UFOCapture Night Sky Observation Guide V2.0

2. Preparation

2.1 Equipments

You should prepare equipments below.

Video Camera Hi-sensitivity video camera is necessary.

Monochrome camera which has 0.001 lux @ F1.4 or less minimum illumination is recommended for general purpose.

Cameras which has gamma off (=1.0) setting is recommended, because it shows good contrast in night sky.

Cameras which has gain control is highly recommended, because it can avoid noises which are caused by too high gain. Noises will decrease the sensitivity of detection and should be kept invisible.

Cameras which has image intensifier , slow shutter, or frame stacking is not recommended because slow frame rate may cause miss detection of movement.

Color camera is not recommended. But there are some cases that color camera which has 0.1 lux or less minimum illumination can be used with long focal lens for close up detection.

Any video format (NTSC,PAL,SECAM..) can be used as long as it is supported by your video capture equipment.

Recommended Products

  • WATEC Neptune-100(WAT-100N)
    • monochrome 1/2" CCD, 0.001lux, CS lens mount
    • most japanese observer use this camera
Lens Hi-speed lens which is F1.0 or less Fno is highly recommended.

Focal length is depend on your purpose of observing. Wide lens such as 60degree of FOV is recommended for general purpose. For close up observation, 15degree of FOV can be used but it will be difficult to adjust the direction.

Lens should be match to your camera, the compatibility is very complicated (mount type, iris type, iris pin connection, room inside of the mount which allows using attached compensation lens) Ask someone who knows very well.

Recommended Products for CS-mount camera

  • CBC(Computar) HG0608AFCS
    • 6.0mm F0.8 Video Auto-Iris CS-Mount (Aspherical)
    • You should use attached monochrome compensation lens.
    • Very widely used in japan for meteor observation.
    • Recommended for WAT-100N (cannot be used with WAT-902HS2).
  • CBC(Computar) HG1208AFCS
    • 12.0mm F0.8 Video Auto-Iris CS-Mount (Aspherical)
    • You should use attached monochrome compensation lens.
    • Narrow, but very sharp.
    • Recommended for WAT-100N (cannot be used with WAT-902HS2).
  • 25mm F0.95
    • Manual iris , C-mount (can be used as CS-mount with adaptor ring)
    • Recommended for close up observation or color camera.
Camera mount, housing Appropriate camera mount is necessary.

Tripods can be used, but more rigid setting method is recommended.

Housing of camera which prevents rain drops may be useful for continuous observation.

Lens hood is recommended to avoid flares of moon or ground lights.

Cables Video and power cable is necessary.

You can extend video cable up to 20m using coaxial cable.

Water proof power cable and socket is necessary for all weather observation.

Portable video monitor Portable video monitor is necessary in the setting of camera and lens.

You must tune focus in night using fixed stars, because the focal point differs by the condition of iris and the type of light source.

Personal computer


Latest personal computer using Windows2000 or WindowsXp is required.

Necessary and Recommended hardware spec is as follows.

Component Minimum for

AVI 640x480

Minimum for

AVI 720x576

CPU Pentium4 2.4GHz

PentiumM 1.5GHz

Pentium4 2.8GHz *

PentiumM 1.7GHz *

Pentium4 3.2GHz

PentiumM 2.0GHz

Memory 256MB 256MB 512MB
HDD 40GB/7200rpm






* : IEEE1394(DV) or USB2.0 may need 20% or more power.

requirements will change depend on setting,

Video capture equipment Windows DirectX compatible capture device is required.

Device that can be used as a input device of Windows Movie Maker2 or Windows Media Encoder can be used as the input device of UFOCapture.

Most devices that use software encoder can be used as the input device of UFOCapture, but most devices that uses hardware encoder cannot be used

There are 5 types of equipments.

  • PCI video capture (tv-tuner) board.
    • Highly recommended .
    • There are a lot of products all over the world, but they are localized on each country because of the TV-spec differs depend on the country. Ask your dealer or shop to find the device which is compatible with Windows Media Encoder or Movie Maker2.
  • Video output board which has video input ability.
    • Highly recommended.
    • ATI all-in -wonder, NVIDIA vivo function is known as compatible.
  • IEEE1394(DV) analog to digital conversion unit.
    • Recommended (CPU load will increase 20% or more)
    • You must use OHCI compatible IEEE1394 interface and the microsoft's driver of it (Microsoft DV Camera and VCR).
  • USB2.0 video capture (tv-tuner) unit.
    • Recommended (CPU load will increase a little)
  • CardBus video capture (tv-tuner) card.
    • May be same as USB2.0

There is no USB camera(web cam) which can be used for night sky observation, because their sensitivity is not enough.

Software Software below is required.
DirectX 9.0 or later Multimedia subsystem of Windows May be already install to your computer. Execute dxdiag.exe in system directory to check its version if it is exist.

You can download this package from Microsoft's site.

Windows Media Player V9.0 or later Universal player of movies. May be already install to your computer. You can download this package from Microsoft's site.
Windows Movie Maker2 or later Convenient for the test of capture device and re-compress of stored clips. May be already install to your computer. You can download this package from Microsoft's site.
The driver of your capture equipment DirectX (Direct show) compatible video capture driver Normally, the driver is bundled to the hardware( The driver of IEEE1394 is included in the windows).
UFOCaptureV2 Capture Program Downloadable at SonotaCo.com


UFOAnalyzer Post processing tool.
UFOOrbit Orbit calculation.
NTP client (optional) Maintain clock of your PC correct using network time server You should get some software of this kind, and set it properly.

Windows builtin network time function is insufficient accuracy for many cases.