Jump to content
  • Join the online East Midlands astronomy club today!

    With active forums, two dark sites and a knowledgeable membership, East Midlands Stargazers has something for everyone.

First Astro Image!


Guest Deano
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Deano

Well here it is, my first attempt at capturing an astro image. Finally got my Toucam Pro webcam to work on my Windows 7 laptop (wasn't easy without Philips supporting anything beyond XP for the webcam). Trained the scope on Jupiter and inserted the webcam with the adaptor fitted straight into the focuser. Played around with the exposure, gain and brightness settings to finally gat a decentish image on the laptop screen and recorded a few 30 second avi's. Retired to the kitchen dinner with a roaring log burner and followed a tutorial on processing using Registax. This was the result, nothing to worry the pro's out there but I'm chuffed to bits I managed to get anything. I've a lot to learn and things can only get better but had great fun having a go. Any tips and advice to improve my image are more than welcome!


 


I opened a Flickr account to start storing my images to (hopefully) see them improve as I go along. Here's the link to the image:


 


http://www.flickr.com/photos/119127834@N04/12865493244/


 


If there's an easier way to share images can somebody please let me know.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done on your first image :) nicely done. You'll get obsessed with trying to get better and better images now, it's a slippery slope! Might get more views/comments if you place it in the planetary imaging thread-maybe one of the mods might move it there for you?

Image scale is quite small but you can use a Barlow to make it a little larger on the chip, great first attempt. How many frames did you capture then stack? I've been out trying to get images of Jupiter tonight also. I've got a lot of Avis to get through tomorrow and will post them up. Well done again and congrats :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What driver does a Toucam or SPC880 use on Windows 7?


 


I cannot get my SPC880 to work since my employer upgraded my PC.


 


Like the photo. My first image was MUCH worse.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Thanks for all the encouraging replies, I'm already looking forward to trying again and playing around with settings and setup etc.


 


catman161 - I initially used the webcam with a 2 x Barlow which did make the image larger. I could not get a very clear image though and in the end removed it and just went with the webcam alone. Do you think this is due to the standard Barlow I am using which is one that came with a basic scope I purchased years ago? Would it be of benefit to remove the lense within the barlow just to give me the added focal length? I was using k3ccdtools to capture the avi and adjust the settings, would you recommend any other software? I captured a 40 second avi at 10fps. Not too sure on how many of the frames registax used to be honest, still working my way around the software. Can you suggest a good tutorial to follow?


 


Sunny Phil - It took a lot of installing and uninstalling to finally get Windows 7 to install the drivers. The below link was useful, I followed the update firmware procedure in the end, keeping everything crossed it didn't kill the Toucam! The process thankfully worked though and Windpws now has it installed as an SPC900.


 


Baz - Ha, I've been residing in the dark side many a year!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Oops! Forgot the link to the Firmware update page, here it is right at the bottom of the linked page:


 


http://www.home.zonnet.nl/m.m.j.meijer/D_I_Y/spc900nc.htm


 


The link from Brantuk is to the page I used for the drivers once I'd updated the Toucam Pro's firmware. All this messing around with Windows and drivers etc has reminded me why my mac is so good :) 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice start. As SunnyPhil says, far better than most of us managed first time around (and without sounding too mean, much better than other stuff I've seen 'seasoned' imagers post on other sites).


 


40 seconds? You can probably safely go to 120 seconds, maybe longer. Fine surface detail will get blurred out after that, but I suspect that would be most noticeable if using a telescope with a much longer focal length. So, if you went for 120 seconds at 10 fps, that would be 1200 frames, which hopefully would give you some more data. Does that camera max out at 10 fps? If you experiment during the day time, if you shorten the exposure time to say one sixtieth of a second (0.016r), can you get the frame rate above 10fps? I'm not saying you can necessarily capture data at this frame rate, just wonder how much movement there is on frame rate with your camera. My understanding is that you want the gain to be at most 50%, probably nearer 25% to limit the noise, but to retain some "sensitivity" (as you'll learn I am not very bright with the technical stuff, just use my own analogies to work around things in terms/language I understand); I think of the gain to be similar to ISO on a camera, and as such you want it low as possible to limit noise, but still need some to permit light capture. There is an excellent article in the 2014 Yearbook of Astronomy (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patrick-Moores-Yearbook-Astronomy-2014/dp/144724396X) on imaging Jupiter which goes over lots of this stuff really well; you are welcome to borrow my copy if you can pick it up and return it afterwards, but you can buy the whole book now for under £10. Anyway, the author of that chapter recommends 30fps, which is not always achievable (or even desirable) with modified webcams, but that means the exposure time must be at least 1/30th second, if not faster. I thought he'd recommended between 1/30th and 1/60th second for UK seeing, but can't find that entry in the chapter just now. You could still set the exposure time to be in that range, and still keep 10 fps, or 15 fps just to push things a little more and get more frames in your 120 seconds.


 


I use either SharpCap2 or Firecapture; I've fluctuated between the two. SharpCap2 has had some recent updates and now seems stable agian on my laptop and with my camera. When using SharpCap, make sure you can see the camera controls which are called "filter options"; from there you can alter the gain and shutter speed (exposure time), and other bits.


 


SharpCap will also let you change the "resolution", so if the chip on your camera is say 640x480, you may be able to drop this down to a small area, say 320x240 if Jupiter still fits in the frame (and assuming your tracking if pretty good else Jupiter will scoot off frequently). Doing this may allow you to get above your 10fps as there is less data to transfer to the laptop.


 


Don't settle for just taking one video. Capture loads, most will be poor, but one will hopefully be a corker. Felix is the master of focusing, so get a tutorial from him on that. I'm just uploading 400 frames I think I took back in January when the seeing was excellent and everything was working as planned for a change, so you can see what my raw data looks like: http://s1311.photobucket.com/user/jamesdawson/media/Capture19_01_201422_06_47_pipp_zps527edcb3.mp4.html


 


The seeing conditions are important, not just cloud, but the jet stream I think is a pain. ALl that hot air gushing around at high altitudes causes interference and when you are looking through it at Jupiter (or other solar system objects), you can see the object boiling and bobbing around all over the place. You can also get this effect if the kit isn't cooled down properly, or if you are looking through a load of hot air rising off say an open window in the neighbours house and the heat from the central heating is gushing upwards through your light path. I look at this website to see if the jet steam is going to be overhead in the next few hours, if it is, then I don't bother setting up all the imaging kit as I know the results are most likely to be poor, so can just do some visual observing instead; http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=jetstream;sess=


 


When it comes to processing, lots of people are now running their raw video files through freeware called PIPP. This can be used to convert other video formats to *.avi (which is what Registax wants), and it can also be used to crop the object (to reduce the amount of data Registax has to deal with), to sort the frames into order of best to worst (which again can make things a bit easier in Registax), and to get rid of the worst frames (eg ditch the worst 20% of frames, which again helps reduce the work for Registax). Registax seems to use lots of processing power, and I've found can be prone to freezing if the files are too big or you ask it to do too many things at once, so any opportunity to reduce the burden on Registax is a good thing in my experience. PIPP however seems to whip through these videos and sorts them and crops them in no time, so it seems sensible to me to run files through PIPP first then into Registax. PIPP can seem a bit funky to start with, but after a bit of playing around, you'll soon pick up what are the important steps.


 


Once you havea  nice *.avi for Registax, open it up, and if you have sorted the data into quality order, the very first frame will be the best, and will be the ideal once to use for setting alignment points; on the whole I let it do auto alignment points. Before you click align, towards the bottom on the left it says limit setup. Select "best frames" and then tell it to only stack say the best 80% of frames (or 95% if you've already removed the worst ones in PIPP). The bar at the bottom will say how many frames there are (eg 1/1200, the first frame of 1200 frames). Click align, wait for it to process, the progress bar bottom left. Then click limit. wait again. Then click stack. You know it's stacked once it says something like "stacking range 0-255" at the bottom (it sometimes stacks quickly and you are not sure if you clicked stack or not, so this tells you). Then click wavelet; as a starting point, drag all six wavelets filters to about 40 (just a bit less than half the way along), but you need to play with this; this will sharpen the image immensely. The I click RGB align (on the right), and a green box appears, drag the box so it covers the whole planet, then click align and let it do its thing. The you can alter the contrast and brightness, but I've always found this dangerous as it usually makes my images worse! Then click "do all" top left, then save. Hey presto, a wonderful image :)


 


How big is your data file? Can you upload it to drop box and we can have a play with it and see if we can extract any more detail from it?


 


It's a fascinating thing to play around with, and frustrating too.


 


I'm really pleased you've managed to get such great first results.


 


Jd


Edited by dawson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Just a practice using the code suggested in the share an image post kindly offered by Craig.

 

12865493244_34171ee97e_s.jpg
Jupiter 01_03_14 by manselldean, on Flickr

 

Wasn't sure if I should simply paste the BB code or add it into the 'image' option?

 

Dawson - Huge thanks for the advice above. I've no chance trying to read it thoroughly with the kids running around so will give it a proper read later before (fingers crossed) clear skies to have another go later. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Very nice start. As SunnyPhil says, far better than most of us managed first time around (and without sounding too mean, much better than other stuff I've seen 'seasoned' imagers post on other sites).

 

40 seconds? You can probably safely go to 120 seconds, maybe longer. Fine surface detail will get blurred out after that, but I suspect that would be most noticeable if using a telescope with a much longer focal length. So, if you went for 120 seconds at 10 fps, that would be 1200 frames, which hopefully would give you some more data. Does that camera max out at 10 fps? If you experiment during the day time, if you shorten the exposure time to say one sixtieth of a second (0.016r), can you get the frame rate above 10fps? I'm not saying you can necessarily capture data at this frame rate, just wonder how much movement there is on frame rate with your camera. My understanding is that you want the gain to be at most 50%, probably nearer 25% to limit the noise, but to retain some "sensitivity" (as you'll learn I am not very bright with the technical stuff, just use my own analogies to work around things in terms/language I understand); I think of the gain to be similar to ISO on a camera, and as such you want it low as possible to limit noise, but still need some to permit light capture. There is an excellent article in the 2014 Yearbook of Astronomy (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patrick-Moores-Yearbook-Astronomy-2014/dp/144724396X) on imaging Jupiter which goes over lots of this stuff really well; you are welcome to borrow my copy if you can pick it up and return it afterwards, but you can buy the whole book now for under £10. Anyway, the author of that chapter recommends 30fps, which is not always achievable (or even desirable) with modified webcams, but that means the exposure time must be at least 1/30th second, if not faster. I thought he'd recommended between 1/30th and 1/60th second for UK seeing, but can't find that entry in the chapter just now. You could still set the exposure time to be in that range, and still keep 10 fps, or 15 fps just to push things a little more and get more frames in your 120 seconds.

 

I use either SharpCap2 or Firecapture; I've fluctuated between the two. SharpCap2 has had some recent updates and now seems stable agian on my laptop and with my camera. When using SharpCap, make sure you can see the camera controls which are called "filter options"; from there you can alter the gain and shutter speed (exposure time), and other bits.

 

SharpCap will also let you change the "resolution", so if the chip on your camera is say 640x480, you may be able to drop this down to a small area, say 320x240 if Jupiter still fits in the frame (and assuming your tracking if pretty good else Jupiter will scoot off frequently). Doing this may allow you to get above your 10fps as there is less data to transfer to the laptop.

 

Don't settle for just taking one video. Capture loads, most will be poor, but one will hopefully be a corker. Felix is the master of focusing, so get a tutorial from him on that. I'm just uploading 400 frames I think I took back in January when the seeing was excellent and everything was working as planned for a change, so you can see what my raw data looks like: http://s1311.photobucket.com/user/jamesdawson/media/Capture19_01_201422_06_47_pipp_zps527edcb3.mp4.html

 

The seeing conditions are important, not just cloud, but the jet stream I think is a pain. ALl that hot air gushing around at high altitudes causes interference and when you are looking through it at Jupiter (or other solar system objects), you can see the object boiling and bobbing around all over the place. You can also get this effect if the kit isn't cooled down properly, or if you are looking through a load of hot air rising off say an open window in the neighbours house and the heat from the central heating is gushing upwards through your light path. I look at this website to see if the jet steam is going to be overhead in the next few hours, if it is, then I don't bother setting up all the imaging kit as I know the results are most likely to be poor, so can just do some visual observing instead; http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=jetstream;sess=

 

When it comes to processing, lots of people are now running their raw video files through freeware called PIPP. This can be used to convert other video formats to *.avi (which is what Registax wants), and it can also be used to crop the object (to reduce the amount of data Registax has to deal with), to sort the frames into order of best to worst (which again can make things a bit easier in Registax), and to get rid of the worst frames (eg ditch the worst 20% of frames, which again helps reduce the work for Registax). Registax seems to use lots of processing power, and I've found can be prone to freezing if the files are too big or you ask it to do too many things at once, so any opportunity to reduce the burden on Registax is a good thing in my experience. PIPP however seems to whip through these videos and sorts them and crops them in no time, so it seems sensible to me to run files through PIPP first then into Registax. PIPP can seem a bit funky to start with, but after a bit of playing around, you'll soon pick up what are the important steps.

 

Once you havea  nice *.avi for Registax, open it up, and if you have sorted the data into quality order, the very first frame will be the best, and will be the ideal once to use for setting alignment points; on the whole I let it do auto alignment points. Before you click align, towards the bottom on the left it says limit setup. Select "best frames" and then tell it to only stack say the best 80% of frames (or 95% if you've already removed the worst ones in PIPP). The bar at the bottom will say how many frames there are (eg 1/1200, the first frame of 1200 frames). Click align, wait for it to process, the progress bar bottom left. Then click limit. wait again. Then click stack. You know it's stacked once it says something like "stacking range 0-255" at the bottom (it sometimes stacks quickly and you are not sure if you clicked stack or not, so this tells you). Then click wavelet; as a starting point, drag all six wavelets filters to about 40 (just a bit less than half the way along), but you need to play with this; this will sharpen the image immensely. The I click RGB align (on the right), and a green box appears, drag the box so it covers the whole planet, then click align and let it do its thing. The you can alter the contrast and brightness, but I've always found this dangerous as it usually makes my images worse! Then click "do all" top left, then save. Hey presto, a wonderful image :)

 

How big is your data file? Can you upload it to drop box and we can have a play with it and see if we can extract any more detail from it?

 

It's a fascinating thing to play around with, and frustrating too.

 

I'm really pleased you've managed to get such great first results.

 

Jd

 

After a quick read, hopefully the below dropbox link is to the avi file I used for the image. Try not to laugh too much, I've just watched your video - very impressive! 

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/06ml03ygbqh8f3w/K3CCD_0005.avi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a practice using the code suggested in the share an image post kindly offered by Craig.

 

12865493244_34171ee97e_s.jpg

Jupiter 01_03_14 by manselldean, on Flickr

 

Wasn't sure if I should simply paste the BB code or add it into the 'image' option?

 

Dawson - Huge thanks for the advice above. I've no chance trying to read it thoroughly with the kids running around so will give it a proper read later before (fingers crossed) clear skies to have another go later. 

 

Worked.

 

You just paste, as you did. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow! What can I add after James brilliant post?! Well, I guess just some links to tutorials that I used when I fist started out! Below are links to some videos by a guy called Dion who runs another astro forum called Astronomy Shed. The tutorials thread covers so many subjects and is (IMO) invaluable when starting out. 


 


Starting out with Sharpcap and Lunar imaging


 


http://www.astronomyshed.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=759


 


Registax Planetary Tutorial


http://www.astronomyshed.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1443


 


With regard to focusing my recommendation would be to motorise your focuser if you haven't already as it is so much easier to focus at the push of a button whilst looking at the object on screen. Having said that my earlier images when I started doing planetary were all focused by hand but it is a real pain, although not impossible. Regarding how it looked on screen when using the barlow lens. You will never get the planet looking sharp on screen when using high magnification. It will always look mostly fuzzy. The key is to sit watching the planet for a good 20 minutes to half an hour and waiting for moments where the atmosphere ("seeing") stabilises. These moments of clarity last milliseconds so you have to be patient and just wait. If you don't ever see any fleeting moments of clarity on the disc of the planet it could be that the seeing is terrible at the time or that you need to make minute adjustments to the focus. However when yo make a adjustment yo start the whole waiting and watching game all over again.  


 


One other piece of software that I use to stack the avis once I have run them through PIPP is AS!2 (Autostakkert! 2). I like it as you can load more than one avi at a time and just leave it doing it's very time consuming thing of processing and stacking. Here's a link to use of AS!2 from Stargazers Lounge:


 


http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/184821-beginners-guide-to-stacking-planetary-images-with-autostakkert2/


 


You can download AS!2 here: http://www.autostakkert.com/wp/download/


 


Hope this helps. I'll have a look at your avi file and have a mess around when I get a second and see what I can bring out of it, probably not more than yourself as you have done really well for a first go :)


Edited by catman161
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at your data, I would suggest:

 

- Try with a Barlow / Powermate (it will make the image look even less clear in realtime than without, but it will pay off having the extra focal length / larger image, though if the seeing is bad, it's bad and don't have high expectations (I'd say leave it for another night, or just use it as a test of the processes rather than exect stunning results).

- You seem to have the "brightness" about right, so well done there, potentiall you could go a bit less bright, so drop the gain / shorten the exposure time / shutter speed.

- You need much more data, 2000 frames or so (4000 if you an get it); so longer exposure time (120 seconds for Jupiter), and potentially faster frame rates (trial and error, see what 15, 20, even 30 achieves (convention says 30 is pushing it with modified web cams but hey, try it)).

- I think you need shorter exposure times anyway, to try and capture those milisecond moments of good seeing; 1/30th second to 1/60th second, but this will make the image darker and you'll have to go up on the gain which introduces noise and graininess. Balance of things as in all aspects of life.

- Your Jupier currently looks lost on the massive area of the cameras sensor; using a 2x Barlow will make Jupiter twice as big (roughly), but will still be small, so maybe play with reducing the area of the sensor you are using, and that may allow you to increase your frame rate also, and present less data for the software to handle.

 

So, I look forward to the next attempt. Remember a clear night doesn't necessarily mean good seeing.

 

Well done again.

 

JD
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found this after a net search and was apprehensive about trying it but it worked for me. 

 

Philips Tou Cam Pro 2 windows 7 64 bit
I am slowly getting back into imaging after a three year absence and I was testing out my equipment last night. I was especially dismayed to find that my ToUCam Pro (840K model) was not supported by Philips for Windows 7. There are no drivers for it. 

My camera is in great condition and I think its still a viable planetary camera, so I was not looking forward to having to go buy a new webcam.

After some sleuthing on the internet, I found a workaround! I can't take credit for this as I found it on another forum.

Here is my version of the steps (do this with your camera plugged in and unrecognized):

1) Download and install the Windows 7 Driver (not the software, the driver) for the one of the SPC900 models of webcam from Philips.

2) After rebooting, run Notepad as administrator. If you are running the 32 bit version of Windows 7, navigate to c:\Program Files\Philips\Philips\SPC900NC PC Camera. (If on 64-bit Windows, go to Program Files (x86).)

3) Open Camvid40.inf and edit the following lines. Turn off word wrap and turn on the Status Bar (View menu) to see the line numbers. Or count if you feel like it. 

Edit line 66 to look like this:
%USBVid.DeviceDesc%=USBVidx86,USB\VID_0471&PID_0311&MI_00

Edit line 69 to look like this:
%USBVid.DeviceDesc%=USBVidXp64,USB\VID_0471&PID_0311&MI_00

Edit line 72 to look like this:
%USBVid.DeviceDesc%=USBVidVista64,USB\VID_0471&PID _0311&MI_00

You'll notice you seem to be changing the PID attriubute. Perhaps it stands for ProductID?

4) Save the file and then open SPC900.txt from the same directory.

Edit line 2 to look like this:
USB\VID_0471&PID_0311&MI_00

5) Save the file and close notepad.

6) Go to Device Manager (right click on Computer, choose Properties, then select Device Manager on the resulting screen.)

7) Under Other Devices, you'll see an Unknown Device. This is your currently unrecognized webcam. Right click on the unknown device and select Update Driver Software. Select Browse my Computer and go to C:\Program Files\Philips\Philips SPC900NC PC Camera (again, if you're on Windows 7 64-bit, you want to go into the Program Files (x86) directory.) Make sure Include Subfolders is checked and click next.

8) In a few moments you should have a nice recognized webcam. It will recognize the 840K as the SPC 900, but it should work just find in your capture software.

9) Enjoy and do something else with the time you would have spent reformatting with Windows XP or messing with a virtual XP machine.

 

How did he work that out?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Looking at your data, I would suggest:

 

- Try with a Barlow / Powermate (it will make the image look even less clear in realtime than without, but it will pay off having the extra focal length / larger image, though if the seeing is bad, it's bad and don't have high expectations (I'd say leave it for another night, or just use it as a test of the processes rather than exect stunning results).

- You seem to have the "brightness" about right, so well done there, potentiall you could go a bit less bright, so drop the gain / shorten the exposure time / shutter speed.

- You need much more data, 2000 frames or so (4000 if you an get it); so longer exposure time (120 seconds for Jupiter), and potentially faster frame rates (trial and error, see what 15, 20, even 30 achieves (convention says 30 is pushing it with modified web cams but hey, try it)).

- I think you need shorter exposure times anyway, to try and capture those milisecond moments of good seeing; 1/30th second to 1/60th second, but this will make the image darker and you'll have to go up on the gain which introduces noise and graininess. Balance of things as in all aspects of life.

- Your Jupier currently looks lost on the massive area of the cameras sensor; using a 2x Barlow will make Jupiter twice as big (roughly), but will still be small, so maybe play with reducing the area of the sensor you are using, and that may allow you to increase your frame rate also, and present less data for the software to handle.

 

So, I look forward to the next attempt. Remember a clear night doesn't necessarily mean good seeing.

 

Well done again.

 

JD

 

Thanks for the tips and advice, I was really looking forward to trying your suggestions out tonight until I looked out of the window! Never mind, it's given me a chance to get to grips with Sharpcap and PIPPS so I'll hopefully be ready when the skies clear again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Couldn't resist a quick look after getting in tonight with the sky looking so clear. Used Sharpcap this time to capture a longer avi of 2000 frames. Didn't spend too much time in registax before getting this. Think it's an improvement on my first effort, mainly due to using the Barlow lens and spending more time on trying to get the focus right.

 

12915676454_4db87ab658_s.jpg
Jupiter 03_03_2014 22_33_43 by manselldean, on Flickr

 

I didn't do any pre-processing and I did take a few more avi's so going to have a processing night tomorrow to see what else I can learn. It's good fun this...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I need to look at them side by side on a computer screen (not an iphone), but great work to get back out there and try again :)

Edited by dawson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

I need to look at them side by side on a computer screen (not an iphone), but great work to get back out there and try again :)

Thanks. I hadn't quite understood the 'good seeing' I'd read about until last night. It was definitely the best night for viewing I've had in my very short star gazing life. Incredibly still night and I could easily make out the Great Red Spot on Jupiter along with more cloud detail.

What do I need to change to allow me to get a larger and clearer image? Apart from the obvious better telescope, would a better quality Barlow improve things or the 3 x Barlow that's been mentioned?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the whole , i'd say:

- for a bigger image you need longer focal length; so either more magnification with barlows/powermates, or a different scope

- for a clearer image you need the best seeing, the best focus, the planet to be as high as possible (emigrate to the equator), the least amount of glass or mirrors between the planet and the sensor on the camera, the best contrast, faster frame rates, shorter exposures, much more data, a clean modern camera sensor, optimised pixels to arc second ratios (i still don't understand this myself but working on it), good tracking (so the most possible frames as possible are sharp), patience and skill when it comes to processing, loads of luck and loads of time , and loads of practice :)

Getting the image bigger is relatively easy, but bigger usually means less detailed or less bright when you start adding in barlows and the like. Felix is my barlow/powermate expert, so again get him to comment on this; i suspect there would be some differences between the cheap ones and the expensive ones, but i'm not sure how noticeable it would be if an identical side by side comparison was undertaken of the final images. Powermates reportedly are the best option as they have least negative impact on the resultant projected image than a standard barlow.

Getting the image clearer is much trickier. The Seeing as you've seen makes a difference, as do no doubt all the other things listed above. As to the proportion of contribution each of those make, i don't know, and many are expensive to implement, for potentially little gain. Maximum Aperture and an intrinsically slow scope (slower than f/10) seems to be the choice for the big wigs of planetary imaging. I plan to do a like for like comparison of jupiter using my original modified webcam (logitech 4000) versus the current dedicated planetary camera (asi 120mc), to see how much difference the camera makes; aside the faster frame rate capability of the zwo, i will be interested to see if it makes much difference.

So, i'd say, stick at it for now, get your technique at capturing the best possible data refined and continue to learn about the seeing and forecasting it, so you don't try to capture data when the seeing is awful. Find out from felix about increasing the focal length of your current set up with glass.

Jd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And read what others are doing, and look at their results. There are plenty of books and chapters, and online resources; loads of people on SGL are doing planetary imaging with impressive results and far inferior kit to yours on there.

Jd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Deano

Wow thanks for the response, been laying down in a dark room after reading it to take it all in! Seriously though I appreciate it, exactly the reason I joined the forum, to learn from experienced people like your good self.

I was using sharpcap and a focus option to try and get it the best I could. Still wasn't easy though with a blurry image. I'll have a search online for some hints and tips as you suggested. I was mainly impressed with the tracking of the scope last night, Jupiter hardly moved and proved to me how important a good polar alignment is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.