Friday, August 12, 2011

The Needle Galaxy - NGC4565

Click on the Image for a Larger View
Commonly known as the "Needle Galaxy" because of its narrow edge-on appearance, this spiral galaxy is formerly labeled NGC4565 in the constellation Coma Bernices. Another way to imagine it: Think of a dinner plate with a glob of mashed potatoes in the middle of it, then look at this plate from the edge.  The mashed potatoes is the bulge of stars at the center of the disk.  The plate is the rest of the galaxy consisting of blueish areas of star formation and massive lanes of  dark dust and gas circling the disk.  The "Needle" spans 100,000 light years in diameter and is 30 million light years from Earth.  One of the prettiest edge-on galaxies in the night sky.

Many other galaxies, much further away and therefore fainter and smaller are strewn throughout the image.  I have labeled some of the brighter ones in the image below.  If you can't see these galaxies, then your monitor is too dark.
Click on the Image for a Larger View

Technical Data:
  • Date Taken: 04-02-2011
  • Location: ASKC Dark Sky Site
  • Telescope: 190mm, f/5.3 Maksutov Newtonian by Orion
  • Camera: Q453 CCD, 3032(h) X 2016(v) pixels
  • Exposure: 1 hour (consisting of 4 - 15 minute shots)
  • Calibration Exposures: 20 Bias, 0 Flats, 1 Dark used to make a "Bad Pixel Map"
  • AutoGuider: Q-Guider with 50mm Finderscope
  • Mount: Parallax Instruments HD 150C
  • Capture Software: Nebulosity
  • Calibration Software: DeepSkyStacker
  • Final Processing Sofware: Photoshop CS3