Observatorio ARVAL

Astrophotography with the Meade LPI Digital Camera



First Light: Mare Imbrium

 [LPI - Mare Imbrium]


Photograph of Mare Imbrium, on the Moon.
Taken in February 12 '04, at 06:19 UT.

The very white crater near the bottom is Copernicus.
The smaller crater to the upper right, with the mountain in the center, is Eratosthenes (near the end of the Montes Apenninus).

Plato is the crater on the top side of Mare Imbrium. More to the top is Mare Frigoris.

See ARVAL - Moon Map.


North is to the top, and the Moon's East is to the right.
Earth-Moon distance: 373,374 Km.
(Meade LXD55 SC-8, 1,280 mm with Focal Reducer f/6.3, at prime focus)


This is a reduced (half-size) JPG version of a picture of Mare Imbrium I took on February 12 '04 at 06:19 UT as the first astronomical test for the LPI. I let Copernicus burn to white in this frame to preserve most of the overall detail. I exposed for around 0.20 sec.

The camera controls are quite good, but the atmosphere was not cooperating, I could see the image "swimming" around in my field of view, even with the f/6.3 focal reducer that was used to increase the field's size. This kept me from doing any frame averaging to increase the resolution. Also, no edge enhancement was used. Additionally, the clouds would not go away, the naked eye scene looked streaked by them.
I was surprised the images showed so much detail.




Jupiter and Io with a Transit of Europa:

 [LPI - Jupiter]


Photograph of Jupiter and Io, with the beginning of a transit of Europa.
Taken on February 27 '04, at 03:02 UT.

Io is the dot of light to the left of Jupiter, 1' from its center. The climate bands and the oblateness of the planet are evident.

The shadow of Europa is the black spot, Europa is the spot shinning just to its left. Both on the North Equatorial Belt. A total Solar eclipse would be seen from under the black spot of the umbra.

See ARVAL - RGO - Jupiter.

North is to the top and East to the left.
Apparent equatorial diameter: 44.4". Apparent polar diameter: 41.5".
(Meade LXD55 SC-8, 2,032 mm f/10, at prime focus)


This is an original size JPG version of part of a photograph I took on February 27 '04 at 03:02 UT as the second astronomical test for the LPI. Each frame was exposed for around 0.45 sec.

The atmosphere was partially cooperating; I could see the image "swimming" around just a little in the photographic field. This let me take an average of 5 frames to increase the resolution. Also, I used a slight edge enhancement. Additionally, there were some thin clouds, the naked eye scene looked clear at times.
Again, I was surprised the images showed so much detail.




Transit of Venus:

 [LPI - Jupiter]


Photograph of the Sun with Venus in transit, before Contact III.
Taken on June 8 '04, at 06:40 (10:40 UT) from Los Canales de Río Chico, Estado Miranda, Lat. 10° 21.3' N, Long. 66° W.

Venus is the dark circle to the South of the Sun, some 12' from its center. The atmosphere of the planet is evident, making its border indistinct.

See ARVAL - Astronomía Caraqueña Actualizada (in Spanish).

North is to the left and West to the upper side.
Venus apparent diameter: 29.8". The field diagonal is some 13'.
(Celestron C-5+, 1,250 mm f/10, at prime focus. Thousand Oaks Polymer 2 Filter)


This is a half-size JPG version of the photograph I took on June 8 '04 at 10:40 UT.

The atmosphere was partially cooperating; I could see the image "swimming" around just a little in the photographic field. This let me take an average of 10 frames to increase the resolution. Also, I used a slight edge enhancement. Additionally, there were some heavy clouds, but the naked eye scene looked clear at times.

Later on the clouds covered the Eastern sky and it was not possible to observe the end of the transit of Venus (Contacts III and IV).




Transit of Mercury:

 [LPI - Mercury Transit]


Photograph of the Sun with Mercury in transit, before the maximum.
Taken on November 8 '06, at 16:10 (20:10 UT) from Los Canales de Río Chico, Estado Miranda, Lat. 10° 21.3' N, Long. 66° W.
Image Proccesing by Raquel Bujanda Ripley.

Mercury is the dark dot to the South of the Sun and West of the Solar Spot 923, near the Eastern linb of the Sun.

See ARVAL - Astronomía Caraqueña Actualizada (in Spanish).

North is to the upper side and East to the left.
Mercury apparent diameter: 10".
(Celestron C-5+, 1,250 mm f/10, at prime focus. Thousand Oaks Polymer 2 Filter)


This is a half-size JPG version of the photograph I took on November 8 '06 at 20:10 UT.

The atmosphere was partially cooperating; I could see the image "swimming" around just a little in the photographic field. I used a slight edge enhancement. There were some light clouds, but the naked eye scene looked very clear at times.




Meade LPI Digital Camera:

The Meade Lunar and Planetary Imager (LPI) can be used for automatic guiding when it is mounted on an "off axis" prism, or the direct capture and processing of color or black and white digital images when it is mounted at prime focus. These requires a Windows PC to run the included Autostar Suite; image capture/processing, and Meade Autostar telescopes local or remote control software.
The LPI camera is based on a CMOS chip that produces 640 x 480 pixels images, with a coverage similar to that of a 6 mm eyepiece. It will capture images on any telescope.
The camera connects to a USB port, and the Meade telescope guiding system, to a serial port (RS-232). The remote control is through a local area network or the Internet.




Meade LPI Digital Camera with a Meade LXD55 SC-8 Telescope:
Aperture 8" (203 mm), Schmidt-Cassegrain

  Focal Ratio with  
  Focal Reducer  
  Focal Length     Equivalent   * 
    Power  
  Diagonal Field   *  
  f/20  (2X Barlow)  
4.064 mm
678X
5'
  f/10   (None)  
2.032 mm
339X
9'
  f/6.3  
1.280 mm
213X
15'
  f/3.3  
671 mm
112X
28'

*   Equivalent to a 6 mm eyepiece. Approximate figures (by LPI specifications).



New Product:

The new Deep Sky Imager (DSI) is the latest innovation from Meade Instruments and represents a revolutionary breakthrough in CCD astro-imaging. The Deep Sky Imager is a high-performance (48 bit), easy-to-use color CCD camera that allows astronomers to shoot and process stunning deep sky photographs of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and planets from their first night out.

It requires a Windows PC to run the included Autostar Suite; image capture/processing, and Meade Autostar telescopes local or remote control software.
The DSI camera is based on a Sony Super HAD CCD chip (9.6 x 7.5 microns per pixel) that produces 510 x 492 pixels images, with a coverage similar to that of a 6 mm eyepiece. It will capture images on any telescope.
The camera connects to a USB port and is capable of exposures from 1/10,000 sec. to 1 hour.




Websites with information on Meade LXD55 telescopes:

Meade Instruments Corporation

LXD55 Yahoo Group
Meade Advanced Products Users Group (MAPUG)
The LXD55 Portal
Weasner's LXD55 Site



This page was updated in: November 12 '06

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Spanish: Astrofotografía con la Cámara Digital Meade LPI

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