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Video Astronomy

After seeing the success that others were having with the new lightweight low cost video cameras, I decided to get one myself. I obtained a PC23C from Supercircuits in Leander,Texas.

My plan is to use the camera with a 25mm lens as a finder scope while imaging from inside the house with my LX200 and ST7. I have the camera cabled into the house on coax and got a 9" monitor to see what the camera is pointed at. With the 25mm eyepiece, the PC23C yields a 20 degree field of view and you can see 5.5 to 6 mag stars. This is perfect for seeing if you are slewing to close to the horizon or trying to look at an object that has already set behind the trees and houses in the neighborhood.

You can also see satellites and airplanes as they move through the field. I saw an iridium flare the first night. It would be perfect for video taping those events. I may do this some night when I am feeling bored.

I also got a Maksutov finder scope from Cosmic Bob Haler. This is off a Russian observatory. I rigged up a strip of aluminum to use as a mount for the camera so I could adjust the focus and even do eyepiece projection if I wanted to. At prime focus the MAK gives a 15 minute (or one quarter of one degree) field of view. This will be a nice size for low power imaging of the craters of the moon and the planets.

Here is a pictures of the setup and what you can see with it.

That water tower is right on the meridian. In the upper left is the actual view through the camera of the top of the tower as seen on the monitor in the house. On the upper right is the screen view of the Sky showing the artificial horizon I made to show the tower. In the lower left of an enlargement of the tower area.

Here is the PC23C with the 25mm lens mounted on it so it can be used as a 20 degree field of view finder. The images from this are about right to see constellations. The teapot of Sagitarrius just fits, for example.

This is a view as seen from this set up looking at the meridian.

Take me back to Larry's Astro Page