Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Whale Galaxy

About This Photograph

As far as galaxies go, The Whale is one of the more active and chaotic specimens that can be found. It is current undergoing an episode of rapid and extensive star formation, a period theorized to be triggered by gravitational interaction with the smaller galaxy below center (NGC 4627), and perhaps another nearby galaxy (not in this image). The obvious blue patches strewn throughout the disk are clusters of young, very hot stars recent formed. These are similar in nature to The Pleiades star cluster in our own galaxy, although probably much larger. The pinkish splotches adorning the disk are bright nebulas, similar to our own Great Orion nebula, regions where yet more new stars are just beginning to shine. Note the faint bridge spanning between the two galaxies in this image. This is an actual feature, a bridge of stars connecting the two island universes, evidence of their gravitational dance.


Technical Details

Optics:14" f/10 RC Optical Systems Ritchey-Chr├ętien Cassegrain
Camera:SBIG ST-10XME, CFW8.
Mount:Takahashi NJP Temma 2.
Filters:SBIG Standard LRGB
Dates/Times:28-29 May 2003.
Location:My backyard observatory in Austin, Texas
Exposure Details:LRGB = 145:20:20:30 minutes.


Publication Data for this Photograph

Date Publication Type
2003-10-00 Sky & Telescope,
p. 137