Celestron Skyris 236C high resolution color CMOS solar system imager


Availability: More on the way

The 2.3 megapixel Celestron Skyris 236C color camera lets you view and capture live full color video of the Sun, Moon, and planets on your computer, as well as save it for later processing.
Our Product #: SKY236C
Celestron Product #: 95506

Product Description

The Celestron Skyris 236C is a high resolution 2.3 megapixel color solar system imager (CCD camera) that can be used with virtually any telescope in any size or price range. The lightweight (only 3.6 ounce) Skyris 236C was designed and engineered in Germany by The Imaging Source, the leader in high-end planetary imaging, using a body/heat sink design engineered by Celestron in California.

The Skyris 236C's full-color images can be viewed live on your laptop or PC screen via the supplied USB 3.0 cable so that several people can view the image at once. You can also save them to your computer for later processing and image enhancement. The Skyris is also Mac OX X compatible using free software available through the Skyris support page on Celestron's website. 

The innovative and inexpensive Skyris 236C is easy enough for a beginner to use, yet has one of the latest high resolution CMOS imaging sensors available for exceptional results. The sensor in the Celestron Skyris 236C is the Sony EXMOR IMX236 CMOS. This state-of-the-art single-shot color 2.3 megapixel video chip captures full-color high-resolution planetary, lunar, and solar images in a single exposure. The IMX236's small pixel size of just 2.8 microns delivers more resolution and requires less focal length than cameras with larger pixels - a big advantage for planetary imaging. Small to medium telescopes can achieve a bigger image scale without compromising sensitivity.
For more information on how single-shot color cameras work, click on the "Single-Shot Color" icon above. 

For the sharpest possible images, the Skyris 236C can record more than 200 frames per second when subframed (60 images per second full frame). The images can be stored on your computer as hundreds of individual frames. These can then be digitally stacked by the supplied NexImage iCap software to significantly reduce the electronic "noise" inherent in all video chips. Stacking brings out the unseen fine detail (signal) hidden within your real-time images. 

The Skyris 236C 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 to reduce the electronic noise is only part of the power of the Skyris 236C software. Before the images are stacked, the 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. The result is a bright, clear astroimage with impressive detail. 

Finally, powerful processing features in the NexImage 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. When you are satisfied with the quality of your images, they can be saved as BMP, JPEG, TIFF, or FITS files.

The Celestron Skyris 236C's small pixel size provides sub arc-second planetary detail with most telescopes. For example, with a 5" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain scope (1270mm focal length) the image scale of 0.44 arc second per pixel is almost exactly the 0.5 arc second resolution recommended by most seasoned planetary photographers. To see the resolution of this camera with your particular scope, click on the CCD Calculator in the "Formulas" tab above.

If you plan to image the Sun through a Hydrogen-alpha solar scope, the monochome version of the Skyris 236 would be a better choice than this one-shot color version. Only a third of the filter elements in the Bayer mask that turn a monochrome CMOS camera chip into a full color sensor are sensitive to H-alpha light. This lowers the camera's overall resolution with an H-alpha scope. There are also cases where a solar scope has a maximum resolution "sweet spot" that is smaller than its full field. If that sweet spot is smaller than your camera's chip, your image resolution will be uneven, particularly when combined with the lower resolution of a single-shot color chip. The higher resolution of a monochrome sensor is also why most solar imagers who use a white light filter over their telescope's aperture prefer to shoot in monochrome and process the image in false color.

Getting started with the single-shot color Skyris 236C is as easy as pointing your telescope at the Moon, Sun, or a planet and recording a video. Solar system imaging with the Skyris 236C is a great way to enjoy the hobby of astroimaging if you live in a light-polluted area. If you can see the Sun, Moon, or planet in the sky, you can image it with the Skyris 236C Color.

Features of the Camera . . .

Imaging sensor: High sensitivity/high dynamic range/low noise Sony EXMOR IMX236 color CMOS. Fast download electronic rolling shutter lets the imaging sensor continue to gather photons during the acquisition process, thus increasing sensitivity. The sensor chip measures 5.44mm x 3.42mm (6.43mm diagonal).

One-pass full-color imaging: Color images do not require multiple exposures through color filters.

Resolution: 2.3 megapixels (1920 pixels wide x 1200 pixels high, 2,304,000 total pixels). Each pixel measures 2.8 microns square. 12-bit A/D conversion rate for a wide dynamic range. 

Exposure range: From 0.0001 to 10 second (user selectable) at subframe rates of over 200 per second (60 fps full frame).

USB download: The Skyris 236C Color uses an ultra-fast USB 3.0 high speed connection to your computer via a supplied 10' USB 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 your telescope: The Skyris 236C Color has a machined aluminum 1.25" nose piece that allows you to use it with any telescope having a 1.25" focuser. The nose piece is threaded for standard 1.25" eyepiece filters. Back focus is 19mm with the 1.25" nose piece. The nose piece is removable, exposing female C-mount threads (25.4 mm x 32 TPI).

Operating environment: -40° C (-40° F) to 40° C (104° F).

Power requirements: No batteries or power supplies required. The camera is powered by your computer via the USB 3.0 cable. Just plug the Skyris 236C's USB cable into your laptop or PC and you are ready to image.
Minimum computer requirements: Pentium IV, 2.0 GHz; 1GB RAM; 24 or 32 bit graphics card; Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7/8 (32 and 64 bit); DirectX 9.0c or higher; USB 3.0. Also Mac OX X compatible using free software available through the Skyris support page on Celestron's website.
Included components: Skyris 236C Color camera with 1.25" eyepiece adapter; 10' USB 3.0 cable; a CD-ROM including image capture software to capture streaming video of what your telescope sees and Registax image processing software to align, filter, and stack individual frame into one high quality image or movie; and an instruction manual.

Tech Details

Pixel Array 1920 x 1200
Pixel Size 2.8 x 2.8 microns
Weight 3.6 oz.
Warranty 2 years


Review by:
I purchased this camera this year for the 2018 summer of planets and very close Mars Opposition. Used it this summer with my Celestron C11 OTA and was able to capture stunning rich and detailed Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn images this year. The USB 3.0 connection allowed me to get extremely high frame rates compared to previous solar system imagers. The high frame rate is key to capturing sharp detail. On Mars, I was able to shoot 250 frames per second at f/15! That’s 10,000 frames in less than 45 seconds. The sensitivity of this chip is astounding. It requires the use of an IR Cut filter in order to get correct color, and I used the Baader IR-UV Cut filter 1.25” to accomplish this. Amazing sensitivity, exquisit color and incredibly fast frame rate. The best solar system imager yet. I highly recommend this camera for outstanding performance in solar system imaging. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
How do you rate this product? *