Saturday, 8 December 2012

Proms 7th December

sun 7th dec prom by Mark Townley
sun 7th dec prom, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

I'm doing some experimenting with an opticstar PL130M CMOS camera that I have lying around. 'In theory' this cam could be a winner for me for winter solar viewing - it has a nice big 1280x960 chip that easily fits a solar full disk at 400mm fl from a PST, with enough space around the edges to allow for some drift when mounting on an 'untracked' standard camera tripod. However, all is never so simple; the bundled software with the camera aswell as having an awful interface crashes my windows 7 laptop. There is some remedy in this in that I can use the camera on the excellent 'Firecapture' software - problem here is that this software sees the camera as a webcam (which effectively it is!) and as a result scales down the resolution to 640x480 - hmmmm.... This effectively really undersamples the image and at this size makes it difficult to record any real detail.

However, given the the circumstances the above image was taken i'm actually pleased with the outcome - this was shot through a dirty double glazed window looking directly across a large asphalt roof on a large building. This is also a single frame as avistack just mushes up a stacked image as there isn't actually much contrast there... Not perfect, but given the odds not bad especially as the sun is pretty much as low as it gets in december...