Sculptor Galaxy
Sculptor Galaxy
Intermediate Spiral Galaxy in Sculptor

Click here for higher-resolution versions:40% (1559x1042) 65% (2533x1693) 100% (3897x2604)


NGC253: Also known as the "Sculptor Galaxy," this is an intermediate spiral (meaning between a barred-spiral and an unbarred-spiral) galaxy, presenting to us almost edge-on; it is visually within the constellation Sculptor. It is part of the Sculptor Group of galaxies (galaxies gravitationally bound to one another). The Sculptor Galaxy is a "starburst galaxy," which is a galaxy undergoing intense star formation (in this case mostly near its core). The bright blue dots are clusters of bright young stars. NGC253 is relatively close to us, about 11 million light years away. It measures about 70,000 light years across (about 70% of what our Milky Way measures); at that distance, it subtends an angle of 27.5 arcminutes.

One of my favorite things about astrophotography is how many galaxies there are out there, as shown by practically any reasonably-deep deep-sky image; the full-resolution version of this image has dozens of tiny "background" galaxies showing, many of them face-on spiral galaxies.


Technical Information:

HaLRGB: 420:520:520:200:220; LRGB channels are the integration of 15-minute exposures through Astrodon filters; Ha channel is the integration of 30-minute exposures. All images unbinned. The Ha images were taken, and included in the processing, in a (largely unsuccessful) effort to enhance the HII regions in the galaxy.

Equipment: 14.5" RCOS at about f/9, and an SBIG STL-11000M with internal filter wheel (Astrodon filter set), guided by a MOAG/AO-L combination, all riding on a Bisque Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount.

Image Acquisition/Camera Control: Maxim DL, controlled with ACP, working in concert with TheSky v6.

Processing: All images calibrated (darks and dawn flats), aligned, and combined in Pixinsight. Color combine in Pixinsight. Finish work (curves and levels, adjustment of contrast, High Pass Filter and Smart Sharpen of the luminance layer) was done in Photoshop CS5.

Location: Data acquired remotely from Fair Dinkum Skies, Moorook, South Australia.

Date: Images taken on many nights in August and September of 2015. Image posted October 30, 2015.

CCD Chip temperature: -15C

Copyright 2015 Mark de Regt

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