Friday, May 30, 2014

Galaxies, galaxies, galaxies...

Galaxy Messier 49 is the most luminous object in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster - its apparent brightness is 8.4mag. It is placed about 56 mln light years away and there is no closer galaxy more luminous than M49. This is the first galaxy discovered in the Virgo Cluster and the second one discovered outside our Local Galaxy Group (the first one was the M83). M49 is surrounded by about 6000 globular clusters (our Milky Way has about 200 for comparison) and in its core there is supermassive black hole - 565 milion times more massive than our Sun! (in galaxies similar to Milky Way the core black hole has the mass about few million of solar masses). 

Messier 49 is not so popular among the astronomy amateurs, but quite famous among the professional astronomers - you may judge it by the number of symbols it was denominated in the different catalogs: M49, NGC 4472, UGC 07629, ARP 134, VCC 1226, CGCG 042-134, CGCG 1227.2+0816, MCG +01-32-083, GIN 781, 2MASX J12294679+0800014, SDSS J122946.76+080001.7, GALEX J122946.6+080000, WBL 410-005, LDCE 0904 NED146, HDCE 0720 NED121, USGC U490 NED177, ACSVCS 001, HOLM 413A, PGC 041220, RBS 1118, UZC J122946.6+075958, MG1 J122942+0800, 87GB 122714.6+081649, NVSS J122946+080002, FAUST 3181, FAUST V083, RGB J1229+080, RX J1229.7+0759, 1RXS J122945.9+075927, RXC J1229.7+0759, 2XMM J122946.8+080003, 1H 1228+081, 1M 1231+071, 1ES 1227+082, XSS J12312+0833, 174 NED128, 2E 2735, 2U 1231+07, 3U 1231+07, 4U 1232+07, APG 134, INTREF 501, LEDA 041220, ufff... impressive, isn't it?

There are pretty lot of other galaxies in this frame, actually as you can see in the enlarged crops below there are more galaxies in the picture than stars :) Some of them are really distant - I detected (using SDSS servers) galaxies up to 3 billion years away.

Clear skies!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Comet C/2012 K1 meets galaxy

Of course just apparently. Over the night of May 20th comet C/2012K1 PANSTARRS has been moving on the sky nearby NGC3726 galaxy. The galaxy is medium size barred spiral galaxy placed about 40 million light years away. On the other hand comet was this day about 230 milion km from Earth - for comparison if you would the galaxy in the actual distance of the Sun, the distance to comet would be about 10cm only.
And the comet is currently really big, as you can see in the image scale. The Earth placed in the comet distance would be only 4px large in the picture.
There is also a movie - 2 hours from life of a comet, but blogspot degrades movie quality much, so you can download copy from dropbox here:

Clear skies!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Supernova SN2014bc in M106 galaxy

Today no bells and whistles, but hardly identified supernova in quite popular galaxy M106. The galaxy itself has been pictured by me some time ago ( In galaxy far far away ) and the SN2014bc supernova is quite hard object to detect. Not because it is faint, but it lies very close to the galaxy core - a little bit over 3" (this angular separation is about the same like the apparent size of 1 cent coin visible from 1km distance). The supernova is of type II and the quite good yesterday's seeing allowed me to partially separate it from M106 core:

Clear skies!

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Do you think it means anything? :)
Well yes, that is the way astronomers calls comets. First letter indicates if comet is periodic (P) or not (C). Second part is the year the comet has been spotted. And last part is the sequence number - the letter indicates the discovery month. There letters that may appear there are A to H and J to Y. Each month is covered by two letters, so January comets are A or B, and December comets are X or Y. So C/2012 K1 PANSTARRS means 'non periodic comet discovered in year 2012, in second half of May'. And PANSTARRS stands for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System - the telescope that has been used to discover this comet (and many others as well).
This comet is still approaching to the Earth and Sun - at the picture it is about 200 mln km from us and about 300 mln km from the Sun. It will reach the closest approach to the Sun on 27 August 2014 at a distance of 1.05 AU (157 mln km). Currently it is visible from northern hemisphere using a binoculars, and probably even at maximum brightness you will still need a binoculars to spot it. You can find ephemeris and finder charts for the current comets at page.
The second picture is BW image inverted and processed, so you can see the second comet tail as a faint smudge to the bottom and left.
The thick and short one is dust tail. The faint tail is gas tail. 

Clear skies!