I haven’t been out with the telescope in a long while, but have decided to get back into it. The biggest change since I was last out is that I have a more modern laptop, now running Windows 8.1, so I needed to get the NexImage software and drivers re-installed.
My first obstacle was the fact that I have lost my NexImage installation CD-ROM! Thankfully there is a way around it, the details of which can be found here in the Celestron Knowledgebase.
Essentially, you need to download the drivers for the Philips SPC900NC/00 camera application (which the NexImage camera is based on) – the download links are on the Celestron link above, along with clear step-by-step instructions.
Then you can download AMCap (for the actual video capture) and RegiStax (to turn a stack of images into one SUPER image) from here.
So, my software and drivers is set up and ready to go …. now I just need to re-assemble the telescope….
I took these photos a couple of nights ago (30th September) with the digital camera – my first attempt at the moon with the Canon! Although they’re not amazing pictures in terms of sharpness etc., I’m quite pleased with them as a first attempt. The first few pictures I took were totally black – nothing in them at all – but I’ve learned enough recently to know what I needed to adjust (slower shutter speed, higher ISO) in order to get some more light into the picture. A good start!
I’ve just put resized pictures up here because they’re actually HUGE at full size (2MB each and over 3000 pixels wide).
… but it didn’t go well! I took a few shots with the 2x barlow but when I checked them on the PC, they were just like bright fuzzy blobs. Which has led me to the conclusion that I’m using too high an ISO setting on the camera and am therefore over-exposing the image. In my head, I just assumed that because the sky is very DARK, I’d need to use ISO 1600 … but I now think that the sky may be dark but Jupiter is actually quite BRIGHT, so a lower ISO setting will actually work better.
Unfortunately, Jupiter disappears behind our house quick sharply, so I’m out of time tonight – but this will be my experiment on the next clear night: to use different ISO settings.
(And, by the way, turning the telescope tube round worked a TREAT! I even got to sit on a chair while I was taking my pictures!)
This is my first bash at Jupiter with the new camera – it’s not great, but it’s a starting point!
Jupiter with Canon EOS 300D & 2x Barlow
I need to get the step ladder out, as I have to look into the camera in order to try and focus but the size of the camera makes it too high up for me (even with the telescope legs at their lowest setting). I tried standing on a garden chair tonight but that made me too HIGH and it was killing my back having to lean over! It’s very hard to get a focus because I’m looking into a tiny wee camera viewfinder so I think it’s a case of trial and error – take a picture, check it on the computer, re-focus and try again etc. etc.
Am looking forward to trying with the moon again next time it’s up and about – think it’ll be an easier target for me to practice with!
UPDATE (an hour or so later):
Just struck me that I can just turn the telescope tube round a bit, so that the bit for the eyepiece / camera etc. is at the side, rather than the top … then I don’t need a step ladder! I don’t think there’s a reason I can’t do that?!?!
The t-ring is finally here (thanks Royal Mail, for holding it up so long…) and I’ve checked the camera with the t-ring and t-adapter and it’s all perfect. Now I just need a gap in the clouds again. It’s cloudy just now but according to Weather.com, it’s going to be clear by 8pm. Might have a bash at taking a picture and see what I can get. Unfortunately I won’t catch the moon tonight since it’s not rising until after midnight, by which point I’ll be safely tucked up in bed … but I might try Jupiter.
This isn’t a patch on what I could see through the telescope, but it’s my first attempt at capturing Jupiter with the NexImage:
Jupiter through NexImage
In the telescope, I could make out the four main moons of Jupiter as well, but NexImage didn’t pick them up. In fairness, it’s not a great night – quite a lot of light clouds around, so not the best night for photography!
Had another bash at Jupiter and could see the two main stripes quite clearly in the telescope. Got closer to capturing a picture of it this time, but just as I got everything lined up and started to focus … the laptop went into power saving mode and switched off!! This happened a couple of times and was really starting to irritate me, so I moved onto the moon since it had appeared by that point.
We’re forecast to have a couple of clear nights, so hopefully I’ll get out again tomorrow.
Here’s the moon video that the picture was generated from: