Being that Nicole has a profound interest in astronomy, her father presented her with a gift of a remote imaging session with Insight Observatory for Christmas. Nicole and I set up an appointment to meet via Skype so I could introduce her to the process of remote deep-sky imaging. It was a Saturday afternoon here in the northeast so we needed to image in Australia where it was the middle of the night. As the process of remote imaging was new to this astrophysics student, I wanted to start off with introducing her to the basics of CCD digital imaging. Nicole and I covered the contemporary way of imaging deep-sky objects through a remote robotic telescope accompanied with a CCD imaging system.
|NGC 1365 in Fornax - 600 Second Image by Nicole F.|
Sharing her computer screen with me via Skype, I had her log into the remote telescope's interface and select an object to image. This remote telescope network that Insight Observatory uses suggests the best deep-sky object to image with the telescope you are connected to. One of the suggested deep-sky objects to be imaged was NGC 1365. This object, also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy about 56 million light-years away in the southern constellation Fornax.
Nicole then started a 600-second exposure of the galaxy and as she patiently waited for a preview of the image, we discussed more in-depth advanced methods of CCD imaging such as stacking images, using different types of filters, etc.
|NGC 300 in Sculptor - 600 Second Image by Nicole F.|
As our one hour imaging session was wrapping up, Nicole shared the fact that she had a great experience with her first time imaging with a remote robotic telescope. As for me, it was very rewarding sharing the experience with her and I look forward to sharing more experiences like hers with other secondary school and college students.