Best of AOP - Galaxies

NGC 681

Look familiar? Well this galaxy mimics the much more famous Sombrero Galaxy (M104). However, NGC 681 shown here is just over 55 million light years away. Since M104 is only 25% closer, NGC 681 is considerably smaller than the Mexican giant. However, unlike M104, this galaxy does show the hints of star forming regions in its dusty, bumpy disk. Astronomers that studied this galaxy also noted something peculiar. Edge-on galaxies make good laboratories for studying the radial velocities of stars as they orbit in the disk of the galaxy. When these speeds are plotted versus distance from the center of the galaxy, a "flat" rotation graph can result. This means that stars in the outer parts of the galaxy (the spiral arms) are moving at the same speed whereas stars in the bulges of these kinds of galaxies tend to be moving in a more random way and a bit slower. However, NGC 681 does not show this behavior in its bulge. The stars are moving almost at the same speed everywhere in the galaxy. Learn more about this topic.

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Last Updated: 26-Feb-2014

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

One iteration of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp was applied to the luminance image.

Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the very dim and very bright details of

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = 70 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 10 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 10 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 10 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF