Intro to CCD Imaging

Digital Cameras, Webcams and Video Cameras

Digital cameras, digital video cameras, and webcams all use CCD chips (or similar CMOS chips), just like an astronomical CCD camera.  They are also incredibly popular, with millions being sold every year.  So the obvious question is whether these types of imaging devices can be used for astronomical imaging as well.  Fortunately, the answer is… More »

CCD vs. DSLR Astrophotography

Film astrophotography began in the late 19th century with photographs of the moon, sun, and bright stars.  Film then was thousands of times slower than it is today.  While film became faster and faster, the technology itself changed very little.  Then, in the 1970s, professional astronomers began using CCD cameras instead of film.  Eventually, CCDs… More »

CCD Imaging for Amateur Astronomers

The advent of amateur CCD imaging has opened up a whole new world for astronomy enthusiasts.  Astronomy is the one science left where amateurs still make an important contribution.  The reason is simple: there is too much universe for just the professionals. Even with thousands of astronomers working with hundreds of advanced-technology telescopes there is simply… More »

How CCD Cameras Work

Taking the Image A CCD (charge-coupled device) is an electronic instrument for detecting light.  In the case of an astronomical CCD camera, this light is very dim.  We will see that this has certain implications for how the CCD operates. A CCD uses a thin silicon wafer chip.  The chip is divided into thousands or… More »