Moravian Instruments G2-0402 Monochrome CCD Camera with Low Noise, High Quantum Efficiency Kodak KAF-0402ME CCD Sensor for SCIENTIFIC and Narrow-Band ASTROPHOTO Imaging
- Sensor: Kodak KAF-0402ME Monochrome CCD
- Resolution: 768 x 512 pixels
- Quantum Efficiency: 83% max
- Interface: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
- Cooling: Two-stage Peltier up to -50“_C
- Available on back order. Usual delivery time: appr. 4 weeks
G2 CCD cameras are supplied in the foam-filled, hard carrying case containing:
- Camera body with a user-chosen telescope adapter. The standard 2" barrel adapter is included by default. If ordered, the filter wheel is already mounted inside the camera head and filters are threaded into place (if ordered).
- A 100-240 V AC input, 12 V DC outputbrick__¯ adapter with 1.8 m long power cable.
- 5 m long USB A-B cable for connecting camera to host PC.
- A CD-ROM or USB Flash Drive with camera drivers, SIPS software package with electronic documentation and PDF version of User's Manual.
- A printed copy of camera User's Manual
- G2 CCD cameras are shipped in the foam-filled carrying case (left), larger case is used if camera is ordered with external filter wheel (right)
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MORAVIAN INSTRUMENTS G2 CCD CAMERAS
The enhanced series of G2-CCD cameras feature highly sensitive, low noise Kodak Full-Frame CCD detectors. High-speed USB 2.0 interface minimizes download time and advanced analogue electronics ensure very low read noise. Efficient two-stage Peltier cooling keeps detectors cold to minimize dark current. Compact and robust camera head integrates all electronics, shutter and optional 5 or 6-positions filter wheel.
Number of features of cooled, slow-scan G2CCD cameras with USB 2.0 interface support demanding scientific applications:
- Very high sensitivity with peak QE above 80%.
- Lowest possible system read noise, limited by CCD chip itself.
- High dynamic range (16-bits digitization) and linear response.
- Efficient and precisely regulated cooling.
- Optional heat exchanger for liquid coolant.
- Ability of unattended operation enabled by integrated shutter and filter wheel supporting UBVRI or narrow-band filters.
But G2CCD cameras are also designed with the needs of amateur astronomers on mind:
- Compact camera head, small and lightweight enough to be attached even to small telescopes.
- Integrated all-in-one design with USB and power connectors directly on the camera head.
- Integrated shutter not to bother with covering the telescope when taking dark frames.
- Integrated filter wheel for standard filters to take (L)RGB or narrow-band images.
- Single-voltage power supply enabling operation from 12V battery orbrick__¯ adapter.
- Plug and play installation.
- Robust construction to sustain every-day usage.
Download times are valid for G2 cameras revision 3 and higher. G2 cameras revision 1 and 2 need approximately 2x longer time to download full resolution image.
G2CCD cameras are designed to work in cooperation with a host Personal Computer (PC). As opposite to digital still cameras, which are operated independently on the computer, the scientific slow-scan, cooled cameras usually require computer for operation control, image download, processing and storage etc. To operate G2 CCD camera, you need a computer which:
1. Is compatible with a PC standard.
2. Runs a modern 32-bit Windows operating system.
G2 camera USB driver is designed for Windows 2000 and better operating systems (e.g. Windows XP). Older 16/32-bit systems, like Windows 95/98 and Windows Me, are not supported. G2 CCD cameras cannot properly operate with such operating systems.
3. Provides at last one free USB port.
The current series of G2CCD cameras are designed to operate with USB 2.0 high-speed (480 Mbps) hosts. Although they are fully backward compatible with USB 1.1 full-speed (12 Mbps) hosts, image download time can be somewhat longer if USB 1.1 connection is used.
G2CCD Cameras Technical Specifications
G2 cameras use high sensitive and low noise Kodak KAF Full Frame CCD detectors. Advanced manufacturing techniques like transparent electrodes and microlensing ensure up to 80 or 90 % peak quantum efficiency. The inherent dark current of these detectors is very low compared to other scientific-grade CCDs, so the resulting image S/N ratio is very good.
- G2-0402 model uses 0.4 MPx Kodak KAF-0402ME Class 1 or 2 CCD chip.
- Resolution 768 (H) x 512 (V) pixels
- Pixel size 9 _¦m (H) x 9 _¦m (V)
- Imaging area 6.9 mm (H) x 4.6 mm (V)
- Full well capacity ~100,000 e-
- Output node capacity ~220,000 e-
- Dark current 1 e-/s/pixel at 0 “_C
- Dark signal doubling temperature 6.3 “_C
- Rich software support.
16-bit A/D converter with correlated double sampling ensures high dynamic range and CCD chip-limited readout noise. Fast USB interface ensures image download time within seconds. Maximum length of single USB cable is 5 m. This length can be extended for instance to 10 m by using single USB hub or USB active extender cable. Up to 100 m extension can be achieved with third-party extender.
- ADC resolution: 16 bits
- Sampling method Correlated double sampling
- Read modes Standard (STD)
- Low-noise (LN)
- Horizontal binning 1 to 4 pixels
- Vertical binning 1 to 4 pixels
- Sub-frame readout Arbitrary sub-frame
- TDI readout Yes, 2 ms resolution
- Computer interface USB 2.0 High Speed
- USB 1.1 Full Speed compatible
Image download time depends on the CCD chip used in particular camera model. Also the read noise depends on the chip as well as on the read mode.
Standard read mode provides system read noise approx. 1 e- above CCD chip read noise.
LN (Low-noise) read mode is somewhat slower (approx. 1.2x), but ensures system read noise equal or smaller than the manufacturer-specified chip read noise.
- Model G2-0402
- Gain 1.5 e-/ADU (1 x 1 binning)
- 2.3 e-/ADU (other binnings)
- System read noise 12 e- RMS (LN read)
- 16 e- RMS (standard read)
- Full frame download 0.6 s (LN read)
- 0.5 s (standard read)
1. Binning can be combined independently on both axes
2. ULN read noise depends on the CCD chip itself. If the read noise of the particular chip is 11.5 e- RMS, the system read noise is also 11.5 e- RMS.
3. Download times are valid for USB 2.0 host and may vary depending on host PC. Times stated here were measured on 1.5 GHz Pentium M based laptop computer.
Download times can be somewhat longer when connected to USB 1.1 host.
Regulated two-stage thermo-electric chip cooling up to 50 “_C below ambient temperature with forced air cooling and 0.1 “_C temperature precision ensure very low dark current for long exposures.
- CCD chip cooling Thermoelectric (Peltier modules)
- TEC modules Two stages
- Max. delta T 50 “_C below ambient maximum
- 45 “_C below ambient typical
- Regulation precision 0.1 “_C
- Hot side cooling Air cooling (50 mm fan)
Compact and robust camera head measures only 114 x 114 x 77 mm (approx. 4.5 x 4.5 x 3 inches). The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B (device) connector and 12 V DC power plug, no other parts (CPU box, USB interface, etc.), except abrick__¯ power supply, are necessary. Integrated mechanical shutter allows streak-free image readout, as well as automatic dark frame exposures, which are necessary for unattended, robotic setups. Integrated filter wheel contains 5 positions for standard 1.25" threaded filter cells. A variant of filter wheel with 6 positions for 1"glass-only__¯ filters is also available.
- Internal mechanical shutter Yes, blade shutter
- Shortest exposure time 100 ms
- Longest exposure time Limited by chip saturation only
- Internal filter wheel 5 positions for 1.25" threaded filter cells
- 6 positions for 1" bolt-secured filters
- Head dimensions 114 mm x 114 mm x 77 mm
- Back focal distance 29 mm
- Camera head weight 1.1 kg
Slightly slimmer variant of the camera head without internal filter wheel is available. The head dimensions are 114 x 114 x 65 mm (approx. 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches). This variant allows attaching of external filter wheel with 10 or 12 positions for D36 mm or D31 mm filters.
SIPS software package allows automatic guiding of the astronomical telescope mounts using separate guiding camera. Proper and reliable automatic guiding utilizing the computational power of Personal Computer (e.g. calculation of star centroid allows guiding with sub-pixel precision) is not simple task. Guiding complexity corresponds to number of parameters, which must be entered (or automatically measured). And the number of necessary parameters lead to splitting of theGuiding__¯ tab in the SIPS into two separate tabs. The first one is calledGuiding setup__¯ and it summarizes all parameters necessary for proper autoguiding setup.
G2 CCD cameras with KAF detectors are primarily intended for research work. They are only occasionally used foraesthetics astrophotography__¯. Following examples represent both science observations and astrophotography images.
G2 cameras are appreciated by both professional researchers and amateur astronomers involved in scientific observations. Here are only a few examples, chosen from huge amount of observations, be it extragalactic novae discovery, minor planet photometry and astrometry, variable star discovery and regular observations, exoplanet transit observations etc.