Astrophotography looking bright for both pros and amateurs

By | Nov 26, 2015 02:11 PM EST
Santilli telescope

One of the latest addition to astrophotography: the Santilli Telescope.

New advancements have been made that will benefit astrophotography in the professional and amateur level. This week, a computerised telescope that can be connected to cameras and television sets started its operation at the New Plymouth Observatory. At the same time, ON Semiconductor has made a new 16.2 megapixel charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensor available to the public.

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These two additions to astrophotography follow the trend of using cameras, not only to behold the beauty of outer space but to use them for discoveries. Most recently, scientists have independently confirmed the first-ever detections of antimatter celestial bodies through the Santilli Telescope.

Created by breakthrough technology leader Thunder Energies Corporation (OTCQB: TNRG), the antimatter telescope features the Canon's camera model EOS 600D with image sensor of type CMOS, and Bayer Filter. As human eyes are not able to see antimatter, the camera was crucial for the detections made. The conversion from analogue to digital allows the storage of raw data or their conversion into visible images in the LCD screen, as well as for storage in said visible format.

Final Frontier Closer

Residents of Taranaki, a region in the west of New Zealand's North Island, will benefit from the installation of a computerised telescope with the capacity of connecting to cameras and television sets. Tagged at about $80,000, the new installation was realized after three years of planning and fundraising.

Nick Gladstone, president of New Plymouth Astronomical Society (NPAS), explained that the project began when the Society had a discussion on an upgrade to a telescope which would enable photography. The existing telescope they had was a little outdated to suit the plan.

"In 1920, it was the best telescope in Taranaki. Now, any astronomer who can afford a small boat can buy a telescope," Gladstone said. He added that the new installation will not only bring a new way to educate people about space, but also present an opportunity to try their hand at astrophotography.

"There's a lot of colour that we don't see with the eye or a camera," NPAS member Leith Robertson said. He has been an astrophotographer for two years and joined the NPAS specifically for the telescope after Gladstone mentioned the project to him one starry night.

A flat screen television that can be connected to the new telescope was also installed in the observatory's lecture room which will allow more people to the observe beauty of the universe at the same time.

"Now we can have 30 to 40 people looking at the same thing rather than one person pressing their eyeball to the telescope," Gladstone said.

In particular, the new telescope was meant to get the youth "interested in the whole space thing" and to give visitors a different experience.

"The plan is to try to create a greater involvement in schools and other organisations," Robertson said.

Expanding Options for Astrophotography

ON Semiconductor has also joined in the advancements in image capture for demanding astrophotography and scientific imaging applications. Its new KAF-16200 CCD image sensor leverages the advanced design and manufacturing capabilities of the company to enable image capture in high resolution and low noise.

The device's Full Frame CCD architecture is top-of-the-line in class image uniformity and dark current. High sensitivity, high dynamic range, and integrated overexposure protection are achieved through the use of 6.0 micrometer (µm) pixels with a transparent gate electrode. Both of CCD and pixels of KAF-16200 are responsible for the exceptional imagery and detail in an APS-H (34.6 mm diagonal) optical format. ON Semiconductor's Image Sensor Group in the Industrial and Security Division is in charge of the new product.

"This new image sensor targets opportunities directly identified by our camera manufacturing customers. The KAF-16200 provides a 2x increase in resolution compared to our current device addressing this segment, without sacrificing the CCD-level image quality required for these applications.  This is another example of ON Semiconductor's ability to leverage a broad technology base to provide the highest quality image sensor devices regardless of the underlying technology," said Herb Erhardt, Vice President and General Manager of the said division.

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