Monday, May 15, 2017

The Sombrero Galaxy


Summer-like weather is here again in Indiana. The nights are warm (it was 72 degrees when I took this image), but the summer haze layer is starting to appear. Skies were 2nd or 3rd magnitude and seeing was rather poor (but a little better than during my last imaging session). This is a stack of 10 x 25 second images taken with the 14 inch with the DS16C and 2x focal reducer. The focal reducer is not a good match for this configuration and there was significant vignetting, so this image is cropped. The software was also glitching and kept crashing when I attempted autocapture--hence I was able to get only a few images.

The Sombrero seems to be a giant elliptical galaxy that we see almost edge-on. The extremely bright nucleus is clearly visible, but the large halo is lost in skyglow. As in all galaxies, the Sombrero has a central Black Hole (in this case, with the mass of  one billion suns, which was discovered in the 1990s.

Here's the image annotated from Astrometry.net


And here are two more pictures--an image enhanced by astrometry.net and the Galax data overlay: