Atik Infinity Colour Camera - Further Experiences

Introduction | Reactivating the Camera | A Nightly Test with the C8 | Preliminary Conclusions | Links

On this page, I am compiling some more experiences (from February 2020 on) that I have made with my Atik Infinity Colour* camera (received on November 25, 2017 as a used purchase). Maybe they are also useful for others who consider buying this camera...

See also pages:

*) Usually, I would write "Color", because I try to use American English, but Atik is a company located in the UK, and therefore it's "Colour"...

 

Introduction

I did not use the Atik Infinity camera for two years and only unpacked it again in February 2020 after I received the eVscope. In the time between spring 2018 until then, I had observed mainly without GoTo. And in addition, the effort required for astrophotography with the Atik Infinity was too much for me.

Photos: Just as a reminder how the Atik Infinity camera looks like...

At first, I only did "dry runs" to get the camera going again and test on new telescopes (PS 72/432 and C8 with focal reducer), whether the camera can produce a sharp image with them at all.

Since I wanted to lend the camera to a starfriend in spring 2020, I made a night test with it using the C8 shortly before and tried out different focal reducers, but only in two configurations (see further below).

 

Reactivating the Camera ...

Since I updated the software for the Atik Infinity camera again and again, I had not looked at Atik's Website to see if there was a new version available. Unfortunately this was a mistake, as it turned out later...

First Attempt ...

On February 9, 2020, I "informally" set up my C8 with focal reducer (f/6.3) on the Star Discovery mount and connected the camera to the telescope on the one hand and to the computer on the other. Actually I wanted to test with targets in daylight, whether the camera with the focal reducer would come into focus and if so, under which conditions. On the new laptop, which only has USB-C ports, adapters for the USB cable were needed. Initially, when I used a plug-type USB-A-to-USB-C adapter, the camera was not recognized at all. When I switched to a "mini dock", the camera was finally recognized. In general, detecting the camera is always a problem, because I run Windows on a MacBook using Parallel Desktop.

The camera was detected with the mini dock, but in Finder and Video mode, it only ran for just one image (nothing was displayed) and then stopped running until I restarted Infinity software. Attempts with the new software called Dusk under Windows and MacOS did not lead to anything - this program is unusable at least for me...

I took a few more pictures to capture the principle of the setup, but that was all I was able to do.

Atik Infinity connected via f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 1,25" visual back to C8 (works only with additional zenith mirror)

Ditto

Second Attempt ...

I continued the next day, but for simplicity's sake with the PS 72/432 refractor on the AZ-Pronto mount. First, I made the same experiences! I then searched the Internet to find out whether the issue was known. But there only other issues were discussed, and I did not get any further. In between, I also visited the Atik Website without finding anything out. Finally, I reached for the last straw, namely reinstalling the software. The download page advised to uninstall the old version if you still have a version below version 5, but I was already at version 5. Nevertheless, I decided to uninstall the old software. This did not work at my first go, but it worked out eventually. Even when installing the newest software, it was just three days old, there were some minor problems, but I managed to overcome them. Then I started the version of the application, and lo and behold, the camera connected and worked again! I was relieved! The camera even worked with the USB-A to USB-C adapter and of course with the mini dock. If only I had installed the new software right away! Later on, I had some problems with recognizing the camera, but this is just, see above, due to my special computer configuration. Now it was time for the dry test with the PS 72/432!

PS 72/432

To make a long story short: the Atik Infinity came into focus on the Omegon PS 72/432 refractor only with the Omegon Amici prism, neither "without anything" nor with the 2" zenith mirror from Omegon. I found the same behavior when using a 2 x Explore Scientific focal extender, which does not seem to change the length of the light path. The target was not at infinity, but far away. So I assume that I can replicate these results for targets in the sky. For the field of view with the PS 72/432, see below.

C8 with Focal Reducer(s)

Although it was already getting dark, I made a "quick test" with my Celestron C8. For this, I simply put it on a blanket on the table. First I tried the Celestron f/6.3 reducer/corrector alone, later I also tried a 2 x Reducer from TS Optics, which I screwed into the eyepiece socket of the camera (the extension tube for it did not work). The camera only came into focus with the reducer/corrector when I used the 1.25" zenith mirror from Celestron. This was also the case when I added the TS reducer - and in this case it worked even without the zenith mirror. The target was not at infinity, but far away. So I assume that I can replicate these results with targets in the sky.

With f/6.3 reducer/corrector

with f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 2x reducer

Simple measurements showed that the field of view with the 2 x reducer actually doubles. The following graphic (calculated with astronomy.tools) shows the fields of view for various conditions (with Explorer 150PDS for comparison purposes):

And here including the PS 72/432:

 

A Nightly Test with the C8

On 15.3.2020 (on 16.3.2020 I wanted to lend the camera to a starfriend for some time), I made a first "night test" with the Atik Infinity camera at the Celestron C8. I tested the following two configurations:

The telescope was mounted on the Star Discovery mount, which I operated with the SynScan WLAN module via the SynScan app on the iPhone. For convenience, I only performed the 1-star alignment. However, I repeated the alignment several times and also "readjusted" the tube in between with the help of the Infinity software. Because of the small field of view this is often difficult, so that I had to use the eyepiece again in order to better align the telescope (sometimes only a new alignment helped...).

Here are some of the best photos I took during this test session:

         

M 41 (missed, above of M 41), f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

M 41 (missed, above M 41), f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 0.5x TS focal reducer

 

NGC 2264 (missed, to the left of NGC 2264), f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 0.5x TS focal reducer

   

M 42/43, f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

M 42/43, f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 0.5x TS focal reducer

 

M 42/43, f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 0.5x TS focal reducer

   

NGC 2024, f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

NGC 2024, f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

NGC 2024, f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 0.5x TS focal reducer

All in all I found the results, apart from those for M 42/43, fairly disappointing, but I was not that much in practice anymore... Faint objects like the Flame Nebula NGC 2024 were very pale, which did not get much better in post-processing (even though they were saved as 16 bit TIFF files). I got vignetting with the additional 0.5x TS focal reducer, which is more or less annoying depending on the object. On the other hand, you get a much larger field of view (about 0.8° against 0.4°, thus about 48' against 24'; the latter fov does not even capture the moon as a whole).

The Atik Infinity software proved to be very buggy. Especially, when I switched from stacking mode back to "live" mode, the application more or less hung up and did not show any actual images. So I had to restart it. This worked, but was not much joy... Interestingly enough, my software, which I had downloaded some time ago, is one version number further than the currently offered one. Maybe it was withdrawn because of bugs...

 

Preliminary Conclusions

Focus or not?

PS 72/432 : I can use the Atik Infinity camera on the PS 72/432 only if I use the corresponding Amici prism. It is a matter of controversy among amateur astronomers, whether such prisms can be used at night, or not... Maybe, I will be able to find other possibilities (e.g. a 1.25" zenith prism).

C8: I can also report that I get into focus with my C8 when I use the f/6.3 reducer/corrector from Celestron and possibly also the TS reducer (I did not test the TS reducer alone). In the first case, the 1.25" zenith mirror from Celestron is needed, in the second case the camera works with and without it.

I did not test whether the Atik Infinity works at the C8 without a reducer. Since a star friend got this working, it should work with my configuration as well.

SM127: Not tested this time, but already successfully tested in 2018 (with TS reducer).

TLAPO1027: Not tested, because purchased later. Has still to be tested, but should work.

First Results with the C8...

...did not overwhelm me!

 

Links

 

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15.08.2020