Monday, November 28, 2016

M77 and more...

Messier 77 (also known as NGC 1068) is a barred spiral galaxy located 47 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780, who originally described it as a nebula. Méchain then communicated his discovery to Charles Messier, who subsequently listed the object in his catalog. Both Messier and William Herschel described this galaxy wrongly as a star cluster (source: wikipedia). It has a diameter of approximately 170,000 light-years and is visible with binoculars under dark sky conditions as a fuzzy ball with a bright center. With smaller 4-inch scopes like my ED80 the oval shape is apparent but you need 8-inch or larger to bring out the detail (source: Messier).  One other noteworthy item with this galaxy is it is believed to have a supermassive black hole in its center.

I collected this image over two nights as it became visible from my observatory. Unfortunately the moon was at 80% and 70% respectively but it was clear so I took a chance anyway. Also it is the beginning of the cold season so astrophotography gets a little more challenging. I am happy with the results considering the moonlight and the limitations of my little ED80. This represents the 47th Messier object I have captured with my setup.

I like the wide field image as five other galaxies are visible, some are very faint and far away making them hard to see.

For my catalog see:

Messier Objects with an ED80 by Kurt Zeppetello or

Messier Astropics by Kurt Zeppetello

Wide Field - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072, NGC, NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087 

Wide Field - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072, NGC, NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087

Crop - M77

Closeup showing - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072

Close up showing - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087 

Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 11/17/16, 11/18/16; 11:30 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 34 x 120 sec, 24 x 120 sec (116 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 38 F/3.3 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools

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