A Practical Guide to CCD Astronomy (Practical Astronomy by Patrick Martinez

By Patrick Martinez

High-performance charged-couple equipment (CCD) cameras have spread out an exhilarating new window at the Universe for newbie astronomers. This booklet offers an entire, self-contained advisor to picking and utilizing CCD cameras. starting with a no-nonsense creation to CCD cameras, the authors clarify what determines digital camera functionality and display find out how to use a CCD digicam and safely calibrate the pictures got. The booklet additionally offers a transparent evaluation of the software program on hand for visualizing, interpreting and processing electronic photos. ultimately, the authors navigate a sequence of key components in astronomy the place astronomers could make the easiest use of CCD cameras. this useful quantity is jam-packed with sensible assistance. It presents a transparent advent to CCD astronomy for newbies and an quintessential reference for more matured novice astronomers.

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28 represents a possible compromise: the card inserted into the computer only contains input-output circuits; the printed circuit placed in the camera head only supports the CCD, the filtering circuit of the continuous component, and a pre-amplifier. An electronics casing, placed a few dozen centimeters away from the camera body, contains a clock timing and a video signal treatment card (amplifying, filtering, sampling, and conversion). The computer, therefore, can be located at some distance from the electronics casing, but a large number of cables would have to be connected between them.

A minimum time per pixel can equally be imposed by the reading electronics (band width of filters and amplifiers, delays in conversion); this time can be more than 20 |JLS and possibly reach 50 |xs. The 7895 Thomson array we are using as an example contains 512 lines of 512 pixels, or a total of 262 144 pixels. In taking 20 |xs per pixel, we come to a read time of 5 to 6 seconds for the complete image. This time is negligible if we are reading a faint object exposed for 10 minutes; but it would be penalizing for some work, for example, during the focusing on bright stars.

Pixel capacity is not the sole criterion of choice for a CCD array. One must always compare this capacity with the noise value (the random fluctuation around the average signal level) of the provided image. For example, an array whose pixels contain 100 000 electrons with a noise of 10 electrons has the same dynamic range as an array whose pixels contain 500 000 electrons but with a noise of 50 electrons. Note that in these two cases the image's dynamic range is 10 000, which is excellent compared to the performance of 18 CCD EQUIPMENT FOR ASTRONOMY photographic films.

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