AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 34. Teaching Astronomy in Colleges and Universities
Display, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibits Hall 1

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[34.09] How to get 17th Magnitude at Video Frame Rates

W. Collins (Collins Electro Optics), R.E. Stencel (Univ.Denver Observatories)

We would like to alert college astronomy instructors to a significant new instrument that can greatly improve student experiences with modest aperture telescopes. The I3Piece is made by Collins Electro-Optics of Denver, CO and includes an ITT image intensifier and S-20 photocathode, capable of 50,000 amplification, 60 lines/mm resolution and only uses a few kV versus classical intensifiers that required many kV. The unit is ruggedly packaged with 1.25 and 2 inch barrel options, and can mate with an eyepiece, video camera or CCD camera easily, with total lengths under 12 inches. We report here on application of this device in astronomy instruction at the Denver University Observatories. When coupled with a typical video camera and monitor, one can readily deliver a better than visual limiting magnitude view of stars, clusters and galaxies. For reference, according to Roy Garstang at a recent AAVSO meeting, the limiting visual magnitude for a telescope of aperture d (cm) is 7.6 + 5 log d. The I3Piece is too sensitive to look at planets or the moon, but usually these bright object can be viewed without difficulty, by students. The real advantage of the device is how it can surmount the "fuzzy blob" view usually experienced by first-time telescope users, and deliver literally picture book quality views, even from light polluted sites. The I3Piece works best under clear skies, as it amplifies haze and clouds, as well as stars. When coupled to our 0.7 meter at Mt.Evans Observatory, we were able to identify 17th magnitude stars in real-time on the monitor, viewing the calibrated cluster, NGC7006. Comparably outstanding views were obtained when used with our 20-inch Clark refractor at DU's Chamberlin Observatory in central Denver. The key point is that in either eyeball or video mode, the I3Piece will insure students won't leave the telescope session disappointed, because they will easily see the physical principles illustrated when we share with them views of self-gravitating systems of stars or star forming nebulae. We invite instructors investigate the website www.ceoptics.com, phone 303-889-5910, billc@creek.net, and/or rstencel@du.edu, 303-871-2135.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to www.ceoptics.com. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: billc@creek.net

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