Web Cam Astronomy
CCD Imaging on the ¢heap
Early days - 1984
Do it Yourself
Pictures became Data
Reconstructing noisy images with Mathemagic!
Designed as an imager
Came in two versions:
Cooled, for Deep sky
Uncooled for Solar System.
Cheap, it wasn’t!
Two part system
IBM XT or Better!
EGA Graphics, or Better.
Full sized card.
The first Webcam
Attached to Parallel port
6 bit or 64 shades of gray, 320x240 pixels.
Went quietly off the market.
Used for lunar and planetary images.
QCUIAG formed - QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group
Dave Allmon (Kansas City),
writes QCVC2, and proves the Quickcam can do long exposures with these images
Price goes “sky high” on eBay.
eBay is not the only auction site…Yahoo has one.
I find one for $30 US, when they are selling for $90 on eBay
So, what do you do?
You take it apart, and put it in an old Russian camera.
The camera allows you to use T-Adapters, and other lenses.
The CCD is the little tiny square deep inside the camera.
Gives you an idea of the difference in size between a CCD and a 35mm frame
Flip mirrors, etc.
Normally, difficult to aim.
Flip mirrors are used by some, and the camera has it built-in.
Parallel Port Hookup
How good is it?
IF, and it’s a big one, you know what you’re doing, you can do this:
It was taken with a 75mm F/3 lens.
It is not mine.
Steve Chambers, in the U.K. manages to make a CMOS device do ‘long exposures’ (5 seconds).
300 exposures, 1 second each.
September, 2001, Steve manages to make a Philips Vesta 675 do long exposures.
Unavailable in Canada!
I find a stash at Egghead.
A friend in Texas buys three, brings them up, personally…No duty.
Attaching to a ‘scope.
Afocal method works, but bad vignetting.
All you need is electrical tape and the 1.25 inch O.D. from an ancient Ramsden eyepiece.
Electrical tape is, perhaps, more useful than caulking!
How to hook it up
Much faster, but not supported by older machines.
First, Get your data into a computer.
Produce an .AVI file.
Hundreds of megabytes per evening.
On a cloudy night - 1
Split the movie into individual frames.
Sort through the better ones.
On a cloudy night - 2
Use Astrostack (Freeware)
Add all the good images together
On a cloudy night - 3
And play with wonderful time wasters like de-convolution.
Better image processing
Could be Years of Fun!
Astrostack Stacks Astronomical images
GIMP GNU Image Processing Program, Ported from LINUX to Windows
K3CCD Tools Captures and manipulates Webcam images
Cadet Calibration and Deconvolution Technologies Aligns and cleans astro images
VEGA Captures images from Webcams, and stacks on the fly
QCUIAG QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group