Diffraction Limited’s SBIG StarChaser SC-2 is the world’s first all-in-one independent Off-Axis Guiding Camera with Adaptive Optics support. The StarChaser SC-2 operates independently of the main camera. It combines a pick-off mirror, guider camera, guide port and Adaptive Optics control. The StarChaser SC-3 is also available for cameras requiring a 3″ interface.
The StarChaser SC-2 works with your STF or Aluma series camera, and the FW8-8300 and FW8S-ALUMA standard filter wheels respectively. The StarChaser SC-2 both acts as a guider and can control the AO-8A adaptive optics unit. The SC-2 is also compatible with older FW8S-STT filter wheels.
Stop wasting time with ruined exposures caused by flexure between the main camera and guider. Off-axis guiding eliminates this problem by using the same optical path for the main camera and the guider.
Most off-axis guider assemblies are awkward to use, consume too much back focus, and require you to focus by slipping a camera inside an eyepiece holder. SBIG pioneered simplified off-axis guiding, with guide sensors built into CCD cameras. Later, we created the self-guiding filter wheel, placing the guide sensor in the light path ahead of photon-robbing narrowband filters. The StarChaser is the next step in this progression – a fully independent guide camera with AO capability.
Next Generation Off-Axis Guiding
The StarChaser SC-2 represents the next generation of off-axis guide technology. The SC-2 attaches to the front of your filter wheel and adds only 0.8″ (20.3 mm) of back focus distance and weighs only 0.4 lb (180 g). It features a high-sensitivity 1.3 megapixel Global Shutter CMOS sensor with 4.8 micron pixels. Unlike competing autoguiders, the StarChaser has a mechanical shutter for easy dark frame correction. This feature, standard on all SBIG guiders, optimizes sensitivity and eliminates hot pixels that could degrade guiding accuracy.
The pick-off mirror position is adjustable by loosening a locking knob and sliding the mirror into or out of the housing. You can avoid vignetting the main sensor while optimizing the light path into the guide sensor. Once that is set, focus is adjusted simply by turning a second knob.
Adaptive Optics Control
Thanks to the SBIG StarChaser, the renowned Adaptive Optics (AO) technology is now available for virtually the entire camera line! The AO-8A bolts onto the front of the StarChaser SC-2, which in turn is attached to your SBIG standard filter wheel and camera. Adaptive Optics technology eliminates guiding errors caused by common mount problems such as stiction, periodic error, and wind loads. It can even reduce “slow seeing” effects resulting in higher resolution images.
Supports Your SBIG Investment
The renowned MaxIm LT software is included, providing integrated control of your StarChaser and SBIG main camera. We also provide API interfaces for third-party software running under Windows, MacOS, or Linux. An ASCOM standard camera interface is included. ASCOM does not currently support Adaptive Optics.
Supported SBIG cameras includes the STF-8300, STF-8050, STF-3200, STF-1603, STF-4070, Aluma 47-10, Aluma 77-00, Aluma 8300, Aluma 3200, Aluma 814 and Aluma 694. The SC-2 attaches to the FW8-8300 or FW8S-Aluma filter wheel. You can attach it directly to the front of the camera using a Filter Wheel Spacer. It is also compatible with older SBIG STT equipment. (Note: not compatible with STF-402 due to differences in mounting hardware.)
All cameras supported by the SC-2 can now be used with the Adaptive Optics AO-8A unit. This brings AO capability to the STF line for the first time.
On the telescope side, the SC-2 uses the same adapter plates that are used on the FW8-8300 and FW8S-Aluma filter wheels. SC-2 comes with the STL Plate (2.156″ x 24 thread) and compatible 2″ nosepiece adapter. Additional adapter plates can be purchased separately including the T-thread Plate (M42 x 0.75 thread), Small SCT Plate (2″ x 24 thread), and M48 Plate (M48 x 0.75 thread).
The SC-2 requires only a 12V power supply (included) and a USB 2.0 mini cable (6 foot / 2 metre cable included). The SC-2 can send guider commands to the telescope either via ASCOM PulseGuide or an “ST-4” style guide cable (included). The StarChaser SC-2 can directly connect to the AO-8A adaptive optics unit. All guiding and AO operations take place independently of the main camera.