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Grasslands Observatory : Interesting Objects with Common Names

 
The Horsehead Nebula (IC434)

There are many objects that have a common name associated with them as well as a more formal catalog name. Some of these unusual and beautiful objects are pictured here. Many of these color images were obtained with the 24-inch f/5 reflector at the Grasslands Observatory from 1996- to the present. They were initially taken either with a Spectra Source HPC-1 CCD camera or with an Apogee AP7 CCD camera. The HPC-1 contains a Texas Instruments chip with a 1024 x 1024 array of twelve micron pixels. The Apogee AP7 CCD camera contains a SITe 24micron 512 x 512 CCD chip that has excellent quantum efficiency throughout the visible spectrum and into the near-infrared portion of the spectrum.
 
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AP7 CCD camera attached to the 24-inch telescope at the Grasslands Observatory. Notice also the Isis FW1 filter wheel and JMI digital electric focuser.

Exposures typically ranged from R = 1 minute, Green (V) = 1 minute, B = 1.5 minutes to R = 4 minutes, Green (V) = 4 minutes, and B = 6 minutes for the Apogee AP7 camera. Exposures for the HPC-1 camera were somewhat longer, especially in the blue (B). In general, short exposures were used for bright clusters, and long exposures were used for faint galaxies and nebulae. For some objects, clear exposures were also taken and added to the exposures through the photometric filters to produce a final color image.

In March 2001, a Finger Lakes Instrumentation Dream Machine CCD camera was installed at the observatory. This camera has a high quantum efficiency SITe 1024 x 1024 twenty-four micron CCD chip. It provides a nearly 28 minute field of view on the 24-inch f/5 reflector at the Grasslands Observatory. The Dream Machine is used in operation with a Finger Lakes Instrumentation CFW-1 Color Filter Wheel and an Optec TCF temperature compensating focuser. The filter wheel contains Photometric R, V, and B filters and also has an Open slot (O). This instrument combination is now used for most of the imaging on the 24-inch telescope.  

Exposures typically range from R = 1 minute, Green (V) = 1.5 minutes, B = 2 minutes, and O = 1-2 minutes to R = 4 minutes, Green (V) = 6 minutes, B = 8 minutes, and O = 5-20 minutes for the Dream Machine CCD camera. Short exposures are used for bright clusters, and long exposures are used for faint galaxies and nebulae. Most color imaging now is performed using a Luminance technique with Open or Clear exposures used for the Luminance (L) part of the color composition.

Other instruments at the Grasslands Observatory include an 8-inch f/4 Meade LXD55 Schmidt-Newtonian telescope which can be mounted onto the side of the 24-inch telescope and a Takahashi Epsilon 180 telescope which can also be mounted onto the side of the 24-inch telescope.  Future plans call for separate mounts and building for these telescopes. 

Imaging with the Epsilon 180 and the Meade LXD55 was initially done with a Nikon F1 film camera back and a Nikon D100 digital camera back. Now imaging on these telescopes is performed with a Canon 20da digital camera.  In addition, the Canon 20da is also used with a variety of lenses including 15 mm, 50 mm, 80 mm, and 300 mm Canon lenses. 
 

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Dream Machine CCD Camera combined with a Finger Lakes CFW-1 Color Filter Wheel
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