Galaxy season is here! During the spring the Earth faces away from the centre of the galaxy into deep space and brings into view the galaxies. M106 is located in Canes Venatici and is around 22-25 million light years away. At the heart of the galaxy, as with most is a supermassive black hole and M106 is around the same size as M31, the Andromeda Galaxy and is home to at least 400 billion stars!
Other galaxies in the image are:
NGC4248 @ 22Million Light Years
NGC4217 @ 60 Million Light Years
There are loads of other galaxies but not much data on them! I have included the annotated image as well, have a google and see what you can find out about the others in the image.
This image is 20X 10mi subs, usual setup on 8″ F4 Newt and QHY8 taken in January 2017
This is the Bear paw galaxy, it’s faint and quite a distance away (25 million Light Years) in the constellation of Lynx, I annotated the image with the other galaxies in the frame – I would love to know what the furthest distance is but most of these galaxies have no data on them!
Needs way more data and I think I need my light pollution filter back in as I had some strange gradients in the image but here it is anyway!
I’m not 100% happy with this, the collimation of the scope is out as I need to apply a new silicon pad to the mirror to stop collimation changing when the position of the scope changes, also there is not enough data in this set, its only 9X 20mi subs so I had to do a bit of noise reduction….
Anyway, IC405, the Flaming Star Nebula is in Auriga, the star in question is a runaway star, ejected from somewhere else wandering through space – the light from the star illuminates the dust in blue and the Ultra Violet light excites the Hydrogen gas in this area causing it to glow red. It’s approximately 1500 light years distant from us and spans around 5 light years.
It’s just too good a target not to image each year – the great Orion Nebula, Messier Object No.42….. This year it really was just a test that everything was working, I have cleaned the mirror (scary!), drift aligned(was off by a small amount which was affecting my guiding), collimated the scope and finally cleaned my CCD (scarier that cleaning the mirror!). Thankfully everything went as planned, the previous week the powerpack on my laptop blew, then the PSU for the USB hub managed to come loose) and I got 1.5hrs in 15min subs on Orion before moving to another target but shortly after it clouded over….
Pretty pleased with the image, guiding looks good, collimation as well, so all I need is more clear skies!
I managed to get around 4hrs on the Whirlpool (M51) the other week…..
M51 (NGC 5194) The Whirlpool Galaxy is a grand design spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Canes Venatici, “the Hunting Dogs”. It’s one of the most famous galaxies in the sky, appearing face-on when viewed from Earth. At magnitude +8.4, it’s relatively bright and visible in binoculars especially from a dark site. M51 has a much smaller dwarf companion NGC 5195 and together they are well-known as the finest and most studied example of an interacting galaxy pair. They are best seen from the Northern Hemisphere during the months of March, April or May. From latitudes greater than 42N the galaxies are circumpolar and therefore never set.
M51 was one of Charles Messier original discoveries on October 13, 1773 while his friend Pierre Méchain discovered NGC 5195 on March 20, 1781. Messier described M51 as a faint nebula without stars that was difficult to see. In his catalogue of 1781, Messier describes both M51 and NGC 5195 in the same note and hence there is some confusion over the exact designation of M51. Is he referring to M51 as just the larger galaxy or does he actually mean the pair? If it’s the pair then NGC 5194 is sometimes referred to as “M51A”, with NGC 5195 separately known as “M51B”.
Canes Venatici is a small northern constellation of faint stars that was created by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. Apart from its brightest star Cor Caroli (α CVn – mag. +2.9), the constellation contains no stars brighter than 4th magnitude. However, locating M51 isn’t difficult as it positioned towards the northeast border of Canes Venatici and only a few degrees from the handle of the seven stars that form the famous “Plough” or “Big Dipper” asterism of Ursa Major.
The second of this seasons images at 2m with my 8″ SCT. This really needs longer exposure time and lots more subs but an image is an image! M76 is noted as being one of the faintest of all the Messier objects – I have seen it in my 12″ Dob and can confirm, it’s very faint.
M76 is a Planetary Nebula in the Perseus constellation discovered in 1780 by Pierre Mechain. The distance is round 3,400 Light Years from Earth but I cant find a date for the actual superenova that left this remnant behind!