Canon Ultra-Large-Scale, Ultra-High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor Makes Possible Wide Field-of-View Video Recording of Meteors with Equivalent Apparent Magnitude of 10

Canon Inc. recently announced that an ultra-large-scale, ultra-high-sensitivity CMOS sensor developed by the company has enabled the video recording across a wide 3.3° x 3.3° field of view of meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10. The sensor, with a chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm, the world's largest surface area for a CMOS sensor, was installed in the Schmidt telescope at the University of Tokyo's Kiso Observatory, Institute of Astronomy, School of Science (Kiso-gun, Nagano prefecture).

With a chip size of 202 x 205 mm, the ultra-large-scale, ultra-high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, developed by Canon last year, is among the largest that can be produced from an approximately 300-mm (12 inch) wafer.2 The device is approximately 40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor and makes possible video recording in dark conditions with as little as 0.3 lux of illumination. In January this year, the CMOS sensor was installed on the focal plane of the Kiso Observatory's 105 cm Schmidt telescope and used to record video at approximately 60 frames per second, resulting in the successful video recording of faint meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10 across a wide 3.3° x 3.3° field of view.

Detecting faint meteors with apparent magnitudes greater than 7 has proven difficult using conventional observation technologies, with sightings of meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10 limited to only 10 per year. However, video recorded using the ultra-large-scale, ultra-high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, combined with the Schmidt telescope, which enables observation across a wide field of view, yielded a one-minute segment during which more meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10 could be detected than could previously be identified during the span of a year.

Statistical analysis of the video data could lead to an increased understanding of the influence that meteors may have exerted on the development of life on Earth.

Additionally, because the combination of the CMOS sensor and Schmidt telescope facilitates the highly efficient investigation of objects travelling at high speeds across the sky, it makes possible the detection of an increased number of celestial phenomena in addition to meteors, such as space debris and heavenly bodies moving in the solar system. Accordingly, the technology is expected to contribute to improved measuring accuracy in determining the position and speed of these objects.
Through the further development of distinctive CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of new image expression, in the areas of still images as well as video.

The results of the abovementioned observations will be presented at the Astronomical Society of Japan's autumn 2011 meeting, which is being held from September 19 (Mon.) to 22 (Thu.) at Kagoshima University in Kyushu, Japan.

About Canon Middle East:

Canon Middle East FZ LLC (CME), a subsidiary of Canon Europe, is the Regional headquarters for Canon in the Middle East and North Africa and is based in Dubai, UAE. Canon has been represented in the Middle East for more than 40 years through distributors and partners which has successfully built a solid customer base and significant market share in the region.

In 1998, Canon set up a representative office in Dubai to help partners deliver even more with additional on-the-ground support. By 2001, Canon had transformed into a full subsidiary with extensive logistics facilities, and in 2002 moved into its spacious new head office at Dubai Internet City, with a rapidly growing staff. As of January 1st, 2005, Canon North Africa S.A.S. (CNA) based in Paris became a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Canon Middle East and oversees French speaking African countries.

CME today manages sales, marketing and technical support activities across 36 countries; in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE as well as French speaking African countries.

For more information please contact:

DNA Communications
P.O. Box: 191117, Dubai
T. 00971 4 3988490
F. 00971 4 3988491

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