Adapting The Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000 for Astrophotography

Adapting The Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000 for Astrophotography

Lifecam VX-3000

Ever wondered how people get those lovely pictures of the planets and moon. Most of them are not using expensive equipment and the best set-up. They are using a webcam. The best webcams for the job have a CCD sensor inside. Examples would be the Philips ToUcam or the Celestron NexImage. Nowadays the ToUcam can be difficult to find (try searching Amazon for it) and the NexImage is more expensive than the average webcam.

A cheap and accessible webcam to get started with is the Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000. Although it has a less superior CMOS sensor you can still get some decent pictures with it. 

In order to use a webcam with your telescope you need to remove the lens from the webcam and fit an adaptor so that it will fit into your telescope's eyepiece socket. The beauty with the Lifecam is that you don't need to make an adaptor as the barrel of the webcam is about 1.25 inches and so fits into most 1.25 inch telescope barrels.

Saturn from 5 inch telescope

Saturn using the Lifecam. Taken with a 5 inch telescope, 2x Barlow. The Cassini division is just visible. One of my early attempts, the focus could be improved.

Removing the lens is very simple to do. The video I made demonstrates how to do this. Be warned though that opening the webcam will remove any warranty and if the webcam stops working I can't be held responsible. In other words do it at your own risk.

Link to the Lifecam VX-3000:

Very cheap planetary camera

Here is a link to a very cheap camera for images of planets and the moon if you don't fancy trying to adapt an existing webcam you own.

Related Posts: Full Length, Astrophotography

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