Large Monolithic Imager Snaps First Light Image
September 20, 2012

Large Monolithic Imager On Discovery Channel Telescope Snaps First Light Image

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

The Large Monolithic Imager (LMI) recently took its first set of light images on Lowell's 4.3-m Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT).

The camera is the largest charge-coupled device that can be built using current fabrication techniques. It´s also the first of its kind to be made by e2v.

The 36-megapixel charged-coupled device's active surface is 3.7-inches on a side. It has the ability to provide much more accurate measurements of the faint light around galaxies, separating it from other cameras that use a mosaic of CCDs to produce images.

The camera will serve as the principal imager and workhorse instrument for the DCT, enabling studies ranging from the solar system to extragalactic objects.

It will allow determination of the physical properties of comets and also provide the means of investigating the mass-luminosity relationship for both the highest and lowest mass stars.

LMI, which was built at Lowell Observatory and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), snapped its first image recently of NGC 891.

The edge-on spiral galaxy is about 30 million light-years away in the Andromeda Constellation and it provided LMI's first-light photo.

Lowell´s Phil Massey, Ted Dunham, and Mike Sweaton helped to capture the image, and Kathryn Neugent turned it into a color composite.

The observatory said that in the coming months, astronomers from Lowell and its DCT institutional partners will be getting more images. LMI contains 18 filters, including broadband and specialized interference filters.