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Saturday, June 06, 2009


My New Toy

I've just bought myself a new toy. An adaptor which clamps over the eye-piece/eye tube of my telescope and allows me to attach my digital camera (in this case my Canon IXUS, but any digital camera will work).

Why, you ask, should I bother to do this, since I have a webcam adapted to my telescopes, and a standard SLR adaptor?

Well, if I want to take images of the whole Moon (or Sun), say during an eclipse, the webcam is useless, and holding the camera to the eyepiece is pretty ordinary.

As for the SLR, it's getting harder and harder to find a place that actually handles astrophotography film any more. Plus waiting up to a week to get my images back is pretty ordinary too.

The adaptor fits in my my low cost philosophy. For $100 AUD you can get a good adaptor. These images were taken with a fairly standard digital camera, like many people already have, and all the images were taken with an unguided 4" reflector.

This emphasises that you can take good astrophotography without expensive equipment. The adaptor also fits the microscope at work, and I've been taking images of my cells for publication as well.

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Nice - from where did you get the adaptor?
I got it at Adelaide Astro-optical in the city. You can get these things for almost any telescope or optical shop, or order them from online astronomy stores. There's a whole range of different ones to chose from.
If your ixus is one of the supported models you may find CHDK useful. It's an open source program which loads from your SD card and extends the functionality of the original firmware. For example, you can take longer exposures and save raw images.
Wow, these are great. I look forward to any images you perhaps share in the future Ian :)
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