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Remote TV images (unconventional?)


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Have been playing around with a remote set-up so I can control the scope from and view live images on a television in a nice warm shed. Watec 120N video camera on Celestron CPC 1100 scope. Wireless transmitter / receiver to TV in shed. Monitor above TV running Stellarium planetarium software or Virtual Moon Atlas. Showing live images (photos of the TV screen) of M3, M13 and Whirlpool Galaxy taken on 29 April 2009. Am delighted with the results so far. More similar TV images (Including moon, Saturn, M13, M82) on .....

Picasa Web Albums - Michael - Remote Astron...#

Also a good way of using the old TVs and PCs the kids have dumped on me and it really is fun.






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Just a couple more points about this set up.....

(1) It's great for sharing the hobby with family and friends who can see what the scope is looking at on a TV screen - without having to sqint through an eyepiece in a cramped obsy.

(2) The video camera stacks a few hundred frames to produce the image on the TV screen so gives more detail of faint fuzzies than you can see visually.

(3) ideal for people who have accessibility problems (like me in 20 years time) - planning ahead!

(4) The wireless receiver could just as easily be plugged into the AV or Scart input in the lounge or bedroom TV to observe in real comfort (me in 30 years time).

(5) The AV feed can be whipped out of the TV and into the USB port of a laptop (via a video grabber) to record, align and stack AVIs to produce astrophotos in minutes - though nothing like the quality achieved by proper astrophotography.

(6) I can operate the telescope (GOTO and all) from the shed using NexRemote software and a long cable from Astromiser. Now just need an electric focusser and another long cable.

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I see you have the Sky Shed Pod too, with cabinets no less.

Very nice indeed. I was surprised just how big these are when I saw one live at Astrofest in 08. A great remote setup also.

Do you have a kill all switch if it runs amok.? Not that it would mind you.:icon_rolleyes:


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I did put the old kitchen units and work-tops in the top end of the garage - along with the old microwave, fridge and kettle - but couldn't manage the kitchen sink. Who needs a house anyway. The Skyshed POD is a wonderful piece of kit and just heaven for visual observing (though 6 hours continuously at minus 5 degrees started me thinking about the shed). Anyone getting a POD should get as many bays as they have room for - they soon get filled. The power distribution unit has a big off switch and the electricity comes through two RCDs.

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Hi Mike,

Great idea so much so, I'd be tempted to do something similar (i.e. use a Watec and Tv monitor from my garage).

Would love to see more images taken from in front of the tv monitor.

I do have one question, how come in the M51 shot the sky looks grey (ish) and yet the M13 background is nice and black?

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Hi Steve

There are some more shots on the link (to Picasa album) in the first post. Weird things seem to happen when I photograph TV screens - one of them turns green for some reason. With the fainter objects like M51 I have to turn up the gain on the video camera to see the DSO more clearly (I can't do a 2 hour exposure this way) so the background does get lighter. With brighter objects like globs I can turn the gain down and so darken the background.


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:icon_salut:Great set up, Mike and very similar to mine. I have a Nexstar 11GPS with the Watec. I took it to SGL 4. I love the live views and as you say, its great for showing people stuff.

I don't have remote control though. I was wondering if this was possible as I had a similar idea to you.....

Our garage forms one wall of our garden. It also has a window that looks out to the garden. I was thinking of making some sort of 'mission control' like yourself from the garage. Also to construct a trolley of some sort to move the 11GPS out of the garage more easily (no room for an obsy in my garden!) into the garden. The problem I foresaw was the hand controller for the watec?!:icon_rolleyes: Where can you get the remotes from?


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Hi Stef

When I kept my CPC 1100 in the garage I got a set of JMI Wheely bars from Rother Valley Optics to wheel it in and out on - a very sound investment. I haven't yet succeeded in making the hand-held control for the Watec camera remote but will source a cable for doing this.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought I would just had a few more shots of the images using this set-up on the TV monitors from last night. Sorry about the weird diffraction patterns you sometimes get when photographing a TV screen.

(1) M64 (Black Eye galaxy)

(2) M27 (Dumbbell Nebula)

(3) M92 (the other glob in Hercules)

(4) M15 (glob in Pegasus)

Hope I'm not boring anyone but this is great fun.





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I don't find it boring at all!:icon_salut: Given my similar set up it's interesting to see the screen shots that you have and compare them to what I see. Do you have a very dark location? I notice that the contrast on your visual images is very good. I improved the contrast on mine (suburban location) by using a Neodymium filter....


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  • 2 months later...

awesome setup that I will follow with interest.

I'm trying to achieve the basics of what you are doing here. i.e. get a 'live' image from the scope to screen. Do you mind sharing how you achieved that part?

I'm currently fuddling around with a webcam and so far the output hasn't been great (though only really 1 hours worth of trying it out with a dark sky). Think the webcam is limited to the moon and other very bright objects though. I wonder if something like a Meade DSI would have a better 'live' result?

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