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Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR
Air Cooled - Sensitive - Monochrome - Planetary Video Camera
Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR
The PL-130M COOLAIR.
  • Sensor: 1/2" CMOS 10-bit Monochrome
  • Sensor Resolution: 1280(H) x 1024(V)
  • No Infra Red filter
  • Air-Cooled with internal fan
  • Frame Rate: 10-12 FPS @ 1280x1024
  • Max exposure time: 10 seconds
  • USB 2.0 Powered
  • Ideal for Planetary imaging
  • Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
  • Region of Interest (ROI)
  • Computer Interface: USB 2.0
  • Robust aluminium alloy body
  • Bundled Software (max. 10s exposure):
    • Nebulosity Lite
    • PHD Guiding
    • Plug-in for MaxIm DL
    • Plug-in for AstroArt
  • Also included (DirectShow/WDM):
    • Craterlet (30 FPS)
    • Guidemaster
  • Computer Requirements:
    • Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) 2000/XP/Vista/7/8
    • USB 2.0 port
Opticstar PL-130M features.
A+ sensor. The Opticstar hand-selected hi-grade A+ sensor installed in this camera is noted for its uniform surface response and low noise required for low light applications.
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Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR
The package contains the following:
  • Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR high sensitivity 1.3MP mono camera (no Infra-Red filter).
  • CS-mount to 1.25" telescope adaptor (threaded for filters).
  • USB 2.0 cable to connect camera to computer.
  • Printed set-up guide.
  • Software on CD:
    • PHD Guiding (native 10 second exposure mode & DirectShow/WDM video mode).
    • Nebulosity Lite (native 10 second exposure mode, binning, ROI, stacking etc).
    • Craterlet for AVI and BMP capture (DirectShow/WDM video mode).
    • Guidemaster for guiding (DirectShow/WDM video mode).
    • PL-130M Plugin for PHD Guiding (native 10 second exposure mode)
    • PL-130M Plugin for Nebulosity (native 10 second exposure mode)
    • PL-130M Plugin for MaxIm DL (native 10 second exposure mode)
    • PL-130M Plugin for AstroArt (native 10 second exposure mode)
Order No. Price (inc_VAT) Shipping Delivery click to purchase
OSRPL130MCA £ --- £ 6.00
Opticstar PL-130 Setup Guide
(Jan 2011, PDF)
Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR
Flyer (PDF)

Outline
The PL-130M COOLAIR video camera is based on the popular PL-130M but it also incorporates an internal fan that keeps the camera cool and reduces noise during longer exposures.

The PL-130M COOLAIR is a high-resolution 1.3 mega-pixel monochrome camera that is a highly sensitive and can be used to capture images of the planets, Sun and Moon. The camera is very easy to use and provides a quality, low noise affordable solution for viewing or capturing high quality digital video from the telescope and recording it to your computer at a maximum 1.3 mega-pixel resolution.

The camera does not incorporate an infra-red filter and has high sensitivity across the spectrum, it is thus well suited as a guider. The camera will operate at a maximum true resolution of 1280x1024 but lower resolutions of 1024x768, 800x600, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120, are also supported.

The camera is cased in a robust metal body and can be connected to any telescope with a standard 1.25" drawtube. A PC with a USB2.0 port running Windows 2000 or later is required.
Cooling mechanism.
The cooling mechanism.
PL-130M / COOLAIR Sample Images
Please click on the images below to expand to their full size.
Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon.
Image by Herwig Sulzbacher, Austria
PL-130M, C11, (Registax & Photoshop Elements)
Click to expand to: 1255 x 998 pixels.

The Moon.
Image by Herwig Sulzbacher, Austria
PL-130M, C11, (Registax & Photoshop Elements)
Click to expand to: 1270 x 1008 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
Jupiter.
Image by Robert Slack, United Kingdom
Click to expand to: 1024 x 768 pixels.

Saturn.
Image by Robert Slack, United Kingdom
Click to expand to: 1280 x 1024 pixels.

A 9.4 megapixel mosaic of the Moon 
 captured by Herwig Sulzbacher.
A 9.4 megapixel mosaic of the Moon captured by Herwig Sulzbacher in Austria.
PL-130M, C11, (Image aquisition time: 20 minutes, stacking with avistack, Fitswork 2 Minutes / image).
Click to expand to: 2354 x 4010 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon.
Image by Herwig Sulzbacher, Austria
PL-130M, C11, (Registax & Photoshop Elements)
Click to expand to: 1216 x 974 pixels.

The Moon.
Image by Herwig Sulzbacher, Austria
PL-130M, C11, (Registax & Photoshop Elements)
Click to expand to: 1280 x 1024 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon.
Image by Richard Kinsey, United Kingdom
300 Mewlon at f11.9. Stacked 70 frames in Registax.
Click to expand to: 1260 x 1021 pixels.

The Sun.
Image by Dr. S.J. Wainwright, United Kingdom
F/4.8 10" Newtonian w/ solar filter and CaK-line filter
Click to expand to: 1000 x 820 pixels.
Sample image. Sample image.
The Sun.
Image by Dr. S.J. Wainwright, United Kingdom
H-alpha PST, eyepiece projection & green filter.
Click to expand to: 359 x 204 pixels.

The Sun.
Image by Dr. S.J. Wainwright, United Kingdom
H-alpha PST, eyepiece projection & green filter.
Click to expand to: 359 x 200 pixels.
Sample image. Sample image.
Solar prominence.
Image by Dr. S.J. Wainwright, United Kingdom
Click to expand to: 407 x 257 pixels.

Saturn. 8" Helios reflector.
Image by Robert Slack, United Kingdom
Click to expand to: 1280 x 1024 pixels.



Note that the optionally supplied focal reducer may be necessary to reach focus with many Newtonian telescopes. This also applies to any other astronomy camera.

Increased exposure times.
Demonstrating the new longer exposure capability of up to 10 seconds. From left to right: 0.5s, 1s, 2s and 5s.

Video Mode V Single Shot Mode
The PL-130M camera operates in two distinct modes. In video mode the camera will show as a DirectShow/WDM device and will produce very fast frame rates with exposures limited to under half a second. This mode is ideal for solar and planetary imaging as well as for 'training' telescope mounts. It can also be used for guiding with less dim stars.

The single shot mode supports long exposures, in this mode a full frame is only sent to the computer once the exposure has been completed. This mode is ideal for guiding on dim targets. It is recommended that guiding exposures of around 4-5 seconds are used as this will even out any atmospheric turbulence, reveal faint stars and significantly improve guiding performance.

Sensor quantum efficiency.
The PL-130M's sensor quantum efficiency.

Bundled Software
In addition to EMAMCAP, the camera is bundled with a number of software applications including Craterlet, Nebulosity Lite, PHD Guiding and Guidemaster. Also there are software plug-ins for third party applications such as AstroArt and MaxIm DL. The most appropriate software to use depends on the particular application.

If maximum frame rates are required then the camera should be configured as a Windows DirectShow/WDM device. Alternatively, if maximum light sensitivity is desired then it should be used in native mode. In native mode exposure times can be up to 10 seconds.

The PL-130M is supported natively in Nebulosity, PHD Guiding, AstroArt and MaxIm DL. The camera can also be used as DirectShow/WDM video camera in Craterlet, PHD Guiding, Guidemaster, EMAMCAP, AstroArt and MaxIm DL. All these software applications are bundled with the camera.
Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR and Filter Wheel.
PL-130M COOLAIR attached to Filter Wheel.
Craterlet Software
Craterlet is a capture application for video cameras compatible with Windows DirectX (DirectShow) and WDM. It provides streaming to AVI, still capture and a simple but clean interface. Streams to AVI format at ~30 FPS, ready for processing in other software such as Nebulosity. It can quickly cycle among the camera's modes and allows the user to specify frame rate and capture duration. It is able to capture individual still frames in BMP format. Craterlet is ideal when high frame rates are desirable. Craterlet.
Nebulosity Lite Software
Nebulosity is a fully featured, but simple to use capture and processing application. Astronomy images from just about anything can be processed (support for many FITS formats, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, CR2/CRW, etc). Nebulosity Lite is bundled with the camera and it supports lapse photography, 1x1 and 2x2 binning modes, StarView real-time video preview mode, region of interest, frame stacking, support for all popular file formats and more. It is ideal when longer exposures are required of up to 10 seconds. This should be the application of choice over Craterlet when high sensitivity is required rather than high frame rates. Nebulosity.
PHD Guiding Software
PHD Guiding is designed to be simple, yet provide powerful, intelligent auto-guiding of your telescope. Connect your mount, your camera, select a star, and start guiding. That's it! In PHD Guiding, all calibration is taken care of automatically. The camera can be used with PHD Guiding in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode when exposures of under half a second are required, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of between 1 and 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera’s sensitivity. PHD Guiding.
Guidemaster Software
Guidemaster can be used as an alternative to PHD Guiding. Please note that there is no support for long exposures for the PL-130 in Guidemaster. Therefore PHD Guiding (or AstroArt or MaxIm DL) will perform considerably better because of longer exposure times up to 10 seconds. Guidemaster.
Plug-Ins for AstroArt and MaxIm DL
AstroArt and MaxIm DL are powerful third party applications for astronomy. They provide camera control, telescope control, auto-guiding and image processing. The camera can be used with both applications in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode for short exposures of under half a second, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of up to 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera's sensitivity.

Image Quality
The PL-130M COOLAIR camera can stream and store video to disk at up to 12 frames per second (10fps is typical depending on your computer hardware) at 1280x1024 resolution, it can also grab single frames at 1280x1024. All video and single frames are captured without compression, ensuring high image quality. Higher frame rates can be achieved by reducing the resolution via the camera control software.

The ability of the camera to capture and store high quality video to disk in real-time provides the data required for stacking any number of frames to create a single greatly enhanced quality image using image stacking software, these include Nebulosity (bundled with the camera), the excellent AstroArt v4.0, the freely available Registax and others.

PL-130 series.
The PL-130 series.

AstroArt is more relevant when you want to manipulate the image but without altering the underlying date, AstroArt is therefore highly suitable for photometry.

This high quality camera features on-board Extended Dynamic Range Imaging. This simultaneously reveals detail on both dark and bright features, very useful in astrophotography where there can be considerable contrast in the target.

MaxIm DL & AstroArt Support
AstroArt and MaxIm DL are powerful third party applications for astronomy. They provide camera control, telescope control, auto-guiding and image processing. The camera can be used with both applications in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode for short exposures of under half a second, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of up to 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera's sensitivity. To install the plug-ins for native camera please download and read the PDF documents below. You may also want to download the full user guide from the link above titled "Opticstar AG-130 Setup Guide" for more instructions.

Nebulosity and Nebulosity Lite Software
Nebulosity supports direct control of the PL-130M camera and it provides a complete software solution for image capture and processing. Nebulosity is also available for free for all AG-130M and PL-130M users in Lite mode. There is only one edition of Nebulosity but we supply a serial number that upon registration enables the software to run in Lite mode.

Serial number for Nebulosity Lite mode: 05130

If you already have a full licence then the camera can be used with all Nebulosity features enabled. All software updates are provided as free downloads. You may also want to download the full user guide from the link above titled "Opticstar AG-130 Setup Guide" for more instructions.

PHD Guiding Software
PHD Guiding is designed to be simple, yet provide powerful, intelligent auto-guiding of your telescope. Connect your mount, your camera, select a star, and start guiding. That's it! In PHD Guiding, all calibration is taken care of automatically. The camera can be used with PHD Guiding in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode when exposures of under half a second are required, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of between 1 and 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera’s sensitivity.

To add support for the PL-130M camera to PHD Guiding please use the Nebulosity plug-in, shown above. For instructions download and read the PDF document titled "PL-130 Plugin for Nebulosity" first. You may also want to download the full user guide from the link above titled "Opticstar AG-130 Setup Guide" for more instructions.


Options
Optionally, the PL-130M incorporates a removable x0.5 focal reducer nosepiece that can double the field of view if required. An extension 5 metre USB lead with a USB repeater (amplifier) is also available in cases where the camera will be used further away from the computer.

The camera comes with a CS ring and a 1.25" telescope adaptor threaded for filters. A t-thread adaptor is available as an optional extra.

Camera nosepieces.
Nosepieces from left to right: 1.25" adapter (supplied), t-thread adapter (optional), C ring (supplied).

Auto-Guiding
The PL-130M video camera is suitable for auto-guiding and is part of the Opticstar AG-130M Auto-Guider System. Please refer to that item if you are interested in a guider solution.

Specification
Model Opticstar PL-130M COOLAIR
Sensor Micron MT9M001
Optical Format 1/2" CMOS monochrome sensor (no IR filter)
Resolution 1280(W) x 1024(H)
Pixel Size 5.2µm x 5.2µm
Frame Rate 12fps @ 1280x1024 maximum; Typical 10fps @ 1280x1024
15-20fps @ 640x480
ADC 10-bit
Shutter Electronic Rolling
Exposure Time max. 10 seconds in native long exposure mode.
Automatic, depending on video mode, computer & application in DirectShow / WDM mode up to 500ms.
Computer Interface USB 2.0 with 3.5 metre (11.5 feet) of USB cable
Power Requirement USB Bus Power
Cooling Air-cooled from internal fan (USB powered)
Dimensions 65mm (W) x 40mm (D) x 85mm (H)
Sensor Distance to Camera Front 10.5mm (requires removal of internal spacers), 12.5mm & 17.5mm
Weight 175 grams (6.25 oz)
Operating System Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) 2000/XP/Vista/7/8


Notice
We are constantly checking the accuracy of the technical data. We are prepared to provide more detailed information on request. Technical data is subject to change without notice.

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Customers outside the European Union can order Opticstar cameras at our international website: www.opticstar-ccd.com.
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