Atik Cameras

Author Topic: Cant Image with Camera?  (Read 2669 times)


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Cant Image with Camera?
« on: January 21, 2020, 02:25:22 am »
I just got my Atik Horizon Color camera, and my first night trying it completly failed...but i have no idea why.

I am new to purpose made astro cameras, so I might just be missing something, but I'll explain what I did trying to image. I feel like i'm doing everything right, but I'm clearly missing something.

When I test the camera out it seems to work fine. I focused on mountains and a treeline just fine with a .005s exposure when using the Atik software and NINA. Then I turned everything off until sunset.

 Around sunset I focused the camera on Venus using ~1s exposures, it wasn't dark yet, but the sun was set. It wasn't a perfect focus but I intended to slew to a different star to get a better focus with a mask.

Then I slewed to an alignment star (which was centered in the finder), but once it was on a star no exposure length or gain preset rendered a picture. I tried 1s to 10s and no image ever came up. None of the photos had gradation or artifacts, it was just flat black no matter how far I stretched the image. I tried using the available atik software (Dusk/Infinity), and NINA but nothing worked. I tried all the camera presets, tried with and without auto stretch, and different temps, but I was never able to get a picture. Then I switched it for my DSLR and it was able to image fine.

Then I came inside and used some foil to make a pinhole lens, and the camera started taking photos fine.

I've noticed that if the sensor gets hit with too much light it just goes black. If I take the 1 second exposure that produces a flat frame with the pinhole lens and use it without any cover on the sensor the resulting photo is just black, even if it's pointed at a light(Is this normal? It seems like it should just be white, like when you overexpose a dslr) . But I don't see why the resulting image will just be a flat black if it's pointed at a star in the night sky...especially if it was focused on Venus just 20 seconds before.

It seems like I am just missing something really simple, but I cant seem to figure out what the problem is or which step I am missing. Has anyone experienced this? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Thanks, for any help.


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Re: Cant Image with Camera?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 07:32:39 pm »
Did you download the core software from disc or the Atik Support website? Suggest you use the latter as there have been some problems with earlier versions of Dusk and Infinity. However, there might be other explanations;...

Firstly, capture too much light at high magnification and rather than an all white image (as you might expect) the image will go all black. It is an incredibly sensitive camera and targeted at DSOs. Over exposure is a common fault with new owners.  Admittedly, I use Hyperstar at f/2, but anything more than the <Low> preset and my Horizon camera tends to be overexposed.

My guess is that you have gain set too high and exposures too long for the (light) conditions that you describe. Gain confused me at first because I would read about Sharpcap users embracing gains of (say) "300".  The Atik scale of gain is different and you perhaps need to review the excellent video produced by Atik that explains the Horizon's approach. The Histogram also requires a bit of understanding. I suggest that you have another attempt with an easy target like M42 under dark conditions at the <Low> setting and start with 2 second exposures and then progressively try longer until you find your scopes sweet spot. You can't judge too much from daylight or pinhole experiments.

Having said that, I have recently suffered from a few unexpected disconnects/lock ups with the current version of Core Software/Infinity. Yet if I briefly recycle power to my camera it then works fine again. If your experience is similar, that might explain why your camera appeared to fail, yet worked fine when power was recycled (e.g.having moved indoors).

Here, I am not yet sure what is going on. However, my current computer has a modest processor and ever since I embraced Celestron's CPWI for scope control, I perceive that it is on the brink of running out of graphics resources, albeit CPU resources look fine. I have also noticed that Infinity has run a tad sluggish when compared to previous. I am however running a  4K UHD display, so am already challenging it to the hilt. When I control scope using Hand Controller this issue doesn't occur, so I think I may be fairly close to a diagnosis and it might simply be a question of computing resources. What processor/graphics are you using? You mention NINA, might that be gobbling resources (like CPWI in my instance)?

Tomorrow, I am due to receive a very fast i7 Intel NUC to test this. Simply capturing and frequently stacking the large subs produced by the Atik Horizon does require reasonable computing ooomph. I have already eliminated power considerations by using a seperate 240v 12v/5 Amp AC/DC supply.  I have spoken to Atik Support and we mutually concluded this is probably a local issue else other users would be flooding these Forums just as they did after the launch of version


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Re: Cant Image with Camera?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2020, 10:00:24 pm »
Just an update

I have updated my PC to 8i7 with 16Gb RAM. Cured everything!

In summary, don't underestimate the Horizon's computing needs.


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Re: Cant Image with Camera?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2020, 12:42:30 pm »