Canon hunts for meteors with its 8-inch CMOS

Canon hunts for meteors with its 8-inch CMOS
Size matters for Canon - just check out the 35mm sensor compared to the new 8-inch version

Canon has announced that its biggest sensor yet, the ultra-large-scale, ultra-high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, has found itself a home.

Developed last year, the CMOS is a massive 8x8 inches in diameter, which is the world's largest surface area for a CMOS sensor.

Don't expect it to come to a household camera any time soon, though – the sensor is only making its way into massive telescopes at the moment, with the first installed in the Schmidt telescope at the University of Tokyo's Kiso Observatory, Institute of Astronomy, School of Science.

Stroke of lux

To give some idea of how much detail the sensor can take in, the CMOS can record video in dark conditions with as little as 0.3 lux of illumination.

Given that 6 lux is a decent measure of how dark twilight is (the time of day, not the emo vampire movie), it's fair to say the sensor is pretty powerful.

When the Schmidt telescope was tested it managed to pick up more meteors in one day than was identified in the whole of last year.

This is because the sensor, according to Canon, can record approximately at "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."

More information about the image tests are set to some out this week from the Kagoshima University in Kyushu, Japan.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.