The Great Red Spot

The Great Red Spot
Ok, I wish I took this picture, but it is actually a Hubble image of Jupiter. Incredible isn't it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Moon Webcam

So I have this idea to create a webcam that continuously shows an image of the moon, while it is up of course.

Now I thought this must exist but so far I have not been able to find it. Incredible don't you think? Well I search and searched but no luck. PLenty of sites that show the moon image with its current phase, but no live images.

So I have set about to make this happen. It is actually not trivial to create this webcam. It will basically be an automated astrophotography set up. It will have to acquire the moon from a parked position, track the moon and then park in the morning to be ready for the next night.

The optics required are not that complex. I already have a 1600x1200 pixel Point Grey Research Scorpion camera which would be ideal. Inputting the chip size into Ron Wodaski's CCD calculator reveals that a focal length of 400mm would be quite ideal. Well that is the focal length of the trusty Orion ST80. I threw those two together along with some spacers from Scope Stuff and tok it for a spin tonight. This is a screen cap using PGRs FlyCap as the acquisition program.
I certainly think that this is a credible first attempt. next I need to find a mount that will acquire and track the moon for me. I think I am going to try a Celestron CG5 ASGT as a first attempt. I have no experience with this mount and I have not been able to find answers on my usual sources so I guess it will be trial and error.