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The 600 (discontinued - see 1100 Series cameras) and 1100 Seriescameras are well suited for the long exposures and faint light signals that astronomers typically encounter. Extremely low dark current levels must be provided for exposures that can last for many minutes to hours at a time. Spectral Instruments cryo-cooled CCD cameras can image for up to thirty minutes before a single electron of dark current is generated per pixel. Cameras made for imaging astronomical objects are individually optimized to ensure the maximum dynamic range of a CCD and the lowest noise possible are realized. Shown to the right is a picture of the Andromeda galaxy and an image of the Trifid Nebula from one of our cameras featured on the June 30th Astronomy Picture of the Day
The Catalina Sky Survey uses Spectral Instruments cameras and has been responsible for the identification of most of the new objects found in our solar system since its inception. The survey allows other astronomers to analyze their data and make additional discoveries as well including the recent identification of a galaxy likely to contain a binary black hole system which may merge in the ‘near’ future.
The Super-LOTIS telescope has used a Spectral Instruments 800 series since 2005 to observe transients in other galaxies. Super-LOTIS is a fully-robotic 60cm telescope located on Kitt Peak and run by the University of Arizona. The camera is thermo-electrically cooled, paired with a chiller to run 250+ nights a year without direct monitoring. Originally dedicated to gamma-ray burst (GRB) foillow-ups, super-LOTIS now follows all types of transients, including thermonuclear and core collapse supernovae, novae and flaring massive stars. A listing of recent publications from that work can be found on the super-LOTIS website. As a fully robotic telescope, the Spectral Instruments camera has been subjected to a wide range of harsh conditions, including dust/smoke, snow flurries, water dripping on from the interior of the roof, light rain and even a lightning strike. Despite all these factors, the camera continues to operate nominally, requiring a small number of repairs. Other universities with similar robotic systems have complemented the image quality of the super-LOTIS system and we have been quite happy with the reliable performance of our Spectral Instruments camera with a specialized LINUX driver.
Monitoring Circadian Rhythms
X-ray Micro Computerized Tomography
The 1100 Series camera lends itself very well to x-ray micro computerized tomography (CT). Micro CT differentiates itself from the medical version of X-ray CT by its ability to see detail at much smaller scales. Extremely long exposure times are necessary to get a large enough contrast ratio out of the x-ray attenuation from the density or compositional ch anges of the object in space. Objects are imaged at various angles with x-ray radiation to get a three-dimensional picture of the interior structure of the object. Dr. Graham Davis is using our cameras to develop a new Micro CT system capable of reading ancient scrolls without opening them (shown at left). The camera can see the iron used in the dyes of the inks used to write on this ancient text. After applying some software algorithms to the scroll, it will be able to be laid flat so the writing can be seen without ever having to open and potentially damage the valuable object
More information can be found at: http://apocalypto.org.uk/.
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