The Celestron NexImage 5 is a dedicated Solar System Imager (CCD camera) that can be used with virtually any telescope in any size or price range. The NexImage 5 takes very high resolution 5 megapixel lunar and planetary photos in full 16-bit color with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of convenience. The 5 megapixel color sensor with Micron® DigitalClarity® technology dramatically reduces image noise levels.
The NexImage 5’s small pixels size provides sub arc-second planetary detail with most telescopes. Combined with the included software package, the 5 megapixel Celestron NexImage 5 can bring out tremendous detail and produce images that will rival those taken with astronomical cameras costing hundreds of dollars more.
The Celestron NexImage 5 captures streaming video of any solar system object at as many as 52.37 frames per second when binned 4 x 4, ideal for recording transient events such as lunar occultations of the planets, or the rare occasions when a planet occults a star. At its maximum resolution, the Celestron imaging camera captures high resolution images at a user selectable 0.71 to 5.99 frames per second. Shutter speeds are also user selectable, from 1/10,000th of a second to 30 seconds. Celestron's imaging camera control software allows you to manually change the gain, contrast, exposure time, frame rate, and color saturation using your PC.
This real-time video can be viewed live on your laptop or PC screen via the supplied USB cable so that several people can view the image at once. The images can also be stored on your computer as hundreds of individual frames. These can be viewed later to relive the occultation or can be digitally stacked to significantly reduce the electric “noise” inherent in video chips. Stacking will bring out the unseen fine detail (signal) hidden within your real-time image. The Celestron NexImage 5 camera takes advantage of the fact that the signal to noise ratio of a stacked composite image is proportional to the square root of the number of frames combined. This means that stacking as few as 16 frames will reduce the grainy noise of the composite image by 4 times. Stacking as many 1600 frames will improve the image by 40 times!
However, stacking the individual frames is only half the power of the NexImage 5 software. Before the images are stacked, the Celestron imaging camera software analyzes each individual frame for quality. It then filters out those frames that are most affected (blurred) by poor atmospheric “seeing.” This is a form of after-the-fact adaptive optics that leaves only the sharpest, clearest frames to be stacked and aligned into a single high quality image.
Finally, powerful processing features in the NexImage 5 software automatically break the image up into individual unsharp mask layers that can be used to bring out tremendous detail and reveal final images that will rival those taken with astronomical CCD cameras costing a thousand dollars or more.
Features of the Camera . . .
- Imaging sensor: High sensitivity/high dynamic range 1/2.5” format color CMOS progressive scan sensor. Sensitivity is under one lux, comparable to imagers costing over $1000. The sensor chip measures 5.7mm x 4.28mm (7 mm diagonal).
- One-pass imaging: Color images do not require multiple exposures through color filters as more expensive CCD cameras do.
- Resolution : 5 megapixels (2592 pixels wide x 1944 pixels high, 5,038,848 total pixels). Each pixel measures 2.2 microns square. Nine different user selected settings from 640 x 480 pixels (4x4 binning, VGA resolution), up to the maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels, to match the camera resolution to the seeing and the focal length of your telescope.
- Exposure times: From 1/10,000th of a second to 30 seconds (user selectable) at frame rates of 0.71 to 52.37 frames per second, depending on the resolution.
- USB 2.0 download times: The NexImage 5 uses a fast USB 2.0 high speed connection to your computer via a supplied detachable cable. This allows fast data transfer of the camera’s uncompressed frames per second. You see your images almost as soon as you take them, making focusing quick and easy. There is virtually no delay between the moment the image is taken and when it appears on your computer screen.
- Connection to the telescope: The NexImage 5 has a machined aluminum 1.25" nosepiece that allows you to use it with any telescope having a 1.25” focuser. The nosepiece is threaded for standard 1.25” eyepiece filters. There is an integrated IR-cut optical window built into the camera.
- Power requirements: No batteries or power supplies required. Just plug the NexImage 5’s USB cable into your laptop or PC and you are ready to image. No other power supplies are needed.
Features of the Software . . .
- Camera control: Allows you to manually change the gain, contrast, exposure time, frame rate, and color saturation.
- Preview mode: Shows a live feed of your image, making focusing as easy as focusing an eyepiece. There is selectable “region of interest” sub-framing.
- Video recording: Captures streaming video of solar system object used to generate the final high quality image.
- Frame lists: Automatically allows you to view individual frames of your video stream.
- Quality cutoff filter: Filters out low quality images based on individual frame quality and alignment differences.
- Wavelet filter: Separates images into a series of unsharp mask layer that can be individually controlled to bring out all the hidden detail of the image.
- Image processing control: Maximizes your image with powerful image processing controls such as contrast, brightness, gamma curve, RGB histogram and many more.
- Included components: NexImage 5 camera with 1.25” eyepiece adapter and USB 2.0 cable; a CD-ROM including image capture software to capture streaming video of whet your telescope sees, image processing software to align and stack individual frame into one high quality image, and a quick setup and tutorial that’s complete with sample images.
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