
Will a Canon 350D be suitable?

Would a mobile phone be more suitable?

I realise that camera, or phone, will need an adapter to attach to the telescope.

I have a cg5 GoTo mount with Celestron 200mm sct, refractor 120mm & Saxon 150mm mak. I will be trialing these 3 scopes for which are most suitable for this "digital observing".


Last edited by RB; 13-11-2015 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Requested by Craig and Alex
Reply With Quote