Image Acquisition

It is important to get many frames for each picture (I usually take between 50 and 100 frames) and dark frames at the same temperature (I usually take 20 to 40 dark frames).
Flat frames should also be taken, especially when there is dust on the CCD, filters or mirror.

To facilitate taking flat fields you can use a light box.
I usually use exposure times between 15 and 30 seconds, but it depends on the camera and the brightness of the object.
I've made firmware change to "color non-RAW" to both Vesta and SPC900 with WcRmac, that improves camera performance without the complications of RAW image processing.
To control webcam settings during image acquisition I use WcCtrl and the setting values (in native units) I usually set are the following:
Vesta..
Brightness: 48
Gamma: 31 (máximo)
Gain: 43 or less
WB-R: 96
WB-B: 48
SPC900
Brghtness: 64
Gamma: 31 (maximum)
Gain: 32 or less
WB-R: 96
WB-B: 48

With higher brightness false background brightness is introduced and with lower brightness dynamic range decreases.
I set Gain to maximum to enhance the dark parts of objects.
With lower gain the image is less noisy, but the exposure time should be greater if the object is not bright. With more gain the image is noisier.

For Meade DSI-C I use Meade recommended settings:
Gain: 100
Offset: 50
Color: soft
High sensitivity
White Balance: automatic

Some capture programs allow you to program sequences of shots with different exposure times which is convenient because you can let the PC do the shots while you drink coffee in a warm place.
I try to save images in FITS format, because in the header it store information about the telescope, camera, object, exposure time, date and time, etc. and also because it has no loss of information due to compression.

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Monitor calibration

Monitor calibration
Adjust your monitor to see all grey boxes