On the night of August 16, 2000, the new UMBC Telescope’s imaging system took its first frames.
Present were Associate Professor Mark Henriksen; Research Assistant Professor Eric Perlman; technical staff Paul Ciotta and Don Johnson; and Post-Doc, Eric Tittley.
Note that these images are truly “first light” images. They have undergone just the most basic processing and do not represent the full potential of this fine instrument. Particularly since it was a full moon!
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) One of Charles Messier’s original discoveries, it is 37 million light years distant. Due to interaction with a neighbouring galaxy, it has a spectacular spiral pattern.
The Hercules Globular Cluster (M13) It was discovered by Edmund Halley (of Halley’s comet fame) in 1714. At 14 billion years of age, it is one of the oldest objects in the Universe and contains half a million stars.
The Ring Nebula (M57) It is the remnant of a dead star. Located 4 thousand light years away, it is relatively close, astronomically speaking.
The Ring Nebula in false colour