Acquiring the Images
How Images are Found?
Students first have to find an astronomical object to image with the complicating factors of it needing to be dark enough, high enough in the sky, and not to big or small for the telescope detectors. Having access to telescopes around the world helps but the student then needs to learn how to find the object and then match it with the correct telescope in the right part of the world.
To find objects students use a planetarium software called ‘Stellarium’. A type of object is decided upon and the searched for that falls within the required size. Based upon its location at the right time of the night an appropriate telescope is then chosen.
Getting the Image
Once the image is found then telescope time needs to be booked and the telescope needs to be told how long each filter needs to image the object so it is not too dim or too bright.
Below is an image showing an Online form double checking that the chosen image is visible and by what telescope. The brown line for ‘fort Davis’ confirms the McDonald Telescope in Texas, USA was appropriate to image the chosen object.
Below is an image showing an Online form that is filled out in this case telling the McDonald Telescope in Texas, USA, when to image what object for how long with each filter.
The image is then attained through the different filters and processed and stacked using astronomical software and Photoshop following the process explained in ‘About the Project’.