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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 CCD47-10

Aluma CCD 695 aOur high performance Aluma® CCD Series cameras offer capabilities and features not available in any other scientific-grade imaging camera.  This lightweight (2.2 lbs) and compact (4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4″ with handles) camera includes two-stage cooling, USB 2.0 interface, ultra-reliable even-illumination shutter, and fast low-noise readout.

The Aluma CCD series supports a wide range of accessories, including the 8-position FW8S-Aluma filter wheel with micron-level filter positioning.

The Aluma CCD47-10 has an extremely high sensitivity, 1 megapixel back-illuminated CCD sensor with 13.3 micron pixels. These are research-grade cameras designed for longer focal length instruments typically with apertures greater than 40 cm.

Aluma CCD is a new generation of research cameras tuned for even better performance. Over two years of collaboration with university researchers helped us bring you an enhanced new Aluma CCD series that represent the ultimate in a high-performance mid-sized 16-bit CCD detector. Using E2V’s best-in-class research grade back-illuminated sensors, the Aluma CCD47-10 gives you the high sensitivity, low noise, and high well depth needed for the most demanding research applications.

Available with Midband (default), Broadband, and Enhanced UV coatings. See QE chart below for more information.

Sensor Power Cable 
  • Midband
  • Broadband
  • Enhanced UV
  • US
  • European
  • Australian


Aluma CCD Features include:

  • High-performance CCD imaging sensors currently manufactured by SONY and Teledyne E2V
  • Light weight, compact design
  • Centered optical axis for optimum instrument balance
  • Ultra reliable even-illumination (photometric) mechanical shutter
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • Full frame image buffering eliminates readout artifacts
  • 2-Stage TE cooling with typical -50C from ambient
  • Twin variable speed fans with SmartCoolingTM technology
  • High accuracy temperature regulation
  • Built-in RBI Pre-flash (full frame front-illuminated sensors only)
  • External TTL trigger inputs and output
  • Included 110V / 220V power supply and optional 12VDC operation
  • User-rechargeable desiccant plug
  • Built-in 1/4-20 tripod mount
  • Support for high precision 8-position filter wheels
  • Bulletproof firmware update capability – virtually impossible to “brick”

Aluma CCD 695 bAdvanced Software Included

All Aluma CCD models ship with MaxIm LT for Windows – a special version of MaxIm DL specific to our cameras. Aluma CCD also supports third-party applications through ASCOM and native drivers.

Compact and Lightweight Design

Aluma CCD cameras measure just 4.25″ x 4.25″ x 4.0″ with handles (3.5″ without handles) and weigh just 2.2 lbs (1 kg).

Even-Illumination Shutter

All Aluma CCD cameras include a mechanical shutter, which is used for both dark/bias calibration frames and for shuttering exposures on full frame sensors. Rather than using a complex iris shutter, which are prone to failure, the Aluma CCD uses a twin vane shutter and direct drive motor for high repeatability, reliability, and extremely long life. The shutter is designed to be “even illumination” for the best accuracy in photometric measurements.


The left image shows a flat field image taken with a camera using an iris type shutter. The right image is a flat field image taken under the same conditions using our even-illumination shutter.

Extreme Sensitivity CCD 47-10 Image Sensor

The Aluma CCD47-10 uses the 1 megapixel E2V CCD 47-10 sensor, featuring peak quantum efficiency (QE) of 93% with midband coatings.  This full frame, back-illuminated sensor is designed for the ultimate in sensitivity.  The sensor is available with midband, broadband, and UV coatings to optimize performance in different spectral regions.  (Midband is the default coating.)


CCD 47-10 Quantum Efficiency Curves

The CCD 47-10 has 1056 x 1027 pixels at 13 microns square, for a 13.3 mm square chip size.

This back-illuminated full-frame CCD sensor has extremely low noise and extremely high sensitivity. Combining this high-performance sensor with Aluma CCD’s high cooling performance and low readout noise results in exceptionally clean images.


All Aluma CCD cameras include our powerful new SmartCooling technology. The two-stage cooler, powerful fans, and advanced heat sink designed using thermal flow simulation combine to produce typical cooling delta from ambient of -50C. This is quite a feat considering the Aluma CCD’s very compact and lightweight package.

SmartCooling automatically adjusts the fan speed to optimize cooler performance and power consumption.  The camera’s firmware is constantly monitoring the sensor and heat sink temperatures, as well as controlling the cooler power. When full cooling power is needed – when ramping down or running near full power – the fans ramp up to their maximum speed, resulting in the strongest possible cooling.  When less cooling power is needed the fans automatically slow to reduce noise levels and power consumption. SmartCooling also prevents any possibility of overheating by backing off power if the heat sink gets too hot – so you don’t need to worry if your camera is baking in a hot observatory during the day.

Advanced Software Included

All Aluma CCD cameras come with our MaxIm LT software – a $249 value!  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

Each Aluma CCD camera package includes:

  • MaxIm LT software – please use this form to request your license
  • Deluxe carrying case
  • Universal power supply (110V / 220V, 50-60 Hz)
  • 2″ Nosepiece adapter
  • USB flash drive containing software, drivers, and documentation
  • 15 foot (4.5 m) USB cable

Optional: Filterwheels

Filters 36mm


Aluma FW8S scaled 600x671p1011982s1 340x0 150x150

The carousel holds eight 36mm filters and inserts are available for 1.25″ filters. The 36 mm filters provide unvignetted imaging for the largest Aluma sensors.

Aluma wheels include a positive centering mechanism that precisely centers each filter in the exact same position every time. This single-pixel accuracy completely eliminates ghost images of dust spots and other artifacts after flat-fielding.

The left-hand image below shows a dust spot on the filters.  A flat-field calibration frame was taken, then the filter wheel was rotated several times before taking a second picture, which was flat-field calibrated, at right. No evidence of the dust spot is visible. This high precision results in the highest quality images and excellent photometric accuracy.


SBIG AFW Filter Wheel

SBIG AFW Filter Wheel 3

SBIG AFW Filter Wheels are ultra-thin wheels that minimize back focus distance.

The standard version, which accommodates filters ranging from 1 mm to 3 mm thick, uses only 0.55″ (14 mm) back focus.

The tall version, which accommodates 5 mm thick filters, uses only 0.65″ (16.5 mm) back focus.

Compatible with our Full Line of SBIG Cameras.

Filter Size

  • 36mm Round
  • 50mm Round
  • 50mm Square
  • 50mm Square 5mm Tall

SBIG AFW Filter Wheels

36 mm Round Optical Filter


SBIG 36 mm round optical filters are compatible with FW8-8300 and FW8S-Aluma filter wheels, and the STC-428-P camera/filter wheel combo.  These filters are built for SBIG to our exacting specifications.  All filters are parfocal, which avoids unnecessary refocusing. They are 2mm thick.

Wavelength Band:

  • LRGB Package
  • Narrowband HA+SII+OIII
  • Deep Sky Package LRGB+HA+SII+OIII
  • Clear
  • Luminance
  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • HA
  • SII
  • OIII


Peak QE




Sensor Size

13.3 mm x 13.3 mm

Pixel Size

13 μm

Total Pixels

1 million pixels

Imaging / Pixel Array

1056 x 1027

Imaging Sensor


Full Well Capacity

100,000 e-

Filter Wheel Option



Mechanical, Even-illumination


12 VDC, 5A max

Pixel Digitization Rate

1 MPix/sec

Computer Interface

USB 2.0


0.12-3600 sec

Cooling Delta

50 °C

Read Noise (typ)

5 e- typical

A/D Converter

16 bits


2.2 lbs

Filter Size

36mm / 1.25"

Full Frame Download

~1 sec via USB or WiFi

Temperature Regulation



Midband, Broadband, Enhanced UV

Dark Current e-/p/s

typical 20 e-/pix/sec; 0.2 at -30C

Binning Modes

Horizontal 1, 2, 3, 4; Vertical 1-255

User’s Manual

Aluma CCD Series user’s manual.

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.


Drivers and Camera Configuration Utility

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

ASCOM Driver

Provides compatibility with many third party control applications. Please install the main driver package (above) first. (x64)

MaxIm LT Software

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

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

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:

Software Development Kit

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

Firmware Updates

Visit our Firmware Archive here:

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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