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My first attempts at Astro Video Imaging

See also my report of the August 1999 solar eclipse as seen in France .

Equipment for astrovideo .

For information about the use of video cameras for astronomy , see Jim Ferreira's
Videoastro - site with lots of astrovideo images and links to related sites .

First light :

The first clear night after the arrival of the Astrovid2000 The first tests were made .
Getting  the telescope focused is not so easy when everything moves on the sctreen , including some vibrations .
The settings of the Astrovid is a matter of experimantation , not really difficult , but it takes a little time to get right .

Putting the camera in prime focus of the 200mm SCT seemed to be the best way to start . No moon available , so the first image is of Jupiter with its Galilean moons . The image shown is made by stacking 8 frames .
It was later I realized that the recorder was in the "long-play" position (Murphy hasn't lived in vain) , so the images were not in optimum quality . Nevertheless Jupiter with the Galilean moons is not a too demanding project . The image was treated with level adjustment and some Unsharp Mask , and was reduced to half size . Jupiter with Galilean moons , 10th November 1999
200mm SCT F/10
  For my first attempt to image the Moon I used the Astrovid 2000 from AVA with a Celestron C8 in prime focus .
The image is a result of stacking 4 frames .
The first image was treated rather harshly with ,at first a bit of Gaussian blur , followed by (too much) Unsharp Mask (Photoshop) , and it shows , but well ,that is part of the learning process .

First light revisited :

On the same first day  some video of Jupiter itself was captured , and recently the tape was recaptured and given some processing  according to the experience of August 2002 .

Jupiter First Light

The result is considerably better than the image lower on this page , for two reasons :
1 ) The raw material on the video is better
2 ) The choosing of raw frames has been a lot more thorough
3 ) Improved image processing

The Moon on 15 Nov 1999 :

Mare Crisium region

With the second image A little more care was taken :
A little Unsharp Mask , followed by setting levels , and at last , adjusting brightness and contrast .

Mare Crisium , 15th November 1999
200mm SCT F/20 (I think)

While the second image shows somewhat less details , it looks more natural . That is , after all ,the intention . However I notice some interlace lines at the edge of the image . But for a first attempt I find it acceptable .

The first Jupiter image was made from 5 stacked frames taken from the first 6 seconds of the recording , made with the C8 , still manually tracked .
Seeing was , I think very poor , with most fields completely unaligned in the frames . I have not yet come to split the frames into fields .
The image has been level corrected (histogram) , somewhat adjusted with brightness/contrast , and finally a large amount of Unsharp Masking .

Jupiter , 15th November 1999
200mm SCT F/20

Though there is not a lot of detail , It is possible to see two "knots" in the Northern Equatorial Belt .
The image is somewhat overprocessed , in order to show this . The video footage was so poor I decided not to recapture in August 2002 . 

Next test : Saturn .
Since there is less light from Saturn I combined 32 frames , adjusted levels , brightness/contrast and Unsharp Mask .The result is here :

Saturn , 15th November 1999
200mm SCT F/20

Recaptured and reprocessed image from the same video tape September 2002 :

Saturn reprocessed

C8 200mm SCT @ F 20 , Astrovid 2000 , Hi8 recorder
22 raw frames selected from about 1000 ,
Stacked with Astrostack , including some Unsharp Mask and Lucy Richardson deconvolution
Processed in IRIS with Wavelet filtering and a little Unsharp Mask
Finally Levels adjustment in Photoshop

Thanks to Jim Ferreira and the Astrovideo mailing list members for providing information and inspiration to get started with video astronomy  .

Last update : 01 September 2002

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Last update 21 January 2006 by Jan Andersen.
Background image : Video image of the Pleiades
Top caption : Lunar Eclipse 21-01-2000