Atik One 6.0 CCD camera.
A built-in filter wheel completes a package likely to tempt those looking to upgrade
Monochrome CCD cameras are a very popular choice for astro imagers as they provide a sensor that can be used in conjunction with a wide range of filters, which means you can capture all kinds of details in deep-sky objects. Normally, the filters need to be housed in an external filter wheel, but the Atik One 6.0 dispenses with this by incorporating an automated wheel within its casing. It is a very elegant solution.
To produce a colour image using a mono CCD camera, it is necessary to take a minimum of three sets of images: one with a red filter, one with a green filter and one with a blue filter. Combining these images produces an RGB colour image.
It is common to capture a fourth set of images at longer exposures using a ‘luminance’ filter to collect the structural detail at all wavelengths. This luminance data is then overlaid with shorterexposure colour data to produce an LRGB colour image. While this is fine in theory, manually replacing each filter in turn is fraught with difficulty, so it is an absolute joy to have a built-in filter wheel that rotates to present each filter to the sensor in turn, under software control.
The Atik One is very compact, measuring just 120mm square by 58mm deep, and its attractive finish and chamfered corners give it a solid, quality feel. Included in the printed retail box are a multiproduct installation manual, CD of software and drivers, 12V cigar lighter cable, USB cable, 2-inch nosepiece, Allen keys and a tool to insert filters into the internal filter wheel. The power cable’s plug connects with a reassuring click – there is no need to worry about it becoming dislodged mid-session.
A matter of control
Installing the software and drivers was very straightforward. We tested the camera with both the simple but excellent Artemis Capture software supplied on the CD and our own version of MaxIm DL. Drivers specific to MaxIm DL, CCDSoft and AstroArt are included on the CD. However, the filter wheel itself can only be controlled using ASCOM when using any of the above programs. As such, we exclusively used ASCOM to control both the camera and filter wheel during the review.
Although Sony CCD sensors are renowned for their low thermal noise, it is still necessary to keep them cool. We set the cooling temperature to 20°C below ambient; with an air temperature at 12°C, it took just two minutes and 45 seconds to reach our goal temperature. Test images captured both before and after cooling confirmed that it was working well. There were no column defects visible in our