The second instrument available at the Virtual Telescope is a Celestron 14″ – f/8.4 (356/3000 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The tube is installed on a Paramount ME robotic mount, the best hardware of this kind available in the world, while as for the detector a SBIG ST8-XME (class 1) CCD camera is used. A filter wheel offers the following filters: RGB (for color imaging), BVRI (for standard photometry) and H-alpha (bandwidth: 6nm) for narrowband imaging. Unfiltered images are also possible, to offer the maximum amount of light for extremely faint objects. The image scale is of 0.62″/pixel, while the mean on site seeing is of 1.8″: high resolution images of deep sky objects are well possible. The field of view (FOV) is of 16 x 11 arcminutes.
News: this unit now hosts a Star Analyzer 100 grating, for spectroscopy!
The large aperture make possible very deep imaging, useful to detect really faint objects, like small asteroids or faint variable stars. The period error is of about 1″ peak-to-peak, so unguided exposures are easily possible at full resolution with integration time of five minutes or so. This is very important for survey works, where saving the time otherwise needed to look for a suitable guiding star means more observing and discovering chances. The pointing accuracy shows a better than 6″ RMS all-sky error. The whole system is controlled by the TheSkyX suite, with TPoint and Camera add-ons.
Some applications: the system can taking amazing, highly resolved images of moderately large objects, while the large aperture makes possible good time-resolved photometry on stars down to mag. 16.5 and astrometry of objects down to mag 20.
This instrument is fully accessible remotely via the Internet upon request. If you are interested, please check the “Observe!” section
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