Sunday, March 21, 2010

Three Hours not Enough...

One would think 3 hours of 13 minute exposures would bring out a lot of detail, but I guess this galaxy is just too faint. This is NGC 3344, a relatively obscure spiral galaxy that is surrounded by a faint ring of stars. However, the faint ring is too faint, and did not show up in my image. Nor did a lot of other detail either. This was a disappointment. I will have to add another 3 hours some other night.

The stars came out nice and round though, no guiding errors here.

Shot with the SBIG ST7 and the Celestron C6S.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spiral Galaxy M66 - One third of the Leo Trio.

This galaxy makes up one third of what is known as the Leo Trio, a cluster of bright galaxies which appear to lie in close proximity to one another. These galaxies can be seen with a small telescope as a triangular group of smudges near the hindquarters of Leo the Lion. They are much more impressive when photographed. This galaxy, M66, is a distorted barred spiral with a massive dusty core.

This is a composite of 10 thirteen minute images shot with my ST7 using a .63 reducer. The scope was my handy-dandy 6" inch SCT.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Arp 94 - Intergalactic Hunger Pangs or Something Else Entirely...

These two galaxies, NGC 3226 and 3227, are cataloged together as Arp 94. They are interacting, and one appears to be devouring the other. Halton Arp included this pair in his Catalogue of Peculiar Galaxies, due to this interaction. This catalog is a running record of all major galaxies known to be unusual, odd, or breaking the rules in some way. As always, there is controversy attached to it, as is typical of most things stemming from Mr. Arp.

The larger spiral galaxy is known to harbor an active nucleus, thought to be a Black Hole by most scientists. Most agree the larger spiral is slowly consuming it's smaller dwarf neighbor, the elliptical (round) galaxy. Mr. Arp has pointed out that this combination of Spiral Galaxy with an active nucleus paired with a smaller Dwarf Elliptical occurs very frequently in his catalog. He feels something else is taking place other than one galaxy consuming the other, in most of these cases.

While Mr. Arp is considered somewhat of a crank amongst his peers, he is a very astute observer. Maybe there is more to the story than we can really see, then again maybe not.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

NGC 3184 - Dusty Spiral in Leo Minor

OK, not the best image ever... I had to contend with glare from a nearby star out of frame, and a frozen up ccd chip. Could have got more detail, but had to process those other problems out.

Stats are on the picture.