Observation Strategies

7.11 Emission Line Observations of Galaxy Nuclei

Saturation is a common problem for narrow band filter images of galaxy nuclei. Often the surface brightness of the emission line is estimated from ground-based images with 1" resolution; sometimes line fluxes are quoted for apertures several arcseconds in radius. However, at HST resolution, much of this flux may occur in a single unresolved spot at the galaxy nucleus, thus leading to saturated images. Observers should be cautious and consider this possibility when estimating exposure times.