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MODEL ST-9E CCD IMAGING CAMERA

 

ST-7.jpg (21201 bytes)

The ST-9E is identical to the ST-7E and ST-8E cameras with the exception of the imaging CCD.  The ST-9E utilizes the same patented dual sensor head design integrating one CCD for self-guiding and another CCD for imaging.  In the case of the ST-9E the imaging sensor is the new Enhanced KAF-0261E detector from Kodak.  The ST-9E Imaging Camera is ideal for use on long focal length scopes where a larger field of view than an ST-7E is desired, but one's budget does not allow for an ST-8E camera.  Large scopes, even those with relatively fast f/ratios, have focal lengths that "waste" sensitivity of cameras using detectors with small pixels.  Longer focal lengths also mean smaller fields of view given a fixed detector size.   Take, for example, a C-14 at f/7, 16" SCT at f/6.3 and a 20" f/5.  In all of these cases the telescopes have focal lengths of about 98 to 100 inches.  When used at 100 inches of focal length, the 9 micron pixels of the ST-7 and ST-8 cameras subtend about 0.7 arcseconds - a bit small for this focal length.  So these cameras are often operated binned 2x2 at focal lengths of 100 inches or more unless the optics and seeing are rather exceptional.  For the ST-8 this is no problem because the detector has 1.5 million pixels and binning 2x2 still leaves the user with a reasonable 765 x 510 pixels @ 18 microns.  But binning the ST-7 2x2 yields an image that is 382 x 255 so the image size on the monitor begins to get small for this size camera.  However, the ST-9E's 20 micron pixels subtend about 1.6 arcseconds per pixel at 100 inches focal length without binning.  Just about perfect for typical seeing conditions.  This gives the user the advantage of larger more sensitive pixels and a reasonably large image of 512 x 512.   Moreover, when the FOV of the ST-9E is nearly as large as an ST-8. 

      

cat_m13c_mb.jpg (44187 bytes) cat_m33_gh.jpg (39514 bytes)
M13.  ST-9E prototype First Light: a single
120 second cropped image taken through a
10" f/6.3 SCT (1/4 size).  Michael Barber / SBIG
M33.  ST-9E production First Light: a single
360 second image taken through a 12" SCT
at f/6.3.  Courtesy Gary Hug

Sensitivity:

With its relatively large (20 micron) pixels, the ST-9E is approximately 20 times as sensitive as a standard ST-7 ABG camera with a field of view approximately 3.3x as large as the ST-7.  This compares very favorably with an ST-8E operating in binned mode at about half the cost of the ST-8E.  So for long focal lengths where one cannot take advantage of the smaller pixels of the ST-7E or ST-8E, the ST-9E is an excellent choice.      

m27_comp.jpg (53223 bytes)

Relative Intensities
Recorded in image

ST-8
ABG
ST-8E
ABG
ST-9E
NABG
(A)  Background 1 1.3 14.2
(B)  Star peak (color
unknown)
1 2.0 13.7
(C), (D) H-a regions 1 2.2 18.4
(E) OIII bright (~50%
above background)
1 2.1 25.0
(F) OIII faint (>10%
above background)
1 1.5 20.0
M27.  LRGB color image for reference only by Robert Dalby


Field of View:

The diagram and image below demonstrates the larger field of view one obtains with the ST-9E detector compared to the ST-7.  Note this has nothing to do with the number of pixels on the detector or how the image is displayed on your computer monitor.  Rather, it is strictly based on the overall size of the detector.

 

Image15.gif (3436 bytes)

Relative CCD szes


M27-st9s.gif (61237 bytes) Full frame is the field of view of the ST-9E
at 110 inches focal length.  The area inside
the white box is the field of view of the
ST-7 at the same focal length.

 


One month after taking delivery of one of our first production ST-9E cameras, two amateurs, Gary Hug and Graham Bell, discovered a ~19th magnitude comet:  Comet P/1999 X1 Hug-Bell.  With a single exception we are informed that this is the faintest comet ever discovered by an amateur astronomer.   Gary and Graham were using a 12" SCT at f/6.3.  The discovery was made while blinking 6 minute exposures taken in search of an asteroid.  Subsequent 10 minute and 20 minute exposures revealed the comet's tail.

comet_bell_hug.gif (47986 bytes) Discovery image (reduced) with comet P/1999 X1 Hug-Bell in the highlighted box.

Gary Hug writes:  "The comet (P/1999 X1 Hug-Bell) was discovered Dec 10th and has been published in the IAU Circular #7331.  Orbital information shows this comet to orbit between Mars and just outside Jupiter's orbit  although some distance above the giant planet's path.  It's currently about magnitude 18.5,  located near the beehive cluster, and was magnitude 18.8 at discovery.   The comet will maintain a near even brightness for the next few weeks then gradually fade.  It's period is 7.01 yrs.

 


 

Model ST-9E CCD Specifications:

CCD Kodak Enhanced
KAF-0261E (Class 1)
+ Texas Instruments TC-211
Pixel Array 512 x 512 pixels,
10.2 x 10.2 mm
Total Pixels 262,144
Pixel Size 20 x 20 microns
Full Well Capacity 200,000 e-
Dark Current 35e/pixel/sec at 0 C
Antiblooming Non-ABG only

 


Readout Specifications

Shutter Electromechanical
Exposure 0.11 to 3600 seconds, 10ms
resolution
Correlated Double Sampling Yes
A/D Converter 16 bits
A/D Gain 2.8e/ADU
Read Noise 13e RMS
Binning Modes 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3
Full Frame Acquisition
(including digitization and
download)
~ 11 seconds
Fast updates for focus
(partial frame)
~1.6 seconds

 


Optical Specifications (8" f/10)

Field of View 17.3 x 17.3 arcminutes
Pixel Size 2 x 2 arcseconds

 


System Specifications

Cooling - standard Two Stage Thermoelectric Active Fan
Water Assist Ready
-40 degrees C from Ambient Minimum
Temperature Regulation 0.1C
Power 5 VDC at 1.5 amps, 12 VDC at 0.5 amp
--------------------------------
110VAC desktop power supply included
--------------------------------
12VDC power supply optional
Computer Interface Standard Parallel Port
Computer Compatibility PC - MS-DOS, Windows 95/98/NT, Macintosh With Optional MAC SCSI adapter
Guiding Dual CCD Self-Guiding

 


Physical Dimensions

Optical Head 5 inches diameter x 3 inches 12.5 cm diameter x 7.5 deep 2 pounds/0.9 Kg
CPU All electronics integrated into Optical Head, No CPU
Mounting T-Thread, 1.25" and 2" nosepieces included
Backfocus Approximately 0.9 inches
2.3 cm

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