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Astronomical CCD cameras take pictures of celestial objects in the night sky. There are many different brands and types of CCD cameras on the market today, but they all work in the same basic way. When the camera is pointed at the subject and the shutter is open, light enters the opening and an image of the subject is recorded on some form of light sensitive material, in this case a CCD, or Charge-Coupled Device. Once the image has been taken, the shutter is closed and the photographer goes about processing that image. Most cameras on the market today use a CCD or CMOS light sensor instead of photographic film, and that means the image is processed digitally, either in the camera itself, which is the case with a smartphone, point and shoot or DSLR camera, or on a computer. When a CCD camera is designed for astronomy, the raw image collected on the CCD or CMOS sensor is electronically moved off the camera to the astrophotographer's computer for processing.

CCD cameras for astronomy are available in a wide price range, and the price difference is drive by two things; the size of the CCD or CMOS sensor and the features of the camera body itself. Small, simple imaging cameras meant for taking pictures of bright objects, such as the Moon and planets, are very economical and a great way to jump into astrophotography. Astro cameras with larger CCD sensors are capable of capturing the faint light from distant galaxies and other far-off celestial objects. CCD sensors that are physically bigger also cover a wider swath of sky and are therefore capable of imaging very large objects. CCD sensors come in color and monochrome (black and white), and CCD camera bodies can have features such as cooling, built-in color filter wheels, autoguiders, and more.

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