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What's the easiest way to photograph the moon


meteoriot
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Hi, we have a skywatcher 250p dobsonian and are hoping to take our own images of the moon, what are the easiest and cheapest ways of a good result please or is this not possible without further expensive equipment. We have laptops, digital cameras and are looking into USB telescope cameras. Can anyone help please?

Richard

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Have a search on tis forum for the SPC880 webcam. We have all been busily buying them from Morgan Computers and following the instructions on the guides people have written.

The SPC880 can be flashed to the SPC900 model (firmware update) and this is a good astro web cam much loved. The web cam can have the stand and lens attachment removed (almost without using any tools) and a 1.25" adapter put in place of the lens. The using free software small videos are taken which can then be converted to still images, the conversion basically gets the best focus out of the avi by a process called stacking.

I kept this bookmark http://stargazerslounge.com/astro-lounge/113699-philips-spc880nc-now.html when I did mine but there's a lot of info here and links to some good reference pages if you search for SPC880.

My avatar is my first image taken using the SPC880 and the free software.

Steve

PS If you have alreay have a T adaptor for your dslr you can usually attach this directly to your dobsonian. I've got all my gear ready for when the clouds go away but have yet to take my first dslr picture on a scope.

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Highly recommend starting afocal with a camera mount - much better than holding the camera to the eyepiece...you can't eliminate all the shake from your hands. PLUS you can change eyepieces and get different results quickly...your camera will see what you see.

With a USB camera it replaces the eyepiece so the only changes come from adding a barlow lense.

Another plus for afocal is that you don't need to mess with additional processing software like Registax - which while not difficult does take additional time.

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hi this is what i use

<removed picture to save space>

the camera is a samsung nv4 8 mp held to the scop by a digi mount.

i will post a pic that i have shown on this forum so you can see the result.

AstroPete - what is your trick to centering the camera and eyepiece? I tend to be slightly off center most of the time (getting part of the eyepiece on a side).

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To image the moon and planets you don't need a mod'ed webcam. The mod is for long exposure imaging of dso's. Use a regular webcam like the SPC900 (or get the SPC880 and flash it up to the 900). It also needs an adaptor and (recommended) a uv/ir blocking filter. All three can be gotten from Morgans for around £30 and for a couple of quid extra they will flash it for you before shipping. :)

Cheap Philips SPC880 webcam - 49269 - discounts & offers

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Thanks for all the help. I'm torn between the SPH880/900 and the afocal method or perhaps both. Which produces the best results please? Is it possible to make short video clips of the moon passing with the cam method? And for the afocal method is it just a case of holding the camera by hand to the eyepiece? Thanks again, Really appreciate it.

Richard

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Thanks for all the help. I'm torn between the SPH880/900 and the afocal method or perhaps both. Which produces the best results please? Is it possible to make short video clips of the moon passing with the cam method? And for the afocal method is it just a case of holding the camera by hand to the eyepiece? Thanks again, Really appreciate it.

Richard

Do a search for postings with "afocal" as the topic and you'll see many such images. As far as getting ahold of a video I'm afraid that all my videos that have been used for stacking have been in the 700mb-2gb file size range...so emailing them would pose a problem.

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Richard

This is my first video of the moon using an SPC880 Flashed to SPC900. It moves across the screen pretty quickly on my Mak 102. It was done to stack in Registax but there is not enough frames of a single area in order to get a decent image. I hope it gives you an idea of what you can get from the webcam and with your 250 Dob you should be OK. I am new to this but feel free to ask if you need any more info.

Cheers

Edited by Sierra Golf Mike
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hi mrsR, its a good camera, and with the digital zoom function, you do not have to change the eyepiece. the only snag is i have no control over the shutter speed, thats automatic, so i have to do a lot of editing, ie contrast sharpness etc, and its no good for deep sky imaging. for what i use the camera for (moon pics) it works fine for me.

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what i usualy do , is to set the countdown to 10 seconds, press the shutter release, then let the moon drift into the green square/oblong thats in the center of the image screen, then by using the slow motor drive button on my scope i try to keep the moon within the green. i also use the vibration free setting (the hand symbol) on the cameras dail. i usually take a few pics at a certain "light setting" then step up or down to suit the light from the moons phase. i also use the setting "focus whole image", not the center point. from there its to the lappy for editing.

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what i usualy do , is to set the countdown to 10 seconds, press the shutter release, then let the moon drift into the green square/oblong thats in the center of the image screen, then by using the slow motor drive button on my scope i try to keep the moon within the green. i also use the vibration free setting (the hand symbol) on the cameras dail. i usually take a few pics at a certain "light setting" then step up or down to suit the light from the moons phase. i also use the setting "focus whole image", not the center point. from there its to the lappy for editing.

Thanks for that :)

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@Astropete: They're great images that you are getting using that method.

It shows that a bit of work, some trial and error, add in some ingenuity will result in great results without having to make big investments in kit and in learning new applications (Regista- grrrrr)

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