My camera is no longer being recognised by my computer, what can I do?
We recommend that you switch off both the camera and computer, wait ten seconds, and switch on again. With no other peripherals attached or software running, plug in the USB cable and power connector. The presence of the camera can be checked in Device Manager. All Atik cameras except the GP will be listed under USB devices in Device Manager. The GP will have its own class under Atik Cameras and the EFW2 will be listed under HID devices.
I am seeing occasional horizontal lines in my image, what is causing these?
If you see the occasional horizontal line(s) on your images and the line changes positions in subsequent images, it's indicative that the USB transfer of the image to the computer is being interrupted. This is most commonly due to other programs running on the PC. Try closing all other programs so you are only running Artemis Capture, then add back one program at a time until the program causing the problem becomes apparent. It's also worth checking that an anti-virus scheduled scan isn't taking place as these can also interrupt the USB transfer of the image.
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 cosmic 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 here.
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.
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.
If you're powering the camera from a battery pack, it may be that there isn't enough power for the camera to function fully. This can lead to the appearance that the camera is functioning correctly, but means it's unable to take images. Try recharging the battery pack, or using the camera with a mains power supply to rule this out.
How do I connect my camera to telescope X?
All of our cameras except the Atik 11000 feature standard T threads (M42x0.75) and 1.23 or 2 inch draw tubes. Your telescope vendor will be able to suggest a suitable adaptor should the telescope not come equipped with these as supplied. We recommend that the T thread coupling method is used in preference to the draw tube as it’s less likely to lead to incorrect tilt or collimation. The M54x1 thread used in the OAG, EFW2(50mm) and Atik 11000 is a standard used by many astroimagers and your telescope vendor should be able to suggest suitable adaptors. Alternatively, Precision Parts has experience of joining many different imaging trains together.
What power supply specification do you recommend?
The camera requires a well regulated 12V supply capable of providing at least 2.5A. When choosing a supply, make sure it's suitable to the environment in which it will be used. For example, a power supply suitable for use in an indoor observatory may not be suitable for outdoor field use. The connector is a standard 2.1mm jack plug with centre positive. If a battery is used, please ensure that the lead is fused at 2.5A or less and the correct polarity observed.
What is the maximum voltage that can be used to power the cameras?
The nominal supply voltage required is 12Vdc with an absolute maximum of 13.8V