Can I take one-shot colour (OSC) images when binning pixels?
Yes, you can. However, the colour information will be lost and the image will be monochrome.
My sensor has a vertical bright line! What is causing this?
These are typically charge traps and add a few ADU counts to the pixel values of a column. They are caused by small defects in the CCD either during manufacture or by comic ray strikes during the lifetime of the camera. The Kodak sensors are more prone to these than the Sony sensors but neither type is completely immune. They can be fixed during processing by using dark frames or dithering and sigma combine during stacking.
Please note that these are not the same as a column defect. A column defect is a column with pixel values that are always saturated i.e. 65000 ADU counts. Unfortunately these can not be corrected by dark frames. If your camera develops a column defect please send an uncalibrated dark frame to our support team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Which sensor grades are used on your cameras?
The Sony sensors (with the exception of engineering samples) are not graded, so all the Sony sensors we use are the highest and only grade commercially available. The sensor in the Atik 4000 comes in a single commercial grade and is specified as having no column defects. The KAI11002 used in the Atik 11000 comes in grade I and II types. We fit a grade II sensor as standard as we find the premium price placed on the grade I sensor is not justified when the camera is to be used for astroimaging. In short, this is because Kodak's grading system uses a test where the sensors are run at a high frame rate and high temperature. As our cameras are cooled, these tests become an unreliable indicator of astroimaging performance. We've performed our own tests found no benefit in image quality from using the expensive grade I sensors over the grade II. This means we can provide you with a premium sensor at the best possible price.
How much cooling should I use?
Cooling the CCD will decrease the the number of hot pixels and the thermal signal generally, but the exact amount of cooling will depend on your own requirements. If you are using standard dark frames, these should be taken at the same temperature as the the imaging frames. This means it's worth imaging at 5 to 10 degrees above the minimum the camera can achieve to ensure you can get corresponding calibration frames when imaging across a number of nights. However, if you are using dithering or defect mapping to calibrate your images it better to set the camera to maximum cooling by entering a set point below which the camera can achieve. This will give you the best quality of data.
Why are the colours strange when I de-Bayer an image?
To de-Bayer an image correctly, the software needs to know which Bayer matrix the camera is using and the colour of the first pixel. This information is automatically generated within Atik software (Capture, ArtemisRGB and Dawn). There is, however, no accepted way to pass this information to 3rd party software, so manual entry of the matrix type and offset are required. The Matrix type is RGB (sometimes called RGGB or RGBG) and the offsets in x and y have to be found by deduction. Each value will either be 0 or 1. Two of the four possibilities will produce a strange magenta image while the other incorrect option will have red and blue swapped. Once found, the correct settings should always work with that software - so make a note! It's worth noting that colour cameras work best with an IR blocking filter. This will give images with stronger colour and more saturation.
Why is the image from my colour camera monochrome (black & white)?
Colour cameras have individual red, green or blue filters over each pixel in a pattern called a Bayer matrix. This allows software to generate a colour image using a process known as ‘de-Bayering’. This process only works when the image is taken with a cameras native resolution (1x1 binning). Any higher binning will combine pixels of different colours which destroys the colour information and leaves you with a monochrome image.
Do you support OSX, Android, Linux, DOS?
Atik only maintain the software and drivers that we provide for Windows. Linux and MacOS are supported by 3rd part developers including TheSkyX by Software Bisque
, Nebulosity by Stark Labs
and Cloud Makers
. Please check their specifications for compatibility. We do have experience of helping OEM customers develop for other platforms.
My images are coming out completely black, what could be the cause?
Ironically, it's likely that the camera is receiving too much light. If the sensor is saturated while imaging during the day or while pointed at the moon the software may be displaying the image as all black. You can check the pixel values to see if they really are all zero (actually black) or 65000 which will confirm you have a saturated image.
How do I contact technical support?
Where can I share images I have taken with my Atik Camera?
Lots of Forums and Magazines publish astronomical pictures. The Atik Camera forums
and Stargazers Lounge
are good places to start. We'll soon be opening our 2015 Competition to submissions, all of which are displayed in our gallery
and across our website and we also select a small number of images to feature on our Facebook page. You can also upload your images (or links to them) on Twitter - if you do, be sure mention us @AtikCameras and we'll be sure to retweet you!