I have decided to describe and show my doings of last night (December 19, 2002) so that newcomers might learn from me and I might learn from more experienced imagers how I could improve.
Last night it was - apart from some cloud streaks - clear and although Saturn was very close to the full moon I took my chances.
Scope: TAL-2M, 6" Newtonian, 2x Barlow, Vesta Pro
Time: 20021219 22:23 UT
Seeing: Saturn close to the full moon! Passing clouds. Temperature: around zero C.
First I aimed at a bright star and put that in the center of my laptop
screen (K3CCDTools has a nice centring tool so that you know you got the
star in the center). You can access this Reticle Tool via this icon on the
Then I focused till the star was nicely pinpointed and after that I saw to it - with the star still in the center of my screen - that the star was 'pinned' at the point one of the crosshairs in my finder scope (I have no GOTO so all my pointing is manually and this way aiming with the finder is much easier).
Now finder scope and scope-with-cam are in sync and focusing is tuned: ready for imaging!
I aimed at Saturn (using the now calibrated finder scope, pinned Saturn at the crosshair and believe it or not: I got Saturn on my screen immediately!) and used exposure time 1/33, gain at 70, so that I saw on my screen something like you can see on this - cropped - raw image:
Of course the quality of the raw frames determines the quality of the final result: junk in => junk out ......... and you cannot (MUST NOT !!!!) add information which is not there!
I captured - via K3CCDTools - an AVI of 299 frames: 60 secs @ 5 fps; frame size 640x480 pixels.
Of course you want to log the camera settings you used at capture time: currently I use Martin Burri's WcCtrl, which also has a screen dump facility.
Now the imaging was done and the (indoors!) processing was my next activity: see Planetary Post Processing