Tri-color Imaging

The major reduction tool for CCD photometry in the Astronomy group at Stephen F. Austin State University has long been MIRA from Axiom Research. The purpose of my research was to explore the further uses of this software in the production of tri-color images. I selected the Ring Nebula (M57 or NGC 6720) in Lyra as the test object. In order to achieve a good signal to noise ratio (particularly in the blue) integrations as long as 400 seconds were required. The ST-4 tracking camera from SBIG was attached to the finder to ensure accurate tracking. I experimented with how much misalignment MIRA could tolerate in registering the filtered images as well as which method of combining and aligning images would produce the most accurate results. The point-to-point method resulted in higher image quality and only small registration errors could be accurately corrected. The result is presented below. I plan to continue refining this process on other colorful deep sky objects.

Janell Cannedy