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APUS Webcam Adapters
In the last few years, an interesting and exciting development has occurred in astro-imaging. The use of inexpensive webcams have now been able to capture impressive views of planets and deep sky objects. A camera costing less than $200 plus software that is usually shared as freeware has allowed these camera to compete with CCD cameras costing 10 times as much. However, the very small size of the imaging chip makes it impossible to adequately capture extended nebulae objects with the most common telescopes. In addition, the advantages these chips have in capturing planetary detail is limited because the pixels are not small enough. To solve these problems, Optec has developed the APUS SCT set of WebCam Adapters.
The APUS SCT set is comprised of two adapters. For extended objects, the APUS SCT 0.36X (f/3.6 with a f /10 SCT) gives the largest unvignetted field for use with a SCT class telescope. For planetary imaging, the APUS SCT 2.50X (f/25 with a f/10 SCT) gives the optimal focal ratio for capturing all the detail. This set has been optimized to partially compensate for the aberrations associated with the SCT class of telescopes and give better performance compared to simple achromat that are usually adapted for this use by amateur astronomers.
The following webcams are known to be compatible with APUS adapters:
- Philips ToUcam Pro II 840k
- Creative Webcam Pro EX
- Creative Webcam Pro NX
- IBM PC Camera
- Alaris Quickvideo WeeCam
- Vesta Pro
- X10 XCam2
- Kensington VideoCAM
Because of the wide variety of webcam designs and the frequency with which such designs change, Optec cannot guarantee that a camera not in the above list will be compatible with an APUS adapter. However, Optec has a 30-day money back policy, so you can try out an adapter without the risk of being stuck with an adapter that doesn't work!
Registax Version 3 is a very good free program for processing the images generated by these cameras.
QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group is a leading users group devoted to the development of webcam imaging and similar technologies.