Photographic Accessories

Whilst Coronado markets the PST as being for visual use, it does not stop enterprising amateurs from taking photographs with it. Personally, I use a domestic Sony Cybershot P72 camera, which has 3.2 megapixels. This was purchased in 2003 at a not inconsiderable expense, but you can now get better ones for less money. I just simply hold the camera to a telescope eyepiece and snap. There are, however, various mounting brackets that you can use that enable a camera to be held steadily against the eyepiece.

I have used this technique for imaging the Moon and have even imaged detail on some of the planets. However, many amateurs achieve much better results using a variety of equipment and these can be applied to the PST. Nick Howes has contributed Chapter 5 to this book and this contains details of what can be done and how to do it. To whet your appetite, here are some example setups.

Figure 2.51 shows the PST with a BCF afocal camera adaptor, which is used to prevent/reduce "camera shake."

If you browse through the pages of many astronomy magazines, you will notice that many planetary images are taken with webcams. The Phillips Toucam is one of the more popular (Figure 2.52). This setup also includes a BCF Barlow adaptor to overcome difficulties with the focusing range.

John Watson has used a Canon Powershot SD450 with a universal mounting bracket (Figures 2.53 and 2.54).

The Universal Camera Adaptor bracket is available in many high street camera stores and retails at about £99.

Amazingly enough, the best camera adaptor for my Sony Cybershot P72 camera was the cheapest. Figures 2.55 and 2.56 show it alone and used for afocal projection with a webcam bought from RadioShack in the United States.

Figure 2.51. PST with afocal adaptor.
Figure 2.52. PST with Phillips Toucam.
Figure 2.53. Canon Powershot SD450.

Figure 2.57 was taken during an attempt to photograph calcium K features. Nick Howes can perform magic with a webcam and PST, but Figure 2.58 shows one of my attempts while away on business in Brazil.

The RadioShack webcam has the same resolution as popular makes, like the Phillips Toucam, but is much cheaper. It is also a nice way of showing telescope images online. My astronomical activities always seem to attract an audience!

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