QHY5III462C a High QE Color + NIR Enhanced Planetary Camera with an IMX462 Back-illuminated sensor:
The same camera can now produce color or mono IR images at 135/fps with less than 1 electron of read noise!
Technology that can literally see at night.
The QHY5III462C planetary and autoguide camera uses the latest (6th Generation) Sony 2.1 MP IMX462 CMOS sensor. It is as sensitive at methane (880 nm) as it is at visible wavelengths. High QE in color is over 800 nm, up to 1000 nm for a monochrome-like image.
The pixel size is 2.9*2.9 um, making it the same size and resolution as the sensor in other QHY5III series cameras that has been so successfully used for planetary imaging by some of the best planetary imagers in the world. Like others in the series, the QHY5III462C is powered and controlled via USB3.0. No additional power is required.
The first affordable enhanced near infrared (NIR) camera for armature astronomers
This camera has an enhanced high near infrared response in the 850 nm to 1100 nm wavelengths with the Sony IMX462 sensor. This sensor has 1920*1080 resolution, 2.9 um pixels size, 1/3-inch area. 12-bit, (output as 16-bit and 8-bit), USB3.0 and frame rate is up to 135fps.
Two new brand new features which make it a new planetary camera game changer
Super High Convert Gain
QHY5III462C has super high convert gain capability. By using a lower capacitance, a small amount of charge can be converted to a high voltage, resulting in higher sensitivity in low-light conditions. The readout noise is as low as 0.7e. The following picture is the side by side comparison with QHY5III462C (left) and another discontinued QHYCCD planetary imager QHY5III290C (right). This image shows the QHY5III462C has higher sensitivity and SNR than the QHY5III290C in the same conditions.
Super High Infrared Sensitivity
The sensor in QHY5III462C has the “Thick silicon technology”. This is the brightest point of the product. On the basis of the BSI structure, by increasing the thickness of the pixel layer, the near-infrared light that travels the furthest distance in silicon can also be fully converted to an electric charge, thus greatly improving the sensitivity of the pixel to near-infrared light, which is doubled in near-infrared quantum efficiency of 800 to 1000 nm compared to 290 or other CMOS cameras.
Since the organic dye filter of the Bayer filter on pixel is completely transparent in the near-infrared band, the pixels can be seen as a black-and-white (monochrome) camera in the near-infrared band. This greatly enhances the fun of the camera. Combined with the camera’s high sensitivity in near-infrared, it makes it the first all-round exploration of infrared imaging by astronomy fans. The following picture is the QHY5III462C with the IR 850 nm infrared pass filter.
What the QHY5III462C can do
Planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are also rich in methane. Through the 890 nm methane filter, the high infrared sensitivity of this camera can fully obtain methane distribution images.
Near infrared moon photography. In the near-infrared band, it is generally believed that the atmosphere has higher transparency and viewing. Through infrared transmission filters such as IR 850 nm, the lunar surface details can be better obtained.
ONAG on-axis infrared guide star: The ONAG guide star device can separate visible light and near infrared light. Visible light is used for deep space photography, and near infrared light is used for guiding stars. The guide star can be realized at any position in the full field of view.
QHY5III462C’s excellent near infrared sensitivity makes it the best partner of ONAG
Multi-spectral lunar surface photography, lunar prospecting. Many mineral components on the lunar surface have different absorption spectrum characteristics in the visible and near infrared bands. By using filters of different wavebands for shooting, color multi-spectral lunar photography and lunar prospecting can be achieved.
The IMX462 CMOS sensor is back-illuminated and has new features that give it two significant advantages over other planetary cameras:
- The IMX462 sensor has sHGC (super high convert gain) technology, for extremely low read noise (less than one electron) at high gain. In visible light the 462C has higher sensitivity than the 290 based cameras. This is ideal for stacking hundreds or thousands of short planetary images.
- It is exceptionally sensitive in the NIR. In this generation of sensor, the photo-diode portion of the pixel well is deepened, allowing photons of longer wavelength to penetrate deeper into the substrate and thereby dramatically increases the sensor’s sensitivity to red light and near infrared light (NIR). The RGB filters over the pixels become transparent at NIR wavelengths, so the sensor displays almost equal peak sensitivity to NIR light as it does to light in the visible spectrum.
The peak QE in the NIR around 800 nm is as high or higher as the peak QE in the visible wavelengths (typically from 380 to 700 nanometers). This is welcome news for planetary imagers using a methane filter which passes light around 880 nm.
To produce the highest detail with the greatest dynamic range, many planetary imagers prefer to capture hundreds or thousands of images in as short a time as possible and then process the results into one final combined image. This requires high sensitivity for short exposures and low read noise for combining multiple images. The QHY5III462C will output 135 frames per second at full resolution. With its exceptionally high QE and extraordinarily low (0.5e-) read noise, it is the perfect camera for planetary imaging.
The QHY5III462C camera includes two 1.25-inch screw-in filters:
- A UV/IR cut filter – to isolate the visible wavelengths for normal RGB imaging.
- An IR850 filter – that will cut the visible wavelengths but pass wavelengths above 850 nm.
Together, this yields a camera that can image in (a) visible light only, or (b) NIR light only, or (c) combined visible and NIR. Passing all the light, visible and NIR, will produce a very sensitive luminance frame (when shot through a reflector or other scope capable of focusing visible and NiR together) for producing LRGB color images.