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Planetry Imaging with a Toucam Pro/Webcam


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Hi All,

Some Tips on Planetry imaging with a Toucam Pro..

1.Once the Planet is Centred in your chosen eyepiece place your Toucam/Webcam into the Focuser Tube and Adjust your Gain settings in the Camera's properties too full and at a Frame rate of 15FPS, this will help in getting the Planet onto the CCD chip of the Webcam.

2. When the Planet is centred on the Chip focus until you get a nice sharp oval (Running at 15fps helps greatly doing this) now engage your drives to track if you haven't done all ready.

3.Now we have the Planet nicely centred on the screen we can go back into the Camera Properties and lower the FPS to 5 you may need to focus again but it will be pretty easy to do after what we have done already.

4.Adjust the Gain settings as low as possible whilst being able too still see the Planet and it's features sometimes it's best to have the Gain slightly higher and change the Brightness levels(Down) sort of a play between both settings.

5.White Balance now this should be set to Auto but if you find your Telescope/Webcam is giving you awful colour Adjust the Balance yourself to suit the planet(This can be tricky and take sometime but it's well worth it). I find getting the White Balance right can give you extra details of which the Auto Balance wouldn't give you.

6.Frame count, try to get as many frames as you can but remember Planets will be Rotating and you will need to take this into account so not too record this because it could cause blurring of your images hence details will be lost.

Image Scale, now here's a Tip try and get as large a Image Scale as you can just before your Scope reaches it's limit's of magnification or seeing conditions allow. Great Image scale will often lead to greater details doing this however means extra care is needed in polar alignment to track the planet, but it's no real problem if you constantly move the planet with your drive controller(Slowest slew setting).

To get a larger image Scale try using a Barlow Lens 2x,3x or even 4x depending on your Telescope's focal lengh. I personally use Eyepiece projection were i have a 10mm EP in a Eyepiece Projection Tube with the Webcam pointing at the eyepiece(Moogy adapter).

Hope that go's some way to helping you out with Planetry imaging, this will be an evolving Tip's page. Some of the details here you will find yourself changing slightly to suit your needs and the needs of your telescope but if followed it should get you imaging Planets quickly.

I will cover the use of an IR-Filter soon...


James Dyson.

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