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guider conclusions

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The SXV guide camera is a very nice little device though not quite as sensitive as I had hoped.

The work required to add cooling to this camera is not difficult if you have some experience with a soldering iron but will certainly invalidate your guarantee.

Cooling the CCD dramatically reduces the dark current generated in exposures longer than one second allowing stars 2 or so magnitudes fainter to be detected.

If you are prepared to move the guide scope to find a bright star and will do a dark frame then cooling this camera might not offer much advantage.

If you (like me) want to point the scope anyway in the sky and just get it to guide then cooling the camera results in a dramatic improvement.

With lower background noise a stars center can be more accurately determined allowing sub pixel guiding.  Important if using relatively short focal length guide scope to get a wide field of view. 

The latest version of ACP plate solves the guider image to select suitable guide star and guide exposure duration.  The uncooled guider images are too noisy to allow this plate solution process so this ACP feature can not be used.  The cooled guider images can be plate solved by pinpoint.    

The parts are relatively inexpensive compared to the camera and offer a great improvement in performance.

Maybe Starlight will offer a cooled version of this guider if there is enough demand.









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See the full range of Atik cooled CCD cameras for astronomy on the Atik Website


Copyright 2006 Steve Chambers. All Rights

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