Best of AOP - Galaxies

NGC 6814

A casual glance at the dark night sky seems to imply that most of the universe is accessible to us. The sky is filled with stars and even the most modest starcharts will show a region teeming with objects to be observed with binoculars and small telescopes. This is especially so in the direction of NGC 6814. When we look at this galaxy we are looking into and through an inner spiral arm of our own galaxy. Clouds of gas and dust billow and waft in the foreground of NGC 6814 which lies some 68 million light years away. Thus the reality is that many directions are dimmed or completely hidden from view due to the busy inner workings of our own home. We are lucky that NGC 6814 is an intrinsically bright galaxy and its light skirts some of the thickest clouds of the Milky Way. Not unlike the filtered sunlight of a hazy day, NGC 6814's light is dimmed and muted. Its spiral arms are bright blue with many the many punctuated pinks and reds of HII regions. Only the salient details of color and structure can be perceived in the image shown here. Astronomers have studied this galaxy extensively and have noted that its nuclear region changes in brightness on the order of weeks and months.

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Last Updated: 30-Apr-2014

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About This Image

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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.

Luminance = 70 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

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