XmCCD Camera Control Supporting Software

XmCCD uses Motif for its graphical user interface. The program has been built and tested most recently using openSUSE Leap and Tumbleweed. The system software and our notes on installing it for astronomy are available here. The required libraries to compile and use XmCCD, particularly for Motif and fxload, are in these distributions. See the user guide below for details.

XmCCD for SBIG would not have been possible without the universal driver libraries which were provided as a legacy project from SBIG, now Diffraction Limited.

We have included a copy of an archival SBIG Linux Software Development package with the XmCCD source. This driver allows full use of older ST and STL cameras and the more recent line of STX cameras. New products from SBIG would require using the Ethernet interface and we are developing software for that.

XmCCD for Apogee/Andor uses a library from Dave Mills with updates to include the legacy cameras produced by Apogee before it incorporated into Andor and then Oxford Instruments. The driver will support most Apogee cameras in the Alta and Aspen line. It will not support Andor cameras in other families, but would be extensible with their libraries.

All of the supported cameras are based on On Semiconductor's KAF and KAI product line, which was originally developed by Kodak. These CCDs are the mainstay of affordable CCDs for astronomy, and have been widely used in cameras from many manufacturers. Recently On Semi announced that the are discontinuing manufacturing these sensors. Consequently all of the cameras from SBIG and Andor that use them will not be available as new products, and repair of those in use will become increasingly difficult. XmCCD will be available in its present form to support these legacy cameras for many years. There will be eventually a new version designed to support whatever cameras emerge as replacements for those using KAF sensors. The commodity market for sensors has shifted to CMOS designs, and most of those available without a Bayer mask are smaller than the largest of the KAF CCDs. There is at this time no affordable large CMOS sensor that has the dynamic range and large pixel size of the KAF sensors. Stay tuned.

Image display for XmCCD is handled with SAOImage DS9, an astronomical data visualization application from the High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Images are stored as Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) files. CFITSIO is a library of C and Fortran subroutines for reading and writing FITS data files. The CFITSIO library is required to compile XmCCD. A recent version of the library is included in the XmCCD source distribution.

World Coordinate Systems are in included in the headers of FITS files to map the image pixels to the sky.

Astrometric calibration may be added by searching for known patterns of calibrating stars.

AstroImageJ, our astronomical version of ImageJ, offers broad image processing functionality and user-supported plug-ins in a cross-platform Java program. Advanced Python command line processing is available in our Alsvid package.

Last update: November 26, 2019
kielkopf at louisville dot edu