CCD Planetary Imagers
When affordable CCD cameras first appeared on the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, amateur planetary observers were keen to appreciate their potential for shortening exposure times and “freezing” the atmospheric turbulence that is the bane of the astrophotographer. Indeed the SBIG ST4, the amateur astronomer’s first commercial CCD camera, soon stopped being seen as an autoguider because it was more exciting as a planet imager! CCD cameras also have other advantages over film cameras as well as just raw sensitivity. They don’t suffer from harmful shutter and reflex mirror vibration (although some do have moving vanes for facilitating dark frames); images can be viewed immediately; thousands of images per night can be taken; and, most important, images can be stacked and processed to bring out the maximum detail.
KeywordsImage Scale Giant Planet Unsharp Mask Airy Disk Amateur Astronomer
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