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Alan Holmes Founder and President

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New products at SBIG. Alan Holmes Founder and President. SBIG is Now Part Of Aplegen. New Management intends to: increase astronomical product research and development adds new cameras with features suited to life sciences applications such as: Gel Imaging Fluorescence microscopy

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New products at SBIG

Alan Holmes

Founder and President

sbig is now part of aplegen
SBIG is Now Part Of Aplegen
  • New Management intends to:
    • increase astronomical product research and development
    • adds new cameras with features suited to life sciences applications such as:
      • Gel Imaging
      • Fluorescence microscopy
  • New CEO is Ron Bissinger, known for amateur exoplanet measurements
past sbig cameras over the last 23 years
Past SBIG Cameras over the last 23 years
  • ST-4 (my baby)
  • ST-6
  • ST-5/ 237/ PixCel 237
  • ST-7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 2000 line
  • STL-11000/ 6303/ 1001 line
  • STX-16803/ 6303
  • ST-402/ 1603/ 3200
  • SG-4
new camera models in last year
New Camera Models in Last Year
  • ST-I
  • ST-8300 and STF-8300
  • STX-6303
st i features
ST-I Features
  • 640 x 480 pixel interline CCD
  • 7.4 micron square pixels
  • Exposures as short as 1 millisecond
  • 16 bit A/D converter
  • 10 electrons read noise
  • powered off USB port
  • Shutter for automatic dark frames
  • Fits in 1.25 inch eyepiece tube
planetary imaging is also possible
Planetary Imaging is also Possible

(Not the best but it’s mine!)

st 8300 is our most popular camera
ST-8300 is our most Popular Camera
  • Features
    • 8.3 million pixels
    • 16 bit A/D
    • 38 degree C cooling
    • 5.4x5.4 micron pixels - good for refractors
    • EXCELLENT low dark current
    • Just went on sale at a great price - $1795 US
new stf 8300 provides faster readout
New STF-8300 Provides Faster Readout
  • 10 Megapixels / Second
  • Full Frame Image Buffer
  • Readout and Download Simultaneously
  • Download Full Frame < 1 sec.
  • User Rechargeable Desiccant Plug
  • Internal Image Processing – Raw or Processed
  • Even-illumination (Photometric) Shutter
  • 32-bit and 64- bit drivers for all Windows O/S
  • Equinox Image and Equinox Pro for Mac
  • Base Price $2495 US
stx 16803 is our largest ccd camera
STX-16803 is our largest CCD Camera
  • 4096x4096 pixels
  • 9 micron pixels
  • Excellent Cooling
stx images johannes schedler austria
STX Images -Johannes Schedler - Austria

M97-Owl Nebula (too far north for Santiago!)

new accessory products at sbig
New Accessory Products at SBIG
  • Differential Guiding
  • ST-8300 Off Axis Guider
differential guiding solves a difficult problem
Differential Guiding Solves a Difficult Problem
  • When guiding at long focal lengths with a guide scope, the scope-to-scope alignment drifts due to:
    • Gravity direction changes
    • Thermal effects
    • mirror flop
    • mechanical shifts
  • Differential guiding eliminates all of these
sbig s new technique differential guiding
SBIG’s New Technique: Differential Guiding *
  • An artificial star is created near the imaging CCD focal plane
  • Beam of light from artificial star exits telescope
  • Beam is retro-reflected into guide scope
  • Guide scope views both artificial star and background star
  • Separation of artificial and real stars is maintained by guiding

* Patented

differential guiding diagram
Differential Guiding Diagram

Guide Scope

Guide Camera





Main Scope


retroreflector is derived from corner cube and dove prism
Retroreflector is Derived from Corner Cube and Dove Prism

Corner Cube

Dove Prism

Beam is exactly retro-reflected, and displaced to outside the telescope aperture. Retro-reflected angle is insensitive to small mechanical misalignments.

guider ray trace diagram
Guider Ray Trace Diagram
  • Allows guiding in front of the filters
  • Also provides focal reduction for 2X more area



Imager CCD

it uses an st i and mounts to filter wheel
It uses an ST-I and Mounts to Filter Wheel

Low Profile – Adds only 19mm backfocus to camera and filter wheel (total about 58mm)

Built-in relay lenses and 0.7X reducer doubles the field of view of the ST-i

Guide camera can be mounted at 90 degrees x 4


-Astrophotography Hints-

Stray Light and Flat Fields

an example of the problem an expensive refractor with an st 8300
An Example of the Problem - An Expensive Refractor with an ST-8300
  • Center to edge variation = 6%
  • There is NO vignetting in either image!
  • “Hot Spot” is caused by glints off internal cylindrical surfaces near CCD Camera

Green Flat Field

IR (940 nm) Flat Field

measuring stray light my ccd view pinhole camera
Measuring Stray Light: My “CCD View” Pinhole Camera
  • Chamber window of ST-3200 replaced with a tiny lens

View of my office through a short 1.25 inch nosepiece

looking into that high end refractor
Looking into that High-End Refractor

Actual Aperture!

Bad Stuff!

Problem is glints off of “black” anodized surfaces. Total Stray Light is 8% Green, 18% IR

5 million peso rc scope
$5 Million Peso (!) RC Scope

Aperture Edge

Green - 13% Stray Light

Near IR - 37% Stray Light

why is this important astronomical features have very low contrast against the sky background
Why is this important? - Astronomical Features have very Low Contrast against the Sky Background

9% contrast

1% contrast

(Images are from a Dark Site)

Tony Hallas

stray light is also a serious problem for photometry
Stray Light is also a Serious Problem for Photometry


Stray Light


(Looks like vignetting but it’s not)

Using a flat field to correct an image with stray light incorrectly increases brightness of stars near edge of field

a collection of black objects imaged at near infrared wavelengths 940 nm
A Collection of “Black” Objects Imaged at Near Infrared Wavelengths (940 nm)

White Business Card

Black Felt (79% reflectivity

Black Paper

Flat Black Paint

flat black paint can solve this problem user flat field images
Flat Black Paint can solve this Problem - User Flat Field Images

STL-11K - Flat Field with Moonlite Focuser and ribbed draw tube

Flat field after painting draw tube with flat black paint

how to detect the problem yourself
How to detect the problem yourself
  • Point your telescope at a flat field screen
  • Put your eye at the point where you usually insert the camera
  • Look into the tube
what can you do
What can you do?
  • Paint black anodized surfaces Flat Black
    • I prefer barbeque black - low temperature paints may use dyes that are transparent beyond 700 nm
  • Add thin shim rings to work as knife edges baffles
  • Do NOT use incandescent bulbs for flat fields
    • Use white LEDS instead
    • Better, but still not perfect
  • Sky flats may help - matches spectrum better for LRGB imaging
  • Use flat field for each color if doing RGB images
  • Photometrists should map response by moving stars around in field to detect problem