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Old 14-06-2008, 11:31 PM
knackers
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Question CCD Imaging advice

Good evening all,

I would like to have a go at Lunar / Planetary CCD imaging through my ETX-105 and would appreciate some advice on what CCD and software would be appropriate.

I am considering the DMK21 range of CCD's, but am note sure if i should choose mono with filters over color. As a newbie maybe color would be easier to start off with. If the mono with filters provides a better image i would prefer going down that path.

Also since my alignment skills are not the best yet, is there software available that can guide my etx-105 and capture through the same camera at the same time?

Finally, is there any real benefit to firewire over usb with the DMK ccd's?

Any / all advice will be most welcome.

Thanks, Andrew.
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Old 15-06-2008, 12:31 AM
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firstly... Untill you know its what you want to do, perhaps going for a cheaper webcam like the Phillips SPC900NC ToUcam is a better idea than going all out on a DMK..

The mono DMK will yield better results due to the full resolution of the camera being dedicated to luminance, while filters handle the color, where as a color DMK splits its resolution up in order to capture colors... There is a good article on this HERE. However the mono camera will require 3 times the post-processing to get the final image, and for a beginner, I would imagine it would be a little overwhelming.

Firewire is better than USB due to its higher transfer rate. This means that the data (image) is not compressed by the camera before being sent to the capturing pc. resulting in a better image

K3CCDTOOLS is a great program for capturing planets/moon..


I have not used the ETX-105 so im not really able to answer questions about it... im sure someone will soon
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Old 15-06-2008, 07:28 AM
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Nice reply Alex but not everything you say is completely accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post
firstly... Untill you know its what you want to do, perhaps going for a cheaper webcam like the Phillips SPC900NC ToUcam is a better idea than going all out on a DMK..
Yes, this is definitely not a bad idea, though the cost difference between a ToUcam and DMK isn't as big as it used to be. And make no mistake that the DMK is a much better camera than the ToUcam in the long run - so for some people it may be worth saving their $100 and getting the DMK/DBK first time around.

Quote:
The mono DMK will yield better results due to the full resolution of the camera being dedicated to luminance, while filters handle the color, where as a color DMK splits its resolution up in order to capture colors... There is a good article on this HERE. However the mono camera will require 3 times the post-processing to get the final image, and for a beginner, I would imagine it would be a little overwhelming.
Definitely agree with this. If you haven't done any planetary imaging before, mono/RGB imaging can be quite a daunting task. Starting as colour is definitely a preferred approach, but again there's no mistaking that mono-RGB is much better than a colour camera in the long run - so it depends if you want to spend the money on a colour camera first up and then mono/RGB later.

Quote:
Firewire is better than USB due to its higher transfer rate. This means that the data (image) is not compressed by the camera before being sent to the capturing pc. resulting in a better image
This is only true where the DMK/DBK is the firewire and a ToUcam is the USB. You can get the DMK/DBK in either firewire or USB. In this case, they are both the same. I prefer the USB DMK because it's powered from the laptop and I don't need any external power for it or a PCMCIA firewire card (my laptop doesn't have a firewire port).
So this is really personal preference.

Quote:
K3CCDTOOLS is a great program for capturing planets/moon..
For the ToUcam, yep it's great. The DMK/DBK comes with IC-Capture which is a great program, or you can buy LUCAM Recorder which apparently works with DMK/DBK's now.

For your other question, you don't need guiding with lunar/planetary imaging. In most cases you'll just use the hand-controller to keep the planet in the field of view.

Keep asking questions!
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Old 15-06-2008, 11:33 AM
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I gave it a good go with what I knew and I was sure you'd reply exactly as you did!

Cheers
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Old 15-06-2008, 08:59 PM
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Thanks Alex & Mike for the replies,

I think i will go for the color / usb DMK21.

Mike, you say to manually guide the scope, so that means i will be capturing frames and stacking?

In that case how much drift is acceptable?

You mention keeping the planet in the field of view so the auto tracking of the etx should be sufficient for this after auto aligning?

Well, the next step is to get the gear and give it a go!

Once again thanks and regards, Andrew.
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Old 15-06-2008, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knackers View Post
Thanks Alex & Mike for the replies,

I think i will go for the color / usb DMK21.

Mike, you say to manually guide the scope, so that means i will be capturing frames and stacking?

In that case how much drift is acceptable?

You mention keeping the planet in the field of view so the auto tracking of the etx should be sufficient for this after auto aligning?

Well, the next step is to get the gear and give it a go!

Once again thanks and regards, Andrew.
Hi Andrew,

For planetary imaging your ETX-105 will work fine. It will track the planet long enough for you to capture enough frames for stacking. Because you will be working at a high magnification you will probably have to use the HC to keep the planet in the FOV. All you have to worry about is keeping the Planet in the FOV while imaging.

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Old 16-06-2008, 09:54 PM
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Thanks Matty,

Let's hope i can capture something worth posting here in the near future.


http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/....es/happy19.gif
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Old 16-06-2008, 10:07 PM
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best of luck andrew! And be sure to post your results, no matter how they look. This advice was given to me 6 weeks ago when i started planetary imaging, and let me tell you, i posted my first result which was awful.. Thanks to all the awesome people on these forums, i've been given alot of great tips on how to improve, and improve i did..

Alex.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:25 PM
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Philips SPC900NC

I'm a bit of a newbie in this game, but I've decided to try some planetary imaging using a Philips SPC900NC. They are available very cheaply from Canada or USA on ebay along with the adaptors. I've ordered a camera from Toronto for US$65 (incl. $30 shipping) and an adaptor in Delrin from South Carolina for US$21 (incl. $3 postage). At the current exchange rate this is half the cost from my usual supplier in Australia.
I'd be happy to provide the supplier details if anyone wants to check them out.

Update: The Webcam and adaptor both arrived within 10 days of ordering, which is pretty darned impressive . Both were in excellent condition and are working well. Now I'm figuring out how to drive the various capture programs on offer and waiting for some decent weather.

Last edited by Bellbuoy; 11-07-2008 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Update
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:53 PM
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Great to hear Peter! you'll have fun with it thats for sure..
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Old 15-07-2008, 09:49 PM
helioz (Erwin)
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Bellbuoy,
how did you go with your SPC 900?
I'm interested 'cause I'm hopefully getting mine tomorrow.
Do you have any setup tips for the rest of us?

Last edited by helioz; 15-07-2008 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 19-07-2008, 08:28 AM
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What is regarded as the absolute best planetary camera -cost aside?

Greg.
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Old 19-07-2008, 09:30 AM
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The Lumenera Skynyx 2-0 Monochrome (USB), or the pt grey research dragonfly express (firewire).
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Old 20-07-2008, 04:06 PM
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Thanks Mike.

What is regarded as the ideal scope for planetary? APO or large aperture compund scope?

what about barlows, whats the best? Baader flatfield converter, Zeiss ED barlow, AP barcon, TV Powermates?

Greg.
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Old 20-07-2008, 04:36 PM
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How seriously do you want to get into it, Greg?

Ideal planetary scopes would either be a C14 (SCT) or a large newt (12" or so). Although any of those big 14" RC's would do well too.

In any case, you need to be able to bring the mirror down to ambient temperature with active cooling.

5x powermate is regarded as the best to get the long focal length you need for the best resolution. You can add extension tubes to really crank up the focal length. You don't need any flatfield converters or anything like that.

A big scope at ambient temperature, a 5x powermate with filterwheel + RGB filters and a monochrome camera is what you want. And then good seeing!
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Old 20-07-2008, 04:52 PM
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I think what Mike is trying to say is Ideally, you want a massive budget

Cheapest rout to an 'ideal' setup that I've found so far is a 12" newt, 5x powermate, DMK/DBK with an EQ6pro...

If your budget allows, the next thing up from that I would consider would be more aperture, or a Losmandy G11...
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Old 20-07-2008, 08:57 PM
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Hi guys,

Finally got the DBK21 from Bintel (Melbourne) last week. Rang the store to place one on hold and as luck would have it they sold the last one that morning and the Sydney store was out of them as well.

As it turns out this was a blessing because the new stock is $40 cheaper at $399.

Anyway, now waiting for the skies to clear to give it a go.

Regards, Andrew.
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Old 21-07-2008, 08:22 PM
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So your the one that brought the rain around my area!

Theo.
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Old 22-07-2008, 01:47 PM
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SPC900NC Progress

Im very pleased with the webcam but I've only had two brief sessions with it due to weather etc. I've found wxAstroCapture software works well for me and has a better interface than QCfocus etc. It is a free download here: http://arnholm.org/astro/software/wxAstroCapture/
I've bought a 1.25" adaptor for prime focus and a T thread adapter for EP projection (I already had a camea adapter)
I was quite pleased with the prime focus results on the Moon as a first attempt. EP projection was tricky but I managed a rough image of Jupiter using the 10mm EP supplied with the scope. See attached. I'm waiting on an IR filter which should make exposure easier. The images were stacked with Registax from 75-150 frames.
With prime focus the FOV is about the same as my 6.5mm EP on visual (115x mag). With EP projection and the 10mm EP it's about 294x mag.
Any constructive suggestions are welcome.
Cheers,
Peter

Quote:
Originally Posted by helioz View Post
Bellbuoy,
how did you go with your SPC 900?
I'm interested 'cause I'm hopefully getting mine tomorrow.
Do you have any setup tips for the rest of us?
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Moon_080711_01_L.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (Jupiter_7 10mm EP.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (SW 150 6 prime Focus.JPG)
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Click for full-size image (SW 150 3 10mm EP.JPG)
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Click for full-size image (Jupiter_1 prime focus.jpg)
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Last edited by Bellbuoy; 22-07-2008 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 22-07-2008, 09:41 PM
knackers
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Yeah, sorry Theo. I've read many times on this forum how people buy new equipment and then it rains for a week, i guess it's true!

Ah well, at least i have time to concentrate on my studies

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So your the one that brought the rain around my area!

Theo.
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