The AST16200-B is based on 16-megapxls Monochrome or Color KAF-16200 CCD Sensor (class 2) and is equipped with integrated 4, 5 or 7 position Filter-Wheel.
The AST16200-B features:
New concept low-vacuum CCD sensor chamber that guarantees no-frost with -40°C DeltaT at only 2.5A of power consumption
Total Noise of 9e- rms using low-noise acquisition mode
Powerful 1GHz microprocessor for stand alone wire-free operation (no PC is needed)
PC like use with Operating System, Graphic Desktop, Web access, applications that can be created, installed and removed
Optional 5" 800x480 touchscreen full color display (removable)
Optional mini wireless keyboard/touchpad
Integrated WiFi connection and Gbit Ethernet to PC / Tablet / Smartphone
16 GB (expandible up to 32 GB) internal storage plus external USB pendrive or hard-disk
Open-Source Camera Processor Code available to the user to experiment ideas and specific SW application
2 HS USB, TX/RX serial port, I2C, SPI, +3.3V, +5V, +12V DC output power supplies
User configurable I/O lines to implement triggers, alarms, custom interfaces
CCD .......... On-Semi(Kodak) KAF-16200 (mono/color, class 2)
Pixel Array ... 4500 x 3600 pixels
CCD Size ...... 27 x 21.6 mm
Total Pixels .. 16.2 Million
Full Well ..... ~40000 e-
Dark Current .. 0.03e-/pixel/sec at -20°C
Antiblooming .. 2000X
Shutter ....... Mechanical
Filter wheel... Integrated 4x2", 5x42mm, 7x36mm unmounted filters
Camera Size ... 160 mm diameter x 90 mm
Mounting ...... M48
Weight ........ 1Kg (w/ integrated filter-wheel , w/o display)
Backfocus ..... 25 mm (including integrated filter-wheel)
Interfaces .... USB 2.0 Host HS x2, Gbit Eth, WiFi, UART, GPIO
Sampling Mode . Digital multi-sample CDS
A/D Converter . 16 bit
Gain .......... 0.9 e-/ADU
Total Noise ... 9 e- rms typ
Binning Modes . up to 10x10
Readout Speed . 500 Kpxls/sec (about 30 sec)
Max Cooling ... -40 °C ±0.1°C regulated
Power ......... 12VDC @ 2.5 A max (operational at 100% Peltier)
The Astrel Instruments cameras are powered by a 1000MHz Processor with 1Gb of memory and up to 32Gb of onboard storage.
Thanks to its "intelligence", the camera can do onboard all the operations that other cameras can only do by means of an external PC, because the camera is a PC itself.
Similar to a powerful astrophotography-oriented DSRL, the camera itself offers an integrated complete suite of easy to use graphical applications including:
Photo sequences programming with filters management
Temperature setting and monitor
Liveview with integrated focus mode
Autoguiding with dithering
Planetariums with mount control, including plate solving
The camera can autonomously autoguide with many commercial USB autoguider cameras and use planetarium applications to control the mount operations (alignment, goto, ...) on most commercial mounts. Many other commercial devices like motorized focusers, external filter wheels, ... can also be directly connected and managed autonomously by the camera.
The Wireless mode and the Stand-Alone mode allow using the camera without a PC.
The Wireless mode let the user communicate with the camera through a WiFi connection established between his Tablet / Smartphone (or of course a PC) and the camera. The connection uses remote desktop technology to send the camera display to the connected devices. No wires are needed between the camera and the devices: no risk of stumbling on a wire ruining the work of hours or even damaging your equipment.
The Stand-Alone mode is based on the availability of a 5" Touch Screen LCD and mini wireless keyboard/touchpad. The (removable) display is connected to the camera body with a set of adjustable junctions to position it for a comfortable view.
No other device (PC/Smartphone/Tablet) is needed to use the camera and all the connected equipment: don't run the risk of taking your valuable devices in an harsh environment they're not build for.
As the PC is not needed and the camera only needs a maximum of 2.5A at 12V, in these modes there's no need to carry big battery packs and power inverters: one small battery or even your car's one is enough for a whole night.
The camera can also be used in a conventional mode through a PC connected via Ethernet cable.
All the connected devices use the same integrated software suite: the camera's applications are accessible via remote desktop from any network connected device, including PC, Smartphones and Tablets.
The table below summarize the several use mode:
Moreover, thanks to the Open Source license of all the software and the Linux OS, other applications can be easily added by the users, giving the camera more and more capabilities: our aim is to create a community of users and software developers which will add leading edge contents, ranging from innovative readout modes to web enabled applications.
On camera smart software suite
This suite of applications has been developed to make the Astrel Instruments cameras really easy and intuitive to use.
No complicated software: use these apps connecting with your smartphone, tablet, PC or using the integrated 5" display + wireless keyboard, and few minutes and clicks are enough to start taking pictures.
Liveview: the camera displays a bin 10 image, refreshing up to 1.5fps. With few seconds exposure even very faint objects become visible, allowing precise framing
Focus: enter the focus mode selecting a star in the liveview, which is enlarged up to 8x. The app calculates and displays FWHM and profile with an up to 3fps refresh rate
Temperature Control: select a setpoint and the minimum number of seconds/°C and start the PID algorithm that will keep the temperature constant within 0.1°C
Take Photos: start your photo sequence defining, for each filter, the number of frames, exposure time and binning of the sub-frames. It also sends dithering commands to the guider
Monitor: follow the current sub-frame number in the sequence and some info about the camera status. It can also preview the last frame or kill the sequence
Guider: connect your autoguider to the camera and use this app, derived from Lin_guider, for guiding your telescope. It features drift graph, statistics and dithering
On camera advanced software
Thanks to the powerful integrated microprocessor and large memory, any Astrel Instruments camera is by any means a PC, running the Ubuntu OS with hundreds of available applications, including many astrophotography related ones. The cameras come with several pre-installed astronomy applications including:
KStars and Cartes du Ciel, two well known planetarium apps that can control most mounts for alignment and GOTO operation
Ekos, an image planning and observatory control software using offline Astrometry.net for plate solving and INDI standard for equipment control
DS9, a powerful app for image review and analysis
Integrated swappable Filter Wheels
Precision filter positioning: the Astrel cameras feature a set of spring loaded balls with corresponding holes for a very precise and repeatable filters positioning: when the correct alignment is reached, the ball enters the hole, elastically recovering any small positioning error
The AST16200-B features an integrated filter wheel with 7, 5 or 4 positions. The whole wheel can be easily swapped with another one if more than 4 or 5 filters are required: for example the first wheel could be used for LRGB while a second one could be used for narrow band imaging. The following integrated wheels are available:
7 positions: 36 mm round unmounted filters
5 positions: custom 42 mm unmounted filters available at the moment only from Astronomik
4 positions: 2" or 50 mm round unmounted filters, 1 to 3 mm thickness
Cooling and vacuum chamber
The AST16200-B series cameras feature a power consumption of only 2.5A @ 12V in fully operative state with 100% peltier on. In spite of this very low power consumption, an efficient 2 stages peltier cooling system can lower the regulated CCD temperature by up to 40°C below ambient.
The sensor and the cooling chain are contained in a vacuum proof chamber: using the included vacuum pump connected to the valve on the rear of the camera body, in less than a minute the air can be pumped-out. This has 2 fundamental effects: it eliminates the possibility of frost forming inside the chamber and minimizes the convention up and down heat transfer inside the chamber, optimizing the heat removal via the cold finger and avoiding cooling of the optical window that could lead to fogging.
Every camera is tested to maintain a proper vacuum level for at least 3 days (most cameras can hold the vacuum for several weeks). For customers running remote observatories, it is possible to fill the chamber with inert gas like Argon or Kripton, which will stay in the camera for months. The vacuum level can be controlled through the manometer incorporated in the vacuum pump.
No desiccant is needed.
The base package includes
Suitcase filled with protective foam for camera and accessories
AST16200-B camera body with WiFi antenna
Vacuum pump with incorporated pressure gauge, tube and joint
Battery power cable: power cable extension with car lighter plug