The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) is a research telescope designed to take very precise measurements of the amount of light emitted from the object of interest that reaches onto its CCD camera. However, the camera we use does have a reasonable field of view (twelve arc minute square) and it has very sharp optics; so on occasion, when there are a few minutes to spare, observers at the telescope will sometimes direct the telescope to some favorite astronomical delight.
Color images are made by combining images taken through red, green, and blue filters. On occasion you can see an asteroid moving through the field of view as a series of dots of first one, then another, color.
Astronomers who to make it their business to create excellent images of astronomical objects will spend an evening taking hundreds of images and then “stack” them to get extra-fine resolution. By contrast, the images we show here are usually no more than one snapshot through each color filter, no stacking except to create the full color range. The beauty of the images that you see here even with such a casual approach speaks to the very high quality of the imaging that is possible at the VATT.
Click on any individual image to get a full resolution view.
Planetary Nebula NGC 7009, the Saturn Nebula. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
Saturn, imaged at the VATT.
Globular Cluster M3. VATT image.
Stephan’s Quintet, a galaxy cluster. VATT image.
Open cluster NGC 1624. VATT image.
Dark nebula Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
M1 Crab Nebula in enhanced color. VATT image.
Jupiter, as imaged at the VATT
Open cluster NGC 609. VATT image.
Planetary Nebula NGC 1535, Cleopatra’s Eye. VATT Image.
Galaxy NGC 3628, “Sarah’s Galaxy”, one of the Leo Trio. VATT image.
Multiple star system Omicron-2 Eridani, “Keid”. The star at the lower left is a white dwarf. In Star Trek lore, this is the home system of planet Vulcan. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
Planetary Nebula NGC 6781. VATT image.
Galaxy M 104, the Sombrero Galaxy. VATT image.
Galaxy UGC12343 in ultraviolet. VATT image.
Planetary Nebula NGC 2392, “The Clown Face”. VATT image.
Detail of the Pelican Nebula; VATT image.
Emission nebula NGC 2359, “Thor’s Helmet”. VATT image.
Galaxy Cluster A397, VATT image by Matt Nelson, 2001.
Open Cluster NGC 2158. VATT image.
Globular Cluster M56. VATT image.
Galaxy M65, one of the Leo Trio. VATT image.
Planetary Nebula NGC 6781; enhanced colors. The bright star at the center of the nebula is the source of the gas and dust that make up the nebula. The reds and purples are ionized hydrogen; the blues and greens are primarily ionized oxygen.
Detail of the Orion Nebula, an emission nebula, M42. VATT image.
Planetary Nebula NGC 7293, the Helix. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
Galaxy M95 (NGC 3351). VATT image.
Galaxy NGC 2683. ATT image.
Black Eye Galaxy, M64, in red and blue fliters. VATT Image, May 2010.
Galaxy NGC 5964 with centaur 5145 Pholus. The image is made from several images taken in red, green, and blue filters; the centaur’s motion can be seen from filter to filter. VATT image.
Galaxy NGC 2903. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
Planetary Nebula NGC 6826, The Blinking Nebula. NGC 1535. VATT image by Brucker, Consolmagno, Romanishin, and Tegler, 2004.
Globular Cluster NGC 5053. VATT image.
Planetary Nebula M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. VATT image by Matt Nelson, c 2001.