Diffraction Limited’s SBIG StarChaser SC-3-SHORT is the world’s first all-in-one independent Off-Axis Guiding Camera with Adaptive Optics support. The StarChaser SC-3-SHORT operates independently of the main camera. It combines a pick-off mirror, guider camera, guide port and Adaptive Optics control. The StarChaser SC-2 is also available for cameras requiring a 2″ interface.
The StarChaser SC-3-SHORT works with large format SBIG cameras with shorter backfocus distance. It supports the AO-X adaptive optics unit. The supported cameras include:
- STXL-11002, STXL-6303, STXL-16200 with FW8S-STXL
- Aluma AC 4040 with FW7-STX
- Legacy STL cameras with large sensors and/or external filter wheel (requires adapter part# ACC10)
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-3-SHORT represents the next generation of off-axis guide technology. The SC-3-SHORT attaches to the front of your filter wheel and adds only 0.87″ (22.1 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-X bolts onto the front of the StarChaser SC-3-SHORT, 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.
Mirror Offset Adjustment Range
Gives the distance from the inner edge of the guide sensor to the optical center. The mirror should be positioned so it clears the edge of the main sensor in order to avoid vignetting. At faster f/ratios, the separation may need to be increased. In some optical systems, if the mirror is pulled all the way back then the guide sensor may be vignetted.
SC-3-SHORT (Aluma AC, STXL): 0.66" to 0.88" (16.8 mm to 22.4 mm)
Back Focus Range, Mirror Retracted
Gives focus range of the SC-3 when the mirror is pulled back as far away from the main sensor as possible. This distance is measured from the front of the StarChaser (without any adapters) to the focal plane of the main camera.
SC-3-SHORT (Aluma AC, STXL): 1.51" to 2.84" (33.4 mm to 72.1 mm)
Back Focus, Mirror Extended
Gives focus range of the SC-3 when the mirror is adjusted as far as possible towards the main optical axis.
SC-3-SHORT (Aluma AC, STXL): 1.73" to 3.06" (43.9 mm to 77.7 mm)
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.
All cameras supported by the SC-3-SHORT can now be used with the Adaptive Optics AO-X unit. This brings AO capability to many models that previously could not support AO operation.
When using the StarChaser with AO, you will need a StarChaser to AO-X Adapter Cable. This necessary adapter cable is included in the bundle SB-SC3-AOX-PACK.
The SC-3-SHORT requires only a 12V power supply (included) and a USB 2.0 mini cable (6 foot / 2 metre cable included). The SC-3-SHORT can send guider commands to the telescope either via ASCOM PulseGuide or an “ST-4” style guide cable (included). The StarChaser SC-3-SHORT can directly connect to the AO-X adaptive optics unit. All guiding and AO operations take place independently of the main camera.