Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Hercules Galaxy Cluster

About This Photograph

It's couple's night in the celestial zoo! While there are a few wallflowers among the myriad members of the Hercules Galaxy cluster, many are involved in intricate and chaotic dances with nearby companions. This is quite common in galaxy clusters. Close galaxies orbit one another, distort each other's shape, and eventually merge into a single galaxy. In fact, this seems to have already occured in at least one case in this area. Notice the galaxy just to the right of bottom-center. Known as IC 1182, it is surrounded by wispy structures known as tidal tails, and a blue jet extends to the right from its nucleus, all evidence that this dancer has recently devoured its partner.

Click here for an annotated photograph.


Technical Details

Optics:20" f/8 RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain
Camera:SBIG STL-11000M, FLI CFW-7
Mount:Software Bisque Paramount ME
Filters:SBIG Standard LRGB
Dates/Times:28 May - 20 June 2006
Location:Dimension Point Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico
Exposure Details:LRGB = 630:150:70:120 minutes
Acquisition:MaxIm DL/CCD 4, TheSky6, CCDAutoPilot3
Processing:CCDStack, MaxIm DL/CCD 4, Photoshop CS2, GradientXTerminator<