Those of you on our email list will have already received the news, but for those of you who haven’t, we’d like to introduce you to the Atik Infinity – our first camera dedicated to video astronomy.
Development is currently in the final testing stages, but after a successful first light, we thought it’s about time we let you in on what this camera can do.
It features the same incredible Sony ICX825 sensor with EXview HAD CCD II™ technology as the Atik 414EX for outstanding sensitivity and low noise, but uses custom control electronics engineered for optimum near-live view display. This combination brings the wonders of the deep sky closer to the observer than ever, making objects that would normally be too faint for an eyepiece appear in outstanding detail.
Why video astronomy?
It’s always been our goal to make astrophotography accessible to as many people as possible, bringing quality without compromise to the novice and professional alike. We also believe in the power of astrophotography to provide incredible insights into the night-sky that just aren’t possible with visual observation.
But we also recognise that a lot of people want to see the wonders of the deep sky without the long exposures and post-processing involved with astrophotography. The Infinity makes these objects observable in near real-time, and allows this experience to be shared with family and friends.
Although objects in our solar system can be observed using webcams, deep sky video astronomy still faces a number of challenges, from the detection of incredibly faint signals to reducing background noise. We’ve taken our experience of meeting these challenges in astrophotography and adapted them for video astronomy.
As well as seeing objects too faint for an eyepiece, a huge benefit of video astronomy is that it can show you those objects in colour. We’ll be releasing the Infinity with the option of either a mono or a one-shot colour sensor. Mono is ideal for those whose ultimate priority is sensitivity, while the OSC option allows you to see colours that the human eye alone isn’t sensitive enough to detect.
A New Design
This is a very different type of camera for us. It still features a standard 12V power requirement and USB connection, but we’ve moved to a slim rectangular design to keep the body close to the scope. The Infinity also features an ST4 guider port so it can double up as a high-end guide camera.
Another notable different with the Infinity is that it is uncooled. The thermal noise from the ICX825 sensor is so low at short exposures that it can be successfully managed through our custom control software.
To get the absolute best performance from the Infinity, we’ve created a custom software application designed and optimised specifically for video astronomy. Our favourite features include continuous live-stacking, intelligent histogram function and mode selection to switch easily between finding and viewing objects.
We’re still in the process of testing the camera and developing our software, but we’ll be releasing the results of our initial sessions with the Infinity over the coming weeks so you can see first-hand why we’re so excited about it.
The Atik Infinity will go on sale this Autumn.