The Basics of Webcam Astronomy
Here is a summary of the technologies that make webcam astronomy possible. In order to be successful in the hobby you should understand these concepts.
  • Video Integration - Webcams are designed to capture video at 15-30 frames per second (fps). This process allows stacking frames on top of each other. The more frames you stack, the brighter the objects being captured become. details

  • Drift Integration - Because the Earth is turning objects drift across the night sky. Traditionally expensive tracking telescope mounts are used to keep objects centered in the telescope. Drift Integration allows you to shoot with a stationary mount and then re-align the images when integrating the frames. details

  • Dark Frames - Every camera has some amount of noise that shows up as dots on the image taken in the dark. To remedy this we take an image with the shutter closed. This "dark frame" is subtracted during the integration process to reduce the noise. details

  • Web Cams - These cameras are inexpensive compared to astronomical CCD cameras. There are a large variety of cameras to choose from. There are also modifications that can be made to improve their performance. details

  • Telescopes - Choosing the right telescope is important when getting started with web cam astronomy. Some telescopes are better for human viewing and star hopping while others are better for astrophotography. The telescope mount type is also very important.

Visit to see information on the amateur astronomy as a hobby.

There is some great information on telescopes, eyepieces, mounts, and accessories in the selecting a telescope section.

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