First Light


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First Light: M82 is a very interesting irregular galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. Although this image is not a very good one of M82, it is significant (to FLC) in that this is the first light image from the ST-10XE camera through the 16" LX200. It was taken after rolling the telescope out on the sidewalk near Berndt Hall. The scope was in Alt-Az mode without a field de-rotator. Notice the "donuts" from the lack of a flat field, and the "grain" from lack of proper cooling. Focus wasn't too great either.

Messier: 82

Date: March 2005
Equipment: 16" LX200 at f10
SBIG ST-10XE with luminance (clear) filter
No guiding.
Exposure: This is a one minute unguided exposure using the "autodark" setting, with the camera at an ambient 5-10 C. We happened to be very lucky with the alignment.
Processing Notes: None. This was just a single, unstacked, image saved from CCDOps.

Additional Comments: First light is always fun, especially when you haven't imaged anything with any scope at all. Focus was achieved with surprisingly little effort after using waxed paper at the expected focal plane during the daytime. After this image (and a few others) it was several months before the telescope was taken to the observatory, and also several months before we were able to purchase the field de-rotator.

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