Imaging Planets Using Webcams

Two of the most popular webcams used in astrophotography: Logitech Pro 4000 (left) and Philips SPC900NC (right).

The modest web camera (or webcam) quickly gained interest among amateur astronomers and is now considered as the equipment of choice for planetary imaging because it has two characteristics that are very much useful in astrophotography: (1) its lens can be removed much like the lens of a DSLR, making it possible to easily connect the webcam with any telescope and (2) it can record a huge number of still frames even in a short span of time (1-2 minutes), a feature particularly useful in a post-processing technique called registering and stacking.

saturn_may8_2016_logitech4000-2
Photo of Saturn taken on May 8, 2016. Image captured through eyepiece projection method with a 4-in f/9 refractor, UV-IR filter, a 5 mm eyepiece, and a Logitech Pro 4000 web camera. Processed using AutoStakkert and Registax.

In this article, I intend to describe how to image planets using a web camera as the main imaging device and then provide a brief overview of the post-processing technique. Read more.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

Moons of Saturn

Saturnsmoon_20secexpiso1600_9april2012
Moons of Saturn imaged last April 9, 2012, 2:04 am local time. From left to right: Hyperion, Tethys, Dione, Enceladus, Rhea, Iapetus, and Titan (one more moon Mimas was lost in the glare being too close to the planet). Sky-Watcher 100 ED 4 in f/9 refractor, Kenko NES mount, Canon 450D DSLR, 20 sec exp, IS0 1600, Camarines Norte, Philippines. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For more images of Saturn, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Iridium 40 Satellite Flare March 11, 2012

Iridium 40 Satellite Flare on March 11, 2012 as observed in Manila, Philippines. Maximum brightness occurred at 7:34:26 pm. Image taken with a Canon 450D DSLR, 50 mm set at f/5, ISO 100, 30 sec exposure. Photo credit: Anthony Urbano

Satellite flares are caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites like antennas and solar panels acting as a giant mirrors in space, reflecting sunlight directly towards the Earth,  seen from the ground as a bright “flare” that could last for a few seconds. More Iridium flare images here.