Draco Group
Draco Group
NGC5981, NGC5982 and NGC5985
Galaxies in Draco

Click here for higher-resolution versions: 1596x1594 (40%)  2594x2591 (65%)  3991x3986 (Full Resolution)


The three galaxies in the center of this image are sometimes called the Draco Group, as they are a group of galaxies fairly closely located within the constellation Draco. From left to right, these galaxies are catalogued as edge-on spiral galaxy NGC5981, elliptical galaxy NGC5982, and face-on spiral galaxy NGC5985. All three galaxies are between 100 million light years and 130 million light years from Earth, and are part of an identified group of galaxies called "NGC5982 Group." As is often the case with elliptical galaxies, there is evidence that NGC5982 is the result of a merger of one or more galaxies. All three are large galaxies, about the size of our Milky Way or larger (it is estimated that NGC5985 is over 200,000 light years across, probably a bit larger than the Milky Way). For scale, this entire photo is about the same angular distance across as a full moon.

I always love how almost any view of the heavens will show so many background galaxies, and this is no exception. If you examine the highest-resolution version, you can see many tiny galaxies mixed in among the stars (they're the ones that are either quite oblong or faint and blurry, so generally a galaxy). Of course, these are huge things, tens of thousands of light years across, with billions upon billions of stars in each one, but they're so far away they barely show at all.


Technical Information:

LRGB: 420:225:240:300 (All subexposures were 15-minutes, unbinned)

Equipment: RC Optical Systems 14.5 inch Ritchey�Chr�tien carbon fiber truss telescope, with ion-milled optics, at about f/9, and an SBIG STX-16803 with internal filter wheel (SBIG filter set), guided by an SBIG AO-X, all riding on a Bisque Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount.

Image Acquisition/Camera Control: Maxim DL, controlled with ACP/Scheduler, working in concert with TheSky X.

Processing: All images calibrated (darks and dawn flats), aligned, and combined in Pixinsight. Color combine in Pixinsight. Some finish work (background neutralization, color calibration and gradient removal) done in Pixinsight; some finish work (adjustment of contrast, Smart Sharpen of the luminance layer, and Neat Image noise reduction) was done in Photoshop CC.

Location: Data acquired remotely from Deep Sky West Remote Observatory, Rowe, New Mexico, USA.

Date: Images taken on many nights in June and July 2019. Image posted July 12, 2019.

Date: Image scale of full-resolution image: 0.56 arcseconds per pixel.

CCD Chip temperature: -25C

Copyright 2019 Mark de Regt

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