A Simple Wide Field Camera

This has got to be one of the goofiest cameras that I have ever pieced together, but it works great! This is a ZWO ASI120MM fitted with the 150 degree wide angle lens that it came with configured to record the Perseid meteor shower. The tricky bit was figuring out how to attach a heat tape to keep dew off of the camera lens. The solution was to cut a section from an old plastic cup that fit snuggly onto the body of the camera and to keep it short enough that it (mostly) stays out of the field of view of the camera. It is common to mount these on a stationary tripod or post, but I wanted to set this up as a general purpose wide angle camera, so I mounted it on an old LXD75. This worked very well, and the animation of the sky were the sky is stationary and the horizon sweeps around are really neat to watch! This same system will work with my ZWO ASI120MC and I’m looking forward to trying some wide field color imaging.

Below is a single frame taken at 3:27 AM on August 13th. This frame captured the brightest of 6 meteors that I caught during the night. I wanted a nearly continuous record of the night sky from sunset to sunrise and I wanted to keep the total number of frames down to a reasonable number. I used 60 second exposures with the gain turned all the way down to 1, which may not have been the best for capturing meteors, but it seemed to work okay. The black speckle in the background is from the dark frame subtraction. The glow at the bottom is glare from the moon. It is fun to trace all of the constellations captured in the field. The next step is to mount my ZWO ASI120MC and work on settings that are better suited for general wide field imaging.

Perseid (8-13-2017 7h 28m UT)-1j.jpg
Widefield Camera (8-12-2017)-1j.jpg