Dust bunnies – what are they and what can I do?

What is a dust bunny and why are they called this?

Why dust bunnies? They are certainly not cute but they are fluffy and tend to multiply rapidly! … They are often dust particles or, especially in the Spring and Summer months, pollen.

 

If static charges build up, dust bunnies can become attracted to each other, resulting in large “super” dust bunnies!

 

These can collect on the sensor glass of your camera and result in dark blobs when you image. It isn’t possible for dust on the front lens or mirror to show up as it’s at the pupil of the optical system.

 

What can I do about dust on the sensor glass?

 

You have several options here. For the most part these dust anomalies can be easily taken care of during post processing of your images by taking FLATS with your imaging setup. Imaging processing software will use your Flats data to create a Master Flat, this will show all the dust anomalies which the software will attempt to remove from your images later on through your processing work flow.

 

There are multiple tutorials and guides on YouTube and Google and Astro Photography Forums that will guide you how to take flat frames with your specific camera and setup. You can also ask on the Altair Astro Facebook group.

 

Here is an example of a flat frame, notice the dark blobs that will be removed from your image when you process it.

 

 

Although there shouldn’t be any dust on the inside of the sensor glass, it isn’t unknown for a foreign object to become dislodged inside the camera and show up on the inside of the protective sensor glass.

 

If you suspect this, take a flat frame and note the position of the anomaly, clean your sensor class with a dedicated sensor glass cleaning kit and agent and retake the flat frame. If the Anomaly has gone or moved, then it’s an exterior problem and can be

resolved.

 

If the anomaly has stayed in its same location despite cleaning, then it’s a good chance that the offending particle is inside the camera and will need to be professionally looked at.

 

If you have lots of dust or pollen anomalies on your sensor lens you could purchase a dedicated sensor glass cleaning kit Click here for an example. This has all you will need, solution, cloths etc, to enable you to clean the protective glass covering your sensor.

 

NEVER EVER open up the sealed chamber on your camera where the sensor is. Once dust or pollen is introduced into this sterile, clean area it is very hard to get it removed totally.

 

Finally, if all else fails, you can arrange with your local astro dealer send your camera away to be professionally cleaned in a dust free, clean environment but this will more than likely be a chargeable option.