Thursday, September 15, 2011

Canon Huge CMOS Sensor Installed in Telescope

Canon announced that a large high-sensitivity CMOS sensor developed by the company last year has enabled the 60fps video recording across a wide 3.3deg x 3.3deg field of view of meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10 (The brighter the celestial body appears, the lower the value of its apparent magnitude. The darkest star visible to the naked eye has an apparent magnitude of approximately 6). The sensor's chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm is said to be the world's largest surface area for a CMOS sensor and among the largest that can be produced from 300-mm wafer. The device is approximately 40 times the size of Canon's 35mm commercial CMOS sensor and makes possible video recording in dark conditions with as little as 0.3 lux of illumination.

In January this year, the CMOS sensor was installed on the focal plane of 105 cm Schmidt telescope at the University of Tokyo's Kiso Observatory, Institute of Astronomy, School of Science (Kiso-gun, Nagano prefecture).

The large high-sensitivity CMOS sensor (left)
alongside a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor

The Kiso Observatory observation dome photographed with
 the large CMOS sensor amid illumination of 0.1-0.3 lux


  1. 0.1-0.3Lux, but with what lens aperture please??

  2. Kiso Schmidt scope is 3300 mm of focal length and f/3.1 but I doubt Lux reffers to that (Luxes aren't used much in astrophotography... limiting magnitude is).

    BTW. my Basler Ace also uses a "facy lens" - :D

  3. Nice info about the telescope. However, I believe other camera was used to take 0.1 lux picture, not Kiso telescope. This camera's aperture is unknown and the exposure time is unknown too. And the picture is downsized making it hard to judge its quality.

  4. I think that they have presented this sensor at IISW. I remember that great demo video has been shown with F8 lens at night. I calculated during the session that this sensor can capture good quality image at 1mLux (scene) with F1.2 lens...

    -yang ni

  5. Yang Ni,

    I'm having trouble imagining an F/1.2 lens for this size sensor!

    In 1981, Nikon introduced an F/2 300mm telephoto lens for the 35mm market. That monster weighed over 16 lb, and had a list price of $29,000. Those are 1981 dollars!

    I think Nikon only made a few hundred of these lenses and then discontinued it.

    I wonder what an F/1.2 for this monster sensor would look like? Will it have to be a Newton type?

  6. F/1.2 scopes are rather rare if they do exist at all. Schmidt cameras systems are the brightest out there. Newtonians usually don't got brighter than around ~f/4... and you need a really advanced scope desing to illuminate such big sensor.

  7. Well I just translate the 0.1Lux@F8 to 1-2mLux@F1.2 ... I don't say that we can make F1.2 Schimit telescope :)

    -yang ni

  8. Canon CMOS sensor 8-inch records SPACE at 60fps 0.3 lux Kiso University Tokyo

    Read more:


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