NGC 4565 via 32-Inch Telescope: By Guest Host, Mario Motta

The APOD image today is NGC 4565, an incredible image from the CFH telescope on Mauna Kea (An 8.0 meter mirror, one of the largest scopes in the world), see the image at the bottom of this email.

Not the same level of fine detail of course (I am “only 0.8 meter” in size or 32-inches) but, it does compare nicely. I am pleased. It’s great when you can compare your image with a major “professional” telescope, for sure!

For a comparison, I’ve posted both images together: Roger

I’m especially happy that the color is almost a match, as I’m a stickler to “get the color right”, and based on the professional image, I think I achieved this.

Much of this is not only “just good” optics, but good processing.

Despite imaging since the 1980’s I am still learning, and have adopted some recent techniques in PixInsight which helped get the color exactly correct, and squeeze out good detail.

Speaking of the CFH (Canada-France-Hawaii) telescope, I visited the facility some years ago, its mirror was cast in the Arizona mirror lab by Roger Angel who perfected the technique of casting and polishing these behemoth mirrors.

One of his mirror makers, Peter Wangness left the lab to set up his own private mirror making commercial business. He says I was his first customer, when he cast my 32-inch (0.8 meter) scope as a favor, and at cost as a test back in 2004. He pre-made the rough curve before I ground and polished it.

To minimize cost and engineering, he simply took the plans of the 8 meter mirror and shrunk it down to 0.8 meter…so my 32-inch is in effect a “1/10th” model of the CFH telescope. Something I have always been very happy about.

For all reading this: you can now compare directly an image from the 8 meter CFH, and its 1/10 scaled model…which is my scope.

Mario Motta

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