Posts under tag: galaxies
After poor sky and weather conditions earlier this month, things have improved greatly, and we’re expecting an excellent weekend of viewing on Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24. The sky should be dark (no moonlight) and transparent, and nighttime temperatures at PMO should only dip into the low 50s. (However, there will be a light wind, so be prepared!) Since large crowds can be expected, please arrive by about 9 p.m., and check in at the welcome center next to the parking lot. Visitors who can stay until midnight may have the opportunity to observe some galaxies in the Hercules Cluster of Galaxies, located about 500 million light years away!
Happy Holidays from the staff and volunteers at Pine Mountain Observatory. We hope to see you during next summer’s tour season.
Recommended holiday astronomy article:
“Colliding Galaxies Spark a Stunning Holiday Light Show”
And the bright light you might see low in the west-southwest shortly after sunset? – Probably just the planet Venus, now returning to the evening sky.
This is a composite of nine different images of galaxies in the zodiac constellation of Virgo. All images were taken with the “piggyback” camera setup at PMO described in a previous blog post. The galaxies shown are members of the famous Virgo Cluster, which contains over 1,000 galaxies at an average distance of 48 million light years away. However, the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) is closer (28 million l.y.) and a bit further south, at the outskirts of the cluster. It contains a well-known ring of dust about 50,000 l.y. across, which is normally seen as a dark band (resembling the brim of a hat) running just below the bright center of the galaxy.
This composite image shows the progression, and eventual dimming and reddening, of supernova 2014J in the galaxy M82, located near the Big Dipper in the sky. The individual images were taken with an ATIK camera on the 8-inch f/10 SCT at Pine Mountain Observatory. This 8-inch scope is “piggybacked” on the 24-inch scope normally used for public viewing during the summer. The M82 galaxy is approximately 12 million light years away (a near neighbor!) and is a popular object for amateurs, along with nearby M81. For more detailed information, search for “M82 supernova” on the Sky & Telescope website.