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APM Professional Telescopes

APM Professional Telescopes

1m F/8 Ritchey Chrétien with dual Nasmyth Foci, Cape Town (South Africa)

Another large telescope for the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). An 1m F/8 Alt-Az mounted Ritchey Chrétien for robotic use. It has dual Nasmyth Foci. The main telescopes used for research are located at the SAAO observing station (32°22.795’S 20°48,657’E) near Sutherland in the Northern Cape, a 4-hour drive from Cape Town.

ASA Telescopes

ASA600 with DDM200

ASA600 OTA is the perfect fit for the ASA direct drive mounts with absolute encoders. As all ASA telescopes the ASA600 is equipped with quartz glass optics from ASA.

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Diffraction Limited Cameras

SBIG Aluma AC2020BSI

SBIGCustom 600x600Extreme sensitivity back-illuminated Scientific CMOS camera.  4 megapixel sensor with 6.5 micron pixels, Adaptive Optics capable, StarChaser Guider compatible.

Aluma AC2020BSI features a Windowless Class 1 sensor.

Fused silica chamber window is available with either VIS-NIR or UV-VIS optical coating options.

The SBIG Aluma AC Series represents the state-of-the-art in Advanced Scientific CMOS cameras for astronomical imaging systems. The camera’s advanced design permits high speed download via the USB 3.0 connection to the control computer. The Aluma AC2020BSI uses the Gpixel GSENSE2020BSI-H CMOS sensor with 4 million pixels at 6.5 microns in a 2048 x 2048 array. The sensor measures just over 13.3mm square. The Aluma AC series has powerful two stage cooling and supports optional water cooling. Aluma AC cameras can be operated directly from a 12VDC 8A power supply.

 

 Two variants are available:

  1. UV-VIS Class 1
  2. VIS-NIR Class 1

 Power Cable

  1. US
  2. European
  3. Australia

 

Design features include:

Back-Illuminated Sensor

Incredible sensitivity! High performance back-illuminated sensors are flipped over and thinned during manufacture, so incoming light does not encounter any circuitry before hitting the sensitive pixel area.  This provides optimum sensitivity across the entire visible spectrum – and beyond.

The sensor in the GSENSE2020BSI-H has a peak quantum efficiency of 91%, with a broad peak in the visible spectrum.  For near UV and IR applications, it  features good sensitivity all the way from 200 nm to 1000 nm.

2020BSIQE

Chamber Window Coating Options

The GSENSE2020BSI-H sensor is windowless, which provides the optimum sensitivity across the sensor.  For windowless sensors we recommend recharging the desiccant plug annually, to avoid any risk of moisture contamination on the sensor.

The fused silica optical window on the sealed sensor chamber is available with two standard coating options, depending on your application.  VIS-NIR provides optimal sensitivity from 400 nm through 1000 nm.  UV-VIS provides optimal transmission from 250 nm through 700 nm.

StackPro™

The Aluma AC2020BSI scientific CMOS camera features StackPro™, a revolutionary feature that performs image stacking inside the camera.

CMOS sensors often have more limited well depth and bit depth than their CCD predecessors.  At the same time, the modern CMOS sensors have much lower read noise than the equivalent CCD.  This low read noise can be used to advantage, by stacking many shorter exposures to achieve the same final result.  This does however result in a lot of extra disk usage and post-processing.

StackPro™ performs the stacking automatically, inside the camera.  It automatically subdivides your exposure into up to 16 individual subexposures, and stacks them inside the camera prior to download.  This eliminates the excessive amounts of data cluttering up your hard drive.  Stacking can also be used as an alternative to High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode.

HDR Mode

The sensor in the AC2020BSI is capable of operating in HDR mode, where high-gain and low-gain images are read out simultaneously.  Our included MaxIm LT software features an HDR merge feature, which greatly simplifies the process of producing clean, highly linear images.

Superior Cooling

Proven pin heatsink design shared with industry leading STX series cameras gets the heat out while providing low vibration.  Includes SmartCooling™ intelligent thermoelectric cooling and fan operation.

Water Circulation Ready

For high ambient temperature environments, the liquid cooling option improves thermal performance and helps minimize dark current.

User Rechargeable Desiccant

SBIG pioneered including a high-tech user-replaceable cartridge with ceramic filter and molecular sieve desiccant. Unlike competing cameras, which require factory service when their chamber desiccant eventually saturates out, the user can easily recharge the desiccant.  This eliminates the need for costly service – not to mention the associated down-time and shipping costs.  This feature is especially important in high-humidity locations.

Electronic and Mechanical Shutters

The GSENSE CMOS sensor has an electronic rolling shutter.  In addition the Aluma AC series cameras include a mechanical shutter to enable convenient dark-frame subtraction for optimal performance and sensitivity.  This is essential for remote/robotic operation.

Optional  7x & 12x Position Filter Wheels

Self-Guiding and Adaptive Optics
Options Available

The Aluma AC2020BSI is compatible with the new 12 position SBIG AFW Filter Wheels  filter wheel, utilizing 50 mm round filters.

SBIG AFW Filter Wheel 3 600x600.SBIG AFW Filter Wheel 2 600x600stx fw51 25

The SBIG FW7-STX Filterwheel is a 7-Position, 50mm square filter wheel for STX, Aluma AC4040, and Aluma AC2020 cameras.Works with the STX Guider or SBIG StarChaser SC-4 Off-Axis Guider Camera for self-guiding with the sensor in front of the filter wheel.

Optional Chroma Interference Filters

mega chroma individual filtersBandpass Filters (H-Alpha, OIII, SII, H-Beta, Jovian Methane, LoGlow Light Pollution Filter), LRGB Filters (and combined with H-Alpha), Bessel / Classic UBVRI Filters, Sloan ugriz Filters
Ha, OIII and SII Filter with 5nm or 3nm F/3

Overview Chroma Filter

The available SBIG StarChaser SC-4 is an excellent low-cost option for integrated autoguiding in front of the filters, and it supports our SBIG AO-X Adaptive Optics accessory.

The AO-X uses a tip-tilt window to quickly and precisely adjust the image position in response to autoguider feedback.  With Adaptive Optics there is no backlash, stiction, or lag, and the movements are precise and accurate.  This allows the AO-X to not only remove the effects of periodic error, drift, and wind gusts, but also reduce the effects of atmospheric seeing.  When used with an Aluma AC camera, the AO-X requires the StarChaser SC-4.

For more information please see AO-X.

Img 0597AOX

USB 3.0 Interface

The Aluma AC includes a USB 3.0 interface port for high speed downloads.  For installations where longer cable lengths are required, the port is also compatible with USB 2.0.

I2C AUX Port

The STX cameras have a convenient auxiliary control port (also known as an I2C AUX port), which controls the filter wheel and provides optional external trigger interfaces.  Unlike older SBIG models, the AUX port is not used for AO-X control, as this function is now handled by the optional SBIG StarChaser SC-4 off-axis guiding camera.

MaxIm LT Software

All SBIG cameras come with our MaxIm LT software MaxIm LT is a special version of our venerable MaxIm DL software that provides complete control of your camera, filter wheel, and autoguider, plus advanced image processing capabilities. If you wish you can upgrade to MaxIm DL Pro to get complete observatory integration and even more processing and analysis capabilities.

Included Accessories

All Aluma AC cameras include a deluxe carrying case, universal power supply, Aluma AC power extension cable, USB 3.0 cable, and MaxIm LT software.

Exposure

0.001-3600 sec

OS Compatibility

Windows 7, 8, 10 x86/x64. Contact us for Linux support.

Full Frame Download

0.1 sec

Weight

3.5 lbs / 1.6 kG

Filter Size

50mm Square

Read Noise (typ)

2 e- typical

Temperature Regulation

Yes

Computer Interface

USB 3.0

Power

12 VDC 8A

Cooling Delta

~ 40 °C typical, water cooling option included

Adaptive Optics Option

AO-X with StarChaser SC-4

A/D Converter

Dual 12 bit with HDR capability

Dark Current e-/p/s

0.16 e-/p/sec @ -20C

Full Well Capacity

55,000 e-

Sensor Size

13.3 mm x 13.3 mm

Imaging / Pixel Array

2048 x 2048

Shutter

Rolling electronic, Mechanical dark shutter

Self-Guiding In Front of Filters

Yes, with StarChaser SC-4

Pixel Size

6.5 um

Total Pixels

4 million

Filter Wheel Option

FW7-STX

OAG Option

StarChaser

Imaging Sensor

Gpixel GSENSE2020BSI

Chamber Window

VIS-NIR, UV-VIS

Documentation

Operating manual

Installation, and operating instructions for Aluma AC series cameras.

Download

Mounting Plate Drawing

Drawing for the 10018 “STX” style mounting plate.

Download

Backfocus Calculator Spreadsheet

This Excel spreadsheet helps you calculate backfocus distance for your system. If you do not have Excel it can be uploaded into Google Sheets.
Download


Software

Drivers and Camera Configuration Utility

Aluma AC uses the DL Imaging driver package. Download the latest drivers and camera configuration utility.

Download

ASCOM Driver

Provides compatibility with many third party control applications. Please install the main driver package (above) first.

Download (x86) Download (x64) 


MaxIm LT Software

Camera owners can request a MaxIm LT license here (camera serial number required):

Link 

To get started immediately, request the full MaxIm DL Pro demo version here (click Demo tab):

Link 

Once you receive your MaxIm LT license, simply replace your demo license using Help menu Enter License.


MacOS and Linux Drivers

Available by request. Please post in our support forum, Aluma section:

Link 

Software Development Kit

Available by request. Please post in our support forum, Aluma section:

Link 

Firmware Updates

Visit our Firmware Archive here:

Link 

APM Professional Telescopes

1m F/8 Ritchey Chrétien with dual Nasmyth Foci, Cape Town (South Africa)

Another large telescope for the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). An 1m F/8 Alt-Az mounted Ritchey Chrétien for robotic use. It has dual Nasmyth Foci. The main telescopes used for research are located at the SAAO observing station (32°22.795’S 20°48,657’E) near Sutherland in the Northern Cape, a 4-hour drive from Cape Town.

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