RunCam Night Eagle Astro Camera

IOTA is offering a kit that includes the RunCam Night Eagle Astro edition and all of the adapters needed to use it with a telescope. The temporary ordering process is to send an email to Ted Blank ( while we set up an online ordering process.

Tony George has written a comprehensive guide to the operation of this new camera which can be accessed here .

As delivered, the camera’s case is not completely light-proof.  While RunCam has agreed to look into some modifications to the case, at the moment there are two ways to completely light-proof your camera.  The first is to use metal tape (the kind used to seal ductwork) to seal the gaps where light can enter.  Tony George has written a document on how to make this modification here.  The second is to open the camera and add some thin black foam to block light from reaching the CCD chip.  Bob Anderson has written a document on how to make this slightly more involved (but still fairly simple) modification here.

You will also need a few accessories to connect your Night Eagle Astro Camera to a telescope.  The Night Eagle Astro uses an M12 size lens mount (12mm).  We recommend that you use an M12 to C adapter with two 5mm C-mount spacers*, coupled to a C-mount-to-1.25″ adapter (1/2″ barrel length) followed by a 1.25″ 0.5X focal reducer.  With these accessories your Night Eagle camera will give you the maximum possible field of view, the smallest and brightest star images and the maximum sensitivity.

*For use in the Mighty Mini (half of a 50mm binocular optic), remove the two 5mm spacers.

The spacing between the camera and focal reducer is a critical part of using a focal reducer.  When you use this focal reducer with this camera, you MUST use this spacing.  Any other spacing will degrade the image quality regardless of the focal distance between the front of the focal reducer and the main objective.  With ANY focal reducer, including the Meade f/3.3, the distance between the CCD and the back of the focal reducer element is a critical distance that will make a big difference in the image.

Depending on how your focuser “grabs” eyepieces (with a compression ring or with setscrews) you may also need an extension ring on the front of the focal reducer to allow your focuser to properly grip the camera assembly.

Here is a picture of the Night Eagle Astro Camera along with the recommended optical accessories for all refractors larger than the Mighty Mini or Newtonian reflectors.  Note: In Newtonian reflectors, the focuser may not have enough inward travel to allow the camera+focal reducer to come to focus.  In this case, a simple PVC camera carrier can be constructed to allow the camera to be placed closer to the secondary.

As you can see in the pictures, there are several ways to assemble the accessories.  For most refractors and Newtonian reflectors (the first picture below), the sum of the lengths of parts “C” and “D” should be in the range of 22-23 mm.  This can be achieved by any combination of accessories that is able to convert from C-mount (1″ thread) to 1 1/4″ where the focal reducer is attached.  In particular, the C-mount to 1 1/4″ adapter (part “D”) is available from several suppliers in different lengths.  For example, if the Baader adapter #2958515 is used to change from C-mount to 1 1/4″, the two 5mm spacers can be eliminated since the Baader adapter is just the right length (22 mm) by itself.  The adapter sold by Solomark at 25mm is, unfortunately, slightly too long and the system will not come to focus with this adapter.

Here is  a picture of the Night Eagle Astro camera along with the recommended optical accessories for the Mighty Mini only:

Here is  a picture of the Night Eagle Astro camera along with the recommended optical accessories for Schmidt-Cassegrain style scopes when using the 2″ Meade f/3.3 CCD focal reducer. (The Meade f/3.3 CCD focal reducer is no longer available from Meade, but might possibly be found on Astromart, Cloudy Nights or similar sites.  However many other 2″ focal reducers for SCTs are available and should also be suitable.  Just experiment with spacing until you get the widest field of view and smallest possible stars without coma or image degradation near the edges.)


Here is  a picture of the Night Eagle Astro camera along with the recommended optical accessories for Schmidt-Cassegrain style scopes when using a 1 1/4″ 0.5X focal reducer:

These accessories for the NightEagle are available via the sources listed on Optical Accessories page.

The IOTA recommended equipment page lists the other components you will need for accurately timing occultations with the Night Eagle camera.

Documents relating to the NightEagle:
* Night Eagle Astro Out-of-Box review
* Night Eagle Astro Comparison to other CCD cameras (not the astro version of Night Eagle).
* Night Eagle Astro Recommended Settings.
* Bob Anderson’s detailed Test Report on the Night Eagle Astro.
* Performance of Night Eagle Astro camera in Hyades Cluster: HyadesComparison.pdf



Page History:
2017-Mar-30: initial version.