Cameras for Astronomy: from high time resolution sCMOS and EMCCD cameras to slow scan CCDs
We are pleased to announce our partnership with Oxford Instruments to offer the high end camera brand ANDOR Technology. This is primarily in response to requests from scientific institutes to integrate these high-quality special cameras into telescope systems and observation stations.
Andor Technology - an Oxford Instruments company - has achieved a special position in the development of cameras for very special applications in science and research in recent years. The performance of the models offered under the ANDOR brand name goes well beyond conventional limits. Exceptional quantum efficiencies of over 90% over a wide wavelength range are standard here. The sensors are in vacuum housings, which allows thermoelectric cooling down to -100°C (absolute sensor temperature). In combination with the special readout electronics of the cameras an extremely low readout noise is achieved.
The CCD models are particularly suitable for low-light applications and are also ideal for measurements requiring long exposure times. Such measurements also benefit from the extremely low dark current of this camera series.
Andor's scientific CMOS cameras (sCMOS) represent a breakthrough technology based on the design and manufacturing techniques of the next generation of CMOS image sensors (CIS). Their unique characteristics make them ideal camera solutions for various applications in physics and astronomy.
Andor cameras are already used in many well-known observatories, e.g. in the flying observatory SOFIA, to discover and characterize e.g. exoplanets with highest efficiency, or to produce images with highest detail sharpness with Lucky Imaging.
Despite the comparably high prices, it certainly makes sense for some smaller research projects or even amateur astronomers to take a closer look at the ANDOR camera range. Finally, the special features of these cameras (e.g.: high QE, low readout noise, low dark current, sensor in vacuum housing) allow to further exploit the performance of existing instruments. Thus, the time needed to perform astronomical observations can be used more efficiently.
Case Study: Testing an ANDOR Marana sCMOS Camera on an High End amateur telescope on La Palma
A first experiment with an ANDOR camera on a high end amateur telescope took place in July 2020 on La Palma, in cooperation with the well-known astrophotographer Christoph Kaltseis. It turned out that due to the sensitivity and the clean signal of the ANDOR cameras, excellent images can be obtained in a significantly reduced time. Surely the potential of the ANDOR Marana was used only rudimentarily in this test. Resourceful amateurs will in future explore the interaction of smaller telescopes and ANDOR cameras even further and achieve previously unattained results.