Oceanside, CA, September 15, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- OPT is pleased to announce an exciting new camera for the astronomy imaging community. This new camera, the SBIG ST4000XCM Color CCD Camera
, has been announced at an incredible price of $3395. This same sensor is featured in the STL-Series camera, the STL-4020M for $5995. Astronomy imagers can now get this same sensor in the ST-Series body for approximately half the cost of the larger camera.
The SBIG ST-4000XCM is a special limited addition to the "ST" line of self-guiding CCD cameras. The ST-4000XCM CCD camera uses a large, 4.2 megapixel KAI-4020CM color CCD previously available only in an SBIG STL-series camera body. This CCD has 2048 x 2048 pixels at 7.4 microns square. This is the same size CCD used in the STL-4020 camera. The 7.4 mm square pixels with microlenses provide high sensitivity. The vertical overflow drain structure provides antiblooming protection, and enables electronic shuttering for precise exposure control to 0.001 seconds. Other features include low read noise, low dark current, negligible lag and low smear. This CCD uses a high gain output amplifier that reduces the read noise by almost half compared to previous versions. Our preliminary tests of this CCD installed in prototype ST camera body exhibits a read noise of less than 8e- rms and a dark current of less than 0.1e- at 0 degrees C. The KAI-4020CM CCD is a progressive scan detector with an active image area of 15.2 x 15.2 mm.
This generous 4.2 Megapixel CCD is twice the size as the KAI-2020CM used in the ST-2000XCM camera. It is approximately 50% larger than the KAF-3200ME CCD used in the ST-10XME. With a diagonal measurement of ~21.5mm, it is the largest CCD currently available in the ST series camera body. Because of the size of the sensor package, this camera is only available in single-shot color in the ST body, without filter wheel. For monochrome with 2" filters, there is no significant savings over the STL model that includes a 2" filter wheel. SBIG has made a special buy of CCDs for this camera and the low price we are offering on the ST-4000XCM is limited by the supply of CCDs we have on hand. It is a substantial supply, but once they are gone this special will end.
The ST-4000XCM camera comes with a built-in, custom designed, MAR coated, UV+IR blocking filter for optimum color balance in astronomical imaging and improved performance with camera lenses and short fast refractors. The characteristics of this custom filter are essentially the same as the separate Baader UV+IR blocking filter ("Luminance Filter") that we include with other single-shot color cameras. Since no external UV/IR blocking filter is required, using a camera lens is a simple matter of attaching a lens adapter. The built-in UV+IR filter helps shape the red cut-off but does not significantly attenuate the important wavelengths of H-alpha and [SII]. The UV+IR filter has better than 97% transmission at H-alpha. Additionally, the transmission curves of the RGB filters on the CCD itself happen to place the mostly unwanted wavelength of Sodium light pollution in the minimum gap between the red and green filters while passing H-alpha and [SII]. The peak red transmission is around 525nm. By way of comparison, typical unmodified DSLR cameras tend to have peak red transmission around 600nm with a significant fall off at H-alpha and almost no response to [SII]. This means that the DSLR is roughly twice as sensitive to Sodium light pollution as it is to H-alpha. The opposite is true for the ST-4000XCM where the curve of the red filter attenuates the Sodium line and transmits twice as much light near H-alpha.
ST-4000XCM supports the optional Remote Guiding Head and is fully compatible with the new AO-8 Adaptive Optics accessory. It has the standard ST camera heat exchanger with water cooling capability. With both a mechanical and electronic shutter, the ST-4000XCM can automatically take dark frames as needed with exposure times from 0.001 seconds to 1 hour. Self-guiding is possible with either the built-in TC-237H CCD or the optional Remote Guide Head with external TC-237H CCD.
About OPT - OPT is one of the leading retailers of astronomy telescopes and telescope accessories worldwide. OPT has served the astronomy community since 1947 and offers extensive product knowledge and customer service.