Fornax A

The Fornax A galaxy – a huge bright lenticular galaxy (intermediate between a spiral and an elliptical) and also a strong radio source with a super-massive central black hole.

Also in the image are the galaxies:
– NGC 1318 (nearby, a 10th magnitude spiral, distance 81 million light years).
– NGC 1310 (lower down the image, an 11th magnitude spiral, distance 73 million light years).
– PGC 12706 (upper left, a 13th magnitude irregular galaxy, distance 54 million light years).
– At least three unidentified galaxies.

Object Details:

NGC 1316, PGC 12651.
Constellation: Fornax.
Visual magnitude: +8.5
Apparent diameter: 13.5 x 7.7 arc-min. (less than half x quarter of a Lunar Diameter).
Actual diameter: 261,000 light years.
Distance: 70 million light years.
Altitude: 71° above Southern Horizon.


Exposure: 31 x 1 min, ISO 4000 (+ 6 dark, 4 bias).
Date: 2018-01-18.
Location: Field night at The Oaks, NSW, with Macarthur Astronomical Society
Sky: semi-dark rural with North Easterly metropolitan sky-glow.
Cloud:  clear.
Moon: No.
Processing: Canon DPP > Sequator > GIMP.
Cropping: no.

Imaging telescope: Skywatcher Esprit 120ED Super APO triplet refractor.
Focal length: 840 mm, focal ratio: f/7.
Imaging camera: Canon EOS 60D.
Guiding camera: Orion StarShoot.
Guiding control software: off.
Guiding accuracy: n.a.
Telescope mount: SkyWatcher EQ6-R.
Polar aligning: QHYCCD PoleMaster.
Polar alignment error: 11 arc-min.
Field flattener: yes; filter: no.

Observing Notes:
Guiding switched off as it became erratic while pointing at this object fairly high near the meridian.
When I later imaged the Eta Carina Nebula in a different sector of the sky it resumed normal service!

Image © R.Powell



    1. Thanks, Kazia,
      I had not heard of those names but they are seemingly appropriate for a galaxy which has grown big through merging with other galaxies.


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