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spaceboy

Video astronomy for a visual observer

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Any recommendations for a cheap but good performing cam for a visual observer ?

The intension is to use it for particularly poor nights where visual astronomy just isn't paying off and I want a little boost so I can at least see something on my laptop. I have no intensions of imaging it will be purely for a deeper visual look and maybe comparisons on what I can see at the eyepiece.

I'd like it to be in colour but happy to go with mono if it will yield better results. I don't want to spend a fortune and will probably go used so if I could have some suggestions of cams along with rough guide on used prices that would be great. I'd set a budget around £50 but open to spending a little more if there are benefits in doing so. I don't have USB 3.0 and TBH I'm not totally sure I have 2.0 either. I'm using windows 7, i3 processor and 4GB of memory. I'd like to get reasonably high magnification views but also want a sensor big enough that edges of larger DSO's aren't cropped.

Thanks in advance

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I'm probably not the best person here to advise on cameras as my experience is limited to using a Lodestar (which by the way would meet your requirements perfectly but is above your budget at £200+ used). But it would help to know whether you would be happy to restrict yourself to the brighter DSOs such as the Messiers or whether you would want to capture the more challenging and fainter DSOs? 

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Thanks for the reply Robert1. I just want to add a little depth to my visual astronomy with out adding the inconvenience of lugging around a large dob. I'm happy sticking to brighter DSO as this is practically all I can view at home under my LP anyway. I will more than likely be using it in a 250PX on an EQ6 but would like some flexibility to use it on an AZ mount manually tracking if the need arose. I'm a man of strict budgets so £200 is out of the question. £50 would be ideal used but had allowed £100 for new so I guess this could be used as the 2nd hand budget. As I said before I have no intensions of imaging so feel no need to push the boat out on anything fancy.

I'm probably remembering wrong but I think a while back something was mentioned about a Samsung security camera that stacked images then displayed them on a PC ??? There had been a sale on ebay and they were around £67 ???

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Hi

A few years back the SCB 2000 was the camera that many people used:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SAMSUNG-SCB-2000PH-1-3-HIGH-RESOLUTION-DAY-NIGHT-CAMERA-600TVL-230V-AC-/152299740629?hash=item2375c59dd5:g:wwIAAOSwx2dYFnKb

You'll also need a CS-1.25" adapter such as this:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adapters/low-profile-125-nosepiece-c-threads.html

You can improve the SCB 2000 sensitivity by removing the built in IR filter - however, you can use it with it in place.

You'll also need a 12V power supply and some means of viewing the video - these cameras are Composite Video out only and can be viewed on a TV.

You'll also need a video capture dongle if you want to view them on your lap-top.

I use a small LCD monitor for laptop free viewing:-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-5-inch-HD-Color-TFT-LCD-Car-Rearview-Monitor-For-Camera-DVD-VCD-PAL-NTSC-G5C9-/172127998881?hash=item2813a0d3a1:g:N4AAAOSw54xUYc09

In either case you'll need a composite video cable - BNC to Phono cable:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1M-Metre-Short-BNC-To-RCA-Phono-Video-CCTV-Coax-Cable-Lead-Plug-Adapter-Camera-/400778366660?hash=item5d50408ec4:g:l6UAAOSwPe1UIryC

These can be obtained in various lengths and the benefit of composite video is that it is designed to be used with long cables.

Here's a couple of images taken with my SDC435 which is the same as the SCB2000:

gallery_11951_1244_37570.jpg

 

gallery_11951_1244_75291.jpg

Both taken with my C8 SCT using F3.3 reducer.

The brightness down the left hand side is AMP glow and is common in these cameras when used at  long exposure settings.

HTH

Paul

 

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Hi

These cameras (SCB2000) work best at F4 and below, at maximum integration you are looking at about 10s exposure so some form of tracking will be necessary (AZ is fine).

You can use cheap 1.25" focal reducers but need to make sure your scope has sufficient focus travel.

The field of view is similar to a 6mm eyepiece so you may need some focal reduction depending upon which scope you use.

HTH

 

Paul

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Hi

Yes, that should work - I have used a similar one to capture the above images.

Some people have experienced problems with the cheaper capture devices but mine worked OK.

Paul

Edited by DoctorD
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