Last updated: 9 December 2005
Subject: Astrophotography - Webcam Sent: Wednesday, December 7, 2005 03:04:02 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com) Hello Philip, welcome to the world of astroimaging. There are different ways to connect a webcam to your ETX telescope. The one I prefer is called 'prime focus' and can be achieved by unscrewing the ToUCam lense and screwing in a 1 1/4 inch adapter. You may get one from your local astroshop. I remember having read about 'Steve Mogg's' adapter and adapters and visual backs from 'Scopetronix' (I live in Germany so I don't know US dealers) I prefer this way because it uses the minimum number of lenses (against eyepiece projection and afocal imaging) and thus should produce better images. You can nicely record the avi-file (some few hundred up to may be 2000 frames) with the original software provided with the ToUCam. For aligning, stacking, post-processing there are many excellent tools available on the web (like Giotto, K3CCD, Registax, etc.) and of course you can do the final processing in Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, Corel Draw... Especially on the moon, what will you get... with the ETX-60/70/80 a good overview of the moon (you can stitch together two pictures for a photo of the total moon) or with the ETX-90/105/125 more details (may be together with a barlow) The ToUCam equals about a 6...7 mm ocular. Give it a try and have a look at Mike Weasner's excellent website, especially under 'Astrophotography - Webcam'. Another website dedicated specially to the QuickCam/ToUCam is 'www.qcuiag.co.uk'. Clear skies, Dieter from Munich, Germany Original message: From: Phillip Subject: Your shots on http://www.weasner.com/etx/guests/2004/guests_moon2.html I saw the photos you posted on the above web site. I am curious about using the PHILIPS ToUCam pro and a Meade 125 ETX scope, which I saw you had done. How do you connect the Philips to the scope? Thanks for any help you can give! Thanks! ***************************************************************** Phillip Lookout Mtn, GA
Subject: Re: ToUcam questions Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 01:12:44 From: Terry Godfrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your swift reply. 1) With regard to the IR filter, I was more concerned about the ToUcam sensor's extended response in the IR and whether the lack of a filter would adversely affect the images. 2) Thanks for the link to USB: It would appear that 3-5 metres is the recommended maximum for a single cable (depending on the device). As you suggest, a powered hub on the end of the cable would allow a further 3-5 metre extension to be used (up to a maximum of 5 hubs and extension cables). Kind regards Terry GodfreyMike here: Actually, removing the IR filter can improve astrophotography images.
Subject: ToUcam questions Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 03:49:03 From: Terry Godfrey (email@example.com) I am thinking of buying a Philips ToUcam Pro webcam for my ETX 125 and have a couple of questions which I hope users may be able to answer: 1) I understand that the lens as supplied with the webcam has an integral IR filter. With this lens removed for prime focus (and Barlow extension) recording, is it necessary to fit an IR filter into the webcam adapter tube? 2) At present I only have a desktop computer and would like to operate the telescope/camera from indoors. I plan to operate the ETX Autostar on an extended RJ45 line, but what is the maximum length of USB connector that can be used between the webcam and the computer? Kind regards, Terry Godfrey, UKMike here: No, you don't need the IR filter for astrophotography. As to the maximum length of the USB, I can never remember it so check the USB Home Page (www.usb.org). You may find it necessary to include a powered USB hub in the run.
Subject: AnyAstroWebCam Sugestions? Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2005 18:28:58 From: D Haines (firstname.lastname@example.org) Attached is my best astro-webcam image. I think it can be a lot better. It was taken with an ETX-90EC with a ToUcam. I believe the seeing was "pretty good". However, I think I can do a lot better. I have a few questions: 1) The biggest problem (I think) I had was focusing the image . It wasn't that I couldn't see the webcam image on the laptop. I just couldn't get it to just the right focus. I have flex-focus-type adapter, and it just seem to "jump" in steps. Is there any better, (precise/smoother) focusing system for the etx? 2) Does anyone have any 'best' settings for the ToUcam on the PC and/or Mac? Contract/Brightness/Gain/Etc... I have access to both. I prefer to use the PC because of the resolution any my familiarity with it. But I can also use the Mac, but it saves the files in .mov (at smaller resolution) which isn't readable with Registax without conversion.Mike here: A focusing aid is a "Hartmann Mask"; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. I use Lynkeos for Mac OS X (https://sourceforge.net/projects/lynkeos/) for stacking individual frames.
Subject: RE: Problems discerning Messier objects Sent: Saturday, October 22, 2005 20:01:01 From: Jon Avner (email@example.com) I've attached a pretty poor picture of Saturn I took this morning (poor, but lots better than my first effort). I was having some trouble with tracking, but I haven't made a whole lot of effort to tune the thing up and calibrate it properly yet (the go to feature does seem to work pretty well, though). I haven't been able to make out any real features so far (like the Cassini division), and I still haven't quite gotten the focus figured out. I keep switching between the auto focuser and the manual knob - the knob is difficult to fine tune because of the vibration caused by using it, and I have trouble with the auto focus determining if I'm moving in the right or wrong direction (it would be nice if the auto focuser had a manual override so I can use that for the rough focusing and the motor for the fine focusing). Eventually, I'd like to try photographing deep sky objects. I know the ETX isn't the best for this, and I've bought a field flattener to help, but we'll see how it goes. I have a lot of work still to do just to get a decent planetary or moon shot. So far, when I try to point the camera at stars, there's just so much noise that the stars are not really discernible. I've tried playing with contrast and shutter speeds and all that, but no dice yet.
Subject: Can Handy AVI and a Web Cam control the ETX-125 and Autostar ? Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 12:07:21 From: Michael Lang (Lang.Michael@orbital.com) As just about every Astronomer, amateur or otherwise on the planet is doing right now, I too am feverishly working to image Mars as weather permits in Virginia. One problem I have is the fine tracking required to keep Mars on my TouCam. I've gotten good, actually - expert at it (and use of a MicroFocuser has helped immensely) but I came across an interesting bit of software that might turn an arduous stressful evening tapping Autostar buttons to guide my ETX, into a rather fun night waiting for those perfect steady moments to capture frames. It's called Handy AVI and it's here: http://www.azcendant.com/ It claims to be able to "send Meade LX-200 commands to your telescope" that will keep the image coming out of your WebCam in the center of the image. Okay, so what I think (hope) I hear are words on this web page that suggest it will work with the ETX-125, Autostar, and TouCam. Do you know ? Perhaps one of your readers knows or has another suggestion. I would love to try this out, but don't want to get distracted from imaging Mars right now to try and figure this out, as I don't want to wait another 16 years to get some decent images on my own equipment. thanks ! Mike Lang Aldie VirginiaMike here: The Autostar understands some LX200 commands so it may or may not work. For more info see the article "LX200 Commands and Autostar" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject: Mars Image Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 13:56:28 From: Ralph Smyth (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just a word to thankyou for your superb site. I have only owned my Meade ETX105PE for about a month and a half and I think it is a wonderful instrument. The telescope is being used everytime weather permits - which in Northern Ireland isn`t as often as I would like!!! I am really learning to get the best from the telescope - and your site has assisted tremendously in this. I am attaching an image of Mars that I imaged on 13/10/05 using my ETX105PE and a Philips Toucam II and x2 Barlow. The best of the resulting 1200 frames were stacked using Registax and processed in Photoshop. Hope it makes it onto your astrophotography section. Kind Regards, Ralph Smyth
Subject: Mars Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 10:26:09 From: Giuseppe Pellizzer (email@example.com) This is my first picture of Mars. I have used a Toucam and a 2X Barlow with my ETX-90. I took 400 images and used Registax 3 to select, register, stack the images and do some wavelet adjustment. I have added a Mars simulation for comparison. Giuseppe Pellizzer
Subject: Guest Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 08:48:35 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com) I re-did Mars this weekend and you will see that waiting until after midnight did me a good job (I could sleep on Sunday morning) Beautiful autumn in Southern Germany, don't know how long it will last; a little bit windy but some nice details to be seen... 2005-10-15 00:45 CEST MEADE ETX-125AT with 2x barlow PHILIPS ToUCam pro at prime focus 250 of 1500 frames Thanks for your site and work Mike and cs to all 'stargazers' Dieter (Munich, Germany)
Subject: Photograph for the etx guest planetary astrophotography page. Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:52:11 From: chasiotis elias (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Guest Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 08:22:06 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com) I started this years 'Mars season' with my first try. Close to opposition and with -1m.9 and 19 arcsec Mars is a very attractive view. Of course it would be better to wait after midnight for Mars to climb higher and turbulences to calm down - but I had to go to work the next day..... 2005-10-12 22:50 CEST; MEADE ETX-125AT with 3x barlow and ToUCam pro at prime focus; 300 of 1500 frames There is only a small 'dot' left of Southern Polar Cap. Compare this shot with the one Job Geheniau did a day ago with his ETX-90AT and a 5x TeleXtender in the 'Astrophotography - Webcam' section. Thanks for posting and cs, Dieter (Munich, Germany)
Subject: Photograph for the etx guest planetary astrophotography page. Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 21:17:52 From: chasiotis elias (email@example.com) Capturing mountains on Mars with the ETX 125 is not easy. Despite that fact here is a photo that shows Olympus Mons and their shadow as well as the volcanoes Arsia Mons and Pavonis Mons (two of the three Tharsis Montes). The volcanoes are covered by orographic clouds and appear whiter than normal. Thanks! Elias
Subject: Mij best Mars with ETX90 and a beautiful NGC 7023 Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 12:35:37 From: Job Geheniau (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here two nice ETX 90 results I did. My best Mars ever attached (from last night) and NGC 7023 (IRIS nebula), also very nice (I have to say ;-)) for an ETX90. Job Geheniau The Netherlands
Subject: Re: webcam question Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 00:49:44 From: Peter Thejll (email@example.com) Can anyone suggest a simple webcam control programme that allows the taking of single pictures simply by executing the programme name - say in a batch file, from the DOS command prompt window in Win 98/XP/2000? The purpose is to have a simple means of snapping webcam pictures for telescope pointing purposes (say, "find the Sun/Moon/Jupiter)". The programme must snap a single webcam picture when the name of the programme is executed so that there is no menu to pull down or mouse clicks to perform. Settings for the camera could be in a setup file or in command line arguments. I have a Philips ToU cam and a Logitech 4000 Pro, so it would be nice if the software worked with these. I already know about AstroVideo and the use of AVstarter, but the operation is a few levels too complex: Does something really simple exist out there? Perhaps someone who knows how to programme with Visual Basic knows how to write a VB programme to do just the above - any pointers to How-To tips or Toolkits on the Internet? Thanks, Peter Thejll, Denmark.
Subject: Photograph for the etx guest planetary astrophotography page. Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 07:08:16 From: chasiotis elias (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ganymede transit - 2nd contact (ingress). the simulation image on my latest photo of Mars is taken from NASA - JPL solar system simulator. Moon 17 May 2005 Stadius, Copernicus, Eratosthenes. These are my latest moon images. They were captured on 17 May 2005 with my standard equipment: ETX 125, Atik1c, 2X apo Barlow, IR filter, Registax.(Seeing 4.5/10 Transparency 8/10). This is Moretus crater near the South limb of the moon.Moon, 17 May 2005. Clavius. all the photos were taken with Atik 1c (modified ToUcam).
Subject: Moon Picture - ETX-90 RA Sent: Monday, April 18, 2005 05:34:39 From: Thom Tapp (email@example.com) I took this photo April 16, 2005 - I found an old Logitech webcam at a yard sale for $5.00, took it apart and taped it to a film canister, hooked it up to my laptop (Parallel port at that!) and took this photo. I used Registax to combine the best frames, and viola! My first attempt at astrophotography! It isn't as good as most of the other photos here, but I'm impressed with my first attempt! Thom Tapp
Subject: 2 views of Jupiter with an ETX125 Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2005 13:34:18 From: Franck BOUQUEREL (Franck.Bouquerel@Wanadoo.fr) please find here for your website 2 photos of jupiter (40min delay), taken with our ETX125+Barlowx2 Webcam is a toucam softs are AstroSnap and Registax done by Franck BOUQUEREL & Florence CLEMENT
Subject: New Saturn Image Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 03:20:35 From: Martin Sidgreaves (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thought I would send you the latest image of Saturn I managed to get. I've just 'Raw Modded' my Toucam but this is the only image I have been able to get so far as the weather here has been terrible lately so 'sky-time' is limited. Best Wishes Martin
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