A robotic camera has been installed at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. During the next two years it will map the H-alpha emission over the entire southern sky. Each image covers an area of 13\arcdeg x 13\arcdeg at an angular resolution of approximately one arcminute, comparable to that of the IRAS survey. The survey will reach a brightness limit of one Rayleigh (corresponding to an emission measure of 2 cm(-6) pc), and show nebulosities about 50 times fainter than those visible on the Palomar Sky Survey prints. The instrumentation is simple -- a 50-mm lens mounted behind an interference filter images the sky onto a CCD camera. The robotic system consists of the camera controlled by one PC and pointed with an equatorial mount controlled by another PC, which also controls the dome. The final H-alpha atlas of the southern sky will be published on a CD-ROM and made available on the World Wide Web for study by anyone in the astronomical community. It should be useful for studies of the structure of the interstellar medium as well as setting limits on the contribution of free-free emission to the microwave background. This project is the result of a collaboration between a computer engineer/amateur astronomer, his student intern, and three professional astronomers.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #190
- Pub Date:
- May 1997