What’s so special about this galaxy?
Well, it’s the longest exposure I’ve ever taken (over two hours) but that’s not what I’m getting at.
At 10th magnitude, the Circinus Dwarf Galaxy, an active galaxy, is a relatively bright object only 14 million light years distant, making it one of the closest galaxies to us, outside the Local Group.
So we should know a lot about it – but we don’t.
It’s quite astonishing that this object’s main claim to fame is that, despite its close proximity, it was not discovered until 1977 – maybe a century or two later than most other comparable galaxies!
This is because its direction is in the plane of the Milky Way and as a consequence it is viewed through a rich Milky Way starfield. It is about 48° from the galactic centre and a mere 3° below the galactic plane.
The sheer number of stars and other material in the galaxy’s disc (possibly combined with its southerly latitude) must have led to it being overlooked.
It is a Seyfert type spiral galaxy, with a super massive black hole at its centre. This ten minute video explains a bit about it:
I understand that this galaxy was discovered here in Australia using the 0.5m Uppsala Telescope, then at Mt Stromlo Observatory near Canberra but now one of many telescopes located at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, NSW.
There are so many stars in my two hour exposure (FOV: approx 1.3° x 0.9°) that this image became the first of mine which Astrometry.net failed to identify.
I told you we don’t know much about it!
Designations: Circinus Galaxy; Circinus Dwarf Galaxy; ESO 97-G13; LEDA 50779; PGC 50779; ESO-LV 970130, IRAS 14092-6506; 2MASS 14130990-6520204.
Visual magnitude: +10.5
Apparent size: 8.8′ x 4.3′
Diameter: 35,000 light years. (about 20% of Milky Way diameter).
Distance: 14,000,000 light years (about 70 Milky Way diameters).
Altitude during exposure:40° above SSW horizon.
Also in image: The Milky Way galaxy.
Image of Circinus at different wavelengths ©The Royal Astronomical Society (Koribalski & Jarrett (2012))
Technical stuff follows.
Please feel free to jump to the end and like or comment.
Exposure: 84 x 89.4 sec = 125 min.
Image acquisition: SharpCap.
|Telescope:||SkyWatcher Esprit||Type:||120ED triplet refractor|
|Focal:||840 mm F/7||Mount:||SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro|
|Camera:||ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro
||Type:||CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx
|Optical aids:||Flattener: Y; filter: LP||Guiding:||No|
|Polar aligning:||QHYCCD PoleMaster||Polar Error:||00’ 22”|
[ZWO ASI071MC Pro]
Output Format=FITS files (*.fits)
Frame Rate Limit=1 every 4 seconds
White Bal (B)=50
White Bal (R)=53
Auto Exp Max Gain=300
Auto Exp Max Exp M S=30000
Auto Exp Target Brightness=100
Anti Dew Heater=Off
Subtract Dark=C:\Users\Roger\Desktop\SharpCap Captures\darks\ZWO ASI071MC Pro\RAW16@4944×3284\89.4s\gain_270\dark_10_frames_-0.8C_2019-08-06T09_39_54.fits
Display Black Point=0.01953125
Display MidTone Point=0.340754725333788
Display White Point=0.998046875
Image © Roger Powell