NGC 4038- The Antennae


Click on image for larger version.


Collision on the grandest scale. These two galaxies are in the process of colliding with each other. At a distance of 65 million light years away we have a good vantage point to view the action. In the nuclei of these galaxies gas and dust mix which dramatically color the light from the starforming regions of the interior. When unobscured the clouds of new stars are blue- but intervening dust and gas redden this light to produce the shades of yellow and brown in center. In addition (you will need to turn off the light in the room to see this) there are two arcs stretching away from the churning center of these galaxies. Each arc is comprised of millions of stars that have been flung into intergalactic space. Other famous interacting galaxies include M51 and NGC 4568.

Equipment

20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/5.5
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 90 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

  • This picture was taken under poor seeing conditions. One of these nights the atmosphere will steady for this object! The problem is that this object is very low, even on the meridian.
  • Three iterations of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp were applied to the luminance image.

  • Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the the very dim and very bright details of the image simultaneously.

  • Minimum credit line: (top image) Bob and Bill Twardy/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
    (bottom f/10 (SCT) image) Mary Jo Rushing and Jim Lawler/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 04/06/05