GTC Astronomical Images Gallery

 

Perseo
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Tadpole Galaxy, Arp 188
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm),
OS657 (657nm, FHWM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R, I, Z), 3 x 90 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 5' x 7'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 16h04m06s
Dec(J2000.0) = 55°25'32"
Image processing:
Daniel López/IAC

The Tadpole galaxy, Arp 188, is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy 420 million light-years distant toward the constellation of Draco. It is hypothesized that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of the Tadpole Galaxy and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their mutual gravitational attraction. The tail of the galaxy, formed about 100 million years ago, is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. Their color is blue because they contain very massive stars, which are 10 times hotter and 1 million times brighter than our Sun. The galaxy is likely in time to break up at its tail and lose it's formation, creating new smaller galaxies as a result. Whilst spiral galaxies and ellipticals are the two main galaxy types in the Universe, there are also other, odder types. Tadpole galaxies are unusual, and rare in the local Universe - in a sample of 10,000 galaxies within the local Universe, only 20 would be tadpoles - but they are more common in the early Universe. These type of galaxies are an ideal laboratory for astronomers to study the accretion of cosmic gas, starburst activity, and the formation of globular star clusters. The stars in tadpole galaxies are generally very old - living fossils from the early Universe and from the time when these galaxies formed.

 


 

Perseo
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Stephan's Quintet
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm),
OS657 (657nm, FHWM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
4 x 30 secs (G, R, I, Z), 4 x 90 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 5' x 6'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 22h35m57s
Dec(J2000.0) = 33°57'36"
Image processing:
Daniel López/IAC

The Stephan's Quintet, visible in the constellation Pegasus, was discovered by astronomer Edouard Stephan in 1877. At the time, however, he reported the discovery of "new nebulae", as the concept of other galaxies beyond our Milky Way was only formalised in the 1920s. Clockwise from upper left are named as NGC 7319, NGC 7318 (A and B), NGC 7317 and NGC 7320. Only four galaxies from the originally discovered quintet are physically linked. NGC 7320 lies about 40 million light-years from us, rather than the 300 million light-years of the others. Three of the galaxies have distorted shapes, elongated spiral arms, and long, gaseous tidal tails containing star clusters, proof of their close encounters. These interactions have sparked a frenzy of star birth in the central pair of galaxies. The four galaxies bounded by gravity will merge into one large galaxy in several million years. The galaxies in the middle of the group, NGC 7318A and NGC 7318B , have already begun to merge with each other. The collision has drawn out long tails of stars from each galaxy and triggered massive bursts of star forming activity. These stars are less than 10 million years old and have not yet blown away their natal cloud. NGC 7317, at bottom right, is a normal-looking elliptical galaxy that is less affected by the interactions. The farther members of the quintet are markedly redder than the foreground galaxy, suggesting that older stars reside in their cores. The stars' light also may be further reddened by dust stirred up in the encounters.

 


 

Perseo
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Messier 11, Wild Duck Cluster
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
7 x 5 secs (G), 7 x 3 secs (R and I)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 8'
Orientation:
North is left, East is up
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 18h51min05s
Dec(J2000.0) = -06°16'12"
Image processing:
Daniel López/IAC

The Messier 11 (M11) is an open cluster of stars in the constellation Scutum. Also known as the Wild Duck Cluster for the roughly V-shaped arrangement of its brightest stars, M11 was discovered by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1681. Charles Messier included it in his catalogue of diffuse objects in 1764. M11, one of the most massive open star clusters that we know of, has about 3,000 stars. The blue stars in the centre of the image are the young, hot stars of the cluster. The surrounding redder stars are older, cooler background stars. The cluster is thought to have formed around 300 million years ago. Astronomers refer to it as a metal-rich cluster because a nearby supernova likely seeded its molecular cloud complex with heavier elements. M11 is about 6,120 light-years distant. The best time to spot the cluster is in August. It appears as a triangular patch of light through a pair of binoculars. Open clusters are groups of stars that formed from the same giant cloud of mostly molecular hydrogen. These stars are only loosely bound by gravity. The lifespans of open clusters are relatively short when compared to those of globular clusters. This is because the gravitational interactions between members of open clusters are comparatively weak, so stars do not remain bound for long before they are drawn away by stronger gravitational forces.

 


 

Perseo
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Perseus cluster
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 45 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 75 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 10' x 7'
Orientation:
North is left, East is down
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 03h19min43s
Dec(J2000.0) = +41°33'18"

The Perseus galaxy cluster (Abell 426), located around 235 million light-years away from Earth, is one of the closest to us but is difficult to see at visible-light wavelengths. The cluster contains 190 galaxies. The galaxy NGC 1275 is the brightest galaxy in the cluster and at its center there is a supermassive back hole. The Perseus cluster is part of the Pisces-Perseus supercluster which contains over 1000 galaxies. The Perseus galaxy cluster is one of the most massive objects in the universe. When observed in the X-ray band, the Perseus cluster is the brightest cluster in the sky. In 2014, astronomers reported the detection of an unusual emission in the X-ray light from the supermassive black hole in the center of the Perseus cluster. Research showed this emission did not come from known elements, therefore, its hypothesized this emission is produced by dark matter particles. A galaxy cluster is a structure that consists of hundreds to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity. Clusters are closed systems meaning, they hold on to their gases, unlike galaxies where gas is forced out by supernova explosions.

 


 

ARP30
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Arp 208
Telescope:
Grantecan / Folded Cass-E
Instrument:
HiPERCAM
Filter:
U (370nm) , G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (U+G), Green (R), Red (I+Z)
Exposure:
10 x 120 secs (U, G, R, I and Z)
Field of View:
Approx. 2' x 1'
Orientation:
North is down, East is right
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 16h50min57s
Dec(J2000.0) = +47°13'15"

Arp 208, also known as VV721 and CGCG 252-007, is formed by a pair of interacting galaxies at about 400 million light-years away. It is located in the Northern area of the Hercules constellation, the fifth largest of the modern constellations. The edge-on spiral galaxy seem on the image, MCG+08-31-09, is not part of Arp 208 but similar redshift so it is a nearby member. Redshift value, which is related to the distance of the galaxy, is available only for the eastern galaxy of Arp 208. The CGCG catalog considers this a three galaxy system with the note: "Triple system [with] bridges." However, the HiPERCAM image does not show any sign of a bridge between Arp 208 and the edge-on spiral galaxy. The VV catalog classified both galaxies of Arp 208 as irregular. An irregular galaxy is a galaxy that does not have a distinct regular shape, unlike a spiral or an elliptical galaxy. Irregular galaxies do not fall into any of the regular classes of the Hubble sequence, and they are often chaotic in appearance, with neither a nuclear bulge nor any trace of spiral arm structure. Collectively they are thought to make up about a quarter of all galaxies. Some irregular galaxies were once spiral or elliptical galaxies but were deformed by an uneven external gravitational force. Irregular galaxies may contain abundant amounts of gas and dust.

 


 

ARP30
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Arp 30
Telescope:
Grantecan / Folded Cass-E
Instrument:
HiPERCAM
Filter:
U (370nm) , G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (U+G), Green (R), Red (I+Z)
Exposure:
10 x 120 secs (U, G, R, I and Z)
Field of View:
Approx. 1.2' x 0.6'
Orientation:
North is left, East is down
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 17h22m43s
Dec(J2000.0) = +62°10'08"

Arp 30 consists of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 6365 interacting with the face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6365B. These pair of galaxies were initally classified in the , in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Spiral Galaxies-One Heavy Arm. It was not realized that the heavy arm was another galaxy. It is up for debate if these two galaxies are actually interacting since NGC 6365 appears to be further away than NGC 6365B. NGC 6365B is a Spiral Galaxy in the Draco constellation. NGC 6365B is situated close to the Northern Celestial Pole and, as such, it is visible for most part of the year from the Northern Hemisphere. The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies is a catalog of peculiar galaxies produced by Halton Arp in 1966. The atlas contains a total of 338 galaxies. The primary goal of the catalog was to present photographs of examples of the different kinds of peculiar structures found among galaxies. Arp realized that the reason why galaxies formed into spiral or elliptical shapes was not well understood. He perceived peculiar galaxies as small "experiments" that astronomers could use to understand the physical processes that distort spiral or elliptical galaxies. With this atlas, astronomers had a sample of peculiar galaxies that they could study in more detail. The atlas does not present a complete overview of every peculiar galaxy in the sky but instead provides examples of the different phenomena as observed in nearby galaxies.

 


 

IC1011
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
IC 1101
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
4 x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 4 x 90 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 6' x 6'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 15h10m56s
Dec(J2000.0) = +05°44'41"

IC 1101 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy at the center of the Abell 2029 galaxy cluster and located on the edge of the Virgo constellation. IC 1101 is the single largest galaxy that has ever been found in the observable universe. At almost a billion light-years away IC 1101 is too far away to be seen by the naked eye. This galaxy extends about 2 million light-years from its core, and it has a mass of about 100 trillion stars. The Milky Way is just 100,000 light-years in diameter. Normally, blue-tinted galaxies signal active star formation, while yellow-red hues indicate a cease in the birth of new stars. IC 1101 is giving birth to very few new stars. Unless it continues to collide and join with other younger galaxies, IC 1101 will eventually fade away.The name IC 1101 comes from the place that the object occupies in the catalog of nebulae and star clusters published in 1895 by John L.E. Dreyer. Only in the twentieth century, however, did it become clear that it was a distant galaxy and not a nebula. At the center of IC 1101, there is a radio source named PKS 1508+059, which emits two jets in opposite directions. The presence of the two jets suggests that a supermassive black hole (between 40 and 100 billion solar masses) is located at the heart of the huge galaxy. A recent study found that stars for a total mass of 490 billion solar masses are missing from the core of IC 1101.

 


 

NGC604
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
NGC 604
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FHWM 35nm), OS902 (902nm, FHWM 40nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Red), Red (I), Yellow (OS657), OS657 and OS902 were added as luminance to get resolution
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 60 secs (OS657), 3 x 60 secs (OS902)
Field of View:
Approx. 4' x 5'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 01h34m33s
Dec(J2000.0) = +30°47'06"

The nebula NGC 604 lies in a spiral arm of the nearby galaxy M33, located about 2.7 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Triangulum. M33 is a member of the Local Group of galaxies that also includes the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. NGC 604 was discovered William Herschel in 1784 and can be seen with a small telescope. The nebula is a giant star forming region 1500 light-years across. The gas in NGC 604, around nine tenths of it hydrogen, is gradually collapsing under the force of gravity to create the new stars. Once these stars have formed, the vigorous ultraviolet radiation they emit excites the remaining gas in the cloud, making it glow a distinct shade of red. This colour is typical not only of NGC 604 but of other H II regions too. At the heart of NGC 604 are over 200 hot stars, much more massive than our Sun (15 to 100 solar masses) and their surface temperatures are as hot as 40,000 degrees Celsius. They heat the gaseous walls of the nebula making the gas fluoresce. Their light also highlights the nebula's three-dimensional shape, like a lantern in a cavern. By studying the physical structure of a giant nebula, astronomers may determine how clusters of massive stars affect the evolution of the interstellar medium of the galaxy. The nebula also yields clues to its star formation history and will improve understanding of the "starburst" process when a galaxy undergoes a "firestorm" of star formation. The bright stars in NGC 604 are extremely young by astronomical standards, having formed a mere 3 million years ago.

 


 

NGC7331
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
NGC 7331
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FHWM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
4 x 45 secs (G, R, I and Z), 4 x 75 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 13' x 13'
Orientation:
North is right, East is up
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 22h37m04s
Dec(J2000.0) = +34°24'56"

NGC 7331 is a unbarred spiral galaxy about 40 million light-years (12 Mpc) away in the constellation Pegasus. NGC 7331 is similar in size, shape, and mass to the Milky Way. It also has a comparable star formation rate, hosts a similar number of stars, has a central supermassive black hole and comparable spiral arms. The primary difference between both galaxies is that NGC 7331 is an unbarred spiral galaxy, it lacks a "bar" of stars, gas and dust cutting through its nucleus, as we see in the Milky Way. Its central bulge also displays a quirky and unusual rotation pattern, spinning in the opposite direction to the galactic disc itself. By studying similar galaxies we are able to build a better understanding of our galactic environment which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behaviour and evolution as a whole. NGC 7331 was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. It is not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. NGC 7331 is the brightest member of the NGC 7331 Group of galaxies also known as the Deer Lick Group. The other members of the group are the lenticular or unbarred spirals NGC 7335 and 7336, the barred spiral galaxy NGC 7337 and the elliptical galaxy NGC 7340. The background galaxies are about one tenth the apparent size of NGC 7331 and so lie roughly ten times farther away. Their close alignment on the sky with NGC 7331 occurs just by chance. In the image of NGC 7331, the core of the galaxy appears to be slightly off-center, with one side of the disk appearing to extend further away from the core than the opposite side.

 


 

NGC5221
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
NGC 5521
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FHWM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 60 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 4'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 13h34m56s
Dec(J2000.0) = +13°49'56"

NGC 5221 is a peculiar galaxy, about 320 million light-years away, visible in the constellation of Virgo. The elliptical galaxy NGC 5222 and the closely related galaxy LEDA 93122 also interact gravitationally with one another and together with NGC 5221 to form a local galaxy group called Arp 288. NGC 5221 shows hints of arms and some mottling, with a bright core region, and clear knots on the arms that are tipical of stellar forming regions. It also shows some faint but huge plumes that could be caused by a previous encounter with the nearby galaxy NGC 5320 which is at the same distance. A peculiar galaxy is a galaxy of unusual size, shape, or composition. Astronomers have identified two types of peculiar galaxies: interacting galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN). Peculiar galaxies represent between five and ten percent of known galaxies. Scientists currently believe that many peculiar galaxies are formed by the collision of two or more galaxies. Many peculiar galaxies experience starbursts, or episodes of rapid star formation, due to the galaxies merging. Peculiar galaxies are diverse in form. During encounters with other galaxies, immense gravitational forces can cause peculiar galaxies to acquire highly irregular shapes. Peculiar galaxies tend to host more active galactic nuclei than the normal galaxy population, indicating that they contain supermassive black holes. Halton Arp mapped peculiar galaxies in his 1966 Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

 


 

RingNebula
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Ring Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I)
Exposure:
3 x 45 secs (G, R, and I)
Field of View:
Approx. 2.5' x 2.5'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 18h53m35s
Dec(J2000.0) = +33°01'45"

The beautiful Ring Nebula, also called M57 and NGC 6720, is a planetary nebula in the northern constellation of Lyra. This nebula was discovered by the French astronomer Charles Messier while searching for comets in 1779. It is located south of the bright star Vega, which forms the northwestern vertex of the Summer Triangle. The nebula is 0.7 kpc (2,300 light-years) from Earth and it is around one light-year across. Photographs taken over a period of 50 years show the rate of nebula expansion is roughly one arcsecond per century or 1.5 million kilometers per day. The planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets, they are actually created by a dying star at its centre that has ejected shells of gas and dust that can be seen expanding into space. Intense ultraviolet light from the hot central star ionizes atoms in the gas. The layered colors reveal radiation from different chemical elements in different stages of ionization, blue from ionized helium, yellow-green from doubly-ionized oxygen, red from ionized nitrogen. The central star is barely visible at the center. The original star that created the Ring Nebula is thought to have been several times more massive than our Sun, such as red giant star, which was passing through the last stage in its evolution before becoming a white dwarf. The event that produced the Ring Nebula is estimated to have occurred around 4,000 years ago. The Ring Nebula will grow 50% larger in diameter over the next few thousand years before it begins to fade and disperse.

 


 

EagleNebula
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Eagle Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm), OS902 (902nm, FWHM 40nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 60 secs (OS657 and OS902)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 8'
Orientation:
North is left, East is down
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 18h18m48s
Dec(J2000.0) = -13°49'00"

The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16 or M16, consists of a star cluster and many emission nebulae and dark nebulae, in the direction of the constellation Serpens, the Serpent, visible at summer time. The nebula contains several active star-forming gas and dust regions, including the "Pillars of Creation", which stretch four light-years out into space. The star cluster, which has approximately 8100 stars, was discovered in 1746 by P.L. de Cheseaux, but he missed the surrounding nebulosity, leaving it to be noticed by Charles Messier some twenty years later. The Eagle Nebula is a 5.5 million-year-old cloud of molecular hydrogen gas and dust stretching approximately 70 light years by 55 light years. This region of active current star formation is about 7000 light-years distant in the inner spiral arm of the Milky Way next to our own, the Sagittarius Arm. Inside the nebula, gravity pulls clouds of gas together to collapse inward. If enough gas is present, nuclear fusion is ignited in the center, and the compact cloud becomes a shining star. The nebula shines because of the energy provided by the cluster of hot blue and white stars. These stars are about two million years old, which is quite young for a star (our own middle-aged Sun clocks in at over four billion years). However, these O and B stars are considerably heavier than our Sun, since they contain some thirty times as much matter, and this extra weight shortens their lifetime to just a few million years in total. The nebula is viewable with the low-powered telescopes readily available to amateur astronomers, or with a pair of binoculars. With such equipment, observers can see approximately twenty stars clearly, surrounded by gas, dust, and the light of other, dimmer stars. In good conditions, the three pillars may also be seen.

 


 

HorseHead
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
NGC 891
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
4x 45 secs (G, R, I and Z), 4 x 75 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 13' x 13'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 2h22m33s
Dec(J2000.0) = 42°20'57"

Visible in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC 891 is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784. The galaxy is a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Supercluster. The object is visible in small to moderate size telescopes as a faint elongated smear of light. The galaxy, spanning some 100,000 light-years, is seen exactly edge-on, and reveals its thick plane of dust and interstellar gas. NGC 891 looks as the Milky Way would look like when viewed edge-on. In fact both galaxies are considered very similar in terms of luminosity and size. The studies of the dynamics of its molecular hydrogen have also proven the likely presence of a central bar. Despite this similarities, a more detailed surveys revealed the existence of filaments of dust and gas escaping the plane of the galaxy into the halo over hundreds of light-years. They can be clearly seen here against the bright background of the galaxy halo, expanding into space from the disc of the galaxy. Astronomers believe these filaments to be the result of the ejection of material due to supernovae or intense stellar formation activity. By lighting up when they are born, or exploding when they die, stars cause powerful winds that can blow dust and gas over hundreds of light-years in space.

 


 

HorseHead
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
HorseHead Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm), OS902 (902nm, FWHM 40nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 60 secs (OS657 and OS902)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 8'
Orientation:
North is left, East is down
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 5h40m59s
Dec(J2000.0) = -2°27'31"

The Horsehead Nebula, a part of the optical nebula IC434, was first recorded in 1888 on a photographic plate taken at the Harvard College Observatory. The nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion's Belt in the constellation Orion. The constellation is prominent in the winter evening sky in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer evening sky in the Southern Hemisphere. Both the Horsehead Nebula and IC 434 are part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, an enormous star forming region spanning hundreds of light years in diameter. The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. The nebula, sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, is one of the most identifiable astronomical objects because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head when viewed from Earth. This stellar nursery, as it is known, can contain over 100 known kinds of organic and inorganic gases as well as dust; some of the latter is made up of large and complex organic molecules. The heavy concentrations of dust in the Horsehead Nebula region and neighbouring Orion Nebula are localized, resulting in alternating sections of nearly complete opacity and transparency. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust blocking the light of stars behind it. The dark molecular cloud is visible only because its obscuring dust is silhouetted against another, brighter nebula. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming.

 


 

M64
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
NGC 6946, Fireworks Galaxy
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
4 x 30 secs (G, R, and I), 4 x 60 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 8'
Orientation:
North is down, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 20h34m52s
Dec(J2000.0) = +60°09'14"

NGC 6946 (also known as the Fireworks Galaxy) is an spiral galaxy about 10 million light-years away in the constellations Cepheus and Cygnus discovered by William Herschel in 1798. It is also one of the nearest giant spiral galaxies beyond the local group. NGC 6946 has a peculiar multiple arm spiral structure which coalesces into four dominant spiral arms. The diameter of the galaxy is approximately 40,000 light-years or just about a third of the size of the Milky Way. From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 6946 face-on. NGC 6946 is highly obscured by interstellar matter of the Milky Way galaxy, as it is quite close to the galactic plane. From the core outward, the galaxy's colors change from the yellowish light of old stars in the center to young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions along the loose, fragmented spiral arms. NGC 6946 is also bright in infrared light and rich in gas and dust, exhibiting a high star birth and death rate. In fact, since the early 20th century at least nine supernovae, the death explosions of massive stars, were discovered in NGC 6946. This makes it the most prolific known galaxy for this type of event over a period of 100 years. By comparison, the Milky Way galaxy, which has double the number of stars as NGC 6946, averages one supernova event per century.

 


 

M64
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Messier 64, Black Eye Galaxy
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
2 x 30 secs (G, R, and I), 2 x 30 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 10' x 5.5'
Orientation:
North is down, East is right
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 12h56m44s
Dec(J2000.0) = +21°40'58"

M64 is a spiral galaxy known as the Black Eye Galaxy due to a spectacular dark band of absorbing dust in front of the nucleus, resulting in a smudged appearance. With an apparent magnitude of +8.8, it can be glimpsed with good binoculars on dark nights, appearing as a faint slightly irregular patch of light. The galaxy is located in the constellation of Coma Berenices and was discovered by English astronomer Edward Pigott on March 23, 1779. Twelve days later Johann Elert Bode independently found it and Charles Messier adding it to his catalogue on March 1, 1780. The dark dust feature was discovered by William Herschel in 1785, comparing it to a black eye. M64 is at about 24 Million light-years distant and has an apparent size of 10.0 x 5.5 arc minutes, which corresponds to an actual linear diameter of 70,000 light-years. It's estimated to contain 100 billion stars and is best seen from northern latitudes during the months of March, April and May. M64 was recently shown to have two counterrotating systems of stars and gas in its disk: The inner part of about 3,000 light years radius is rubbing along the inner edge of the outer disk, which rotates opposite and extends up to at least 40,000 light years, at about 300 km/sec. This rubbing process is probably the reason for the observed vigorous star formation process, which is currently under way, and can be observed as the blue knots imbedded in the peculiar dust lane on one side of the nucleus. It is speculated that this peculiar disk and dust lane may be caused by material from a former companion which has been accreted but has yet to settle into the mean orbital plane of the disk. M64 forms a small group with the small irregular UGC 8024. De Vaucouleurs (1975) has included these two galaxies, together with M94 and a number of fainter galaxies, as a member of a nearby group or cloud of galaxies, the Canes Venatici I (CVn I) Cloud or M94 group.

 


 

Arp271
High Resolution Image

Object Name:
Arp 271, NGC5426+NGC5427
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770 nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (Blue+Red), Red (R+I+Z), Yellow (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R, I and Z), 3 x 30 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 5' x 3.5'
Orientation:
North is right, East is up
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 14h00m48s
Dec(J2000.0) = -05°47'25"

Arp 271 is a pair of similarly sized interacting spiral galaxies, NGC 5426 (the more oblique galaxy) and NGC 5427 (the nearly open-faced spiral galaxy). These galaxies throes of a slow but disturbing interaction that could take a hundred million years to complete. As the galaxies advance their component stars are unlikely to collide, although new stars will form in the bunching of gas caused by gravitational tides. Close inspection of the image shows a bridge of material momentarily connecting both galaxies. Arp 271 spans about 130,000 light years and lies about 90 million light-years away toward the constellation of Virgo. Once thought to be unusual and rare, gravitational interactions between galaxies are now known to be quite common (especially in densely populated galaxy clusters) and are considered to play an important role in galaxy evolution. Most galaxies have probably had at least one major, if not many minor, interactions with other galaxies since the advent of the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago. Our own Milky Way, a spiral galaxy like those in this image, is, in fact, performing its own dance. Both with the nearby dwarf galaxy, called the Large Magellanic Cloud and a future interaction with the large spiral galaxy M-31 or the Andromeda galaxy, which is now located about 2.6 million light years away from the Milky Way.

 


 

Object Name:
Messier 76, Little Dumbbell Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (OS657)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G and R), 3 x 60 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 3' x 3.5'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 1h42m20s
Dec(J2000.0) = +51°31'34"
Messier 76 or M76 (also designated NGC 650/1) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus. M76 lies at an estimated distance of 2500 light years and its diameter is 0.7 light years although there is some uncertainty in these values. Its age is not known. M76 is best seen during the autumn. As one of the more famous objects in the Messier Catalog, it is commonly known as the Little Dumbbell Nebula. M76 was discovered by P. Mechain in 1780. It is one of only four planetary nebulae in the Messier Catalog (M27, M57, M76, and M97). One of the faintest Messier objects, the Little Dumbbell Nebula is also known as the Cork Nebula, Butterfly Nebula, and Barbell Nebula. The central star is a magnitude 16.6 white dwarf with a temperature of 60.000 K. The nebula itself is the cast-off shell of this dying star.

 


 

Object Name:
Messier 74 with Supernova SN2013ej
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I), Bright-red (OS657)
Exposure:
2 x 10 secs (G, R and I), 2 x 20 secs (OS657)
Field of View:
Approx. 8' x 8'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 1h36m42s
Dec(J2000.0) = +15°47'00"
M74 is a very nice example of so-called "grand-design" spiral galaxy. It's spiral arms can clearly be seen. This galaxy has a distance of 25 million light years and is quite bright, so that it can even be seen with a small telescope. To make this image a filter was used to bring out emission lines of clouds of Hydrogen gas that is show here as bright red spots. In many of these clouds new stars are being formed. On July 25th 2013 a very bright supernova was discovered in this galaxy. Since this image was taken a few days later the supernova can be seen, as is indicated by the arrow. A supernova is a violent explosion of a star at the very end of its life. Hence this image captures the very beginning and end of the life cycle of stars, all in a distant galaxy.

 


 

Object Name:
Sharpless 2-106
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), Z (970nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm), OS902 (902nm, FWHM 40nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (Z). OS657 and OS902 were added as luminance to get resolution
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R and Z), 2 x 30 secs (OS657), 60 secs (OS902)
Field of View:
Approx. 3.0' x 3.5'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 20h27m27s
Dec(J2000.0) = +37°22'39"
Known as Sharpless 2-106, the hourglass-shaped (bipolar) nebula is a stellar nursery made up of glowing gas and light-scattering dust. The material shrouds a natal high-mass star thought to be mostly responsible for the hourglass shape of the nebula due to high-speed winds which eject material from the forming star deep within. Research also indicates that many sub-stellar objects are forming within the cloud and may someday result in a cluster of 50 to 150 stars in this region.

 


 

Object Name:
M1, The Crab Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I)
Exposure:
4 x 30 secs (G), 3 x 30 secs (R and I)
Field of View:
Approx. 7.0' x 7.0'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 05h34m32s
Dec(J2000.0) = +22°00'52"
The Crab Nebula (M1) is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus. At the center of the nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star (or spinning ball of neutrons), which emits pulses of radiation from gamma rays to radio waves with a spin rate of 30.2 times per second. The nebula was the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion. The nebula acts as a source of radiation for studying celestial bodies that occult it.

 


 

Object Name:
NGC7635, The Bubble Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (Z)
Exposure:
3 x 5 secs (G, R and Z), 3 x 30 secs (G, R and Z)
Field of View:
Approx. 7.0' x 8.0'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 23h20m48s
Dec(J2000.0) = +61°12'06"
NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, is a H II region emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. The "bubble" is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot young central star, the 15 solar masses SAO 20575. The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud which contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow.It was discovered in 1787 by Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel.

 


 

Object Name:
NGC 5395 and NGC 5394, Arp 84
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), I (770nm), OS657 (657nm, FWHM 35nm), OS902 (902nm, FWHM 40nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (I), OS657 and OS902 were added as luminance to get resolution
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R and I), 2 x 30 secs (OS657), 60 secs (OS902)
Field of View:
Approx. 6.0' x 7.0'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 13h58m34s
Dec(J2000.0) = +37°27'11"
NGC 5395 and 5394 , also known as Arp 84, are two interacting galaxies in the constellation Canes Venatici. The larger, NGC 5395, is at a distance 165 million light-years and NGC 5394 is 162 million light-years away. NGC 5394 is thought to have cart wheeled through NGC 5395, instead of a grazing encounter. Arp 84 is also known as the Heron Galaxy. The image shows a few dozen background galaxies.

 


 

Object Name:
M20, The Trifid Nebula
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (Z)
Exposure:
5 x 10 secs (G and R), 2 x 10 secs (Z). R applied with luminance
Field of View:
Approx. 8.0' x 8.0'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 18h02m23s
Dec(J2000.0) = -23°01'50"
The Trifid Nebula (M20) is an H II region located in Sagittarius. Its name means 'divided into three lobes'. The object is an unusual combination of an open cluster of stars, an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula (the apparent 'gaps' within the emission nebula that cause the trifid appearance).

 


 

Object Name:
M51, Whirlpool Galaxy
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (Z)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R and Z)
Field of View:
Approx. 9.0' x 7.5'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 13h29m53s
Dec(J2000.0) = +47°11'43"
M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, in Canes Venatici is famous for its beautiful spiral structure, was discovered by Messier in October 1773. The M51 system is a spectacular example of interacting galaxies - in this case NGC 5195 is being "ripped apart" by the huge gravitational disturbance of M51, while M51 has in turn undergone huge structural alteration from the gravitational effects of NGC 5195.

 


 

Object Name:
M56, Globular Cluster in Lyra
Telescope:
Grantecan / Nasmyth-B
Instrument:
OSIRIS
Filter:
G (481nm), R (641nm), Z (970nm)
Color:
Blue (G), Green (R), Red (Z)
Exposure:
3 x 30 secs (G, R and Z)
Field of View:
Approx. 5.0' x 8.0'
Orientation:
North is up, East is left
Position:
RA(J2000.0) = 19h16m36s
Dec(J2000.0) = +30°11'00"
Messier 56 (M56) is located about half-way between Beta Cygni (Albireo) and Gamma Lyrae. It is one of the less bright Messier globulars, especially lacking the bright core which most globulars have. M56 was one of Charles Messier's original discoveries; he saw it first on January 23, 1779 and describes it as a "nebula without stars," like most globular clusters. It was first resolved into stars by William Herschel around 1784.

 


Last modified: 27 April 2021

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