Sunday, November 04, 2007

Grabbing The Comet

I do video astronomy. For that purpose, I have a number of nice little cameras, ranging from old black and white security cameras to purpose built cameras. There are three cameras I use consistently, however; an old Sensortech B&W with telescopic lens, a basic little Supercircuits color CMOS camera in a purpose built housing and a very nice Samsung SCC-4201. That latter camera has come into its own for this comet.
The clouds finally began to break up after almost a week of overcast, on the evening of the 30th of October. I wasted no time and wheeled my VMO-1 (that's the Vagabond's Mobile Observatory 1) outside with Breanna's TV/VCR unit. At around 9pm, I finally had a hole. Through that hole, I finally caught the comet.

Unfortunately, I chose to use a VCR. This produced a lot of noise, and during the processing phase, I lost color. But I did catch it. The above image, by the way, is a paltry 5x!
It became overcast again, and would persist until the night of the 1st of November. Again, I wheeled the VMO-1 outside, but this time with my Power Macintosh 5260/100 on board. This ex-Torrington School District machine is setup for AV work. I call it "Sofia", and say what you will for its performance, for this task it was superbly fit. Now, I could forego the VCR and send the video directly to the computer. The results were much better.

The comet's golden color was now discernible. While this camera is not perfect, it is certainly a step in the right direction. With the addition of the Macintosh 5260, it has become an inexpensive means to obtain video imagery I might not ever have the opportunity. It also proves to me that what is considered by many to be a useless machine has found utility.

The Macintosh 5260/100 and my cameras, 1 November 2007

I suspect that there will be more adventures with this gear coming soon.

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