View Full Version : ANN: Real-time spectroscopy software for your camera

December 23, 2010, 21:06:04
I've been a big fan of the DMK cameras and I've been wanting to tell the group for some time now about a piece of software that works well with the camera.

My RSpec software package does real-time spectroscopy. With the addition of an inexpensive diffraction grating (which is in a standard filter cell) you can tonight be capturing spectra of planets and stars!

Detect the methane bands of Neptune, or the Hydrogen absorption lines of a distant star! With an 8" SCT and urban light pollution, you can even get the spectra of quasar 3C 273 and measure its red shift due to the expansion of the universe.

There are lots of users of RSpec who use it with the DMK cameras.

For more information and fully-function trial version, http://www.rspec-astro.com

Here's a podcast that was posted today on amateur spectroscopy: link (http://365daysofastronomy.org/2010/12/23/december-23rd-basic-spectroscopy-for-amateurs-part-2/).

tea drinker
February 9, 2011, 16:01:13
And are colour camera users being discriminated against?

February 23, 2011, 09:27:14
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180651_201580989854873_100000089207119_775006_8138 8_n.jpg

Here my first image with a DMK41 B/W and RSpec; yes the SW is very simple and I can take my first spectrum the first night !

Thank you TOM !!


February 23, 2011, 12:37:19
And are colour camera users being discriminated against?

Hi, Tea Drinker!

Oops! Thanks for asking.

I didn't mean to exclude colour cameras! They work fine with the RSpec real-time spectroscopy software! :-) In fact, I'll have one running at my booth at the April NEAF conference in New York.

Color cameras can be a bit less sensitive than mono. And, sometimes they can introduce some non-linearity. But they still can give good results. I actually use a color camera here for some of the spectroscopy work I do.

I'm always amazed at how easy it is to get interesting spectrums if you already have one of the cameras from The Imaging Source.

In the past, spectroscopy was one of those "rocket science" activities that required a big budget, high-end hardware, and an intellect far beyond mine when it came to processing and understanding the results.

But, it has gotten a lot easier and less expensive in the past several years. There are now high-quality, mass-manufactured, easy-to-use gratings designed specifically for video astronomy. They come mounted in a standard filter cell. Screw one into a video camera from The Imaging Source and you can immediately start seeing spectra!

If you're running the RSpec program, you can instantly see the graph like the one CarloMuccini posted in this thread. His image shows some of the absorption lines from the star's Hydrogen. Other examples: link (http://www.rspec-astro.com/sample-projects/).

And, getting started in spectroscopy, like so many other fields, has been transformed by the web. It's now much easier for a beginner because there are so many on-line communities where you can get your questions answered.

Another great thing about spectroscopy is that it's much less sensitive to urban light-pollution than other types of imaging. Some very advanced work is being done by amateurs right from their urban backyards!

Anyway, to get back to your question: no, I didn't mean to discriminate against colour cameras or their users! ;-) You can use a mono or colour camera for spectroscopy.

Thanks for asking!


tea drinker
March 2, 2011, 11:30:23
Interesting stuff Tom, nice to be able to delve a bit deeper if the need arises.