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How Images are Taken with the OCA CCD Camera

The OCA's CCD camera is a digital camera, in that it uses an electronic device called a "CCD array", which takes the place of film. The array contains millions of photosensitive elements, each of which converts the energy from photons of light into electricity. All of these electrical values are then converted into numbers which the computer uses to construct an image of the object whose light is falling on the CCD array.

This digital information is then saved as a file, and can be processed to further enhance the detail in the images.

About the Equipment Used

The OCA CCD camera was built by various members of the SIG (Special Interest Group) known as the EOA, or Electronically Oriented Astronomers.

Left: Close-up of OCA CCD camera mounted on Kuhn Telescope
Right: 22" Kuhn Telescope at OCA Observatory

This camera, which has been operational since late 1993, produces images of 512 x 480 pixels. It was designed and built primarily by Tom Quinn and Bert Patterson. The software which operates the camera was written primarily by Tom Quinn and Mike Silveus.

The camera was custom designed to fit onto the back of the Kuhn telescope, a 22" aperture, f/8 classical Cassegrain, designed and built by longtime OCA member Bill Kuhn. Together with this telescope, the OCA's CCD camera takes many images and has even been used to make a number of scientific discoveries such as supernovae.

The Kuhn telescope is permanently mounted in the OCA Observatory, at the OCA's private observing site near the town of Anza in Southern California, at approx. 4300' altitude. This is also the location of our monthly star parties, at which all members and their guests are invited to observe through the telescope.


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