NASA-LMT @ NODO:  Image Quality Progression                          


A comparison of images of the interacting galaxy pair NGC 3395/3396 demonstrating image quality improvements due to instrument refinement. The image
on the left is a 3-color composite generated from data acquired through three different filters (approximately BVR) on three different nights during the Spring
1996 and 1997 observing seasons with the LSP 2K CCD.  The image on the right was similarly generated from observations made during the Spring  1999
and 2000 observing season with the PV 1K CCD. Despite the fact that the PV 1K has reduced resolution and exposure time (0.960 arcsec/pix and 78.1 sec
versus 0.600 arcsec/pix and 97.4 sec for LSP 2K), the latter image is of significantly higher quality due to instrument refinements. These refinements include
a thinner Hg layer, an improved motor controller, a more quantum efficient CCD, and importantly - accurate dynamic balancing and alignment of the prime
focus array and primary mirror.