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Identifying Faint Fuzzies With Aladin


Much like the genie in Aladdin's lamp, The Aladin Sky Atlas (Aladin) can perform magic with your deep sky images. Amateur astronomers, with relatively modest equipment, can image surprisingly faint objects. Typically, these faint background objects are simply refereed to as... "faint fuzzies."

In a deeply exposed amateur image, it is common to see galaxies down to magnitude 23 and fainter, with a total galaxy count in the thousands. Within a single galaxy, Aladin can identify HII regions, planetary nebulae, star clusters and more. Extragalactic objects may include other galaxies as well as quasars. The author has previously identified a quasar with a red-shift value of 3.68. This equates to a light travel time of about 11 to 12 billion years.

Here's a short description of the process to create an image, as shown below.

Save the JPEG image as flipped vertically, relative to the FITS image.

  • Execute the Aladin Sky Atlas.  This process works best with Aladin, Version 6.005.  See below, for a download link.

  • Drag and drop the plate-solved FITS image onto Aladin's opening screen.

  • Copy the World Coordinates System (WCS) data from the FITS image to the clipboard.

  • Drag and drop the JPEG image on top of the FITS image, in Aladin.

  • Apply the WCS data to the JPEG image.

  • Load data from various databases to identify objects in the FITS or JPEG image.

Download the detailed tutorial (.pdf) file. (2.94 MB)

View the detailed tutorial .pdf file online. (3.41 MB)

Download The latest version of Aladin