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Hi,

I'm new to astrophotography, do these web cams fit over the eyepiece? Just wondered how you get the magnification.

Sorry if obvious question, just want to clarify before I go buying one.

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If you mean a generic USB webcam, then you take the lens off the webcam, fit a nose cone, say a length of plastic pipe, and then insert that into your focus tube.

You image by using the telescope as the lens for the webcam.

BHest to remove any leds you might find on the webcam they can be bright.

I did this to a less than £5 webcam.

This post shows what to do with a Xbox webcam, but gives you an idea if this is what you mean.

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/131246-xbox-livecam-mod-cliff/?fromsearch=1

Edited by happy-kat

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You don't get magnification with cameras but resolution, and most if not 99% of no-name cheap camera will give very poor quality (and only for planetary/lunary imaging).

In general you can do eyepiece projection but that isn't needed as you can skip the eyepiece and connect the camera directly with the telescope or with a Barlow lens in-between. Just checking that end resolution isn't to high (higher than telescope resolving power).

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Thanks all for the info.

I might try using my Nikon D750 or the D700 in raw then and follow the tips on the other forums.  Never had a go at any sort of Astronomy photography.....just weddings!!

Recently been through a separation and I wanted something for me and my 12 year old son to do together and have fun with, and treated us to a Skywatcher 127 with goto.  With practice using the camera mounted, what images could I expect to get? 

Any tip in regards to settings would be gratefully received.  I live in a semi remote area.  No major cities for 20 miles.

thanks

Jim

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There is a thread on imaging without an eq mount.

You will be limited by how long before star trails show, which will be measured in seconds, start with 2 and work from there. Your mount tracks by left right up down so does not account for the earth's rotation hence star trails show if too long exposure. This is really for DSO the tracking and trailing comment.

For imaging the Moon or Jupiter really a webcam is good and probably will be better than the dslr, using the dslr you may find the Moon is quite small.

Start with the Moon you're telescope will be good for that.

Edited by happy-kat
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Using a DSLR on planets, I recommend very short exposured (less than a second). For this reason your telescope doesn't really need to track or be aligned very well.

If you only see a white ball, go for shorter exposures (the planet may seem darker, but you get some detail).

Using a DSLR on DSOs, it's the opposite with long exposures.

Tracking is a must as you'll quickly get star trails.

Alignment is also important, but depending on how long your exposures are, will determine how well it should be.

For both I recommend working on a good alignment, if anything it's good practice.

M42 Orion Nebula is a great target as you can see it through your telescope, but the camera will reveal alot more.

Chris

Edited by christhebrit
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I have ordered with the scope sky-watcher single axis DC motor (EQ3-2) to allow me to track.

no idea how this will work, I can see some frustrated evenings ahead!

any tips

and sorry for all the questions, just totally new to this.

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Thought the 127 mak was on the AltAz mount, you must have an eq 3-2 now.

Starting with the Moon you won't need to set up tracking as the Moon is so bright it won't need long exposure to image. Get your foot under that to start.

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Trial and error :-P

I bought a motor for my EQ2 a while back.

I practiced on the moon.

Later I practiced on a star. (moon rotates at a different rate to stars)

Keeping that setting, I practiced with jupiter. (playing with exposure settings).

With the motor, you set it so earths' rotation is being countered and the object is still. (hence why the moon id a slight bit different, it orbits us)

Bad alignment will see the object move up/ down- if you keep using the same spot, try making a marker for each foot once it's a good spot.

Remember the mount needs to be level also :-P

Chris

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There are a few posts on modifying the old xbox camera in the  DIY Astronomer area, these are super cheap on ebay etc,  may make a nice project for a 12 year old.  Special adapter or bit of waste pipe is a start.  Software - you may start with Sharpcap  then look at all sorts of other stuff.

Hopefully you will get focus and save some nice pictures,  web cam or dslr,  have fun.

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Welcome to SGL.

Here's a tip from me,  take it slow. Try something, see what happens.  Take the time to understand the result and move on to the next step.  Each time you find a problem, take the time to learn from what's happened so that you don't get the same problem again.

It's a steep learning curve, so hard in the beginning.  Put in more effort and you'll make progress very quickly - your photography experience will also come in handy, the rules are the same, just that the numbers are much bigger.  "15 min exposure @ ISO 800, = 30 min exposure at ISO 400" Yes, I really mean minutes not seconds ;-)

If there is one piece of advice that I can give you, it is get hold of a batinov mask and learn how to use it.  Focussing astrophotos is extremely difficult as the auto focus won't work.  The mask will help you find the focal point by taking the guesswork out of it.  I tried other methods and found that this is the best, it even means that I don't have to rely on my dodgy eyesight.  The focal point is shown to you by the defration spikes, it's like something from Buck Rogers ;-)

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As others have said previously DSLR's are great for deep sky photography and webcams are great for planetary photography. (Bit this isn't exclusively so)

To give an example (depending on the scope size) if I image the moon with my DSLR with probably a low barlow in the mix I can get a nice sized image on the sensor, if I used the webcam, I could only fit about an eighth of the moons disc on the sensor and would have to make a "mosaic" to see the whole of the moon. Basically its all about sensor size.

See if you can get a copy of Steve Thompsons "astrophotography" although it may be a bit basic for some of the members here, I think he explains things simply and well.

As for webcams there are still a few Philips SPC900n's out there (ebay etc) which at one time were considered the holy grail of astrophotography webcams, due to their CCD chip. I bought two within the last 18 months for around £30 each, There are lots of websites on how to modify these from the basic "fit an eyepiece holder adaptor" to completely gutting them for long exposure.

Go slow read lots.

Rob.

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There's more to it than sensor size.

If I want to take a photo of the whole moon, I have a couple of options.

1. Use a 200mm (ish) lens on my camera and it should work fine.  No need for a telescope. Being careful with focus you can get a good photo.

2. Attach my camera to the telescope in prime focus.  My telescope is 2000mm focal length.  So it's a 2000mm lens in essence.  With this the moon will fill the sensor almost completely.   So, as my Canon 70D is a 22mega pixel camera.  I get a that as my photo.

3. Using a 1 mega pixel webcam (Philips TuCam Pro II, it's my old faithful) with this, yes I have to take a mosaic, but if I attach the web cam in prime focus, and make that mosic of the full moon using the same telescope, I end up with a huge image.  Also I can add a barlow (2x) into the mix with this, or even a powermate (3x).  With this, whilst it is more work to capture the image and create the mosaic.  The reality is that as I'm pushing the optics more, the image appears to come out better.

The advantage of the DSLR over the webcam, is the conveniance of only having to take one image.  However, the webcam can shoot movies in 640*480 mode, so again provided that I spend my time sweeping slowly across the moon, and get everything, it's possible to use the resulting AVI to create a great mosaic from the thousands of individual frames.

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Oh, and Rob's advice of go slow read lots, I completely agree.  And remember just because it works for someone else, doesn't mean you'll get along with it.

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