1 Applications of EMCCDs to Faint Occultations Bruce Holenstein, Russ Genet, and Steve Conard 31st Annual Meeting of the International Occultation Timing Association 04-06 October 2013 Toronto, Canada 2
Agenda What is considered faint? What are emCCDs? Some SNR theory and tests Some projects What is considered faint? A desirable occultation out of the reach of typical IOTA equipment 3
Targets are faint TNO occultations 14th+ magnitude Fast cadence & HTRA Diffraction patterns 200+ fps Small scopes are in use for portability Well under 1-m typical Lowland observing & program objects at low altitudes
Lots of atmospheric extinction 4 What are emCCDs? CCD cameras with an extra set of registers to multiply electrons before readout. Top row from left: Photometrics Cascade 512B emCCD, 512B emCCD w/UV enhanced, 1k emCCD, CoolSNAP K4 Bottom row: Supercircuits 164CEX-2, Andor Luca-S
emCCD, Watec 902H2-Ultimate, two 902H2s (PAL), Two JAI 6740GE GigEthernet Above: Andor iXon EM+ 887 and 897 emCCDs 5 How emCCDs work Source: Photometrics Cascade user manual
emCCD Noise Reduction 6 CCD read noise reduced from 10s of electrons per pixel to under 0.1 per pixel. Back illumination increases QE. CCD Read noise drops off as em gain increases
QE curves: Andor iXon EM+ and Photometrics Cascade 512Bs use CCD-97 (top curve) Sources: Andor iXon EM+ 897 & Photometrics Cascade brochures Camera specs 7 emCCDs Mounted on small scopes
Top two photos: Photometrics Cascade 512B mounted on a 10 SCT, Right: Luca-S on 8 SCT, Far right: 512B on a 10 Newtonian 9 10 SCT with Andor Luca-S, Orion filter wheel, Barlow, iXon EM+ and Van Slyke
Instruments Slider II (setup for speckle interferometry) SNR Theory for 14 f/4 SCT SNR for four cameras vs object mag. 30-fps, 100-m elevation, 1.2 airmass, Sky: 20th mag./sq.as. Each magnitude fainter worked is about 300% more targets (2.5 mag. is ~30x more!)
Camera comparison on 14 f/10 SCT 11 NGC 7031- above the top of the Cygnus cross (stars ID'ed down to mag ~17) LINEARITY CHECK Video Rate (33ms) Stellacam EX Photometrics 512B emCCD
Camera comparison on 14 f/10 SCT SNR COMPARISON Video rate (33ms) Stellacam EX Photometrics 512B emCCD (Note scales are not the same) 12
mu Gem Lunar Occ. 1314Mar11 16.5 mas fit (red) 0.1 mas fit (red) Media, PA C8, Luca-S at 333fps, unfiltered, LiMovie Scintillation limited SNR! 13
FPS (speed) - Pi Sgr at Villanova, August 10, 2011 Villanova C8, 164CEX-2 CCD, no filter, 30fps 9.4mas per datum Gravic C8, Andor Luca-S emCCD, Sloan r filter, 120fps 2.4 mas per datum Again Scintillation limited SNR 14
Some Projects 15 Programmable timing trigger device (Arduino, GPS shield) Alt-Az Telescope Initiative Projects Larger scopes are needed to
further improve SNR Hubble Optics UL20 1-M Meniscus Mirror Telescope Prototype 16 Weight under 400 lbs Fits in back of Dodge minivan & Jeep Cherokee
On-axis f/4 light bucket w/possible active optics Big Blue from Russ Genet Orion Observatory 1.5-m 17 60 scope designed and built by Russ Genet; CalPoly students Mounir El-Koussa, Laura
Rice, and Mike Vickery; mirror cell by Donny Mott; SiTech donated controller/drive; DOTI donated mirror; scope finalized by Reed and Chris Estrada Scaled up design to 2.4-m Designed by Mounir El-Koussa, R. Genet, B. Holenstein, D. Mott; funding by Gravic and Collins Foundation
18 Conclusions emCCDs cameras can help IOTA in certain situations 19 emCCDs have a 2 to 3 magnitude advantage at video rates over typical IOTA cameras
On photon challenged (sm. aperture) scopes Low altitude or contrast events where a better SNR is needed Challenged in certain situations Cameras are expensive, heavier, less portable, and need more power Scintillation noise hampers fast cadence & HTRA measures so one needs larger scopes 0.5-m & up 20
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