The Atik 11000 is a top of the range high resolution large format cooled CCD camera designed for astronomy. This camera incorporates a large 35mmx35mm sensor and is ideal for those seeking to achieve spectacular high resolution images.
While the other cameras in the Atik 11000 use Sony sensors, the large-format cameras incorporate Kodak devices. These have gained a great reputation in astrophotography and offer qualities not available in the Sony CCDs.
However, optimum performance from the Kodak chips is only obtained with the use of highly sophisticated control electronics and advanced cooling systems, and this is where Atik's expertise in design and build comes to the fore-front
The Kodak sensors require dark frames to be used for calibration, and these must be taken at the same temperature as the primary image.
The Atik 11000 achieves this through the provision of full, set-point, temperature regulation using a two-stage Peltier element and fan. This can provide cooling to 38 degrees below ambient and will be suitable for the majority of conditions.
For more demanding use, water can be pumped though the camera's internal heat exchanger. When water cooling is employed, the maximum amount of cooling depends on the water temperature, with approximately 45 degrees of cooling being available using water from a typical cold tap.
Such efficient cooling cuts thermal noise to an absolute minimum and reduces the prevalence of hot pixels, but it raises the risk of condensation forming in or on the camera.
A high-efficiency desiccant is used to dry the air inside the sensor chamber, preventing internal condensation, while condensation on the outside of the camera is avoided with the use of heater elements which gently warm the window. The power supplied to this heater is controllable through software so that it can be adapted to the environmental conditions.
The Atik large-format cameras have been designed and built to fulfil the needs of the most demanding users, whilst offering an unparalleled simplicity of use. The cameras have only two sockets - a 2.1mm socket for the 12V power supply and a USB2 port for communicating with the computer - and they are compatible with our highly acclaimed Capture software as well as AstroArt, CCDSoft and MaximDL.
As standard the Akik 11000 is fitted with a KAI 11002 class II sensor, which allows for a small number of column defects. Alternatively a class I sensor with no column defects can be specified.
Does the CCD grade matter?
It is felt that the price premium placed on the class I sensor is not justified when the camera is to be used for astro-imaging. In short, this is because Kodak's grading scheme uses a test where the CCD is not cooled, exposures are fractions of a second and the sensor is read out several times a second.
In astro-imaging, conditions for the sensors are very different since the sensor is cooled, exposures are typically many tens of seconds, and readout takes several seconds. Also it is expected that the images will be corrected with a dark frame. The result is that the grading tests do not reflect performance in astro-imaging in a useful way.
Atik only use the latest generation of KAI 11002 sensors, which have anti-reflection coatings on both sides of the glass cover. This reduces reflection artifacts generated between the CCD surface and the cover.
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