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Lunar crater imaging

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Excuse my stream of consciousness/thinking out loud, this may well be considered nonsense :icon_biggrin:

I've just realised this should have gone into tips, tricks techniques - I don't know if a mod wants to move it.

I have a Skywatcher 130 on an EQ2 and my trusty Nikon D3200 and am very much engaged in an 'astronomy on a budget' project, because otherwise, as I may have commented elsewhere I'll surely go bankrupt.

So, I've got tracking pretty well sorted with an economy motor and I've taken a few impressive (to me anyhoo) images of the moon so far, but what I'm hoping to achieve at some point is good size images of individual craters. I've been able to view this level of detail with the 10mm and 2xBarlow quite well, and I'll be doing some sketches of what I observe, but I'd like to image it as well. 

Now don't get me wrong, if I'm pushing the limits of my gear I'm not upset, I do intend to upgrade bit by bit as time goes on but it's a big old universe and there's lots of details to pull out of the data with the wider field images. Plus I'm learning all the while as I study what I've got which is what it's all about. I think the moon alone is enough to occupy me for half a lifetime before I even move on to galaxy hunting :icon_biggrin:

However, I like a challenge, and I like to get the most out of what I've got. 

I've also got myself an adapter to allow me to do afocal, having previously used prime focus with the barlow and a T-Adapter and last night after a session of observing I quickly tested it and although there was a fair amount of CA, I achieved focus through the camera's live view. This was with the Barlow in the EP holder, the 10mm in the adapter, connected to the lens mount on the Nikon. So onto my questions...

Am I best optimising my technique, camera settings etc to pull the best quality I can at prime focus?

Or, are there steps I can take to overcome the inherent challenges of afocal that will pay off and give better results?

Obviously I need to take the resolving power of the scope into account and really I understand that most of the imaging we see here is with significantly more capable equipment, but if anyone has played around at this level and achieved results I'd like to know what you did. Camera settings, equipment setup, processing settings are all fair game.

Clear Skies


Edited by johnfosteruk
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3 minutes ago, johnfosteruk said:

Peter (Peco4321) I have a lifecam vx-3000 and I'm going to start off modding that one as per guide linked below - doesn't look like a lot of work



Looks like easy surgery. 

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Here's a logitec Web cam with a simple modification, remove the front of cam, remove lense, refit front case, glue 35mm film pot onto front being careful to get it lined up and not to get glue on sensor. Done...... Black pot if possible,  I only had a white one so I lined it with black paper , just printed a piece of paper black. The tape is to make sure light sealed. 

It works OK for videoing ,  as good as dslr but a proper cam designed for the job is far better. 




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Well here we are then. Captured a bunch of video this evening and after about 3 hours of processing ended up a with a load of old rubbish,

I think a better camera is in order, although the seeing was poor, it was over some rooftops/chimneys and the streetlights were on, plus the eq2 mount seems to have developed a little slippage so navigating to targets is now a pain. Anyhoo this seems to be the best of the bunch, I present Plato and surroundings, you can just about make out Cassini and the Alpes and ejecta rays from Archimedes so not too shabby I suppose. Who am I kidding, you can't beat the proper tools for the job! :)


moon 17-04.jpg

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