The Moravian Instruments C1-3000 Monochrome CMOS can be used for both guiding and imaging.
It's sensor is ideal for imaging the Moon, planets and bright deep-sky objects or use as a guide camera. The C1 series CMOS cameras were designed to be small, lightweight imagers for Moon and planets and for automatic telescope guiding. With proper image calibration, C1 cameras provide surprisingly good results for entry-level deep-sky imaging. The CMOS sensors used have response to light that is linear up to very close to the saturation point, so, C1 cameras can be used for scientific applications like variable star research
C1 cameras are capable of very short exposures. The shortest exposure time is 125 μs (1/8000 of second). This is also the step, by which the exposure time is expressed. So, the second shortest exposure is 250 μs etc. Long exposure timing is controlled by the host PC and there is no upper limit on exposure time. In reality the longest exposures are limited by saturation of the sensor either by incoming light of by dark current (see the following sub-chapter). The sensor response to light is perfectly linear. This means the camera can be used also for entry-level research projects, like for instance photometry or brighter variable stars etc.
Sensor Cooling Dark current is an inherent feature of all silicone circuits. It is called “dark”, because it is generated regardless if the sensor is exposed to light or not. Dark current, injected into individual pixels, appear in images as noise. The longer exposure, the greater amount of noise is present in every image. As it is generated by random movement of particles, it depends on the temperature exponentially (this is why the noise generated by dark current is also denoted “thermal noise”). Typically, lowering the sensor temperature by 6 or 7 °C halves the dark current. While the C1-3000 is not equipped with active thermo-electric (Peltier) cooling, it is still equipped with a small fan, exchanging the air inside the camera body. What's more, a small heat sink is located directly on the sensor to remove as much heat as possible. So, although the C1-3000 cannot be cooled below the ambient temperature, its temperature is kept as close to environment as possible. Compared to closed designs, the sensor temperature in the C1-3000 camera can be up to 10°C lower and the resulting dark current may be less than half. The cooling air intake is on the left side of the camera, while the output vents are on the opposite side. The fan operation can be controlled from the software. Moravian's SIPS software directly offers a slider control for the fan in the “Cooling” tab of the main camera control tool window. Camera drivers for other software must rely on driver configuration dialog box to control fan. With the fan off, sensor temperature quickly rises more than 10 °C above ambient. Turning the fan on lowers the temperature by 5 °C or more.
This compact and robust camera head measures only 57 × 57 × 48 mm not including the CS-mount lens adapter. With a standard CS-mount adapter, camera depth increases to 54.4 mm. The C1 camera Back Focal Distance is 12.5 mm, which makes it compatible with a vast number CS-mount compatible CCTV lenses. If a C-mount lens has to be used (with 17.5 mm Back Focal Distance), a simple 5 mm thick adapter ring can be used.
It is also possible to use the C1 with Nikon and Canon DSLR lenses through the use of C Mount adapters.
The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B 3.0 (device) connector and standard 6-pin “autoguider” connector.
Developed and manufactured in Europe to highest standards.
Sensor: Sony IMX252 Monochrome CMOS
Resolution: 2064 x 1544 pixels
Pixel Size: 3.45 x 3.45 µm
Imaging Area: 7.12 x 5.33 mm
Download time: appr. 0.05s with USB3.0
Cooling: passive fan cooling
Head dimensions 57 mm × 57 mm × 54.4 mm (including lens adapter)
Back focal distance 12.5 mm (CS-mount compatible)
Camera head weight 215 g
Telescope/lens adapter C-to-1.25” barrel adapter, compatible with standard 1.25” eyepieces, is included into camera package.
So, the C1 camera can be easily mounted into virtually every astronomical telescope instead of an eyepiece.
Note: If the C1 camera should be used with a Moravian OAG for cooled Cx or Gx cameras, a short 10 mm C-to-1.25” barrel adapter has to be used. This adapter, shipped with the respective Moravian OAG, is fully compatible with C1 camera.
Tripod and metric threads. The C1 camera bottom contains standard 1/4" (tripod) thread and 4 metric M3 threaded holes.
First light images - See above the very first prototype of a C1-3000 camera was used by renowned astro-photographer Martin Myslivec. He used the Borg 77ED refractor telescope on the EQ6 mount to capture several unguided exposures. Despite the fact Martin is a highly skilled and experienced astro-photographer, the performance of C1 camera is very good also for deep-sky imaging. The M31 Great Andromeda galaxy is a stack of 197 exposures 20 s long (approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes of total exposure time). No image processing was performed beside individual frame calibration and slightly non-linear stretching. The M42 Great Orion nebula image was combined from two sets of exposures (kind of HDR image processing). Faint nebulosity, far from the image center, was acquired using 100 exposures 20 s long (approximately 33 minutes of total exposure time). The very bright central part of the nebula was captured with only 2 s long exposures (again 100 of them), which leads to approximately 3 minutes of total exposure time. The very short exposures allowed to perfectly capture the 4 central stars (called Trapezium) without over-exposing them. The image of M45 Pleiades is a combination of 218 exposures 20 s long (approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes of total exposure time). Again, no image processing was performed, only the calibration and slight non-linearly stretch was performed.