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Astrophotography

SBIG's new STT-8300 cooled CCD astrocamera

Although one can begin to explore amateur astrophotography with a smartphone camera or a webcam, today's tool of choice for this pastime is a special-purpose, cooled CCD camera. The case in point is the new STT-8300M astrocamera from Santa Barbara Imaging Group (SBIG).  Read More

Astrophoto of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, taken with an 85mm (3.35 in) diameter Takahashi a...

While nearly everyone enjoys a good astrophoto, the precision with which the astrograph (the telescope taking the photograph) must follow the stars is not widely appreciated. To take a good astrophoto of any but the brightest objects requires following their motion through the sky accurately. There are a number of approaches toward addressing this problem in the digital era. Perhaps the best option has now been enabled by Innovations Foresight's new ON-Axis Guider (ONAG).  Read More

A cut-away view of the LSST camera, with a person for scale

Although the pixel count for consumer cameras continues to rise, they will all pale in comparison to the 3,200-megapixel Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) camera. Although the enormous astronomical camera has yet to be built, last week the U.S. Department of Energy gave its approval for the project to proceed to the next phase of development. This means that a detailed engineering design can begin, along with a production schedule and budget. If everything goes according to plan, construction on what will be the world’s largest digital camera should begin in 2014.  Read More

Canon has unveiled a long awaited update to 2005's EOS 20Da digital SLR camera, the new 60...

While remotely controlling a powerful telescope and viewing the results on your computer screen - as promised by the Gloria project - certainly has its appeal, it doesn't quite match the sense of personal gratification gained from snapping a digital image of a distant nebula with a camera mounted to your own telescope. Standard digital SLR cameras can provide impressive results but Canon has announced the release of an optimized version of its prothusiast level EOS 60D that's been specifically retuned for astro-photographers.  Read More

Technicians working on the 'billion-pixel array,' which will be used aboard the Gaia space...

At approximately one billion pixels, it’s the largest digital camera ever built for a space mission. Over a five-year period, the “billion-pixel array” will be used aboard the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, to map upwards of a billion stars. While it will be focusing mainly on our own Milky Way galaxy, Gaia will also be mapping other celestial bodies, including galaxies and quasars near the edge of the observable universe.  Read More

NASA releases low-light space images captured with Nikon dSLRs

At the end of 2009, Nikon managed to secure a nice little order from NASA for a bunch of D3S digital cameras and seven of its AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses. These were destined to be whisked off into space for photographic documentation. Now, humble earthlings are being given the chance to have a look at some of the rather spectacular images taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. To date, NASA has captured more than 700,000 images with its own Nikon equipment, showing off the D3S’ noise suppression features and how well it’s able to cope with the low-light conditions of space.  Read More

Pacman Nebula taken with an SBIG ST-8300M (photo: David Morrow/SBIG)

The Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG) is adding two new models to its line of specialized, high-resolution CCD cameras for astrophotography and spectography. The ST-8300M and ST-8300C both feature an 8.3 megapixel CCD, thermoelectric cooling, and a USB 2.0 interface. The camera bodies accept both standard c-mount and Nikon lenses making them suitable for a variety of applications. SBIG claims the cameras’ antiblooming and microlens technology improves their sensitivity. Both cameras can also be used as autoguiders to control motorized telescope mounts.  Read More

The SBIG AllSky cameras provide horizon-to-horizon imaging for meteor watching and weather...

SBIG, also known as the Santa Barbara Instrument Group, has announced its latest horizon-to-horizon view cameras, the AllSky-340 and AllSky-340C. The AllSky cameras are designed for extended, unattended sky watching such as monitoring the weather, detecting meteors, or keeping an eye out for ETs. The cameras feature a self-contained all-weather housing, heated dome enclosure, an optional Bluetooth interface, and optional solar power.  Read More

Meade mySKY: the personal, point-and-shoot, multimedia guide to the heavens

June 5, 2007 The US$400 Meade mySKY is a remarkable mash up of technologies that creates a very cool educational toy and the first of a new breed of augmented reality informational products. It is NOT a telescope! mySKY is an interactive, hand-held, point-and-identify multimedia guide to the heavens. It locates, identifies, and describes 30,000 celestial objects in the night sky – every object visible to your unaided eye, as well as many you’ll need a separate telescope to see. If you like this new “browse function for the heavens” ability, it has the added ability to control a Meade computerized telescope. No knowledge is needed - just turn it on and mySKY does the rest. It incorporates full GPS Auto Alignment using a 12-channel GPS receiver which aligns itself on the sky without any input from you.  Read More

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