Thursday, 18 June 2015

Solar imaging with an Opticstar PL-130M monochrome CMOS camera in H-alpha light

The Opticstar PL-130M monochrome CMOS camera is a relatively low cost USB Imaging device that is marketed as a solar system camera and auto-guiding camera. It is very sensitive and I used a ND13 neutral density filter as well as an IR/UV cut filter and placed the camera at the prime focus of a Solarmax ll 60 BF15 H-alpha scope. (If a PST is to be used, then a Barlow lens should be screwed onto the nose-piece, as the scope doesn't have enough back focus). Two 1500 frame AVIs were captured at 8fps using SharpCap 2.5; one exposed for the disk and the other exposed for the prominences. The two AVIs were stacked in Registax 5 and the two resulting images were combined and colourised in Photoshop:

A monochrome camera is ideal for imaging in H-alpha light, which is monochromatic light at 656.28 nm. A monochrome camera has higher spatial resolution than a colour camera. The colour is added at the end of the process for cosmetic purposes to represent the wavelength of light used for the capturing. This camera has a 1/2" monochrome 1.3 mega-pixel CMOS sensor which is large enough for the whole of the solar disk to fall on the sensor. This makes the camera suitable for whole disk imaging.

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