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Commissioning Run Results

Results of the PANIC Commissioning Run, April 2003

PANIC was successfully commissioned on the East Nasmyth port of the 6.5m Clay Telescope (Magellan II) in early April 2003. We began science observations on the night of April 11 with this image of the Antennae Galaxy through the Ks filter.

This is the sum of five dithered 2.5 minute exposures, minus a similar sequence on a nearby region of blank sky. The image quality is 0.27 arcseconds FWHM and the field of view is 100 x 115 arcseconds. This image quality was typical for our exposures this night; it never got worse than 0.3 arcseconds. The guide cameras read between 0.6 and 0.7 arcseconds.


Additional Images from PANIC

This color image of the Antennae is a composite of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and PANIC data. The Antennae are pair of interacting galaxies with many young, massive star clusters and a great deal of dust. Young stars are very blue and formed in this galactic collision, which also resulted in a lot of dust, which blocks more blue light (shorter wavelengths) than red light (longer wavelengths). For this reason, regions behind a lot of dust are much easier to see at longer, red wavelengths. In this picture the shorter wavelength HST data was used for the blue and green color channels, while the PANIC data (longer wavelength, near-infrared data) was used for the red color channel. The blue star clusters thus really appear blue, while the very dusty regions, which are much easier to see in the near-infrared, really appear red. Note that toward the bottom of the image there is a large, red star cluster, barely visible in the HST data, while quite obvious in the PANIC frame, indicating that the cluster is buried under a great deal of dust. The color map uses F555W (V-band) for blue, F814W (I-band) for green, and the PANIC Ks filter for red.
The three-panel image of the Antennae displays the three images used to make the color picture. The first two images are from HST, while the third is the image from PANIC. The main thing to note on this image is that the image quality, or sharpness, is nearly the same for PANIC and HST. PANIC is thus able to resolve sources nearly as well as HST, at least under the best conditions (when the atmosphere is the most stable).
ngc3132h2.jpg The picture of the planetary nebula NGC 3132 was obtained through a filter that is sensitive to emission from molecular hydrogen, the most common molecule in the universe. A planetary nebula is actually the outer envelope of an old star that has been ejected into space. The red filaments are the remnants of the star's outer envelope, which are now glowing because of the light from the hot remnant (white dwarf) of the original star.
This image shows the PANIC image of molecular hydrogen and an HST image that is sensitive to emission from oxygen. The relative quality of these images also indicates that PANIC is capable of producing very high quality images.



Images © The Trustees of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

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