M42 close-up with Trapezium

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Obj Type
Date Taken:
Messier 42
CTIO, Chile

A close-up of the M42 region.  This is the first completed image using the new Planewave mount that we installed on our recent trip to CTIO, Chile.  SSRO Team Leader Jack Harvey, working with the guys from UNC (Josh Haislip, Kevin Ivarsen, and Justin Moore), as well as the Planewave folk, worked tirelessly for a few weeks to get out some of the bugs in the mount software that initially limited southern hemisphere operation. The mount represents a significant improvement over the old Paramount ME, especially at our focal length (over 4.5 meters.) FWHM of guided 10-15 minute images on average/good nights at CTIO is now routinely in the 1.0-1.5" range!  We have high hopes that the eventual addition of an AO device to the imaging train will further improve the FWHM by another 0.2-0.3".

We are also experimenting with this mount for unguided images -- clearly we can go up to 6-8 minutes without any increase in FWHM or aspect ratio. This Orion image used unguided 2 minute exposures -- 2 minutes to help minimize the Apogee U9's blooming. Processing by Steve Mazlin.



Technical Details
Exposure Time:
1 hour RGB/channel with 2 minute unguided exposures
Apogee U9
RCOS Carbon Truss 16 inch f/11.3 Ritchey-Chretien
Planewave 200HR
© 2024 Mazlin
Used with permission, No reproduction of these images are permitted without written approval from Mazlin.