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….
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:
The skies stayed fairly clear, so I managed to get this picture tonight:
And here’s the video:
We think we also saw Jupiter last night but struggled to get a good clear view of it (and couldn’t get anything more than a fuzzy blob in NexImage). Not sure why that was, as I believe the NexImage is quite capable of capturing Jupiter. Maybe the “seeing” wasn’t good enough last night?
I’ve just ordered a reducer lens for NexImage, which will double my field of vision – meaning I’ll be able to record more of the moon (or whatever my subject is!) in one shot. Ordered from Telescope Planet again, so fingers crossed they’re quick off the mark! Hopefully should get it in the next few days.
If there’s one thing yesterday’s video recording has taught me, it’s the need for polar alignment and a drive motor. Without a drive motor, the object being recorded drifts out of view in the telescope (as you can see above). A drive motor allows the telescope to automatically track stars as they move across the sky and they will therefore appear stationary in the telescope’s view.
I had literally less than 5 minutes between finding the moon in the telescope and getting it photographed with the NexImage before it went behind a cloud. Consequently, it’s not an *amazing* picture, but it’s a good start I think!
My First Moon Photo on NexImage
Oh – and it was taken through my [not very clean] living room window shortly after sunset, so was pretty bright outside still. Not a bad image, considering all that!
365Astronomy.com have made it onto my “recommended suppliers” list, now that my Celestron NexImage has arrived (the day after ordering). I’m very pleased and have done a practice capture in daylight to make sure the camera is working and to have a shot with the software. Everything worked fine and was straighforward enough. The software works by recording an AVI video of whatever you would like to photograph. Then the software aligns and stacks the frames from the video, takes out the duff ones, and leaves you with the best possible final image. There are a lot of controls and settings within the software, so I imagine there will be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to actual astrophotography, but I’m reasonably confident I’ll be able to produce a half-decent picture. Famous last words?!
I’ve also ordered a 3.3x Barlow, which is coming from “Lotnabox” via Ebay. I ordered this at lunchtime and have since had a message to say it’s been posted, so we’ll see how long it takes to arrive (never can tell with Royal Mail these days!).