A Public Domain CCD Camera Design

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Session 63 -- WGAIT
Oral presentation, Tuesday, 10, 1995, 10:00am - 11:30am

[63.04] A Public Domain CCD Camera Design

R.A.Tucker (Southwest Cryostatics)

A prototype CCD camera design has been developed in support of the GNAT (Global Network of Automated Telescopes) project. This design is capable of operating essentially any CCD imaging device with a single readout amplifier, including large devices such as the Loral CCD441, a 2 kilopixel square array. A camera constructed according to the design documentation will provide low-noise signal processing, 16-bit digitization, and a readout speed capability approaching 50 kilopixels/second. Although capable of supporting large imagers and operating in a wide variety of imaging modes such as n x m binning, sub-array readout, and continuous scanning, a key design consideration has been low cost of construction. Enhancements of this design will permit parallel operation of multiple imagers, increasing effective sky coverage. The placement of a well documented camera design into the public domain will permit even very modestly funded researchers and institutions to acquire an instrument-quality camera. The construction and operation of this system will also provide valuable experience and educational opportunities.

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