Technical Articles

Astronomy and Scientific Imaging Solutions

How to Choose an Astronomical Imaging Camera

In 1949 the Hale Telescope on Mount Palomar was opened. At the time it was the largest in the world—and the most productive. But for decades afterwards, telescopes stopped getting bigger. Why? Economics and technology are one answer, but perhaps the real answer is the invention of the CCD camera. CCD cameras solved many of...

STL Camera – New Tricks

What is the top issue SBIG STL owners have? As you know, it is guiding behind the filters. Would you be surprised to learn there is now a cure?  Back in 2005, when skies were less light polluted and narrowband imaging was not as prevalent, the STL Research Grade cameras were renowned for versatility, reliability,...

“Eyeball Transplants” Give New Life to Old Sensors

Is your old camera suffering from the maladies of age? Slow camera downloads? Failed power supply? Shutter problems? Leaky chamber? Argon all gone? Drivers don’t work? Turning back the clock and rejuvenating an old favorite could be as easy as an SBIG sensor transplant. Our clean-room technicians will extract your good CCD sensor from its aging camera...

Matching Your Camera to Your Optics

by Douglas George In order to get the best results from your equipment, it is important to match the resolution of your camera to the resolution of your optics. In conventional photography your lenses are highly adaptable, with adjustable f/ratio and often zoom capability (adjustable focal length).  On dedicated science instruments such as telescopes and microscopes...

Preventing Frost

by Doug George. Some people ask, "Why do we use desiccant plugs?" Simply put, they minimize life cycle cost and downtime. The imaging sensor needs to be below freezing in order to control dark current and noise.  If the sensor is exposed to the atmosphere it will quickly be encased in ice. This not only ruins the...

How to Choose a CCD Camera

by Michael Barber Guidelines for selecting the best camera for your telescope and observing conditions: This section outlines some of the basic issues one should consider when making a camera selection:  Cost, size, field of view, sensitivity, resolution, cooling, guiding and software. 1.  Cost / Size The best camera for you isn't always the biggest or most expensive.  An expensive camera with...

CCD Imaging 101

Raw CCD images are exceptional but not perfect.  Due to the digital nature of the data many of the imperfections can be compensated for or calibrated out of the final image through digital image processing.  This page contains some basic definitions used in CCD imaging that you will encounter from time to time: Composition of...

MaxIm DL Extras

Extras from Diffraction Limited Camera and Filter Wheel Plug-in API for MaxIm DL Pro. This is our proprietary plug-in interface for writing camera and filter wheel drivers.  Source code for a simple simulator is included. Additional features are available under NDA. ASCOM Drivers are supported for most external equipment, including cameras, filter wheels, focusers, telescopes, domes,...

SBIG FITS Extensions (SBIGFITSEXT 1.0)

This is an extension to the FITS Standard, which was originally written by Matt Longmire with input from the vendors of popular CCD imaging software packages. It provides definitions for keywords commonly used for CCD imaging software packages, with a goal of improving compatibility when transferring FITS documents between the packages. The standard document (PDF...