Background and first results from the new AAO/UKST H alpha survey

QA Parker*, S Phillipps

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) of the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) has just embarked on a new H alpha survey of the Southern Galactic Plane, Magellanic Clouds and selected regions using a specially designed, high-specification, monolithic, interference filter. It is probably the largest of its kind for astronomy. It is being used in combination with Kodak Tech Pan film-based emulsion. This emulsion not only has a useful sensitivity peak at H alpha but also possesses extremely fine grain and an exceptionally high DQE for the hypersensitised product (similar to 10%). This leads to excellent imaging, sensitivity and low noise. It is clear that CCDs cannot yet match the wide-area coverage, uniformity and resolution of the UKST/Tech Pan combination for undertaking such a survey. The survey will initially include about 233 Galactic Plane and 40 Magellanic Cloud fields on 4-degree centres and will take about 3 years to complete. Some preliminary images from the new survey are presented and compared with the best previously available from the UKST. Examples of the first survey discoveries, new resolved Galactic planetary nebulae, are also given. This survey will have an unprecedented combination of area coverage, depth and resolution, superior to those of any previous optical survey of ionised gas in the Galaxy. Many new discoveries and research avenues are expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998
EventInternational Workshop on Prospects for the AAO/UKST Galactic Plane H-Alpha Survey - SYDNEY, Australia
Duration: 16 Apr 199718 Apr 1997


  • instrumentation, detectors
  • techniques, interferometric
  • surveys stars, formulation
  • ISM
  • HII regions


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