Through the courtesy of Michael Schwartz, Director of Tenagra Observatories, I have been able to do some remote imaging using Tenagra II. This research grade telescope is used for minor planet studies, supernova searches and other professional activities. The imaging equipment consists of a 0.81m F/7 Ritchey-Chrétien robotic telescope and an Apogee AP8 camera operating at -45°C. This combination results in an image scale of 0.87 arc-sec./pixel. All exposures are unguided. The filters used are professional BVR filters and unless otherwise noted, a clear or luminance frame is not used.
Michael's facility is entirely automated. As sundown approaches, the dome opens, the telescope moves to a safe position and cool down begins. At the appropriate time, calibration frames, consisting of bias, dark and flat frames are taken. All observations from multiple clients are automatically sequenced and optimized to be taken as close to the meridian as possible. The resultant frames are automatically placed into appropriate folders for FTP download by the users. As dawn approaches, the telescope again takes additional calibration frames, and then closes the dome. All of this is totally without operator intervention. The level of performance and automation speaks for itself and is amazing to behold.
Here are some recent images. The nominal full size image size is 1024 x 1024. North is up.
6/24/2003: M57 with IC1296 towards the upper right
BVR consists of 6 sets of 300s, 150s, 150s exposures for a total of 1 hour.
The dim outer shell of ejected material is clearly visible.
6/22/2003: A portion of M20, the Trifid Nebula.
BVR consists of 10 sets of 6m, 3m, 3m exposures for a total of 2 hours.
6/21/2003: Central portion of M101.
CBVR consists of 1 set of 150s, 300s, 150s, 150s exposures for a total of 12.5 min.