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For this assignment, you will be using the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network, run by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to take a real image of an object in the night sky. You will then use the MicroObservatory Image software (free download) to combine images from multiple filters into a single color image. Step 1) Go to and click “How to request an image” to watch a short, 1-minute video that will explain how to task the MicroObservatory. Following those instructions, choose your target and request your images.

  1. From the training page, click “Control Telescope”.
  2. You will see a list of targets. Any object that is greyed out is not visible in the sky tonight. Choose one from the list in the table below, and click “Observe.” Feel free to also observe other objects, but for this activity, these are the objects that will allow you to create a multi-color image. Record the name and type of your object on your observing log (the last page of this document). The designation in parentheses is the object’s Messier number, a catalog of beautiful deep-sky objects compiled by Charles Messier in 1771. Andromeda Galaxy (M-31) Orion Nebula (M-42) Ring Nebula (M-57) Dumbbell Nebula (M-27) Trifid Nebula (M-20) Lagoon Nebula (M-8) Eagle Nebula (M-16) Crab Nebula (M-1) Messier 46 (M-46)

  3. Select your Field of View (some objects will have a choice, others won’t). Record the field of view on your observing log.
  4. Select your Exposure Time (the website may suggest that your selection might result in an under- or over-exposed image…select accordingly). Record the exposure time on your observing log.
  5. Select “Multiple Filters”, and record this on your observing log. You want all three filters (red, green, and blue), so that you get three images that can be combined into a color image. If multiple filters aren’t an option, choose a different image. I want you to have the experience of building a color image.
  6. Click “Continue.”

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