Atik One 6.0 CCD cam­era.

A built-in fil­ter wheel com­pletes a pack­age likely to tempt those look­ing to up­grade

Sky at Night Magazine - - IN THE MAGAZINE - WORDS: STEVE RICHARDS

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

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