Last night was First Light with the MC SRDS16C--a remarkable, 16 megapixel CMOS color camera which eliminates the Bayer Matrix and combines high sensitivity with low noise.
My first, out-of-the-box dark field tests showed virtually no noise on 30-second integrations at maximum gain. Lengthening the integration to 1 minute showed a speckling of color noise. The biggest difference between this camera and my others is that even on a 2-minute integration, there is no amp glow! This is remarkable and greatly simplifies long exposures and multiple-exposure stacks that tend to enhance amp glow, even when corrections like DFC are applied unless great care is taken with dark field capture settings.
The images below are significantly "down-rezzed" as the actual images captured are in the 30 to 40Mb range. These were captured with my MC f/4 Newt under almost full moon conditions last night with no filtration. This is a great combination of scope and camera! As you can see, the resul…
The ASI 120MC is a truly flexible camera. It can do planetary imaging as well as deep sky. However, like all uncooled cameras, it produces significant amounts of noise. While dark frame subtraction can take care of much of this noise, cooling the chip can greatly reduce noise and minimize processing. It also makes it easier to see deep sky objects as you monitor the exposure.
The camera's metallic case is a good conductor, so I decided to experiment to see how much cooling I could get by surface mounting a peltier cooler. I bought a very inexpensive (less than $5) 93-watt peltier and a $15 PC heatsink and fan.
I then mounted the peltier to the heatsink (the heatsink has a conveneint adhesive thermal pad).
All that remained was to add a 12v power supply, place it on the imager, and turn the contraption on!
The results are very interesting. The following images are captures showing chip temperature and the resultant image noise for a 17-second dark field exposure (click for a full-s…
I decided to order a 120MM to compare the monochrome version of the ASI camera with the color version. The color version generates significant noise with longer exposures. This noise, can be reduced by adding an external peltier (as demonstrated in a an earlier post). Below are two images comparing the noise of the 2 imagers with an approx 17-second exposure.
As you can see, there is a marked difference in noise levels. I have read that the MM version if also 4 times more sensitive than the MC, with a significant improvement in QE. I will be returning the MC and will order a filter wheel shortly. I'm looking forward to doing some deep sky imaging with the MM!