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Morning all

Yet another basic question

Is it possible to view live on your laptop what the scope is seeing?

So if the scope is pointing at saturn is it possible to view this live on the laptop?

If so what do I need?


Regards Jeff

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Hi Jeff - In a word Yes... :)

For something like Saturn, Jupiter or the moon, most people would use a webcam - Morgans sell an SPC880 (here). You will also then need a nosepiece (which you can also get from the same website - They also kindly provide a link to the drivers too).

You'll need to unscrew and then gently prise off the existing plastic focuser and then screw in the nosepiece (very simply job), which then goes into the focuser tube of your telescope. You then attach it to your laptop via USB...

There's a number of possible free software apps available (for free) to view and capture the video being taken - I personally use WXAstroCapture, but there are others. If you want to then create an image of what you've seen, you'll need some stacking software (Registax / AviStack? - Both free).

Please note though that a webcam won't give much result on Deep space objects... That's a separate story entirely (and can, in time, lead to serious expense and insanity!)

PS What scope do you have?

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Cheers Andy appreciate that

Im waiting on delivery of a celestron 8se

My wife and i are off to scotland but she really doesnt want to stand staring into the eye piece so I,m after a setup that will allow her to enjoy the view via a laptop.

Will the image be in colour or does that depend on processing afterwards?

Many Thanks


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To be honest, there's not a great deal of colour to be seen on the screen... but with good focus and seeing (and at a dark site), I would have thought you might be able to make out the Cassini division in the rings.

I've personally not done a lot of planetary viewing / imaging to date, and certainly not so much on Saturn (sadly, it skims across my rooftop and then disappears into the streetlight zone). The detail (colour) really starts to come through if you actually take a video whilst viewing (say 10fps / 120s) and then stack the frames up afterwards. However, I think most people can still remember their first view of Saturn - It's always impressive to consider that you're looking at another planet and it's SO far away...! However, I have to say I was totally gobsmacked how big Jupiter was after seeing Saturn (I think that next appears in 4-5 months or so)

If I were you, I'd have a practice run before going up to Scotland if you can - Getting Saturn / Jupiter on the webcam chip can sometimes be a challenge for some (ie me!). The webcam has a similar FOV as a 6mm EP, but with the C8se being 2000mm, you should get some very nice views... :)

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Looking forward to it

Need to start looking at this lark of "stacking" I know what it is but how you do it, I have no idea!!!

Stacking a video - does that involve taking say 5 videos and then stacking them or is the video broken down into actual frames as in each frame an individual photograph?

I really want to get this sorted before going Scotland so I know exactly what i'm doing and what i can expect

Thanks again


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Hi Jeff - It's a bit of a minefield to begin with, but once you start, you will get the hang of it! For planetary stacking, I use Registax (for lunar, I use AviStack, but that's just a personal thing). There's plenty of tutorials on the web, and there's also a user manual on that website (although I don't think it's yet been updated for V6).

You basically take a single video of around 2 mins at c. 10fps (again, quite a few capture programs available for free, but I use WxAstroCapture). This creates an AVI file.

You then open the AVI (which in this example will have a total of 1200 frames) in Registax. There's then a workflow to walkthough (fairly intuitive) which includes aligning and analysing the frames - You only want to select the best frames to stack, not those badly effected by seeing. You then get the software to stack the images, after which there's the "wavelets" page which is where you can then pull out the detail (carefully!) - Some of this is a bit trial and error for me

I found

youtube ink which might be useful...?

All the best


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I think the most frustrating part will be finding the target. A webcam tends to have a very small viewing area compared with the eyepiece. Setup a daylight test first with your camera and scope to check focus position, and that you are happy with the software and basic operation. You will find that the software should allow a 'liveview' image, and allow you to record a video sequence. Note also the gain and brightness settings will be totally different at night. Record how many focus knob turns (and direction) from EP focus to webcam focus.

At night I would first align the scope, with the EP, then goto the target. Get it dead centre in the EP, then see how well the scope tracks for a few minutes. Recentre and/or realign if necessary, then introduce the webcam and refocus (set number of turns). Set the software gain/brightness to max. You will almost certainly have lost the target, so do a very gentle spiral search with the handset to re-acquire it. Then refocus, using the moons of Saturn as a guide. Then reduce the gain/brightness to get a good image and refocus.

You can then watch the image, and record some video clips. Shoot about a 1000 frames in the video clip (there's a counter in the software). Check the software automatically changes the file name each time so you don't lose all you clips (yes, it happened to me!). Have a look at Registack or avistack for processing. Try clips at slightly different focus settings. With my 8se I actually find a x2 barlow gives a decent size image, but is much harder to locate and focus.

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