AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Is sCMOS Really sCMAS? (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 1 (2019)

Gary Walker
114 Cove Road, West Dennis, NH 02670; bailyhill14@gmail.com

Abstract

(Abstract only) The world of Astro Imaging has seen several technology changes. The author has experienced Tri-X film, push processing, Fuji 400, hyper sensitizing, CCD monochrome, colored filters, and now sCMOS. Many CCD chip manufacturers have shut down their factories—many to make space for new CMOS fabrication lines. Leveraging from the computer chip industry fabrication technology, CMOS chips offer small pixels, high speed, low noise, high dynamic range, and most important, lower cost. While this works well for DSLRs, cell phone cameras, security cameras, and machine vision applications, how does this affect Astro Imaging? At the 2016 NEAIC, the word from vendors was that for the point and stare application of long exposures common to astronomy, the CCD was still the detector of choice. The evolution of the CMOS technology may have closed the gap. The author investigates how CMOS can best be used for the point and stare applications that Astro Imagers need.