Friday, October 30, 2015

Todays Sun in Hydrogen-Alpha with Coronado SM60II

Quick grabs from today. With all the prom action and not so much disk, decided to use the Coronado SM60 II, 2xBarlow, DMK21.04. 800 frames, best stacked in AS!2, wavelets in Registax6, and colorized with Gimp.

And now the same images, just in the original monochrome with the DMK21.04.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Starlight Xpress Introduces the Ultrastar Live Viewing Guider and Camera

There is change in the air. Not long ago, the ONLY option out there for live viewing of astronomical objects was a dedicated (thus expensive) astronomical video camera. Well you need to get with the times and do yourself a favor and checkout the extremely capable options the Starlight Xpress cameras now offer. I have been using the Lodestar X2 monochrome camera for almost a year now and I am extremely happy with its performance as a live viewing camera for astronomy.

It appears Starlight Xpress has finally acknowledged the huge popularity of their Lodestar X2 as a live viewing camera and has introduced a dedicated live viewing camera in the Ultrastar. Quoted as a "Lodestar X2" format, simply meaning using the same physical housing as the Lodestar X2, the Ultrastar uses the much larger ICX825 (1395x1040) chip vs. the ICX829 (752x580) in the X2.

The tiny but capable Ultrastar Camera

No doubt a significant if not pinnacle reason of the popularity of their Lodestar X2 as a live viewing camera is the software Lodestar Live, written by Paul Shears' in the UK. This software has now apparently been licensed and is now included with the Ultrastar. Way to go Paul!

Below is information direct from the Starlight Xpress site.For more information on the actual release date and pricing, check out Starlight Xpress here.

The 'Ultrastar' and 'Ultrastar C' high resolution 'Live viewing' and guide cameras. These are new 'Lodestar X2' format cameras that use the latest Sony ICX825 CCD with excellent QE and sensitivity. This CCD offers 1392 x 1040 6.45uM square pixels in an 8.9 x 6.7 mm format and is compatible a wide range of imaging / guiding software, including Paul Shears' 'Lodestar Live'. Both mono and single-shot colour versions are available. These cameras will be available by the end of August 2015. More details available shortly.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Atik Cameras releases an Entry Into EAA with the Atik Infinity Camera

I think we are officially in the breakout time for EAA (Electronically Assisted Astronomy). Mallincams have been out for many years, and finally some camera manufactures are taking notice of the strong desire within the amateur astronomy community for ways to observe objects in real time with imaging devices optimized for just that.

Atik Cameras have been around for awhile and producing some wonderful cameras for astronomical imaging. They just released news on their new Atik Infinity, their first foray into the world of "video astronomy". A Sony ICX825 chip, un-cooled camera that promises long exposure capability with minimum noise, something Atik cameras have been doing for a long time

Here is the video of the Atik crew doing some preliminary tests on what appears to be a pre-release of the software and camera. Looks promising!

What surprises me is the creation of their companion software to the camera. I'm surprised only because there are now a few folks out there making great electronically assisted astronomy software, AstroLive and Lodestar Live come to mind off the bat. AstroLive is a for profit option that works with a wide variety of cameras, while Lodestar Live was created by an EAA enthusiast that wanted a easy to use yet powerful program to leverage the capabilities of the Lodestar X2 and earlier models. Its been reported too by the way that LL will work with other Starlight Xpress cameras, but I can't verify that.

It is certainly going to be some exciting times ahead for EAA observers! For a complete list of specs, be sure to check out Atik Cameras for more information when its released.

Here are some color sample images as well direct from Atik Cameras!