BitFlow Reaches for the Stars Helping Mount Wilson Observatory Capture Celestial Images

WOBURN, MA, JANUARY 7, 2021 — Located on Mount Wilson, California, Georgia State University’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy array (CHARA) is the world’s largest optical interferometer and has delivered landmark sub-milliarcsecond results in the areas of stellar imaging, binaries, and stellar diameters. CHARA is comprised of six separate telescopes across Mount Wilson that act together as one enormous telescope to attain the resolving power to define amazingly small details. To operate, the light obtained from each telescope is combined and a final reconstructed image can be observed that is of far higher resolution than would otherwise be possible.

Achieving observations of faint targets such as young stellar objects and active galactic nuclei required a new higher sensitivity adaptive optics system to correct atmospheric turbulence and path aberrations between the six telescopes in the array and the beam combiner lab. A BitFlow Neon CLB was used in the optics system as a low-latency frame grabber solution for the Andor iXon Ultra 897 EMCCD cameras capturing light from each telescope. The frames are then written to an instrument shared memory to be accessed directly by the main wavefront sensor server for processing and analysis.

Simple and affordable, the Neon CLB is a Base/PoCL Camera Link frame grabber that acquires images up to 24 bits at 85 MHz. It is one component in CHARA’s entirely commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system. In all, the optics system features six Andor ENCCD cameras, six frame grabbers, 12 OKO MMDM deformable mirrors, and six Intel CPU 6 core computers, one for each telescope. The fundamentals of the computers and the BitFlow frame grabbers are identical, meaning they use the same motherboard, processor, and RAM. Other frame grabbers were originally tested by the system designers but the latency jitter was too high compared to the BitFlow Neon CLB. In addition, the BitFlow grabber worked ideally with the Andor iXon Ultra 897’s non-standard Camera Link out: base configuration, 3-tap interface and 16-bit greyscale.

Using the BitFlow frame grabber, the cameras now operate at a 440Hz measured frame rate and have a -3dB closed-loop bandwidth of 19Hz. This is a similar performance to the adaptive optics system of the Auxiliary Telescopes of the VLTI (Very Large Telescope Interferometer) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile which is so powerful that it can detect an astronaut on the moon.

According to the CHARA researchers, the initial on-sky tests of the optics system have been very promising with more than a magnitude sensitivity improvement. In addition to observations of faint young stellar object disks and active galactic nuclei, researchers are using it to observe celestial objects in weather conditions that previously were not possible.

CAPTION: Georgia State University’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy array on Mt. Wilson is the world’s largest optical interferometer
CAPTION: BitFlow Neon CLB is being used as a low-latency frame grabber solution for the CHARA array

BitFlow in Boston, MA 2018

BitFlow recently exhibited at the Vision Show Boston at the Hynes Convention Center.

We had a great location at the entrance to the show.

Our Cyton CXP and HALCON demo caught the attention of many show attendees.

A CoaXPress camera demo highlighting our Aon-CXP and Cyton CXP4 was on display along with a sequence capture demo.  Cameras from JAI, IO Industries and Sentech were included in these demos.

Our Neon CLQ, Aon-CXPAxion 1xE and Cyton CXP4 frame grabbers were all on display.

The show was well attended and there was a lot of traffic at our booth.

If you attended the show and did not have a chance to stop by our booth, please visit us online, submit an inquiry or give us a call at 781-932-2900.

Automation World, Seoul, South Korea, March 29-31, 2017

BitFlow is exhibiting this week at Automation World at the Coex Korea Exhibition Center in Seoul.  Our newly released single link CoaXPress frame grabber, the Aon-CXP is on display along with our Neon CLB, Neon CLQ, Axion 2xE, Cyton CXP2 and BitBox.  12 MP cameras from JAI and Adimec are included in a demo with the BitBox and our Cyton CXP4 highlighting CoaXPress and the BitBox capabilities.

Come see us at Booth S136!

BitFlow in Stuttgart, Germany

BitFlow recently exhibited at the Vision 2016 show in Stuttgart, Germany.

The newly released BitBox, an IO Box with high speed serial communication to the frame grabber, was on display alongside the CoaXPress splitter and the Aon.  The Aon is a low cost, single link CXP frame grabber that was designed similar to the Cyton-CXP family.  The CoaXPress splitter can take a CoaXPress signal from a camera and send it to up to four different systems for processing and/or display.

Also on display was a demonstration of GPU interfacing technology showcasing the capabilities of the frame grabber’s interactions with GPUDirect and DirectGMA.

Components Express, Inc. showcased our Cyton-CXP4 with one of their CoaXPress cables in their booth.

Our distributor, Cosyco, highlighted our Cyton-CXP and the Neon-CLQ in their booth.

If you attended the show and did not get a chance to speak with us at our booth, please visit us online, submit an inquiry or give us a call at 781-932-2900.

Automation Expo 2016, Mumbai, India, August 22-25, 2016

Our distributor Menzel Vision & Robotics recently exhibited at the well attended Automation Expo at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Center in Mumbai.  They showcased our Axion-CL, Cyton-CXP and Neon-CLB frame grabbers.   They also received an award for their innovative product display in their booth.

If you attended the show and didn’t get a chance to speak with Menzel Vision, please visit their website.