For years, the Starlight Xpress Lodestar has been considered by many to be not only the best autoguider on the market, but an amazingly good Galaxy Imager. The SX UltraStar Pro, with its Sony 2/3” format ExView II progressive scan monochrome CCD sensor, takes both of these applications to a whole new level with almost twice the imaging area of the Lodestar.
The Starlight Xpress UltraStar Pro is an excellent entry level imaging camera. When used with “Starlight LIVE” software, the camera can be easily configured to take a series of continuous short exposures, automatically adding the images together as it goes, building up the image in front of your very eyes. This concept is perfect for public outreach programs where the images can be seen “developing” in real time, ensuring that not only photons are captured, but also their imagination. Schools and curriculum-based astronomy projects will also benefit greatly from this form of imaging.
The UltraStar Pro is incredibly compact in size. It is powered and driven through the mini-USB connection on the rear of the camera, (<200mA drawn from the USB socket), which makes it perfect for mobile setups and remote field operation as well being easily transported. Combine all of these features with the free ‘Starlight LIVE’ software, and Live Viewing imaging is suddenly amazingly simple and very effective.
The UltraStar Pro is compact yet sturdy, with solid aluminum construction. This compact guide camera is 1.25” in diameter, allowing it to drop neatly into a standard eyepiece holder without requiring any additional adapters. The UltraStar has a large imaging area (8.98mm x 6.71mm), giving you a wide field of view for framing galaxies or finding a suitable guide star. With an impressive 75% QE and large pixels, the Ultrastar Pro sucks up those photons with ease. Sensitivity is key, but combined with the incredibly low noise of the Ultrastar Pro, images are acquired even easier.
The Starlight Xpress UltraStar Pro sports a full size RJ12 autoguider port, so there’s no need to run extra cables from your computer to control your mount corrections. It is powered by the USB port on your computer to keep cables to a minimum. There’s no need to have an extra power supply for your camera - one less thing to forget when you are on your way to a star party.
Conventional long-exposure imaging is also perfectly practical with the Ultrastar Pro. The camera is uncooled, but its dark signal is very low and any warm pixels are easily removed by applying hot pixel filters, or by stacking ‘dithered’ images. Conventional dark frame subtraction can also be used. It is also supplied with original Starlight Xpress imaging software.