First tests of Basler Ace acA640-100gm for planetary imaging

Testing new Basler camera with sensitive ICX618 CCD as a camera for planetary imaging.

  • Model: Ace acA640-100gm
  • Vendor: Basler
  • Polish reseller: Avicon.pl
  • Specs: product page
  • CCD Sensor: ICX618ALA (mono), progressive scan
  • Interface: Gigabit Ethernet (GigE)
  • Aprox. price: 500-550 EUR, can be ordered at avicon.pl for European countries

Description of Ace acA640-100gm

Basler Ace is a new series of miniature Ethernet industry cameras. acA640-100gm is equipped with ICX618 - new, super-sensitive CCD sensor. The camera can capture frames with speed up to 100 FPS, either 8 or 12 bit format, and exposures up to 1 second by API, and longer by software timers.

To use this camera in astrophotography you need 1,25" nose-piece for industry cameras (C/CS thread), Ethernet cable and power supply. The camera can be powered directly by 6-pin connection or by powered Ethernet cable (Power over Ethernet, PoE). The camera can't be powered by the computer.

basler-ace-astro1
basler-ace-astro2

For image acquisition you can use FireCapture. Cameras are also supported by SharpCap. Thanks to generic WDM Basler driver the camera is supported in PHD Guiding, MetaGuide and EQAlign.

Astrophotography

Old cameras used previously were/are equipped with old ICX098 or ICX424 sensors, and can be affected by artefacts at high speed (TIS cams). While deep space cameras evolved planetary cameras stagnated over time. New cameras - Point Grey Flea 3 and Basler Ace, both with ICX618 started an r-evolution in planetary imaging giving 2-3x increase in sensitivity.

Basler Ace ac610-100gm doesn't show circular artefacts as old TIS cameras. However Basler Ace ac610-100gm can give randomly occurring artefacts on some AVIs. There is no known way to avoid them. Thus at this moment this camera isn't fully recommended for planetary astrophotography. Latest TIS DMK21AU618 is the way to go.

Jowisz z Baslera Ace
Jupiter made with Baslera Ace, C11 at f/20

Artefakt Baslera na Saturnie
Artifacts example


basler-ace-astro3
Example setup for planetary imaging
basler-ace-astro4
Basler Ace could also be used as a fast and sensitive guider.

Images

Check out my astro gallery for images taken with this camera.
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