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Grasslands Observatory: The Messier Objects in Color

Color Images

The initial color images of the Messier Objects were obtained with the original 24-inch f/5 reflector at the Grasslands Observatory. From 1998 to early 2000, they were taken with an Apogee AP7 CCD camera.

The Apogee AP7 contains a SITe 24 micron 512 x 512 CCD chip that has excellent quantum efficiency throughout the visible spectrum and into the near-infrared portion of the spectrum. The AP7 images were used for Sky & Telescope's Messier Objects in Color Poster. Because the images have the same relative exposures for each object type and the same camera orientation and image size, they can be used to compare one Messier object with another.

Beginning in late 2000, color images of the Messier Objects were taken with a Finger Lakes Instrumentation Dream Machine CCD camera. Since 2015, the Grasslands Observatory has been significally improved and enlarged with the addition of three new 14 x 14 foot roll-off roof buildings containing telescopes for remote operations.

At this time, a PlaneWave 24-inch CDK24 f/6.5 telescope and a TPO RC 16-inch f/8 telescope are in active use via remote operation. An ASA 20-inch f/3.5 telescope is on site and is expected to be put into operation in the next few months. Messier object images are now being obtained with these telescopes combined with a FLI Proline 9000 CCD on the PlaneWave CDK24 and a QSI 532 CCD on the TPO RC 16-inch f/8 telescope. A Canon 60Da is also being used with a Takahashi Epsilon 180 f/2.8 astrograph for wide-field imaging.

tbh 1 March 2014; revised 27 April 2017


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