Author Topic: Webcam-ing your telescope  (Read 3872 times)

hootsitabernacle

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Webcam-ing your telescope
« on: January 10, 2014, 08:24:53 PM »
Hi folks..just got a laptop at Christmas that has a built in webcam, I planned to use the laptop with a webcam to record shots of the moon etc. I bought a Philips toucam spc230 and an adapter, I took out the lens and screwed in the adapter..i also had a Logitech one and I done the same with that. Now I disabled the built in cam and downloaded the Logitech camera software fire..plugged in the camera and boooom..BSOD!..everytime it restarted itb just went straight into the BSOD..managed to delete it and tried the Philips..done the same and the same BSOD occurred.
now the question is..what the hell am I doing wrong..webcams work perfectly well on my desktop..what should I be doing?
Gordon
12" Dob, 8mm BST, 10 mm and 25 mm EP until I get something better x2 barlow filters etc
450d Canon
I'm new at this lark!

hootsitabernacle

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 09:38:15 PM »
okay so I got that problem fixed....nut when I put webcam in the barlow I see nada..i pointed it at the moon and nothing..can anyone advise what im doing wrong?
Gordon
12" Dob, 8mm BST, 10 mm and 25 mm EP until I get something better x2 barlow filters etc
450d Canon
I'm new at this lark!

G1ZmO

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 10:57:31 PM »
Gordon,

There's a wee prog called SharpCap http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/
which is apparently good for astro stuff

as to the issue about not seeing anything, you should try and see if you can achieve focus during the day on a distant object and ensure your finder is accurate. The moon is big but you can still miss it quite easily if your finder scope is out. Remember that the magnification you'll get using the webcam will be fairly high so you're only 'seeing' a very small area of sky through the camera. Even with a focal reducer you'll struggle to get the whole of the moon in the image.

Had a bonkers week, will contact you about the other thing when I get back next week

Paul
Paul

neilbuc

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 03:40:20 PM »
Hi Gordon.
I modded a Microsoft LifeCam HD that fits perfectly into a 1.25" eyepiece adapter I got off ebay for 16. Really easy to do, even for me, but you do need a soldering iron.
Works really well with  a IR Blocking filter on it, which it does allow for as the adapter is threaded. Tried it on Thurday at Whiteadder but my started scope's mount is so bad all I got was a very wobbly video of Jupiter and the Moon!
Can post some links if you want, but you may have already found them from a web search.
Regards
Neil
Skywatcher Esprit 80ED Super Apo
GSO 8" Ritchey-Chretien with Moonlite Focuser
Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT
Celestron 10 x 50 Bins
Moravian G2-8300 Mono with Full Baader Filterset
Astromodified Canon 600D with Baader Filter
QHY5L-II Mono Guide Camera

hootsitabernacle

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 04:58:39 PM »
I got an adapter of ebay to and I downloaded sharpcam..I don't know why I cant see anything tho..im at a loss..other than buy a proper camera for the scope which I really cant afford to do right noe
Gordon
12" Dob, 8mm BST, 10 mm and 25 mm EP until I get something better x2 barlow filters etc
450d Canon
I'm new at this lark!

neilbuc

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 06:24:51 PM »
Just a thought, is the scope collimated? Mine was well off and I sorted that out with a laser collimator. I think the focus has to be right On the CCD chip, but the experienced people may be able to help more. Have you a IR filter as without it I could see nothing either when I first tried.

Cheers

Neil
Skywatcher Esprit 80ED Super Apo
GSO 8" Ritchey-Chretien with Moonlite Focuser
Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT
Celestron 10 x 50 Bins
Moravian G2-8300 Mono with Full Baader Filterset
Astromodified Canon 600D with Baader Filter
QHY5L-II Mono Guide Camera

stfn

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 09:47:35 PM »
You can also use an old 35mm plastic film canister, just cut the bottom off and epoxy it on. I did that, works fine.
Sharpcap is excellent BTW but sounds to me like you may not be able to focus correctly. With the Moon you will only see a small area, the magnification will be enormous and yes, it has to focus right on the chip. You will need to play with the settings in Sharpcap to get a good image, it will be VERY bright so move the 'exposure' setting down. If the setiings are off slightly the image will be rubbish. Try it on Jupiter? it's high enough in the sky, and easy to find. Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHWu7ulOgxM
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 09:56:40 PM by stfn »

G1ZmO

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 09:47:24 AM »
Also you could try it during the day with a distant object

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Paul

stev74

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Re: Webcam-ing your telescope
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 10:15:28 AM »
I got an adapter of ebay to and I downloaded sharpcam..I don't know why I cant see anything tho..im at a loss..other than buy a proper camera for the scope which I really cant afford to do right noe


Gordon did you check you were getting an image on screen with the webcam before you took the lens off to use it in the scope?


If you have done that and it worked as Paul said it's worth putting it in the scope in daylight and experimenting with focus and the camera settings in Sharcap gain/exposure etc when pointing at something in the distance.


Has your Dob got tracking or Goto? As without these it will be really difficult to keep a planet on the small CCD chip - as a rough guide without a barlow you are looking at a similar FOV as a 6mm eyepiece when using a webcam. Saying that the other issue you might have is that the webcam may not be able to achieve focus without a barlow, I know my old SPC880 never in my old 200P (now both sold) which means there's even less chance of keeping a planet on the chip without tracking although not impossible but it will definitely be difficult.


It sounds easy to just stick a webcam into your scope and start capturing AVI's but in practice especially with an untried camera where there isn't any advice on setting etc online it can be difficult - I know because I've been there!! The best advice I can give is to keep at it and experiment as much as you can, as although it is a steep learning curve once you get that first image it's all worth it.  :)
Steve
Skywatcher 300P Flextube Goto Dobsonian
EP's - 6mm Baader Genuine Ortho, 7mm XW Pentax, 10mm XW Pentax, 13mm ETHOS, 28mm WO UWAN
Barlows - 1.6x Antares, SW 2x ED, 4x Imagemate
Cameras - DFK 21AU618.AS Colour, Mintron 12V6HC-EX Mono, Canon 1100D
Bino's 15x70 & 20x90.
www.cosmosplanetarium.co.uk