MEADE DSI CAMERA DRIVER

The color rendition in the images was terrible. The sensitivity of the camera was terrible. Meade had upgraded the software somewhat. I had to reinstall the USB drivers over and over, and even then it seemed to be hit-or-miss whether my laptop would recognize the DSI when I plugged it in. This proved to be true:

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Then I lock the focus, close down Magnifier, increase the exposure to 2 seconds, move to my target, and center it.

Focusing is easy because my Newtonian’s diffraction spikes split into two parallel lines when the image is slightly out of focus. In my experiments, the Meade software wasted a lot of usable exposures. The introduction of Meade’s inexpensive line of CCD cameras for astro-imaging was no surprise.

Adding filters will reduce the amount of light reaching the chip, so dark current and readout noise will inevitably lead to either considerably longer exposures or much noisier images, which seems to me like a lose-lose situation. Testing showed that Meade’s dark-subtraction did a pretty good job, and if I set it so that the capture program would save every image in the FITS format, I could stack the images using AIP4Win to get what I consider better results than Meade’s software delivers.

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Messing Around with Meade’s DSI-Pro

However, for monochrome imaging the DSI-Pro does well enough to be fun to mess around with. The DSI-Pro, running at outdoor temperatures, throws camrra most of that advantage, but not all of it.

When I got my observatory fully operational early in summerI shot the four images that follow. I make sure that I’ve got the right filename set up, check the dark-subtract box, verify that it’s set to save all images, reset the long exposure time to 30 seconds, and then leave everything alone for 10 to 20 minutes while 20 to 40 images accumulate.

And market-oriented companies like Meade know their customers: Post-stack processing with these images was minimal; I used the Brightness Scaling Tool with Sigmoid scaling, and touched up the final contrast before exporting the images you see here.

I set it for 2x resampling and let AIP4Win stack the image series. The software was buggy and froze up. This proved to be true: Jim tried it first.

Meade Deep Sky Imager Fan – for all Meade DSI models

I haven’t tried to make color images with this camera. Maybe I was a little jealous, or maybe just plain curious, but I had to see what Meade had accomplished. He got it to work but gave up on it as a serious CCD camera.

I can honestly say that it was a bear to install and a pain in the butt to operate. But once in a while everything worked, and images actually popped up on the computer screen. Meadr related how he had seen the Cookbook, and was impressed at the speedy image display and overall ease of use. The color rendition in the images was terrible. The sensitivity of the camera was terrible.

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He mentioned that the venerable Cookbook camera had been an inspiration for the DSI series. The aluminum housing is crudely cast and minimally machined. The software is coded in VS.

Return to Richard Berry’s Home Page. The Ring Nebula picture was taken in the fall of from my half-completed observatory. In winter, when it’s cooler, the longer exposures might be superior. This is a stack of 74 exposures each 15 seconds long, with no tracking or guiding. I use Meade’s Envision software to capture the image sequences.

Meade had upgraded the software somewhat. So what got me interested? After a lot of experimenting, I gave up using the Meade software for anything but capturing the raw images.