Although it is summer here in the UK (or so we are told), it has been all systems go at Atik Cameras with the manufacture and supply of cameras ready for when observing conditions improve. Apart from the usual interest in the ever-popular Atik 314L+ there has been a great deal of demand for the new Atik 4-series cameras, so we are looking forward to seeing some great images from these in the months ahead.
We have also been busy developing new products, together with new systems for streamlining our production process. Since the previous edition of the newsletter our UK base has moved – only about twenty metres, but into a new unit which provides better facilities for our development, repair and dispatch activities. Read on for reports on some astronomy and other trade shows that we have attended, together with details of the outcome of the Atik 2011-2012 imaging competition.
I know that some of our readers will be interested to learn that efforts are under way to support Atik cameras on Apple computers. This work is being undertaken by members of the AOSX project, the aim of which is to provide compatibility between astronomical equipment and software on Apple computers in much the way that ASCOM does for Windows. While I am on the subject of different operating systems, we are also developing software to support Atik cameras under linux, a process in which we have been helped by members of the wxAstroCapture project.
April and the beginning of May were a bit of a blur as we attended several events. To warm up I attended Analytica, a major biennial trade show for laboratory equipment which is held in Munich. We have a few customers here who use our cameras in their equipment for such diverse tasks as explosives detection and drug development. Then it was on to the Kelling Spring Star Party in the UK. This is always a good, friendly, family-orientated get-together. This year the Atik stand was hosted by Vince and his daughter Zoë, aided by my wife Tracey, our kids Fay and Eric, and myself. Kelling star parties have been remarkably blessed by good weather in recent years. However, the weather in the UK has been bad for the last few months and the Kelling weekend, while better than average for the year so far, did suffer a few rain showers. Despite this there were lots of new faces, and it is great to see that the popularisation of astronomy through the media appears to be generating lots of interest in the UK.
After returning from NEAIC and NEAF in the USA (see below), Rui and I headed for Essen in Germany for the ATT show. This is a rather bizarre collection of bric-a-brac stalls amongst those from high-end astronomy equipment manufacturers, and is all the better for this diversity. Once again, numbers may have been slightly depressed due to the weather but this was not a wholly bad thing as the main hall can be uncomfortably crowded when it gets busy. The new Atik 428ex and Atik 460ex cameras were causing a buzz around our stall. Not far away the Avalon mount stand was also generating lots of interest with their innovative belt drive system. Once again thanks to everyone who found the time to have a chat with us at these shows. We now have a break for a month or two, however expect to see a new member of the Atik road-show attending the South West Astronomy Fair (UK) in August. We don’t let Roger out often so I’m sure it will be interesting to read what he makes of it all in the next newsletter.
NEAIC and NEAF
Once again, Atik attended the biggest astronomy event in the USA! First we had NEAIC, where multiple conferences on different astroimaging subjects delighted the days, and where we had the pleasure to chat with some of the world’s finest astrophotographers.
And then, of course, it was on to NEAF. This needs no introductions whatsoever, and it keeps getting better! Several dozen booths were visited by several thousand people over two days, with plenty of sunshine for a change; people at the solar party were very happy! Rui and Steve had the pleasure of introducing the Series 4 cameras to the US customers, with emphasis on the newer Atik 428ex and Atik 460ex models. The most common question that we were asked? “When can I have mine?” 🙂
The Atik 2011/2012 Imaging Competition
The quality of this year’s competition entries has been outstanding. Interestingly, this is the first time that the category III entries (large format) have outnumbered those from category II, a reflection of the influence that the Atik 383L+ camera is having. However it was our older style cameras that secured the runners-up positions.
After counting the 500 votes cast it’s my pleasure to announce the winners:
Runners-up prizes go to…
Kostas Stavropoulos for his picture of M13 taken with an Atik 16IC
and Vlad Niculescu for his M33 picture taken with an Artemis 285
And the winner is…
Leonardo Orazi and his picture of vdB149 taken with an Atik383L+.
The runners-up have chosen off-axis guiders, and Leonardo has an Atik 428ex on its
way to him.
I am sure we will do it all again in a few months so start grabbing some summer
nebulae and you never know…
Here is Leonardo Orazi’s prize-winning image of vdB149 taken with an Atik 383L+.
I hope you have enjoyed reading the newsletter. If you wish to receive future copies by email, or if you have any comments, please send me an email.
With best wishes from all of us at Atik Cameras.