Beautiful Digital Images of the Cosmos
Here is a slideshow of astronomical digital images recently captured at KPO, and historical images. The observatory contains many types of optical equipment, cameras, and computer systems to allow us to capture our beautiful digital images of the night sky.
The main instrument in the observatory is the KPO 18″ Reflector, a standard Newtonian reflecting telescope with an original Coulter 18″ F/4.5 parabolic mirror.
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Our custom Sky Sentinel control and imaging software drives the telescope to locate deep sky object targets. It also uses electronic images, from the cameras mounted on the guide scopes, to provide an electronic optical lock during image acquisition. This allows the imaging camera to collect image data while keeping the target object perfectly stationary over a period of hours. The telescope, robotic mount, control electronics, and software were all designed and made by David Hearn.
We use Canon DSLR cameras and Astronomik light pollution reduction filters to capture our images. We stack and process our image data in software called “StarTools”. The image capture sessions are automated by software called “Nebulosity” which runs on the imaging computer. Both the imaging and telescope control computers are older Macintosh systems.