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PROSTAR - LUNAR PLANETARY & AUTO-GUIDING CAMERA - AstroShop


ProStar LP-GUIDE series cameras
Simply excellent light-weight, compact 1.25 inch 12 bit CMOS cameras available as colour or monochrome. Live viewing on your PC and highly suitable for Lunar, Solar, Planetary and casual Deep-Sky imaging with built-in Auto-Guider interface.

Model: NEW PS-LPGUIDE-C2 (colour) and classic PS-LPGUIDE-M (monochrome)

If you're starting out in astro-imaging and looking for something that produces excellent images of the Moon or planets but which can also be used as an auto-guider for your telescope mount then you will find the ProStar 1.25 inch colour or monochrome LP-Guide cameras perfect for your needs. You can even do long exposure imaging of brighter deep-sky targets with near real-time views live on the video monitor.
The cameras feature USB2.0 and ST-4 compliant auto-guiding port and slips directly into a 1.25 inch eyepiece holder. They also include a threaded C-mount 1.25 inch nosepiece and a clear glass AR dust protection filter.
Auto-Guiding LP-GUIDE-M Imaging LP-GUIDE-C2  Imaging Specifications Support
EASY TO INSTALL SOFTWARE

ProStar LP-GUIDE CD Easy to install software from the CD
 

New CD start up software for easy installation of the ASCOM platform, the ST4 and ASCOM driver for the LP-GUIDE cameras plus Direct Show video and application software.

AS AN IMAGING CAMERA

This light-weight, low-cost, CMOS image sensor based camera can capture still images and video up to 30 frames per second. With two image resolutions 640 x 480 and 1280 X 960 it features small 3.75 micron square pixels to capture fine lunar and planetary details and includes a CD with drivers, capture application software, plus ASCOM software and drivers.

The camera comes with a removable clear window which ensures the 1/3 inch image sensor is protected from dust. To record correctly balanced colour images we recommend using a 1.25 inch UV/IR cut filter which can be threaded directly to the included nosepiece. 

Excellent interface software and highly adjustable settings
Above: The viewing and capture software interface with collapsible menu controls for the cameras functions including, exposure time, gain, colour hue, brightness, contrast and the all important gamma stretch among numerous other handy features.
 
Jupiter & Moons

This image at left was taken with a 12-inch Newtonian using a 5X tele-extender and Prostar UV-IR block filter gives you an idea of the colour cameras performance as a planetary imaging device.


Captured 18th March 2015 using older LP-GUIDE-C and stacked and processed with Registax 5.1

 

Saturn with IR pass filter

This image (left) was taken with a 12-inch Newtonian and 7X tele-extender combo with ProStar IR pass filter in very average seeing conditions "seeing" conditions using the
LP-GUIDE-M monochrome camera. Captured using 1280 X 960 image format 12 bit mode at 10 fps. Images were processed for stacking with Registax 6 image stacking software. The disturbance in the boundary at high northern latitude is seen along with the vortex at centre of the hexagon polar hood.
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MONOCHROME DEEP-SKY IMAGING using the LP-GUIDE-M with colour filters

As a budget deep-sky imager the LP-GUIDE cameras also perform very well despite the small pixel size which makes them so good as a lunar and planetary imaging device. A few experimental images can be seen below.
 
At left: the LP-GUIDE-M monochrome camera is fitted with low profile ProStar C-mount reducer and adaptor to a XAGYL electronic filter wheel.

For best detail, the camera is set to 12 bit mode via the software and exposure time, gamma stretch and gain set to suit your needs.


Below: This LRGB image of M16 was taken with the
monochrome
LP-GUIDE-M fitted to a 130mm f/5 Newtonian. 10 x 30 second exposures used for each filter. The image below left of M27 Dumbbell nebula was taken with the same set up as above but 22 x 10 second exposures.

 

M16 Eagle Nebula taken with LP-GUIDE-M camera LRGB filters

 

M27 Dumbbell Nebula taken with LP-GUIDE-M camera and LRGB filters

 

M17 Omega Nebula taken with LP-GUIDE-M camera


Above: M57 with 12 inch f/5 Newtonian LRGB - 10 second stacked exposures 12 bit mode LPGUIDE-M


Above: M27 with 12 inch f/5 Newtonian LRGB - 10 second stacked exposures 12 bit mode LPGUIDE-M

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Live Dark Frame Subtraction

The supplied software is very powerful and I have had a major hand in it's ongoing development as an astronomy application. Not only does it do the capturing but also features a host powerful post images processing tools. One particular option, very useful for live viewing in video mode, is the dark frame subtraction tool. Capture a few frames with the cap on the front of your telescope, click the apply option and watch the hot pixels disappear from each refreshed view of your celestial target live on the monitor.

Capture Start & Pause

Another feature we've included is the ability to pause and resume video capture. If doing planetary imaging for example, if the seeing suddenly turns horrid or the wind becomes temporarily gusty shaking the telescope around, you can simply click pause until condition improve while monitoring developments in the preview window then click again to resume capturing. This way your final video file will contain more useful images and less rubbish ones that would otherwise be rejected from the stacking process later.  

   

Back focus characteristics

LP-GUIDE camera physical specifications The camera has another advantage over most others in that the image sensor circuit is housed inside the 1.25 inch nosepiece section about 10mm from the eyepiece holder stop. This makes it useful for achieving focus with telescopes that have very limited back focus.

The aluminium housing is also used as a heat sink to dissipate heat from internal electronic component. Albeit, there are still lot's of hot pixels seen in long exposures... typical of most non-peltier cooled camera.

 


LP-GUIDE camera fitted to Coronado PST
Actual image scale - Sun with PST at prime focus
The ProStar LP-GUIDE monochrome camera fitted into the eyepiece holder of a Coronado Ha PST solar scope. The camera is pulled back roughly 7mm from the eyepiece holder and fine tune focused with the PST focus knob.

The above images where taken from this scope in somewhat very poor seeing conditions and within hazy cloud cover but it shows that the ProStar LP-GUIDE cameras can come to focus both directly and even with a focal reducer using this instrument.


 
As a High Resolution Lunar Imager

Well, the rough testing results from somewhat average "seeing" conditions below are testament to the detail that can be achieved from as little as 30 stacked video frames from this amazing little multi-purpose camera.

Clavius using ProStar LP-GUIDE-M camera

Tycho using ProStar LP-GUIDE-M camera


Hi resolution composite view of the whole Moon using colour camera

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NEW LP-GUIDE-C2 COLOUR CAMERA WITH SONY IMAGE SENSOR
Our newest evolution of our earlier LP-GUIDE-C is the new LP-GUIDE-C2. With greater low light sensitivity, with less hot pixels and thermal background noise due its excellent Sony IMX224 CMOS image sensor. So not only is it a great auto-guiding camera, it is now a better planetary and even deep-sky colour imager.

MARS and Saturn  

MARS 2016 captured with ProStar LP-GUIDE-C2 camera  

Mars captured with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera Saturn captured with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera


The image of Mars above was a good test sample during the red planets 2016 opposition. Using the LP-GUIDE-C2 it clearly reveals structure of the enormous dormant volcano Olympus Mons as well as three other un-active volcanoes to the right running along the Tharsis ridge. Aside from the dusky desert sands and exposed darker rocky areas of the planets surface, bluish polar and limb clouds are also visible. Even live on the computer monitor, the sharper atmospheric moments were amazing to watch.

The image of Saturn was taken in late July 2016. The camera was used with a low cost 12-inch f/5 Newtonian telescope fitted with barlow lens and camera set to 12-bit mode. Final processing with AutoStakkert for stacking the AVI video images, Maxim DL and PhotoShop for sharpening.


COLOUR DEEP-SKY IMAGING with the LP-GUIDE-C2

M20 Trifid Nebula with LP-GUIDE-C2 5 second stacked exposures

Above: M20 Trifid Nebula with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian telescope.
Stack of 27 x 5 second exposures with dark frame subtraction
M83 Galaxy with LP-GUIDE-C2 using 20 second exposures
Above: M83 Galaxy with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian telescope.
Stack of 15 x 20 second exposures with dark frame subtraction
NGC3372 with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian
Above: NGC3372 with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian telescope.
Stack of 30 x 5 second exposures with dark frame subtraction. See real-time live view sample
M57 Ring Nebula with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera
Above: M57 Ring Nebula with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian telescope.
Stack of 15 x 5 second exposures with dark frame subtraction.
NGC5139 Omega Centauri with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian
Above: NGC5139 Omega Centauri with LP-GUIDE-C2 colour camera and 130mm f/5 Newtonian telescope.
Stack of 20 x 3 second exposures with dark frame subtraction - full Moon sky. See real-time live view sample
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LP-GUIDE CAMERAS AS AN AUTO-GUIDER

While the LP-GUIDE cameras are terrific for imaging in general, they are also excellent compact, lightweight auto-guiders.
During testing with an 80mm f/5 and f/7.7 refractor, even the colour model yielded useable stars to 8th magnitude at 0.9 second exposures and 9.5 magnitude with exposure time of 4 to 5 seconds. The more sensitive monochrome model goes much deeper. 

Above: LP-GUIDER-M inserted into 1.25 inch William Optics star diagonal and Sky-Watcher 80mm F/5 guide scope refractor. ST-4 compatible cable connected to mount and USB-2.0 cable connected to USB port of the computer which displays star image in capture window of PHD guider software for selecting a guide star to track on.

The CD includes ASCOM driver for the camera and well as complete ASCOM platform 6 service pack 2. We tested using a freeware copy of PHD guide software using a 4th magnitude guide star and it tracked a HEQ5 Pro mount perfectly. The cameras will also work with Nebulosity, SharpCap, MetaGuide, FireCapture and AstroArt and Maxim DL.

The images below taken with Moravian G2-8300 CCD camera fitted to Vixen ED80 were guided using the LPGUIDE-M camera connected to a Sky-Watcher NEQ6 equatorial mount and 80mm guide scope.

Above: M20 Trifid Nebula 10 minute exposure with G2-8300 using LP-GUIDE-M in 80mm guide scope on NEQ6 mount

M22 guided with ProStar LP-GUIDE-M camera

Above: M22 globular cluster 10 minute exposure with G2-8300 using LP-GUIDE-M in 80mm guide scope on NEQ6 mount

So if you're wanting to take lovely lunar vistas or record the surface of Mars, the rings of Saturn and cloud belts of Jupiter.. even sunspots or solar prominences then this is a terrific little camera. Even if you want to dabble with some basic deep-sky imaging or simply use as a reliable auto-guider for your mount, the ProStar LP-GUIDE cameras are an excellent all-round device.
 

LP-GUIDE-M near infrared sensitivity
The Aptina CMOS monochrome image sensor is sensitive in the near infrared end of the spectrum as highlighted in the graph. The over-exposed image of Venus was taken using a 1-micron filter and reveals thermal back radiation from the planets surface on the night side.

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TECHNICAL INFORMATION


LP-GUIDE-M (monochrome)

5.5V / lux-sec (550nm) green-sensitivity, beyond ICX618 and with no FPN (Fixed pattern Noise)
Sensor:AR0130 - 1/3 - (4.8x3.6mm)
Resolution: 3.75 x 3.75 um pixels
Up to 54fps @ 640x480 and 27fps @ 1280x960 and full resolution (dependent on memory and speed of your computer. Using ROI function allows faster captured frame rates up to 54 fps.
12 bit image sensor with option for 8 bit capture (set by software) to enable faster capture rates
Long exposure supported up to 15 seconds (from our tests however 2 exposures minutes is achievable)
Video Formats: AVI and SER
Protect Image Sensor window with clear AR coating on both sides
Built In ST4 Auto Guider Port allows for the easy connection to your favourite auto-guider software
Native/ASCOM/WDM driver;
Aluminium housing with standard 1.25" interface (outer) to fit 1.25 inch telescope eyepiece holder

- CMOS 1.25 inch eyepiece style camera
- Clear window filter for keeping dust off the image sensor
- Extra 1.25 inch C-mount nosepiece
- 2.0 metre USB cable
- 2.0 metre Auto-Guiding cable
- CD with imaging video and still capture software, ASCOM driver and ASCOM platform 6 SP3
- Length (inserted): 34mm
- Length (overall): 50mm
- Weight: 65 gms
- Handy safety strap

Software: Win XP, WIN7, WIN8 and WIN10 plus MAC O/S (available)


NEW LP-GUIDE-C2 (colour)

Sensor: Sony IMX224LQR - 1/3 - (4.8x3.6mm)
Resolution: 3.75 x 3.75 um pixels (1.2 Mp)
Up to 30FPS at 640 x 480 and 12 fps 1280 X 960 full resolution (dependent on memory and speed of your computer. Using ROI function allows faster captured frame rates up to 60 fps.
12 bit image sensor with option for 8 bit capture (set by software) to enable faster capture rates
Bit Depths: 8 bit or 12 bit selectable
Exposure times: Video mode: 0.105ms to 5 seconds: Single image mode: 0.105ms to 16 minutes
Video Formats: AVI and SER
Still File Formats: JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIF and FITS
Spectral Range: 380-650nm (with IR-cut Filter), 350-1050nm (with double side AR Coating protect window)
Long exposure supported up to 15 seconds (from our tests however 2 exposures minutes is achievable)
Protected Image Sensor window with clear AR coating on both sides
Built In ST4 Auto Guider Port allows for the easy connection to your favourite auto-guider software
Native/ASCOM/WDM driver
Aluminium housing with standard 1.25" interface (outer) to fit 1.25 inch telescope eyepiece holder

- C-mount 1.25 inch C-mount nosepiece
- rubber end dust cap
- 2.0 metre USB cable
- 2.0 metre Auto-Guiding cable
- CD with imaging video and still capture software, ASCOM driver and ASCOM platform 6 SP3
- Length: (inserted): 44mm
- Length: (overall): 71mm
- Width: 35mm
- Weight: 70 gms
- Handy safety strap

Software: Win XP, WIN7, WIN8 and WIN10 plus MAC O/S (available)


Support / Software Updates
 
LP-GUIDE ASCOM camera & ST4 mount drivers March 2017
LP-GUIDE Direct Show driver March 2017
Application Software March 2017
 

USING MORE THAN ONE CAMERA

Scenario 1

It is possible to use two LP-GUIDE cameras on the same computer if using the supplied ToupSky software to engage one camera and another viewing / capture program like our GSTAR-CAPTURE4 software or indeed PHD Guide software.Thus one LP-GUIDE camera can be used as an auto-guider while the other one is used for imaging or simply use both for imaging simultaneously.

Scenario 2

Auto-guiding while imaging with your GSTAR-EX (via capture device) or other camera is also possible using your LP-GUIDE camera connected to PHD Guiding software while imaging with GSTAR-CAPTURE4 on the same computer at the same time. The reverse application of each camera is also possible.

We tested these dual connected camera scenarios successfully on Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 computers.

Latest version of the software and for WIN 10 support for customers who purchased before 30th March 2016 can be downloaded by contacting us with your order number.

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BUY THE COLOUR CAMERA NOW from AstroShop Australia  

BUY THE MONOCHROME CAMERA NOW from AstroShop Australia  

Note: AstroShop reviews are only intended to provide prospective purchasers our own first hand impressions of performance and build as has been our long time policy.

Check out the impressive  GSTAR-EX3


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