I know I just recently did an image of M101 but there is a good reason to have done it again so soon. I was invited to participate in a team at Sierra Remote Observatories out in California. The equipment is wonderful! A Planewave CDK14 riding on an Astro-Physics 1600GTO mount with an FLI ML 16803 camera. The image scale is 0.72 arcsecnonds/pixel, more than twice as fine as what I get out of my 80mm refractor. Combine that finer image scale with an instrument that can actually make use of that sensor resolution along with a sky that is better in most every way even compared to the new sky I’m under in the Shenandoah Valley and it was easy to say yes to joining the team.
We had a bit of work to do to get the system ready for imaging and working through those kinks too the better part of a month but we are now getting consistent data out of it. While we were working on getting things working, M101 was our target. We finished up with 27.5 houris of data though it was weighted far more toward H-a H-a than we would normally do.
When I first saw the subs come in I was floored by the detail in them. After stacking the data, I was shocked at how good the images looked. I did the processing and was just amazed at how much detail the combination of that camera and telescope managed to grasp. I was pretty happy with my earlier version. but this was significantly and obviously better.
Getting data like this could really spoil someone and, well, I’m ready to be spoiled!
For the technical details, see the astrobin version.