Saturday, May 28, 2016

Virgo Cluster Mosaic Ib: A Less Aggressive Approach

Last time I settled on using a 200mm lens to make a mosaic of the entire--fifteen degree square--Virgo Cluster. This would require something on the order of 15 to 24 subimages.

A club member pointed out that the galaxies probably wouldn't look very good at that scale, and he was right. Here's a simulation of 200mm vs. 700mm.

700mm image
200mm simulation
The galaxies are starting to lose their distinction from stars, pretty much ruining the point of a galaxy cluster mosaic.

His solution is to image only the core of the cluster, an area of about 8° by 5°. That's roughly 1/5 of the entire cluster's expanse, but it does contain the densest concentration of galaxies of interest to visual observers.

I'm going to repeat the calculations from Part I for the AT65 telescope. N = 3.5 (round up to 4) and M = 3.25 (round up to 4). So this can be done with about 16 images using much better optics.

I had some time to put together the layout of the 16 frames:

Virgo Cluster mosaic layout. Blue box, suggested area to be imaged; green markers, centers of subframes; red marker, center of mosaic; red box, area of mosaic.
The final mosaic will have a pixel counts that are about three times the frame dimensions. Since I'll be using a Canon T2i, that will give a 162 megapixel mosaic!

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