DSLR cameras: to cool or not to cool?

Professionally modified DSLRs reduce thermal noise and make them suitable for deep-sky imaging.
View a 360° image of the refractor here
Credit: www.thesecretstudio.net

With many high frame rate cameras for planetary imaging being released in quite recent times, there has emerged a trend of manufacturers producing cooled versions for deep-sky imaging. This cooling helps reduce issues with thermal noise, and I often find myself chatting to enthusiasts who are modifying their DSLRs to do the same.

PrimaLuce Lab is one of the many companies that now offer professionally produced, cooled modified DSLRs, such as the PrimaLuceLab 700Da cooled camera. The lowercase ‘a’ indicates that the camera is already modified to allow more red light to reach the sensor, allowing better imaging of Ha clouds where star formation is often taking place. In the February issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Pete Lawrence guides us through the finer points of the camera and what it can do.

Also this month, Tim Jardine aimed the Tecnosky AG70 astrograph refractor to the heavens and, between gaps in the cloud on moonless nights, explored the simplicity of use it offers. Refractors are as popular as ever, especially short focal ratio systems such as the AG70. In his review, Tim reveals the stunning images he was able to capture with its quadruplet lens system.

Of course, whether it is a camera or telescope, neither would be very useful for imaging if they didn’t have a reliable mount. This month I had the happy pleasure of testing out Celestron’s newest addition, the CGX equatorial mount. With a stylish, rugged appearance it really performed well and was a joy to use. We reckon it will become the mainstay Celestron mount for several years. 

Read this month's reviews and more in the February issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, out 19 February!

Click here for the full list of Paul's blogs for BBC Sky at Night Magazine. 

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