Video Astronomy....

Slide Show

Camcorders are often fogotten in Amateur Astronomy.

However, if you associate one with a telescope, on a mounting robust enought you can produce very enjoyable movie which can be watch on TV, by a large audience, in a comfortable place...

I recommend to mechanically attach the camcorder on telescope. You can find at multiples adapter rings to do so. 

My camcorder is a DV Sony DCR TRV7E - I can change manually the exposure time in manual mode which gives me some ability to adjust luminosity when you have only a small planet in the middle of dark sky.

With it, I tested the moon, Jupiter and Saturn, and had wonderful results also during solar eclipse. I always use my camcorder mounted behind my ETX90
Venus and Mars was quite disappointing with my ETX90.

If you have a software for video editing it is even more fun. You can add time, location, and music if you like... I am using Ulead Media Studio Pro, on a PC Sony VAIO PCG-SR1K. You can precisely time phenomena image by images and export some avi into an astronomical software for image "shift and add".

My next challenge will be to use this to record occultations, galilean sattelites from Jupiter shall be a nice target to test in 2003... I am guessing that light limit shall be quite easy to reach as those camcorders are not that sensitive.

Download some titles

Those files are in DIVX format - download DIVX free player if you cannot see the movie
- All these records are the author proprietary and cannot be used without permission.

Ballad on the moon, ETX90

Jupiter and Saturn, ETX90, at the Pic du Midi

And about the Webcam ?
Without any hesitation, I say YES !

This very low-cost device will give you plenty of emotions when turn to the sky. Of course, the webcam are low-resolution but very well adapted to produce small movie to share on the web. As picture camera, you can find examples on the web of outstanding planet images. These images need some processings very close to CCD processing but really, this is cool...

See a Moon gif animated,1.5Mo My very first try, with the ETX . Pursuit is done by hand, by turning the small knobs on the ETX "old-style"...