Atik Horizon CMOS Update

By Jo on

Over the last month we’ve been receiving valuable feedback from our BETA Testers about our new Atik Horizon camera. We’re now moving towards an anticipated full release of the camera next month. So, while we continue to improve the performance of our drivers and iron out any last queries, we thought you might like to see this:

IC 1396 – Steve Chambers
Taken with an Atik Horizon mono on a Takahashi CCA
7x5min exposures each in Ha, OIII, SII, Gain 31
Taken during a nearly full moon near Norwich, UK

As we’ve talked about before, there are a number of key differences between CMOS and CCD sensors. It’s been interesting experimenting with the gain on the new Horizon camera. We’re trialling expressing gain as a multiplier rather than as dB to see if this makes using it easier.

Steve took this image at Gain x31. High gain settings mean lower full well capacity and dynamic range, but provide higher sensitivity and lower read noise. This makes it well suited to narrow band imaging, as can be seen in the image above.

Infinity on the Horizon

We also had a chance to test the Horizon with our Infinity software at Kelling Heath Star Party at the end of last month. The field of view given by the camera on a SKY-90 was impressive. We observed the whole of M31 in near-real time, and marvelled at the star field surrounding M13.

Making the Horizon compatible with Infinity has posed some interesting challenges. The incredibly fast read speed of the CMOS sensor would appear to make it perfect for Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA). However, the large 16MP images take a good chunk of processing, so updating them in as close to real time as possible has been one of the key things we’ve been looking to improve.

As we mentioned, since announcing the initial specifications, our projected launch date has been pushed back a little into next month. We expect the additional stability this has allowed us to build in will be well worth the wait.