Astronomical Imaging with Video


Having tried a little imaging with 35mm film, I considered what else I could use with my telescope which would produce images more quickly than using film. Having only just got back into astronomy I didn't want to spend too much money at first in case I wasted it, and cooled CCD seemed very complicated and very expensive. I had been used to using video cameras of various ages to image subjects down a microscope for many years, and decided to try this approach first. Armed with a small TK1070 colour camera which I managed to scrounge, I started with the brightest objects the Sun and the Moon. Having seen what I could do on the Sun, I decided that this would be the best method to capture the forthcoming Total Solar Eclipse, but how to record the data?

I had an old Ferguson VHS portable recorder from many years ago, and a 12 volt Television was also easy to get hold of, but transporting these in and out of the house was going to be a pain, and taking them to Romania for the eclipse was not really practical. I did some investigations and came across the Sony Video Walkman. This little unit was ideal for portable imaging. A very compact unit with built in screen that will fit in your pocket and record on DV from composite or YC inputs. The only problem was the price, over a £1000.00. Well I decided it would be worth it especially for the eclipse. It is not a decision I regret, it is a great piece of equipment.



GVD900 Video Walkman as used for eclipse imaging - for images go to Eclipse Observations


The colour cameras whilst sensitive enough for Solar and Lunar imaging were not good enough for use on the planets. For this I decided on a B & W camera of high sensitivity, I was looking at a small Watec, but decided on the Astrovid 2000 as it had a remote box for control of the camera functions. A definite plus.




Here is the TK1070 camera with Daystar H alpha filter, and the Astrovid 2000 complete with control box




Saturn and Jupiter with an Astrovid 2000 on a 10" LX200 single frames


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The Moon with an Astrovid 2000 on a 10" LX200 single frames




Imaging the Sun's features using both Astrovid 2000 and JVC TK1070 video cameras

I have recently moved on my Astrovid 2000 in order to get a Astrovid Stellacam, this camera is more sensitive than the 2000, and I want to try some imaging of meteors and satellites.

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At the Thetford meet in April 2002 we had the opprtunity to have comet Ikeya Zand reasonably high up, so I attached a 135mm OM lens to the camera, and captured some mages on the Sony video Walkman. Here is a captured image usingth Sony Vaio ilink.

The comet is the brighter fuzzy blob.


I also had a go at imaging some stars, and objects that I would not normally do with video. See if you can recognise them. They are labeled in case you struggle. The Stellacam does allow integration so for deep sky applications, a driven mount can readily stack 128 images, so enhancing the image you get.



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