ProLine 16801 Cooled CCD Cameras with Canon Lenses

The Discovery

The Alsubai Project reported the discovery and initial characterisation of Qatar-1b, a hot Jupiter orbiting a metal-rich K dwarf star, the first planet discovered by the Alsubai Project exoplanet transit survey (

A Qatar-led international team has made its first find in its search for planets orbiting distant stars -- a huge gas giant 20 percent larger than Jupiter that orbits a star 500 light years away. The planet has been named Qatar-1b and its discovery is to be reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development said on Wednesday. Working in collaboration with astronomers in Britain and the United States, and using data collected by Qatar's wide-angle cameras in the US state of New Mexico, the team were able to identify the planet from the dip in light from the parent star as its orbit took it between the star and Earth. The team had to use computers to sift through data from hundreds of thousands of stars before making their lucky find. "The discovery of Qatar-1b is a great achievement -- one that further demonstrates Qatar's commitment to becoming a leader in innovative science and research," said Dr. Khalid Al Subai, leader of the Qatar exoplanet survey and a research director at the foundation.

The Process

The concept of transit method is simple. we simply measure the flux or the brightness of stars continuously , if it happen there is a planet that is revolving around its parent star in direction of sight, it will block small part of the star light from the observer. if we are able to measure the light curve of that star with high precision, we will notice the light curve will dip for few hours.

The Technology

The Alsubai camera system images an 11◦ × 11◦ field of view simultaneously at two pixel scales. A single 200mm f/2.0 Canon lens covers the full 11◦ × 11◦ degree field at 9.26 arcsec pix−1. Four 400mm f/2.8 Canon lenses each cover 5.5◦ × 5.5◦ fields arranged in a 2 × 2 mosaic to cover the same 11◦ × 11◦ field. All cameras use FLI ProLine PL16801 KAF-16801E 4K×4K CCD detectors. The robotic mount cycles through four pointings, taking 100s exposures with the 400mm cameras and 60s exposures with the 200mm camera, thereby covering a ∼ 400 square degree field with a cadence of 8 minutes. The 400mm lenses target stars between V = 11 and 15 mag with 100-s exposures, while the 200mm lens covers the magnitude range from V = 8 to 12 mag with 60-s exposures. We thus obtain photometry of all stars in the field in the range from V =8 to 15 mag.

Alsubai Image Alsubai Image

The Equipment

CCD Cooled Cameras - 5 FLI ProLine PL16801, KAF-16801E , 4k x 4k Sensors

Lenses - (4) Canon 400mm, f/2.8 & (1) 200mm, f/2

Scale and FOV - 4.64 arcsec/pix, 5.24 x 5.24 degrees per CCD for 400mm lens

Mount - Equatorial Fork type mount. Prototype was on Paramount mount

Computers - 3 Mac Pro, each one has 16 CPUs, 32Gb of RAM, and 6TB Hard Disk

Coming Soon!

The Atlas Focuser is being added to each of the ProLine PL16801 cameras in use at the Alsubai Project. The Atlas was chosen due to its resolving power , mechanical stability and weight bearing capacity. Additional images will be posted soon as they become available.