Whale, Pup

Camera: Finger Lakes Instrumentation MicroLine ML8300 with FLI CFW-2-7 Filter Wheel

Mount: Paramount ME

Scope: Supernova Astrograph - 12.5

Colors: L:R:G:B

Exposure Time: L=24x10 minutes... RGB=18x5 minutes binned 2x2

Post-Production: MaxIm DL, CCDStack, PixInsight, and Photoshop CS5

Here is a new version of a galaxy pair that I previously imaged at a much lower focal length. This one was taken with the Supernova Astrograph (my design with 12.5" Zambuto) on two nights: March 17th and 18th of 2013. The Whale Galaxy (NGC 4631) contains a central starburst, which is a region of intense star formation. The strong star formation is evident in the emission from ionized hydrogen and interstellar dust heated by the stars formed in the starburst. The most massive stars that form in star formation regions only burn hydrogen gas through fusion for a short period of time, after which they explode as supernovae. So many supernovae have exploded in the center of NGC 4631 that they are blowing gas out of the plane of the galaxy. This superwind can be seen in X-rays and in spectral line emission. The gas from this superwind has produced a giant, diffuse corona of hot, X-ray emitting gas around the whole galaxy. (Description from APOD) NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy. Seen edge-on, it lies only 25 million light-years away in the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this gorgeous color image, the galaxy's yellowish core, dark dust clouds, bright blue star clusters, and red star forming regions are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC

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