Celestron Skyris 236M high resolution monochrome CMOS solar system imager


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The 2.3 megapixel Celestron Skyris 236M monochrome camera lets you view and capture live high resolution video of the Sun, Moon, and planets on your computer, as well as save it for later processing.
Our Product #: SKY236M
Celestron Product #: 95507

Product Description

The Celestron Skyris 236M is a high resolution 2.3 megapixel monochrome 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 236M 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 236M's 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 236M 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 236M is the Sony EXMOR IMX236LQJ CMOS. This state-of-the-art 2.3 megapixel video chip captures high-resolution monochrome 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 the sharpest possible images, the Skyris 236M 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 236M 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 236M 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 236M'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. 

The Skyris 236M monochrome is particularly effective for solar imaging, especially if you plan on imaging the Sun through a Hydrogen-alpha solar scope, thanks to its high resolution in H-alpha (higher than that of the same chip used for single-shot color imaging). 

A single-shot color camera uses a Bayer mask of color filters to turn a normally monochrome CMOS sensor into a color camera. Only a third of that Bayer mask is sensitive to H-alpha light, which lowers the overall resolution. In addition, some solar scopes have a "sweet spot" of maximum resolution in their image that isn't very large. If the sweet spot is smaller than your imaging chip, your 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 a telescope's aperture prefer to shoot in monochrome and process the image in false color. 

For those who want full resolution full color images, however, the Skyris 236M can be combined with an optional Skyris filter wheel (#SKYFW) and optional LRGB (luminance, red, green, blue) color filters.

Getting started with the Skyris 236M is as easy as pointing your telescope at the Moon, Sun, or a planet and recording a video. Solar system imaging with the Skyris 236M 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 236M.

Features of the Camera . . .

Imaging sensor: High sensitivity/high dynamic range/low noise Sony EXMOR IMX236LQJ monochrome 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).

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 236M 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 236M 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 236M'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 236M 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:
The Celestron Skyris series is my favorite for planetary imaging. I own this one, as well as the 132M. Both cameras have providing excellent views and images through my Meade LX200 scope. I have also used this cam with an 8" Orion Newtonian with excellent results, but the best images have come from the LX200. This camera works well with FireCapture or any number of other image acquisition software platforms on the market. Transfer speeds are fast and I've never had one corrupted image or file. I use my ZWO cams for solar work and my Skyris cams exclusively for planetary, though I'm sure they are just as excellent with other targets, as well. (Posted on 10/24/2018)
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