Monday, June 12, 2017

Virgo Cluster Mosaic Progress

Last year I talked about creating a Virgo Cluster mosaic that would be suitable for poster-sized printing. Progress has been slow thanks to the abysmal weather we've "enjoyed" this spring, but it's hardly hopeless to think this won't be finished by the time of ALCON 2018. (The convention is being held here in the Twin Cities, and the notion was that a mosaic poster might be sold as a fund-raiser.)

Here's a graphic of my current progress in terms of the 4x4 grid:

Green = completed sub-image

That's six of the required sixteen sub-images done.

Here's a look at the top row stitched together using Microsoft ICE:

Not much to see in this row other than M98 at far right and M100 at middle right.

The middle two sub-frames need to be reprocessed to minimize the substantial moonlight in them. They were imaged during a first quarter moon which was nearby in the sky. This first row suggests that the finished mosaic will be the equivalent of a single 150 megapixel image taken at a focal length of about 135mm. The sub-images are taken using a Canon T2i (18 megapixels).

I wonder how long it will be before consumer-grade DSLRs are sold with 150 megapixel resolution. The new full-frame Canon 5DS has a 50.6 megapixel sensor!

There's a chance I may be able to get a couple more images done this week to put me at the halfway mark, but the Cluster's availability for imaging is fading fast as time goes on.  The next new moon will be the last opportunity to image it this year.


Next time: First attempts at meteor detection using National Weather Service weather radio stations, a home-built antenna, and an SDR dongle. And possibly more venting about the President and my pseudo-conservative, pseudo-intellectual, Congressional Representative.

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