Don't settle for less!
UPDATE 02.03.2018: We have underestimated the increased demand for the QHY 5-III-462C CMOS Camera (#1931026, € 365,55) . The camera is now available in sufficient quantities.
The new QHY5III 462C - a RGB single shot color camera with high quantum efficiency and high sensitivity in the near infrared spectral range at an attractive price
The QHY 5-III-462C CMOS Camera (#1931026, € 365,55) is actually two CMOS-cameras in one camera body. With it you can take normal single shot color images of the planets of the solar system, as well as of sun and moon. Due to the extremely low readout noise, RGB images of brighter DeepSky objects can be captured with the Lucky Imaging technique at shorter exposure times, too.
Due to the high quantum efficiency of the sensor (see also curve of spectral sensitivity in near infrared (NIR)), monochrome images of astronomical objects in this spectral range can also be acquired. This also includes images in the methane band at 880 nanometers.
This makes the QHY 5-III-462C CMOS Camera (#1931026, € 365,55) very interesting, because the infrared spectral range includes the methane band at a wavelength of 880 nanometers. Due to the high quantum efficiency of the sensor, together with the Baader Methane-Filter 1¼" (889nm, 8nm) (#2458295, € 219,33) , spectacular images of the outer gaseous planets can now be taken even with moderat
Another field of infrared photography covers DeepSky Lucky Imaging of brighter, very young open star clusters with short exposure times. Their young stars often still "hide" in the surrounding H-II hydrogen nebulae, because the light of the H-II emission often overshines these stars, which glow mainly in near infrared light. The IR band-pass filter blocks the light of the H-alpha emission at 656.28 nanometers and makes the young stars stand out more clearly.
An example in the northern sky is the large open star cluster in the center of the Orion Nebula (see image above), whose stars in the near IR range are also visible to amateur astronomers.
Another example of the possibilities offered by the QHY5III-462C is the image of Messier 17, the Omega Nebula. In this example a monochrome image taken in the continuum was combined with an image in the NIR range (800 - 1000nm). The continuum image was coded green and the NIR image was coded red.
All red image details mainly radiate in the infrared spectral range beyond 780 nanometers. Green image details mainly radiate in the continuum. The example clearly shows in which regions of M17 active star formation takes place.
Note on the NIR sample images "Center of the Orion Nebula" and "M17 - the Omega Nebula":
The image of the Orion Nebula and the NIR part of M17 were taken long time ago with a SBIG ST-8 CCD camera. The sensor used at that time was sensitive in the NIR up to about 1100nm, but only with a QE around 10%. They only give examples and suggestions what is "realizable" with the QHY 462C in the NIR range.
In the near IR spectral range it is also possible to "look into" the edges of dark clouds and young stars become visible which remain invisible in the RGB spectral range. Objects for such experiments would be, for example, the dark clouds in the constellation Aquila in the northern sky. In the southern sky there are dozens of interesting objects for both star clusters and dark clouds. The sensor size of 1920 x 1080 pixels at a medium focal lengths is large enough to photograph such objects.
To call the QHY5III-462C THE new ultimate CMOS camera might be a bit exaggerated. But with the possibility to capture images both in RGB mode or in near infrared - especially at its attractive price - makes this camera one of the most interesting products for amateur astronomy in 2020. Further highlights of the camera are its raw images with extremely low noise (<1e-) at high gain and the high frame rate in download. It should also be mentioned that the QHY5III-462C can of course also be used as a pure guiding camera for tracking with the international SBIG ST4 compatible 6-pin RJ11 interface.
About the author
Wolfgang Paech has been practicing astronomy for more than 50 years. In addition to his many experiences with observatory domes of all kinds, his core areas are the Sun and the Moon. On the german Website www.chamaeleon-observatory-onjala.de you will find a complete moon atlas, recorded with his standard technique. But even in terms of Deep-Sky and Planetary imaging, as a veteran astrophotographer for many years, nobody can fool him.
The 50+ years of amateur astronomy with many other areas, such as the restoration of historical amateur telescopes, polar light trips and much more are prepared on his private german website at www.astrotech-hannover.de.View all posts from