Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Project Type

Senior Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

John Gianforte

Second Advisor

James Ryan


I report on the efforts to improve the dark frames and flat fielding procedure for the charged-coupled device (CCD) camera for the Celestron C14 telescope at the UNH observatory. Dark frames are images taken while the shutter of the camera is closed so that only electronic and dark noise and other internal inconsistencies are recorded. These are important because they allow astronomers to subtract out interference from dark current. Additionally, flat fields are images of the entire field of the telescope so that the brightness in the pixels of the telescope’s field of view is uniform. Flat fields are vital since they provide a consistent illumination for all photos taken from the camera. With the combination of these two features, I was able to optimize the clarity of the telescope’s pictures and show through photometry how the new calibrated images appear in comparison to images prior to the calibration. Overall, these enhanced photographs will assist in achieving better results for future astronomy labs at UNH.