RGB Planetary Imaging with a Monochrome Camera

Blogged by Jonathan Maron on March 19, 2008 and tagged with Getting Started, Sample Images, Moon.

Mike Salway wrote to us to announce that he has just published a very detailed article about RGB planetary imaging using monochrome cameras.

The article covers the reasons for choosing a monochrome camera, the hardware and software amateurs astronomers need for monochrome RGB imaging, and most importantly, how to recombine monochrome images back into a color image.

Furthermore, there is a tutorial for LRGB combinations, tips for focusing and more.

The following image is part of his article:

Mike's text commences with:

Planetary Imaging is a fast growing field of astrophotography - boosted by tech-savvy amateur astronomers, larger and cheaper (but good quality) telescopes becoming more accessible, and the proliferation of low-cost webcams as imaging devices which can capture up to 60 frames per second (fps) without compression. It's never been easier to try your hand at astrophotography and capture that first image of the moon or a planet.

The aim of this article is to serve as a tutorial for creating an RGB image using a monochrome camera, and/or to help you to decide whether mono RGB imaging is right for you. The article will describe exactly what you need to buy (in both hardware and software) and what you need to consider (in capturing and processing) to start down the road of capturing and creating your first RGB Planetary Image.

The article is aimed at an audience of intermediate level planetary astrophotographers, who most likely have already had some previous experience using a colour camera (like a ToUcam/NexImage or a DBK/DFK camera) to capture and process planetary images and are looking to go to the next step of a monochrome camera, but aren't sure what's involved. I'm certain though that a lot of the techniques and tips described in here will be just as useful to beginners and will hopefully reduce the huge learning curve that they're starting down. Most advanced planetary astrophotographers are already using a monochrome camera and are creating wonderful RGB planetary images, but hopefully there may be something of interest to you in here as well. I welcome all of your feedback and suggestions for future revisions of this article.

You can read the article in its entirety at:

Mike, this is an awesome contribution to the community! Thanks for making such an amazing text!