£205.00

Starwave MiniGuider 60 Side-by-Side dovetail bar kit for refractor auto-guiding

Now you can mount your wide field refractor of up to 80mm next to your autoguider unit, whilst keeping the centre of gravity as close to your mount as possible.

This is the ideal kit for someone starting imaging with a refractor up to 80mm. The perfect companion for the Starwave 70ED refractor and the iOptron ZEQ25 mount!

Starwave MiniGuider 60 Side-by-Side dovetail bar kit consists of:

The renouned Altair Astro 60mm Miniguider OTA, with special super-rigid locking focuser for your autoguider.*
Starwave 1.75" (44.45mm) width dovetail clamp to mount your refractor on one side.
The Starwave 200mm 1.75" (44.45mm) width Vixen-format dovetail plate which fits most portable mounts on the market today.
A set of mini guide scope rings with nylon tipped screws to mount on the opposite side of the dovetail bar, with connecting bar, to mount your 60mm Miniguider.
A set of M5 screws and nuts to mount the Miniguider 60 rings, and a set of M6 screws and nuts to mount the Starwave1.75" format clamp.
Features:

Can easily support refractors up to 80mm and will accurately guide up to at least 1000mm focal length without differential flexure.
Keeps your telescopes low and spaced widely enough apart such that the cables and autoguider unit can be adjusted easily without interfering with the main camera, unlike "piggyback setups". This is desirable when imaging with a DSLR enabling it to be easily rotated it when framing the subject. without fouling the autoguider unit.
The centre dovetail bar can be slid from side to side for easy balancing.
The Starwave Vixen-format clamp is strong yet light, with 2x spring loaded 2x steel alignment pins. The CNC machined e-coated knobs feature Teflon washers to stop binding. It also has a 1/4" UNC camera tripod thread on the underside, so you use it to mount your telescope on a camera tripod for casual stargazing, or daytime observation.
The Altair 60mm Miniguider probably needs no introduction. It's widely acclaimed for it's simplicity and accuracy, and is far easier to use than an Off-Axis-Guider (OAG) unit. It doesn't take up space in the imaging train, and require more adapters and calculations, nor does it cause flexure problems, due to it's unique locking focuser, with 3x clamping screws and brass insert. Selecting from a huge field of stars is easy at a very fast F3.75 so you don't need such a sensitive autoguider camera - and what's more, and theres no pickoff prism to intrude into the light-path of your full frame DSLR. Nor does it add flexure to the imaging train, or need to be frequently focused, unlike some cheap OAG units. Simply add your guide camera, set focus, and tighten the locking ring, and that's it. The Miniguider doesn't even need to point in exact the same direction as the main telescope so you can move it around in the (extremely unlikely) event you can't find a bright star.
The Starwave 200mm dovetail bar is strong, solid and more rigid than the cheap extruded rails often offered with guide-scope kits, and will fit the majority of mounts on the market.
* Do not be tempted to buy a finder-scope with a helical focuser for autoguiding. They focuser loses it's focus easily, and they aren't rigid enough for autoguiding due to the play in the helical mechanism. They are OK for eyepieces but not for autoguiding. We researched this thoroughly, and it's why we developed the superb Altair 1.25" locking focuser.

**Price Includes Carriage**

£129.50

Altair heavy Duty Universal Dovetail Saddle Plate System

The USP is a heavy duty saddle plate which is designed to replace the factory clamps on equatorial mounts with a more rigid and precise alternative for imaging or visual use with heavier telescopes. It's not only easier to use, it's also safer and stronger than the factory clamps you get with your mount. The Altair USP is compatible with both the Vixen/Synta-format telescope mounting bars, or the Losmandy-format wider mounting plates. This all-in-one design means you don't have to change clamps for different telescopes, making your mount more compatible.

The USP fits most medium sized equatorial mounts on the market including the iOptron iEQ45, Losmandy G11 and the Skywatcher EQ6, Orion USA Atlas or Skywatcher HEQ5. The Universal Saddle Plate or "USP" is also compatible with the rest of the Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System accessory range.

This is the black anodized version of the Altair USP, and it goes very well with any colour of mounting hardware, including silver and blue.

Altair Heavy Duty USP Features:
Compatible with Losmandy-wide-format dovetail plates, and Vixen-narrow-format doevtail bars. Very precisely machined.
Safe and easy "tip in" saddle lets you place your telescope quickly and easily from the side, while tightening up the clamps with your other hand. This avoids that awkward struggle in the dark, while you try to hold onto a damp slippery telescope, while carefully lining up a saddle plate which will only slide in from the very end. This design feature is now much-copied and is based on feedback and requests from several customers who have nearly dropped their telescopes!
Chamfered and rounded edges make it even easier to get a heavy telescope placed securely, before tightening the clamps with your other hand.
Heavy duty hard anodised star knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip with or without gloves.
The clamp has machined guides for a positive lock.
No sharp edges or poor machining.
The heavy duty spring loaded Stainless Steel M8 threads do not corrode.
Looks great in hard anodised "Altair Blue" to match the rest of the TMS range.
Readily available, and made locally in the UK at our machine shop on HAAS 4 axis CNC milling machines. That means we have complete control over quality.

Altair GPCAM V2 IMX224

The Altair GPCAMV2 IMX224 Colour camera has the sought after Sony Exmor IMX224 CMOS sensor, with high sensitivity, and extremely low read noise. *

It can be used for solar, planetary, lunar “lucky” imaging as well as long exposure deepsky imaging and of course video astronomy. Time-lapse all-sky imaging (with optional meteor lens) is fully supported in the software.

The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide with mounts from all the major manufacturers supporting ST4 format, such as iOptron, Celestron and Skywatcher.

You would be hard-pressed to find a more versatile small-format colour astronomy imaging camera with this price and features.

The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIF .BMP, to mention just a few. The GPCAM supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The IMX224 sensor is extremely sensitive in the IR region (for all pixels not just red!) and can be used very effectively with IR Pass filters such as the Altair Planet Killer series for solar and lunar imaging in mono mode.

What’s different about the GPCAMV2 platform compared to the GPCAM? You’ll notice the GPCAMV2 casing is larger than the GPCAM. This is to house larger electronics boards which support trigger mode and frame buffering as well as to increase the surface area for cooling. The GPCAMV2 platform supports “Trigger Mode” to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for say clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, or for routine changes in gain, exposure time, , re-aligning or refocusing on the object. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long 30 second exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera looping again. The GPCAMV2 also has an improved onboard frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates (to reduce dropped frames) and to increase compatibility with a wider range of PCs. The improved buffers give a more consistent data transfer rate over USB2.0 and USB3.0 buses on laptops and desktop PCs.

Some interesting features of the IMX224 sensor, aside from very low read noise, are a very high response in the red region of the spectrum making the camera very sensitive to red light for solar imaging, also a peak in all channels in the IR region which enables the camera to be used in mono mode, with a consistent response in all channels with an Altair Planet Killer IR Pass filter

A note of typical frame rates

GPCAM V2 IMX224 Colour (with new buffering):

Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus and Hard Drive operating at full bandwidth)*:

8 bit mode:
1280x960 - 25-32fps
640x480 - 70-80fps (ROI)
320x240 - 112-125fps (ROI)

12 bit mode - approx 60% of above.

Technical Specs:

Included in the box:

BASIC Package:
Camera body.
2m High-speed USB2.0 A male to B male cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x 20mm nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front.
CS-Mount adapter with built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".

FULL Package:
Camera body.
2m High-speed USB2.0 A male to B male cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x 20mm nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front.
CS-Mount adapter with built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
2.1mm F1.6 150 degree FOV wide angle Meteor lens and dust caps.
C-Mount 5mm extension adapter for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at cameras.altairastro.com (launches new window)

Sensor & performance specifications:
ALTAIRGP224C: SONY Exmor IMX224 Color CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/3" diagonal 6.09mm
Exposure duration shortest/longest:
Video mode: 0.105ms (0.000105 secs) / 5000ms (5 seconds)
Trigger mode: 0.105 ms (0.000105 secs) / 1000 secs (1 second)
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit modes switchable
Pixel size microns: 3.75x3.75 um
Resolution in pixels: 1280x960
Recording System: Still Image & Video
Region Of Interest (ROI): Supported
Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth):

8 bit mode:
1280x960 - 27fps
640x480 - 72fps
320x240 - 112fps

12 bit mode:
1280x960 - 13.5fps
640x480 - 29fps
320x240 - 39fps

Gain Sensitivity: 2350mv
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter
Read noise: TBC, not provided by sensor manufacturer.

Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap, (Windows DirectShow)
AltairCapture OS support: Win XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
SharpCap is also fully supported and tested with native drivers.
USB Port & Cable: 2.0 USB, 2m cable
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher SynScan GOTO.

Camera Format:
Cooling: Air-Cooled large surface area camera body.
Camera body length: 70 mm total length including CS-Mount and 5mm extension ring;
Weight grams: 70 g (camera net weight)
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 380-650nm wavelength transmission

Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Optical Window is removable to reveal female C-Mount thread
Camera body thread: C/CS-Mount female allows direct attachment of CS-Mount lens or C-Mount lens with 5mm extension.
C-Mount lens adapter: Included, terminates in female thread connecting to camera body.
C-Mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 17.526 mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 12.526 mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
Astro filter thread adapter: Included, 1.25" OD, Female thread
Pushfit Barrel OD: Standard Astro format 1.25” OD eyepiece-barrel
Sensor surface distance from flat end of C-Mount adapter: 17.58 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 20mm 1.25” Astro adapter: 37.58 mm

Operating environment conditions:
Power consumption:
Standby 0.315w
Running 0.875w
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)
Windows PC Hardware Requirements:
Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
Minimum Memory: 2GB or More
USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port
Monitor Display: 17" or Larger

Software delivery: Downloaded online at cameras.altairastro.com and saved to hard drive.

Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

* Read noise is rumored to be 1.5e- or even less, but unconfirmed at time of writing.

£82.95

Altair Pier Adapter - Skywatcher Celestron & iOptron (Multi-Mount)

The new Altair Astro CNC machined aluminium pier adapter is used to secure the following Equatorial mounts to your Altair SkyShed Pier:
Altair Sabre mount
iOptron CEM60
iOptron iEQ45
Skywatcher EQ6 (AKA Orion Atlas)
Skywatcher HEQ5
Skywatcher EQ5
Skywatcher EQ3-2
Celestron CGEM
Celestron CGEM-DX
Celestron CG-5 & CG-4
Generic Chinese EQ5 mounts such as "Astro-5 EQ" mount
Meade LXD75 (due to mount model variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
Several Vixen mounts (due to mount variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
Other mounts: The pier adapter also fits several other mounts including those made by Meade and Vixen Japan, however we request you email us dimensions so we can confirm because there are some variations in these mounts depending on the year of manufacture.

The pier adapter has four recessed holes around the outer perimeter for fastening it to the pier plate in various positions.

The pier adapter is designed to add 32mm height to the mount in order to clear the pier top plate.

4x corrosion resistant stainless steel bolts and nuts are included with your pier adapter for quick and easy installation. The pier adapter is clear silver anodised.

Using the Azimuth (rotation) stop for each type of mount:

You'll notice a "stop bolt" protruding from your equatorial mount field tripod. This is to provide something for the azimuth rotation adjustment screws to push against for fine adjustment, and polar alignment. (Some older CGE and EQ-5 mounts also have a cast metal "nub" which protrudes from the tripod head).

There is an additional threaded hole for the EQ6 azimuth stop bolt which protrudes from the field tripod. If you do not intend on using your mount and tripod in the field very often, you can just unscrew the azimuth stop bolt on your tripod, and screw that into the pre-threaded hole on the adapter.

You can also use your own M8 bolt instead of the bolt from your tripod. This will not affect your mount performance.

Product feature summary:
Transfer your EQ mount from static pier to field tripod in minutes.
CNC machined from solid aluminium, anodised to ensure corrosion protection.
4x corrosion resistant stainless steel nuts & bolts are included.
Fits the Altair/SkyShed 8” Steel Adjustable Pier without any drilling.
The existing hole pattern on Altair Piers is the same as the Meade LX200.
The Altair pier adapter be used on any flat surface with the correct holes, such as a home made pier of your own.
Pleasing to the eye in anodised aluminium, complementing the crisp lines of the laser-cut 8” Altair-SkyShed Pier and the Altair TMS product range.

£74.99

Altair Starwave Vixen to Losmandy Adaptor

**Note Price Includes Shipping Cost**

Convert your Vixen-format mount to the wider 3" Losmandy-format dovetail with this conversion clamp. It fits the following mounts and more:

Skywatcher EQ5, EQ3-2
Vixen GP2, GPD2, SXW, SXD2
iOptron iEQ30
Meade & Celestron mounts with 1.75" dovetail bar
The Starwave Losmandy-format clamp is strong yet light, being spring loaded with 2x steel alignment pins. The 2x CNC machined e-coated knobs have teflon washers to stop binding.

Simply attach the Starwave Vixen to Losmandy Adapter to your Vixen-format mount using the 1.75" Vixen dovetail bar on the underside of the clamp.

The 3" Losmandy-format clamp can be separated from the Vixen-format 1.75" dovetail bar underneath by unfastening the hex bolts, and used separately.

**Note Price Includes Shipping Cost**

£61.00

Altair VDC-Synta Dovetail Clamp

**Please Note the price on this item includes carriage**

This is a small, light yet very strong clamp which is compatible with Vixen - Synta format dovetail bars. The "VDC" is also modular, and compatible with the rest of the blue anodised Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System range - for example it can be bolted directly to the Altair Losmandy plates to mount two telescopes side-by-side.

**Please Note Our Prices Include Carriage**

Compatibility:

•Can be bolted directly to Altair 250mm or 350mm Losmandy dovetail plates for mounting dual telescopes side-by-side, so you don't need to buy another purpose built side-by-side bar.
•Fits Far East format narrow style dovetail bars sold by companies such as Vixen, Synta Skywatcher and Orion USA.
•Fits iOptron Minitower mounts with the appropriate TMS Adapter Puck.
Product design:

•Doesn't mar or damage the dovetail bar, because it uses a flat clamping surface, unlike other products which rely on screws to grip the bar, which invariably dig into the metal when tightened.
•Safe and easy "tip in" saddle lets you position your telescope quickly and easily, while tightening up the clamps with your other hand. Based on feedback from customers.

•Chamfered edges to make it even easier to get a heavy OTA placed securely before tightening the clamps.
•No sharp edges or poor machining.
•The clamp has it's own "self registering" machined guides, unlike inferior makes, where the thread alone takes most of the strain.
•Self registering spring loaded clamp, over-engineered to grip with maximum strength and rigidity.
•Stainless Steel thread (unlike cheap chromed, or zinc plated threads which corrode after a few months as the coating flakes away).
•Heavy duty hard anodised star knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip (we tested several iterations). The knobs have a nylon washer to stop binding, making them easier to undo if over-tightened.
•Precision CNC machined locally and blue hard anodised to match the Altair TMS hardware range.
•The right level of quality at the right price - try adding up everything you need and bearing versaility in mind when comparing to other makes.

Please NOTE Prices INCLUDE CARRIAGE

Altair TMS Heavy Duty Universal saddle Plate

**Please Note the price includes carriage**

This is a heavy duty saddle plate which is compatible with both the Vixen/Synta (far East) telescope mounting bars, or the Losmandy (USA) wide format mounting plates.

**Please Note Our Prices Include Carriage**

The Universal Saddle Plate or "USP" is also compatible with the rest of the blue anodised Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System accessory range.

Altair Heavy Duty USP Features:

•Compatible with Far East and US telescope mounts, including iOptron Minitower with the appropriate adapter. The most compatible and modular system on the market bar none.

•Safe and easy "tip in" saddle lets you place your telescope quickly and easily while tightening up the clamps with your other hand. This avoids that awkward struggle in the dark, while you try to hold onto a damp slippery telescope, while carefully lining up a saddle plate which will only go in from the end. Based on feedback and requests from several customers who have nearly dropped their telescopes!

•Chamfered edges to make it even easier to get a heavy telescope placed securely, before tightening the clamps with your other hand.

•Heavy duty hard anodised star knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip (we tested several iterations).

•2x Heavy duty spring loaded clamps with Stainless Steel M8 threads (unlike cheap chromed, or zinc plated threads which corrode after a few months as the coating flakes away).

•Looks great in hard anodised "Altair Blue" to match the rest of the TMS range. What's more, we haven't compromised on quality, function dictates form, not the other way round.

•No sharp edges or poor machining.

•The clamp has it's own machined guides, unlike inferior makes where the thread alone takes most of the strain.

•The right level of quality at the right price - try adding up everything you need and bearing versatility in mind when comparing to other makes.

•Readily available and made locally in the UK at our machine shop on HAAS 4 axis CNC milling machines. That means we have complete control over quality.

Mount compatibility:

•The Altair USP bolts directly to the Losmandy G11, replacing the factory saddle plate, a very popular upgrade.
•With the addition of an Altair TMS Equatorial mount adapter puck, the USP-2 will also fit the Synta/Skywatcher/Orion USA EQ6, H-EQ5 and EQ5 mounts too.
•It also has a pair of standard M8 "Takahashi" style holes on the base with 35mm separation, enabling the Universal Saddle Plate to be mounted on the William Optics Easytouch and numerous other mounts, including Takahashi with the appropriate Tak adapter puck.

PLEASE NOTE PRICES INCLUDE DELIVERY

Altair TMS Losmandy Saddle Plate

**Please Note Our Prices Include Carriage**

This is a Losmandy Saddle Plate which will carry SCT OTAs up to 14".

It's compatible with the Losmandy (USA) wide format mounting plates. The "LSP" is also modular, and compatible with the rest of the blue anodised Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System accessory range - for example it can be bolted directly to the Altair Losmandy plates for a side-by-side setup.

Feature Summary:

•Can be bolted directly to Altair 250mm or 350mm Losmandy dovetail plates for mounting dual telescopes side-by-side, so you don't need to buy another purpose built side-by-side bar.

•Fits US format wide Losmandy style dovetail plates.

•Fits EQ6, HEQ5, EQ5 or iOptron Minitower mounts with the appropriate Adapter Puck.

•Easy tip-in saddle with chamfered edges for safe & easy use.

•No sharp edges so you get to keep your fingers.

•Holes for Losmandy-direct mounting & Takahashi 35mm Spaced M8.

•Self registering clamp, over-engineered to hold larger OTAs.

•Precision CNC machined locally and blue hard anodised to match the Altair TMS hardware range.

Altair Losmandy Saddle Plate Detailed Features:

•Compatible with Far East and US telescope mounts, including iOptron Minitower with the appropriate adapter. The most compatible and modular system on the market bar none.

•Safe and easy "tip in" saddle lets you place your telescope quickly and easily while tightening up the clamps with your other hand. This avoids that awkward struggle in the dark, while you try to hold onto a damp slippery telescope, while carefully lining up a saddle plate which will only go in from the end. Based on feedback and requests from several customers who have nearly dropped their telescopes!

•Chamfered edges to make it even easier to get a heavy OTA placed securely, before tightening the clamps with your other hand.

•Heavy duty hard anodised star knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip (we tested several iterations). The knobs have a nylon washer to stop binding, making them easier to undo if over-tightened.

•Heavy duty spring loaded clamp with Stainless Steel M8 threads (unlike cheap chromed, or zinc plated threads which corrode after a few months as the coating flakes away).

•Looks great in hard anodised "Altair Blue" to match the rest of the TMS range. What's more, we haven't compromised on quality, function dictates form, not the other way round.

•No sharp edges or poor machining.

•The clamp has it's own "self registering" machined guides, unlike inferior makes where the thread alone takes most of the strain.

•The right level of quality at the right price - try adding up everything you need and bearing versaility in mind when comparing to other makes.

•Readily available and made locally in the UK. That means we have complete control over quality.

Mount compatibility:

•With the addition of an Altair TMS Equatorial mount adapter puck, the LSP will also fit the Synta/Skywatcher/Orion USA EQ6, H-EQ5 and EQ5 mounts too.

•Fits the iOptron Minitower mount range with the appropriate adapters.

•The Altair LSP bolts directly to the Losmandy G11 Equatorial Mount, replacing the factory saddle plate, a very popular upgrade.

•It also has a pair of standard M8 "Takahashi" style holes on the base with 35mm separation, enabling the Universal Saddle Plate to be mounted on the William Optics Easytouch and numerous other mounts, including Takahashi with the appropriate Tak adapter puck.
Many different combinations are possible using the TMS. In the example below, an 8" F4 Imaging Newtonian telescope is carried next to a 102mm refractor which has a guidescope piggbacked on top. (Note this is just a demo - not all EQ6 mounts can track accurately with this load, in fact, this mount has been tweaked). The foundation of the setup is the EQ6 Puck which is bolted to the heavy duty Universal Saddle Plate (USP). This supports an LDP-350 (350mm Losmandy Dovetail Plate), which can be moved from side to side to achieve balance. The 8" F4 Imaging Newtonian telescope is carried on a VDB-250 (250mm Vixen Dovetail Bar) is held in a lightweight VDC (Vixen Dovetail Clamp), which is in turn bolted directly to one end of the LDP-350. On the opposite side, an LDP-180 (180mm Losmandy Dovetail Plate) is used to mount a 102mm refractor, which in turn has a GSR-120 (120mm Guide Scope Rings) on top of it "piggyback" style, to carry a 70mm guide scope. To attach the guidescope rings, an additional LDP-180 is flipped over, and bolted to the top side of the refractor tube rings via the standard M6 refractor hole pattern. The guide scope rings are then bolted to the underside of the LDP-180.

Please note: If you have an EQ6 mount and require a puck please choose from the options list below. There are two types of puck. Post Sept 08 mounts have the "N" version new puck (NEQPUCK) with a conical hourglass profile. Pre Sept 08 mounts require the normal puck (EQPUCK) with a straight profile, and side indentations for the mount grub screws. By removing the 3x grub screws surrounding the clamp on your mount and having a look at base of the factory clamp, you should be able to tell which you require.

PLEASE NOTE PRICES INCLUDE DELIVERY

£349.00

Altair Hypercam IMX224 USB3.0 Colour Guide / Imaging Camera

The Altair Hypercam IMX224 camera has the sought-after Sony IMX224 CMOS sensor, with extremely low read noise and 2mp resolution.

The IMX224 sensor is particularily desirable for planetary imaging and microscopy where high frame rates, low light colour fidelity and small pixel sizes are required.

The Altair Hypercam IMX224 can be used for solar, planetary and lunar “lucky” imaging, long exposure deepsky imaging, and of course video astronomy with the live stacking features in AltairCapture and Sharpcap. (Firecapture is also supported - now in Beta release). Time-lapse all-sky imaging is fully supported in the free Altair Capture Software

and the camera can be used with an optional CS-Mount lens to hunt for meteors or aurora.

Speed and reliability in one camera: USB3.0 and on-board memory buffering give much faster transfer speeds than the GPCAM USB2.0 series, pushing the USB3.0 format to the limit, yet within a stable envelope. Memory buffering almost completely eliminates dropped frames and corrupted video files, a common problem with USB cameras, and enables faster more consistent frame rates, even with less powerful notebook computers. Consistency and stability is improved for video capture sequences - especially desirable for scientific applications.

QUALITY software and drivers included: Unlike cheaper cameras, Altair Astro has spent considerable time developing the extensively featured and intuitive AltairCapture software, which can be downloaded from Cameras.Altair.com

AltairCapture is a stable 64 bit Windows application which allows full control of the camera in high speed video or still mode. It includes extensive automation features and supports all the major file formats useful for astro imaging and professional scientific imaging. Furthermore, the popular PHD Guiding, SharpCap and Firecapture are also natively supported. ASCOM drivers are also available for download at cameras.altairastro.com where you can also get regular driver updates. The installation process is very simple, and unlike with cheaper cameras, there is no need to waste time tweaking .DLL files to make your camera perform as expected.

Wide compatibility: Although the Hypercam is a USB3.0 camera, it is also fully compatible with USB2.0 ports when a longer cable and less speed are required, for example in deepsky or video astronomy using the live stacking features in AltairCapture or Sharpcap. Windows 7 to Windows 10 software is widely supported by AltairCapture in 64bit mode (see technical info for details).

Autoguiding: The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide with mounts from all the major manufacturers supporting ST4 format, including iOptron, Celestron and Skywatcher. The IMX224 is more than sensitive enough for autoguiding.

Fan cooling: The Hypercam is cooled with and internal low vibration fan. The fan can be switched on or off and the speed controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap. Cool air is drawn in through the vents at the side of the casing, over a large internal heat-sink. The heat-sink is connected directly with the sensor board just like a computer CPU. The free flow of air through the casing cools not only the sensor, but all the internal electronics boards. Cooling is especially desirable for long exposure imaging to reduce thermal noise. Some camera casings get uncomfortably hot during a solar imaging session, and the sensor can reach around 60 or even 70 degrees. This can cause the electronics to become glitchy and unreliable. The Hypercam is designed for consistent, reliable solar imaging with a solar filter and diagonal or Hershel Wedge. With the fan running, the Hypercam casing will always remain cool.

Support & warranty: Altair delivers proper on-shore English-speaking UK/EU support with a 2 year manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

New users should visit Altair Camera User Google Group
where you can get answers to technical questions. The group is also a great place to share tips and techniques, to get the best out of your camera. The AltairCapture software interface supports most European languages including English, German, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.

File formats: The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIFF .BMP, and .FITS (for deepsky imaging) to mention just a few. The Hypercam supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The IMX224 sensor is extremely sensitive and a good candidate for video astronomy, especially with small refractors.

Technical Specs:

What’s different about the Hypercam platform compared to the GPCAM platform? You’ll notice the Hypercam has a larger casing than the GPCAM and GPCAM2. This is to house larger electronics boards which support trigger mode and frame buffering, the additional electronics for USb3.0 support, and to house the fan-cooled large heat-sink.

The Hypercam platform: The Hypercam platform supports “Trigger Mode” to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for say clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, or for routine changes in gain, exposure time, , re-aligning or refocusing on the object. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long 30 second exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera looping again. The Hypercam also has an improved on-board frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates (to reduce dropped frames) and to increase compatibility with a wider range of PCs. The improved buffers give a more consistent data transfer rate over USB2.0 and USB3.0 buses on laptops and desktop PCs.

Included in the box:
Camera body with internal cooling fan, heat-sink, and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface.
1.8m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front. (an optional 2" OD Nosepiece is available)
CS-Mount insert (12.5mm back-focus) is pre-installed on camera. (Optional 5mm extension adapter available for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.)
Camera casing with M42 thread (12.5mm backfocus).
Built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Silicon dust cap for sensor.
Allen key for removing the C-Thread insert.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at cameras.altairastro.com

Sensor & performance specifications:
ALTAIRGP224C: SONY Exmor IMX224 Colour CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/3" diagonal 6.09mm
Exposure duration shortest/longest:
Video mode: 0.105ms (0.000105 secs) / 5000ms (5 seconds) (Video Mode)
Trigger mode: 0.105 ms (0.000105 secs) / 1000 secs (16.66mins) (Trigger Mode)
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit modes switchable
Pixel size microns: 3.75x3.75 um
Resolution in pixels: 1280x960
Recording System: Still Image & Video
Region Of Interest (ROI): Supported
Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus and Hard Drive operating at full bandwidth)*:
8 bit mode:
1280x960 - 120fps
640x480 - 232fps (ROI mode)
320x240 - 432fps (ROI mode)
12 bit mode - approx 50% of above.
* Based on average user reports. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the exposure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate because bus and motherboard architecture vary.
Gain Sensitivity: 2350mv
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter
Read noise: TBC, not provided by sensor manufacturer.

Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap, (Windows DirectShow)
AltairCapture OS support: Win XP 32bit / Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
SharpCap (a 3rd party application) is also fully supported and tested with native drivers.
Firecapture (a 3rd party application) is being tested with native drivers, see latest release.
USB Port & Cable: 3.0 USB Cable, 1.8m cable
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher SynScan GOTO.

Camera Format:
Cooling: High Performance Electronic Fan-cooling System with Heat-sink
Camera body length: 80 mm
Weight grams: 320 g (camera net weight)
Optical window can be removed:
Mono Camera: AR-coated clear protect window 350-1050nm wavelength transmission
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 400-700nm wavelength Transmission

Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Optical Window is removable for cleaning.
Camera body: OD 65mm
Camera body thread: M42x0.75 T2 Thread to CS -Mount insert allows direct attachment of CS-Mount lens (or C-Mount lens with optional 5mm extension).
C-mount lens adapter 5mm extension: Optional
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 17.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
CS-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 12.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
Astro filter thread adapter: Included, 1.25" OD and 2” OD (optional), Female thread
Sensor surface distance from flat end of CS-mount adapter: 12.5 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 1.25" / M42 Astro adapter: 37 mm

Operating environment conditions:
Power consumption: 0.905 W (standby);
1.68 W (running with Fan off);
2.525 (running with Fan on);
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)

Windows PC Hardware Requirements:
Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
Minimum Memory: 2GB or More
USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port or USB3.0 High-speed Port
Monitor Display: 17" or Larger
Software delivery: Downloaded online and saved to hard drive.

Packaging:
Protective silicon rubber end-cap for camera CS-thread.
Plastic end cap for 1.25" nosepiece.
Padded cardboard storage box with durable foam inserts

Optional Accessories:
2 inch x 22mm nosepiece with 2” filter thread.
C-Mount 5mm extension adapter for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.
Clear AR coated optical window;

Software delivery: Downloaded online at cameras.altairastro.com and saved to hard drive.
Quick Start & AltairCapture instructions: Downloaded online at cameras.altairastro.com and saved to hard drive.

Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Return to point of purchase.

* Read noise is rumoured to be 1.5e- or even less, but unconfirmed at time of writing.

Optional Accessories:
Altair Astro Premium 1.25" CLS-CCD Filter with UV/IR Block & AR Coating (Code: F125CLSCCD) for imaging emission nebulae in light polluted urban environments.
Optional 2" nosepiece with filter thread and straight sides to maintain collimation.

Altair Lightwave 80mm ED Doublet

The Altair Lightwave 80mm F6.25 is a portable ED refractor for imaging and visual use. The doublet F6.25 ED optics feature a Synthetic Fluorite Ohara FPL53 ED element for very good colour correction and high contrast images. Colour aberrations are almost invisible with well corrected eyepieces even on bright objects at high power. For terrestrial spotting use, this multi-purpose instrument outperforms spotting scopes costing up to 4x the price with ease when an astro eyepiece is used. The design objective was to keep weight low for portability, while adding a rack and pinion focuser, tube rings, and a proper, rigid, imaging compatible interface for CCD and DSLR camera users. This product combines all the features our customers have been asking for, and then some.

Several features make the Altair Lightwave 80mm F6.25 solid choice for imaging or visual use. The dual speed rack and pinion focuser with a 1:10 ratio fine adjustment knob makes accurate focusing easy. That means sharp images at the eyepiece, or on your camera CCD chip (focusing is especially easy in "live view mode" on a DSLR). 8x steel roller bearings support the focuser tube along it's length, making the focuser more rigid than focusers of comparable size, while keeping the overall optical tube as light as possible. A rack 'n pinion gear improves the "lifting power" of the focuser, making it similar to a large Crayford, but keeping weight and size down to fulfill the portability requirement. Proper tube rings grip the optical tube, with a standard M6 hole spacing. This enables use of the Altair TMS 180 Vixen-format dovetail bar so you can mount this telescope side-by-side, or "piggyback" it on another telescope with a solid connection. By allowing the use of a proper tube ring / dovetail bar system, the whole system is more rigid compared to designs using an L-Shaped foot attached to the focuser by one bolt. With dual tube rings, the telescope is supported along it's length, allowing easier balancing. The included aluminium-finish carry case is padded with protective foam, and protects the scope for travel.

Adapters: The rear of the focuser sports a M54x0.75mm thread, enabling direct connection of several cameras and filter wheels and keeping the aperture as clear as possible. The telescope includes an M54x0.75mm to standard 2" push-fit adapter enabling the use of standard astro 2" eyepieces and diagonals. What's more, the adapter has 3x clamping screws (one thumbscrew and two slotted) with 120 degree separation, to ensure a rigid connection and a tight grip on your visual or imaging accessories. To make the system even more compatible with modern imaging equipment, an optional M54x0.75mm to M48x0.75mm (e.g. Standard filter thread) adapter is also available. This lets you screw the Altair M48 variable spacer system directly to the focuser, to connect M48 CCD cameras, filter wheels and field flatteners, or your digital SLR via any standard M48 DSLR camera adapter.

Mounts: For imaging, this telescope enables you to use a very light weight mount indeed so just about any mount from about EQ5 size upwards will do, and unguided exposures are possible provided you polar align accurately. For visual use or solar observing, this telescope is an ideal companion for the iOptron Cube PRO and this would be an airline portable package similar in size to a medium camera zoom lens.

Technical Specs:

80mm Doublet, Ohara Synthetic Fluorite FPL-53 ED lens, 500mm focal length.
Max practical power 160x (approx.)
540mm folded length, weight 3kg (approx.)
Dual Speed 1:10 ratio “Rack ‘n Pinion” focuser with internal baffling.
M54x0.75mm rear thread > 2” push-fit adapter with 3x clamping screws and brass compression ring included.
Alu-finish case with foam padding.
Optional M48 male-thread imaging adapter, compatible with Altair M48 variable spacers or a DSLR M48 adapter.
2x Tube rings, enabling use of a proper Vixen-format dovetail bar for maximum compatibility with mounts, and a very short fold-down length for travel.

£205.00

Starwave MiniGuider 60 Side-by-Side dovetail bar kit for refractor auto-guiding

Now you can mount your wide field refractor of up to 80mm next to your autoguider unit, whilst keeping the centre of gravity as close to your mount as possible.

This is the ideal kit for someone starting imaging with a refractor up to 80mm. The perfect companion for the Starwave 70ED refractor and the iOptron ZEQ25 mount!

Starwave MiniGuider 60 Side-by-Side dovetail bar kit consists of:

The renouned Altair Astro 60mm Miniguider OTA, with special super-rigid locking focuser for your autoguider.*
Starwave 1.75" (44.45mm) width dovetail clamp to mount your refractor on one side.
The Starwave 200mm 1.75" (44.45mm) width Vixen-format dovetail plate which fits most portable mounts on the market today.
A set of mini guide scope rings with nylon tipped screws to mount on the opposite side of the dovetail bar, with connecting bar, to mount your 60mm Miniguider.
A set of M5 screws and nuts to mount the Miniguider 60 rings, and a set of M6 screws and nuts to mount the Starwave1.75" format clamp.
Features:

Can easily support refractors up to 80mm and will accurately guide up to at least 1000mm focal length without differential flexure.
Keeps your telescopes low and spaced widely enough apart such that the cables and autoguider unit can be adjusted easily without interfering with the main camera, unlike "piggyback setups". This is desirable when imaging with a DSLR enabling it to be easily rotated it when framing the subject. without fouling the autoguider unit.
The centre dovetail bar can be slid from side to side for easy balancing.
The Starwave Vixen-format clamp is strong yet light, with 2x spring loaded 2x steel alignment pins. The CNC machined e-coated knobs feature Teflon washers to stop binding. It also has a 1/4" UNC camera tripod thread on the underside, so you use it to mount your telescope on a camera tripod for casual stargazing, or daytime observation.
The Altair 60mm Miniguider probably needs no introduction. It's widely acclaimed for it's simplicity and accuracy, and is far easier to use than an Off-Axis-Guider (OAG) unit. It doesn't take up space in the imaging train, and require more adapters and calculations, nor does it cause flexure problems, due to it's unique locking focuser, with 3x clamping screws and brass insert. Selecting from a huge field of stars is easy at a very fast F3.75 so you don't need such a sensitive autoguider camera - and what's more, and theres no pickoff prism to intrude into the light-path of your full frame DSLR. Nor does it add flexure to the imaging train, or need to be frequently focused, unlike some cheap OAG units. Simply add your guide camera, set focus, and tighten the locking ring, and that's it. The Miniguider doesn't even need to point in exact the same direction as the main telescope so you can move it around in the (extremely unlikely) event you can't find a bright star.
The Starwave 200mm dovetail bar is strong, solid and more rigid than the cheap extruded rails often offered with guide-scope kits, and will fit the majority of mounts on the market.
* Do not be tempted to buy a finder-scope with a helical focuser for autoguiding. They focuser loses it's focus easily, and they aren't rigid enough for autoguiding due to the play in the helical mechanism. They are OK for eyepieces but not for autoguiding. We researched this thoroughly, and it's why we developed the superb Altair 1.25" locking focuser.

**Price Includes Carriage**

£395.00

Altair Hypercam IMX178 USB3.0 Colour EAA Imaging & Guide Camera

The Altair Hypercam IMX178 Colour camera has the sought-after Sony IMX178 Colour CMOS sensor, with extremely low read noise, wide dynamic range, and 6.3mp resolution.

The Hypercam IMX178 sensor is particularily attractive for Electronically Assisted Astronomy / Video Astronomy because of it's high 6.3 Megapixel resolution and high sensitivity thanks to Sony STARVIS back-illumination technology.

Deepsky astro-photography is also possible with the IMX178 sensor because it has very low amp glow, in fact, the lowest of any CMOS sensor in this price range we have developed so far. Amp glow is further suppressed by switching off all non-essential circuitry during longer exposures in "Trigger Mode".

The Hypercam IMX178 is also capable of solar. lunar, or planetary imaging (video capture) and is especially useful with refractors of less than 3 metre focal length, where small pixels (only 2.4x2.4um), high frame rates (up to 51fps at full resolution), and high dynamic range are required to get the most detail in post processing. The ROI (Region of Interest) feature can be used for high frame rates when imaging the planets at high mangification.

To sum it up, the most desirable features of the IMX178 sensor are:

- Large format 1/1.8" sensor 7.37 x 4.92mm
- SONY STARVIS and Exmor R Technology with a sensitivity of 2000 mV or more per 1µm²
- Low read noise, approx. 2.2e electrons (e-).
- Saturation (full well) capacity approx. 19,200 electrons (e-)
- High Dynamic Range with 14 bit ADC for high image quality in both light and dark (high contrast) areas.

Video astronomy and long exposure deepsky imaging: Hypercam IMX178 deliveres great results for for both deepsky imaging and video astronomy (or EAA) using the Live Stacking features in the
free Altair Capture Software or SharpCap. (Firecapture is also supported - now in Beta release). Time-lapse all-sky imaging and video is fully supported, and the camera can be used with a DSLR lens to image large areas of sky.

Speed and reliability in one camera: USB3.0 and on-board memory buffering give much faster transfer speeds than the GPCAM USB2.0 series, pushing the USB3.0 format to the limit, yet within a stable envelope. Memory buffering almost completely eliminates dropped frames and corrupted video files, a common problem with USB cameras, and enables faster more consistent frame rates, even with less powerful notebook computers. Consistency and stability is improved for video capture sequences - especially desirable for scientific applications.

QUALITY software and drivers included: Unlike cheaper cameras, Altair Astro has spent considerable time developing the extensively featured and intuitive AltairCapture software, which can be downloaded from THIS LINK AltairCapture is a stable 64 bit Windows application, which allows full control of the camera in high speed video or still mode. It includes extensive automation features, and supports all the major file formats useful for astro imaging and professional scientific imaging in 16bit, 12bit or 8bit mode. Furthermore, the popular PHD Guiding, SharpCap and Firecapture are also natively supported. ASCOM drivers are also available for download at the above Link.

where you can also get regular driver updates. The installation process is very simple, and unlike with cheaper cameras, there is no need to waste time tweaking .DLL files to make your camera perform as expected.

Wide compatibility: Although the Hypercam is a USB3.0 camera, it is also fully compatible with USB2.0 ports when a longer cable and less speed are required, for example in deepsky or video astronomy using the live stacking features in AltairCapture or Sharpcap. Windows 7 to Windows 10 software is widely supported by AltairCapture in 64bit mode (see technical info for details).

Autoguiding: The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide with mounts from all the major manufacturers supporting ST4 format, including iOptron, Celestron and Skywatcher. The IMX224 is more than sensitive enough for autoguiding.

Fan cooling: The Hypercam is cooled with and internal low vibration fan. The fan can be switched on or off and the speed controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap. Cool air is drawn in through the vents at the side of the casing, over a large internal heat-sink. The heat-sink is connected directly with the sensor board just like a computer CPU. The free flow of air through the casing cools not only the sensor, but all the internal electronics boards. Cooling is especially desirable for long exposure imaging to reduce thermal noise. Some camera casings get uncomfortably hot during a solar imaging session, and the sensor can reach around 60 or even 70 degrees. This can cause the electronics to become glitchy and unreliable. The Hypercam is designed for consistent, reliable solar imaging with a solar filter and diagonal or Hershel Wedge. With the fan running, the Hypercam casing will always remain cool.

Support & warranty: Altair delivers proper on-shore English-speaking UK/EU support with a 2 year manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

New users should visit Altair Camera Google Users Group

where you can get answers to technical questions. The group is also a great place to share tips and techniques, to get the best out of your camera. The AltairCapture software interface supports most European languages including English, German, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.

File formats: The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIFF .BMP, and .FITS (for deepsky imaging) to mention just a few. The Hypercam supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The IMX224 sensor is extremely sensitive and a good candidate for video astronomy, especially with small refractors.

What’s different about the Hypercam platform compared to the GPCAM platform? You’ll notice the Hypercam has a larger casing than the GPCAM and GPCAM2. This is to house larger electronics boards which support trigger mode and frame buffering, the additional electronics for USb3.0 support, and to house the fan-cooled large heat-sink.

The Hypercam platform: The Hypercam platform supports “Trigger Mode” to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for say clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, or for routine changes in gain, exposure time, , re-aligning or refocusing on the object. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long 30 second exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera looping again. The Hypercam also has an improved on-board frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates (to reduce dropped frames) and to increase compatibility with a wider range of PCs. The improved buffers give a more consistent data transfer rate over USB2.0 and USB3.0 buses on laptops and desktop PCs.

Included in the box:
Camera body with internal cooling fan, heat-sink, and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface.
1.8m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front. (an optional 2" OD Nosepiece is available)
CS-Mount insert (12.5mm back-focus) is pre-installed on camera. (Optional 5mm extension adapter available for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.)
Camera casing with M42 thread (12.5mm backfocus).
Built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Silicon dust cap for sensor.
Allen key for removing the C-Thread insert.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at cameras.altairastro.com (see Link above)

Technical Specs:

Sensor & performance specifications:
ALTAIRH178C: SONY Exmor R BSI IMX178 Color CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/1.8" diagonal (8.92mm)
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.244 ms (0.000244 secs) / 5 secs (Video Mode)
0.244 ms (0.000244 secs) / 1000 secs (16.66mins) (Trigger Mode)
Bit depth: 8bit & 14bit mode switchable
Pixel size microns: 2.4x2.4 um
Resolution in pixels: 3040x2048
Recording System: Still Picture and Video
Region of Interest (ROI) support: Available
Approx. Max frame rates* (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth):
8bit mode:
3040x2048 51FPS
640x480 191FPS ROI
320x240 264FPS ROI
14bit mode:
Approx 50% of above
* Based on average user reports. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the exposure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate because PC bus and main board architecture vary.

Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency:
ALTAIRH178C: N/A
Gain Sensitivity:
ALTAIRH178C: 425mv;
Dynamic Range:
ALTAIRH178C: N/A
SNR Maximum:
ALTAIRH178C: N/A
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter

Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap, (Windows DirectShow)
AltairCapture OS support: Win XP 32bit / Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
SharpCap (a 3rd party application) is also fully supported and tested with native drivers.
Firecapture (a 3rd party application) is being tested with native drivers, see latest release.
USB Port & Cable: 3.0 USB Cable, 1.8m cable
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher SynScan GOTO.

Camera Format:
Cooling: High Performance Electronic Fan-cooling System with Heat-sink
Camera body length: 80 mm
Weight grams: 320 g (camera net weight)
Optical window can be removed:
Mono Camera: AR-coated clear protect window 350-1050nm wavelength transmission
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 400-700nm wavelength Transmission

Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Optical Window is removable for cleaning.
Camera body: OD 65mm
Camera body thread: M42x0.75 T2 Thread to CS -Mount insert allows direct attachment of CS-Mount lens (or C-Mount lens with optional 5mm extension).
C-mount lens adapter 5mm extension: Optional
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 17.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
CS-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 12.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
Astro filter thread adapter: Included, 1.25" OD and 2” OD (optional), Female thread
Sensor surface distance from flat end of CS-mount adapter: 12.5 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 1.25" / M42 Astro adapter: 37 mm

£649.00

Altair Hypercam IMX174 USB3.0 Mono Guide / Imaging Camera

The Altair Hypercam IMX174 camera has the sought-after Sony Pregius Global Shutter IMX174 CMOS sensor, with extremely low read noise and 2.3mp resolution.

The IMX174 sensor is particularily desirable for solar and high resolution planetary imaging at long focal lengths, where high frame rates, and high dynamic range are required to get the most detail in post processing.

Hypercam IMX174 imaging applications: The IMX174 sensor is a very good match for the Daystar Quark and Altair Astro refractor combinations because the large pixel size, global shutter, low read noise and wide dynamic range allow prominences and surface detail to be captured in the same frame, without having to over-expose the image and lose detail. Images sharpen up very well because there is no fixed pattern noise with this sensor. The Hypercam IMX174 camera has been developed with solar imaging in mind, and works best with 100mm plus refractors and the Daystar Quark operating at around 3000mm focal length or more. It really comes into it's own with larger refractors.

o sum it up, the most desirable features of the IMX174 sensor are:

- Large format 1/2" sensor
- Peak quantum efficiency of 78%
- Global shutter eliminates motion distortion inherent in rolling shutter sensors, as well as CCD-smearing.
- Fixed pattern noise (common with global shutter CMOS cameras) is eliminated
- Low read noise 6 electrons (e-)
- Saturation (full well) capacity 32,000 electrons (e-)
- Dynamic range 73 dB

Video astronomy and long exposure deepsky imaging: Although the Hypercam IMX174 is considered the best tool for long focal length solar system imaging, it is also quite capable of long exposures, and will deliver very good results for deepsky imaging and video astronomy (or EAA) using the Live Stacking features in the
free Altair Capture Software

or SharpCap. (Firecapture is also supported - now in Beta release). Time-lapse all-sky imaging and video is fully supported, and the camera can be used with a CS-Mount lens to hunt for meteors or aurora.

Speed and reliability in one camera: USB3.0 and on-board memory buffering give much faster transfer speeds than the GPCAM USB2.0 series, pushing the USB3.0 format to the limit, yet within a stable envelope. Memory buffering almost completely eliminates dropped frames and corrupted video files, a common problem with USB cameras, and enables faster more consistent frame rates, even with less powerful notebook computers. Consistency and stability is improved for video capture sequences - especially desirable for scientific applications.

QUALITY software and drivers included: Unlike cheaper cameras, Altair Astro has spent considerable time developing the extensively featured and intuitive AltairCapture software, which can be downloaded from Cameras.Altair.Com

AltairCapture is a stable 64 bit Windows application, which allows full control of the camera in high speed video or still mode. It includes extensive automation features, and supports all the major file formats useful for astro imaging and professional scientific imaging in 16bit, 12bit or 8bit mode. Furthermore, the popular PHD Guiding, SharpCap and Firecapture are also natively supported. ASCOM drivers are also available for download at cameras.altairastro.com where you can also get regular driver updates. The installation process is very simple, and unlike with cheaper cameras, there is no need to waste time tweaking .DLL files to make your camera perform as expected.

Wide compatibility: Although the Hypercam is a USB3.0 camera, it is also fully compatible with USB2.0 ports when a longer cable and less speed are required, for example in deepsky or video astronomy using the live stacking features in AltairCapture or Sharpcap. Windows 7 to Windows 10 software is widely supported by AltairCapture in 64bit mode (see technical info for details).

Autoguiding: The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide with mounts from all the major manufacturers supporting ST4 format, including iOptron, Celestron and Skywatcher. The IMX224 is more than sensitive enough for autoguiding.

Fan cooling: The Hypercam is cooled with and internal low vibration fan. The fan can be switched on or off and the speed controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap. Cool air is drawn in through the vents at the side of the casing, over a large internal heat-sink. The heat-sink is connected directly with the sensor board just like a computer CPU. The free flow of air through the casing cools not only the sensor, but all the internal electronics boards. Cooling is especially desirable for long exposure imaging to reduce thermal noise. Some camera casings get uncomfortably hot during a solar imaging session, and the sensor can reach around 60 or even 70 degrees. This can cause the electronics to become glitchy and unreliable. The Hypercam is designed for consistent, reliable solar imaging with a solar filter and diagonal or Hershel Wedge. With the fan running, the Hypercam casing will always remain cool.

Support & warranty: Altair delivers proper on-shore English-speaking UK/EU support with a 2 year manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. New users should visit Altair Camera Google User Group acturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. New users should visit Altair Camera Google User Group where you can get answers to technical questions. The group is also a great place to share tips and techniques, to get the best out of your camera. The AltairCapture software interface supports most European languages including English, German, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.

File formats: The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIFF .BMP, and .FITS (for deepsky imaging) to mention just a few. The Hypercam supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The IMX224 sensor is extremely sensitive and a good candidate for video astronomy, especially with small refractors.

hat’s different about the Hypercam platform compared to the GPCAM platform? You’ll notice the Hypercam has a larger casing than the GPCAM and GPCAM2. This is to house larger electronics boards which support trigger mode and frame buffering, the additional electronics for USb3.0 support, and to house the fan-cooled large heat-sink.

The Hypercam platform: The Hypercam platform supports “Trigger Mode” to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for say clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, or for routine changes in gain, exposure time, , re-aligning or refocusing on the object. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long 30 second exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera looping again. The Hypercam also has an improved on-board frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates (to reduce dropped frames) and to increase compatibility with a wider range of PCs. The improved buffers give a more consistent data transfer rate over USB2.0 and USB3.0 buses on laptops and desktop PCs.

Included in the box:
Camera body with internal cooling fan, heat-sink, and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface.
1.8m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front. (an optional 2" OD Nosepiece is available)
CS-Mount insert (12.5mm back-focus) is pre-installed on camera. (Optional 5mm extension adapter available for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.)
Camera casing with M42 thread (12.5mm backfocus).
Built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Silicon dust cap for sensor.
Allen key for removing the C-Thread insert.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at cameras.altairastro.com

Technical Specs:

Sensor & performance specifications:
ALTAIRH174M: SONY Exmor IMX174 Mono CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/1.2" diagonal (13.4mm)
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.025 ms (0.000025 secs) / 5 secs (Video Mode)
0.025 ms (0.000025 secs) / 1000 secs (16.66mins) (Trigger Mode)
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit mode switchable
Pixel size microns: 5.86x5.86 um
Resolution in pixels: 1920x1200
Recording System: Still Picture and Video
Region of Interest (ROI) support: Available
Approx. Max frame rates* (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth):
8bit mode:
1920x1200 128FPS
640x480 286-300+ FPS ROI
320x240 514FPS ROI
12bit mode:
Approx. 50% of above
* Based on average user reports. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the exposure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate because bus and motherboard architecture vary.

Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency: 78% Peak
Gain Sensitivity: 1016mv;
Dynamic Range: 73db;
Read Noise: 6e-
Readout: Electronic Global Shutter

Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap, (Windows DirectShow)
AltairCapture OS support: Win XP 32bit / Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
SharpCap (a 3rd party application) is also fully supported and tested with native drivers.
Firecapture (a 3rd party application) is being tested with native drivers, see latest release.
USB Port & Cable: 3.0 USB Cable, 1.8m cable
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher SynScan GOTO.

Camera Format:
Cooling: High Performance Electronic Fan-cooling System with Heat-sink
Camera body length: 80 mm
Weight grams: 320 g (camera net weight)
Optical window can be removed:
Mono Camera: AR-coated clear protect window 350-1050nm wavelength transmission
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 400-700nm wavelength Transmission

Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Optical Window is removable for cleaning.
Camera body: OD 65mm
Camera body thread: M42x0.75 T2 Thread to CS -Mount insert allows direct attachment of CS-Mount lens (or C-Mount lens with optional 5mm extension).
C-mount lens adapter 5mm extension: Optional
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 17.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
CS-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 12.5mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
Astro filter thread adapter: Included, 1.25" OD and 2” OD (optional), Female thread
Sensor surface distance from flat end of CS-mount adapter: 12.5 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 1.25" / M42 Astro adapter: 37 mm

Operating environment conditions:
Power consumption: 0.905 W (standby);
1.68 W (running with Fan off);
2.525 (running with Fan on);
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)

Windows PC Hardware Requirements:
Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
Minimum Memory: 2GB or More
USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port or USB3.0 High-speed Port
Monitor Display: 17" or Larger
Software delivery: Downloaded online and saved to hard drive.

Packaging:
Protective silicon rubber end-cap for camera CS-thread.
Plastic end cap for 1.25" nosepiece.
Padded cardboard storage box with durable foam inserts

Optional Accessories:
2 inch x 22mm nosepiece with 2” filter thread.
C-Mount 5mm extension adapter for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.
Clear AR coated optical window;

Software delivery: Downloaded online at cameras.altairastro.com and saved to hard drive.
Quick Start & AltairCapture instructions: Downloaded online at cameras.altairastro.com and saved to hard drive.

Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Return to point of purchase.