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Webcams and Astronomy

For a dedicated group of amateur astronomers webcams are an inexpensive way to perform digital astrophotography.
March 4, 2004

Webcams have found a niche in recent years as an inexpensive way of doing videoconferencing. For a dedicated group of amateur astronomers, however, webcams are an inexpensive way to perform digital astrophotography. Through some patient hacking of both webcam hardware and software, groups like the QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group (QCUIAG) have managed to turn these cheap cameras into respectable camera for taking images of the night sky at the fraction of the cost of more professional equipment. QCUIAG held its second symposium in England last month and, as Sky and Telescope magazine reports, the field has now grown large enough that a niche industry of webcam conversions has developed, with companies like Perseu developing ready-to-use astrophotography cameras based on ordinary webcams.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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