Finder Cam

In order to be able to carry out satellite tracking single handed it is very useful to be able to perform rough adjustment of the tracking in order to acquire the object into the main field of view. My solution to this followed ideas from various newsgroups, the "Finder Cam" consists of a high sensitivity (0.01 Lux) mono CCTV camera fitted with a Canon 18-90mm f2.3 zoom lens. Both the camera and lens were obtained second hand from a computer fair and eBay respectively. Total cost for the set up was about 70.

Performance is very good and in a dark sky at 90mm zoom the camera can resolve down to about magnitude 5 or 6. Field of view is approx 5deg. The Finder Cam also proves excellent for recording video of flashing satellites, iridium flares, NOSS triads etc. Unfortunately processing of these videos tends to be quite tricky as there is a lot of background noise which makes compression to sizes small enough for internet download difficult.

The main problem still to be resolved is rigid mounting of the assembly to the optical tube. At present the single point of attachment on a piggy-back adapter provide too much flexure as the telescope slews across the sky. This causes the relationship of the main FOV to the Findercam FOV to change slightly which makes it difficult to centre an object.



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