John D. UptonFebruary 15, 2006
The new Orion Starshoot Deep Space Color Imaging camera is primarily designed for deep sky photography. My first introduction to the camera is to be lunar and planetary photography. My Meade 7" Maksutov is not well suited for deep sky imaging but at F/15 should be very good for pursuing my interests in lunar and planetary observing.
This article features my first light images from the Orion Deep Space Color Imaging Camera -- my first foray into astrophotography. This offering was one of the first affordable astrophotographic cameras with thermo-electric cooling (TEC). It served as a good stepping stone into the world of astrophotography for me. Even today in 2017, the camera can serve to introduce amateurs to the world of astrophotography. Like many older electronic devices, care must be taken to match the camera to a computer with the right characteristics. First and foremost, the drivers will only work with 32-bit Windows versions. No 64-bit drivers were ever produced for the USB (v1.1) interface chip inside the camera. I have successfully run the camera on a Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit mode laptop.
All images below were taken with a Meade 7" Maksutov LX-50 operating at the default F/15 focal ratio. Nebulosity v1.1.3 was used for capture in raw mode. Sequences of 20 images each were taken and stored in RAW format. Later, the images were batch processed in Nebulosity for deBayer and conversion to PNG. The resulting PNG images were then further processed in PaintShop Pro to normalize contrast and were also slightly sharpened. Finally, the best 10 images of each sequence were stacked using RegiStax v3.0 using default parameters.
These are the very first images from my camera. At least for lunar and planetary use, I believe the camera is performing very well right out of the box. I do not have any prior experience with CCD imaging but have played with the "tools of the trade" to get aquainted with the technology. Given these results, I think the Orion Starshoot shows much potential once I learn to do more than the basics.
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