Starlight Xpress Adaptive Optics with USB

Starlight Xpress Adaptive Optics with USB
Item # SX-AO-USB
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  • This Starlight Xpress USB Active Optics package comes with an OAG, and can be used with a variety of SX cameras.
  • The SX AO system helps to correct movement errors introduced by the mount.
  • A direct USB connection is available due to addition of an internal USB to serial converter
  • Fast tracking speed of 5ms per increment
  • The Starlight Xpress Active Optics produces very little light loss.
  • Threaded for filters.


Starlight Xpress USB Adaptive Optics System

This is an updated and improved version of the Starlight Xpress Adaptive Optics System. It adds an internal USB to serial converter, so that a direct USB connection may be used, and the stepper motor drivers have increased torque capability to ensure optimum performance under all conditions. This AO package comes with, among other things, an OAG. If you do not need an AOG (for instance, you have a QSI WSG camera), then you can buy a Starlight Xpress USB Adaptive Optics QSI version instead.

Major Features of the SX Adaptive Optics System

  • Image tracking and stabilization using a high speed tip-tilt optical window
  • Fast tracking speed of 5mS per increment.
  • Overcomes rapid gear errors to stabilize even difficult mounts.
  • Mount control output for correcting large drive errors while maintaining AO stabilization.
  • Image shift factor independent of optical system or camera back-focus spacing.
  • STAR2000 guiding compatible.
  • May be used to image stabilize many other makes and types of camera, given suitable control software.
  • Clear aperture of 60mm for up to 35mm full-frame size chips.
  • Short optical length - 74mm with OAG (not included in this package), 44mm without (add 6mm if front end adaptor is used).
  • Very low light loss (~2%) from the multicoated optics.
  • Filter threads for adding 48mm narrow band. IR blocking or pollution rejection filters without affecting the guide camera sensitivity.
  • USB controlled.
  • Low power consumption. Less than 600 mA at 12v DC when moving - 50mA quiescent current.
  • Compact and lightweight - only 132mm in diameter x 32mm long - less than 700 grams load on the ‘scope.

The Starlight Xpress USB Adaptive Optics device provides an effective method of removing the effects of rapid guiding errors from CCD images. All but the most expensive telescope mounts suffer from rapid gear errors during guiding and such errors are very difficult to correct when the only control method available is to send speed corrections to the drive motors. A device that can adjust the image position by rapidly deviating the optical path, can correct for such errors very quickly and without the associated settling time issues.

A common method of shifting an image for AO purposes is to use a ‘tip-tilt’ mirror to re-direct the beam through a variable angle. This works well, but deviates the optical path through 90 degrees and takes up a considerable back focal distance. Its motion sensitivity is also affected by the distance between the mirror and the CCD. A ‘straight though’ device is more convenient and optically shorter, so the original Starlight Xpress AO unit was designed with this in mind back in 2004.

A secondary advantage of the straight through design is that it is possible to construct a system that has a well defined optical deviation for a defined input signal. This means that the ‘sensitivity’ of the system in pixels shift per input step is essentially constant and is independent of the optical system used and the distance between the CCD and AO.

The AO element is a multi-coated AR bloomed plane-parallel optical window with a thickness of 13mm and a diameter of 60mm. This element can be tilted by up to approximately +/- 3 degrees.

Converging light from the telescope objective lens or mirror passes through the window on its way to the CCD chip, but is essentially unaffected when the window is perpendicular to the beam. However, when the window is tilted, the converging beam is displaced by an amount which can be defined as approximately 0.075mm per 1 degree of tilt. The maximum image deviation is therefore approximately +/- 0.15mm in both the X and Y planes. This corresponds to about +/- 23 pixels on the CCD of an SX-825 camera.

Trius and AOLF - the Perfect Combination

The Trius range of CCD cameras from Starlight Xpress offers a unique advantage over other imaging cameras. With a built in USB2.0 hub in the rear of the camera, all of your imaging setup—the SX AO module, Lodestar X2 and the Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel—can all be controlled through the rear of a Starlight Xpress Trius camera. This significantly reduces the number of cables running back to the computer, helping to keep things organized and helps prevent cable drag and cables being snagged in the dark. Both the Lodestar X2 (the most sensitive dedicated guide camera on the market), and the Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel are powered and driven through the USB so no additional power cables are required.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Manufacturer Starlight Xpress
Included Items

Included Items

  • Starlight Xpress Adaptive Optics Module
  • OAG
  • AC Adapter
  • USB cable
  • Guider Cable
  • T-Thread Female Adapter - (Telescope Side)
  • SCT-Thread Female Adapter - (Telescope Side)
  • T-Thread Male Adapter - (Camera Side)
  • M72-Thread Male Adapter - (Camera Side)
  • CD-ROM - Manual
Questions & Answers

Product Questions

Hi, I just want to clarify that this unit no longer requires either Lodestar software or Maxim DL to operate? I know this was true a few years back and want to make sure it is totally ascom compatible before purchase. Thanks.
Hello. The courrier company asks me about the weight of this device. How much does it weight? Second question... what else do I need to use this Active Optic with a C11 Edge HD? Can you give me some guidance about all is needed? Thanks in advance.
Would this work attached to the front of the Trius SX-814 with the filter wheel and OAG that come with it in part #SX-SX-814-COMBO?
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