RAS (Remote Astronomical Society) Observatory Announces Major Image Contribution by Rookie CCD Imager from Paris, France

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Rookie French amateur astronomer makes a major contribution to the image archives of the RAS Observatory in New Mexico.

Didier Gilbert (http://www.ras-observatory.org/ras/Research/Private_Projects/Observers/Didier_Gilbert/didier_gilbert.html) who calls himself, “The Frenchy”, has made an incredible contribution to the image archives of the RAS Observatory located in New Mexico.

Gilbert, who just recently joined the observatory, with no previous CCD Imaging experience, dramatically demonstrated his ingenuity and impressive creative skills to produce this quite remarkable mosaic of the Virgo galaxy cluster. Didier commented, “The Virgo Cluster spans more than 5 degrees on the sky - about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon. It contains over 100 galaxies of many types - including spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies. The Virgo Cluster is so massive that it is noticeably pulling our Galaxy toward it.”

This incredible image can be seen here: (http://www.ras-observatory.org/ras/Research/Private_Projects/DGilbert_Deep_Field/dgilbert_deep_field.html)

Rosner added, ‘This incredible accomplishment is really hard to even begin to get one’s arms around. Didier’s imagination and creative skills are really something. Most of us in this field have never seen such an accomplishment with a telescope of only a 90mm objective.” Rosner further commented, “An image like this certainly validates the quality and level of sophistication of the systems at RASO (http://www.ras-observatory.org). Of course Takahashi is world renown as the “gold standard” of commercially produced telescopes. We currently employ 5 Takahashi telescopes at the RAS Observatory and they track and are pointed with incredible accuracy. This is due to the exceptionally high quality Paramount telescope drives from Software Bisque (http://www.bisque.com/).”

The RAS Observatory is hosted by New Mexico Skies (http://www.nmskies.com/webpage/). New Mexico Skies is located under the darkest skies in North America.

In a technical vein some of the instruments are equipped with special filters and sensitive detectors that are typically beyond the financial means of many amateurs. By joining the RAS Observatory members can engage in some very specific types of research.”

RAS Observatory listed some of the additional benefits available to members:

  • Monthly membership programs that provide economical observing and imaging
  • A support system for amateur astronomers to participate in scientific research
  • Educational resources
  • Assistance in developing meaningful projects
  • Assistance in presenting findings and document research results Submission of papers
  • Coordination of research projects

•Subsidizing special research rates for amateur research projects

  • A platform to permit researchers to present work
  • Recognition to researchers for achievements
  • Coordinate amateur projects with professional projects
  • Coordinate collaborative projects
  • Completive projects to help develop skills


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Arnie Rosner
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