Camera for planets (and maybe DS)

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Lyle Aldridge Senior Member • Posts: 1,101
Re: Camera for planets (and maybe DS)

Unfortunately, whether color or monochrome will work better depends on what you're imaging.

Monochrome sensors are more sensitive, but planetary imaging is generally best done with video, and combining thousands of monochrome video frames to get color is problematic. Also, planets show observable motion, so features like the cloud storms, the Great Red Spot and moons of Jupiter won't be in the same place in consecutive videos. In fact, Jupiter rotates so quickly that some planetary imagers find it necessary to limit their video captures to less than a minute. I went to a presentation earlier this month where the speaker (using a C14 and 3X Barlow) said he had problems with captures of Jupiter exceeding about 30 seconds.

The monochrome advantage is in DSOs, where the technique is to take more manageable numbers of long-exposure frames that can be combined to produce a color image, and where the targets don't often move or change over the time it takes to accomplish the capture.

Therefore, if you intend to do both, and will only have one such camera, I think color is the better choice. With the improvements in sensor technology in recent years, many people are finding that what passes the Bayer filter is more than adequate for some really nice DSO imaging.

And yes, using these cameras requires the complicating addition of a computer. Whether that's actually a complication may depend, though, on how you do things otherwise. At the magnification used for planetary, many find that just starting and stopping a capture is simpler if the camera is tethered, even a DSLR.

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