By Patrick Martinez

High-performance charged-couple machine (CCD) cameras have spread out a thrilling new window at the Universe for newbie astronomers. This e-book offers a whole, self-contained consultant to selecting and utilizing CCD cameras. starting with a no-nonsense creation to CCD cameras, the authors clarify what determines digicam functionality and display tips on how to use a CCD digicam and appropriately calibrate the photographs got. The booklet additionally provides a transparent evaluation of the software program on hand for visualizing, interpreting and processing electronic photos. eventually, the authors navigate a chain of key parts in astronomy the place astronomers could make the simplest use of CCD cameras. this convenient quantity is filled with functional advice. It offers a transparent advent to CCD astronomy for newbies and an imperative reference for more matured beginner astronomers.

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One must always compare this capacity with the noise value (the random fluctuation around the average signal level) of the provided image. For example, an array whose pixels contain 100 000 electrons with a noise of 10 electrons has the same dynamic range as an array whose pixels contain 500 000 electrons but with a noise of 50 electrons. Note that in these two cases the image's dynamic range is 10 000, which is excellent compared to the performance of 18 CCD EQUIPMENT FOR ASTRONOMY photographic films.

Binning consists in adding the electric charges contained in several neighboring photosensors; all of these photosensors, therefore, are considered to be a single image pixel which received all of the light detected by the photosensors. Binning could take different geometric shapes: for example, 2X2, which means a grouping of 4 adjacent photosensors to create one pixel: the lines are added two by two and then the resulting pixels from each line themselves are added two by two. We can also find binnings of 3 X 3, 1X10, etc.

Firstly, it assumes two consecutive digitalizations per pixel; unfortunately, the digitizer is, in general, the slowest circuit in the electronic system. The result could be a long read time for each pixel. Also, the digitizing is always blemished by a rounding error, and the act of digitizing twice to produce a subtraction increases this rounding error. Another solution consists in memorizing the first stage's value in a 'sampler holder' circuit, and while the second stage occurs, the subtraction is made between the value of the second stage and the memorized value of the first in a differential amplifier; all that is left to do is digitize the difference.

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