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Old 17-03-2014, 08:36 AM
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Draco (Niv)
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Using a webcam for an Astronomy Camera

Hi all.

Due to budget constraints (basically no surplus money ) and wanting to see Galaxies via my Meade 10", I am trying to build a astronomy camera using a webcam. I know this is not the ideal way to go due to the obvious constraints on a webcam, however for a beginner with not too much money on hand, this could be a good start.

I have seen some posts in the forums from people venturing int his area however I havent see any specific details on how to do this.

I bought myself a webcam from ebay, similar to this one http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/mt88-USB-...item19e6774975

I took out the lens and removed the annoying led backlight inside. I put it in the eyepiece holder on my telescope and am using SharpCap. I tried playing with the distance to move it back to get focus of the moon last night(full moon), however I just couldnt get any focus. Also, it is very hard to get dim objects viewable through it. I guess my expectations of seeing galaxies are dashed

Is this expected behaviour of a webcam? Are my expectations too much or am I just not doing things correctly?

Thank you in advance

Last edited by Draco; 17-03-2014 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 17-03-2014, 11:10 AM
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traveller (Bo)
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Hi Niv,
Galaxies are very faint so you will need a very sensitive webcam to achieve that, esp in light polluted Sydney.
Your best bet is to use the webcam you have on casual basis on bright objects such as the moon and planets. Can you control the sensitivity of the camera such as gain, exposure etc?
If you can spare $50-80, you can get a QucikCam Pro or a Philips webcam, http://nightskyinfocus.com/tag/logitech-4000/ they have quite sensitive chips on them, which you can do webcam planetary imaging. There are quite a lot of resources out there showing you how they are done.
For DSOs like galaxies, you either have to get your webcam modified into long exposure capabilities, like this http://www.home.zonnet.nl/m.m.j.meij...Y/spc900nc.htm , or use other cameras such as a DSLR or dedicated astro camera.
Sorry but there are no shortcuts to astro imaging
Bo
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Old 18-03-2014, 08:27 AM
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Draco (Niv)
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Hi Bo

thank you for your response.

Unfortunately the webcam I got is a stock standard webcam made more for skype than anything. It doesnt come with any gain/exposure settings.
The link for the Philips or the logitech 3000/4000 looks very impressive, esp modding it to gain control via software.

I do have an old sony point and shoot ixus 80 I think. Will see if I can mod that to use with my telescope since it has exposure settings. BTW do you know how to output the image from a sony point and shoot straight onto a laptop, bypassing the sd card?

Better start saving

thanks a lot for your help
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Old 18-03-2014, 10:57 AM
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Hi Niv,
If you want to use point and shoot type of cameras, you need to get a universal camera holder for your telescope http://www.bintel.com.au/Spotting-Sc...oductview.aspx
This will allow you to focus on the image projected on the eyepiece of your camera. This site will explain the technique in more detail http://www.astronomysource.com/2011/...ce-projection/
Again, the limitations of this is that you can only do bright objects such as moon and planets and you need a good solid and tracking mount to do this.
Bo
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Old 18-03-2014, 11:02 AM
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traveller (Bo)
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Niv, a member is selling a digital camera adapter here
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=118371
Bo
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Old 21-03-2014, 06:48 AM
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Check out the ice trades there are always cheap dslr's for sale. Someone hade a cannon 400d for $250 the other day. Otherwise check bintel I think the sell a bracket that can attach a point and shoot to the telescope.

Cheers
Sandy
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