Tuesday, 13 December 2011

La Palma Diary - Day Six

Below is the galaxy M74, imaged about an hour ago.

It is not the prettiest image of M74. Not a composite of many exposures with various filters.

But it's something more pure - more real.

And it's a far better example of what astronomers really see when they use professional telescopes.

The image was created with the Isaac Newton Telescope, on La Palma.

Astronomer Rafael Barrena (right), from the IAC, was kind enough to image it (I don't know how to use a telescope, do I?)

It's a two-minute exposure using a so-called R-Filter - essentially it is the red light coming from the great spiral galaxy.

This is the image as it appeared on the INT's screen.

It is unprocessed and has not yet been corrected for the CCD and mirror's idiosyncrasies, etc - that comes later.

But I wanted to share the image for that reason - because it's still untreated.

They will be plenty more stuff like this in the upcoming Deep Sky Videos series, which will be about showing astronomy as it really is.

I should point out the image was created in the twilight hours, here at La Palma.

That's because the telescope has a heavy schedule of science through the night (and every night).

But during twilight there was a brief window of opportunity for us.

Meanwhile, below is an apologetic video I just posted from La Palma for Sixty Symbols.

Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is run by The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. I am being hosted by the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes. The videos from this trip will appear on Deep Sky Videos: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Click here for diary day one.
Click here for diary day two.
Click here for diary day three.
Click here for diary day four.
Click here for diary day five.
Click here for diary day six.
Click here for diary day seven.
Click here for diary day eight.

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