Cameras and Instruments

Clay Center Observatory's control room

The Clay Center Observatory and its mobile tracking systems operate a wide range of modern imaging and spectroscopic detectors including CCDs, 4K CMOS, backside thinned sensors, high resolution infrared (InGaAs) sensors and spectrometric systems.

These are available for use by visiting researchers, or you can supply your own instrumentation (subject to size and mass limitations).

Ultra High-Definition 4K Video: Red One Cameras
With greater than 66-db dynamic range, high sensitivity, and 12.1 megapixels, the Red One digital camera delivers the ultimate in ultra-high-definition video. It provides image capture with frames 4K pixels wide (at up to 30 frames per second), 3K wide (up to 60 fps), and 2K wide (up to 120 fps) — all in 12-bit native RAW format. At 4K, this  more than 5 times the information available every second from any HD camera today — and with vastly superior recording quality. At a resolution of 4500 × 2500 pixels, Clay Center Observatory images could be displayed beautifully on an IMAX theater. The camera also records still images with 36-bit color at up to 120 frames/second.

Clay Center Observatory has several Red One cameras for use with our 0.64m tracking telescope and our seven transportable satellite and aircraft tracking telescopes.

High-Frame-Rate Cameras
For analysis of high speed events such as rocket firings, stage separations and spacecraft splashdowns,  high frame rate cameras provide up to 7000 full frames per second at 14-bit depth and resolutions up to 1632 x 1200. Used on the 0.64m and transportable satellite and aircraft tracking telescopes.

Fast-readout Near Infrared and visible light  Prosilica camera
• Wavelengths: 0.4µ to 1.0µ
• Detector: 1360 × 1024 pixels, 6.45µ pitch, 12-bit readout

InGaAs camera: High Sensitivity, High Resolution Indium Gallium Arsenide Sensor
• Wavelengths: 0.9µ to 1.7µ
• Detector: 640 × 512 pixels, 25µ pitch, 14-bit readout

Spectrographs
Custom-designed telescopic and airborne sensors for rocket plume specroscopy, meteor spectroscopy, and stellar classification.

Littrow Spectrograph

  • Resolution of 17000 around Hydrogen-alpha (656nm)
  • 0.012nm dispersion (with 9µm pixels)
  • Operation with multiple detectors: CCD, InGaAs, others
  • Mirror slit for precise guiding

Airborne Spectrographs

  • Slitless Wide Field Spectrometry
  • 0.05 nm dispersion
  • Operation with multiple detectors: CCD, InGaAs, others

Backside thinned TK1024 CCD
Finger Lakes Instruments 1024×1024 24-micron 1024S, with 16-bit readout and dual stage thermoelectric cooling.

Unique Daystar 0.5 Å University Series Hydrogen-alpha System
• Unique 8.3-inch-diameter energy-rejection filter for high-resolution, large-aperture imaging
• 0.5 Å narrow bandwidth centered on 656 nm (± 1Å tuning for advanced Doppler studies)
• Fully blocked transmittance: 4-10% of polarized light
• Spectral uniformity: ± 0.05 Å within any 12-mm-wide area of field
• Off-band rejection: τ > 6.0
• Optical components: BK-7 grade A; maximum non-etalon distortion: 1/4 wave at 546.1 nm Hg

White-light solar filters
Various Type II aluminum-on-glass solar filters
Clear apertures: 70 mm, 7 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches