Antennae Galaxies, NGC 4038, NGC 4039 (Copy)


The Antennae Galaxies, NGC 4038, 4039  Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies are colliding. Stars in the two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, very rarely collide in the course of the ponderous cataclysm that lasts for hundreds of millions of years. But the galaxies’ large clouds of molecular gas and dust often do, triggering furious episodes of star formation near the center of the combining galaxies. Dark dust pillars mark massive gaseous clouds are being compressed , causing the rapid birth of millions of stars, some of which are gravitationally bound together in massive star clusters. Spanning over 500 thousand light-years, this view  reveals  matter flung far from the scene of the accident by gravitational tidal forces.  The suggestive visual appearance of the extended arcing structures gives the galaxy pair its popular name – The Antennae. The full width of the Antennae span about 2/3’rds of the size of the full moon but the center is only 1/6’th of that size or 5 arc minutes. The image next to this one in the Galaxies collection shows the center portion in more detail.


Optics: Planewave 17″ CDK17
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount ME
Camera: SBIG STXL 11002
Filters: L,R,G,B, Ha Astrodon 3nm
Dates/Times: March 2020
Location: Rio Hurtado, El Sauce, Martin Pugh Observatory
Exposure Details: L, 22x20min, R,G,B, 15x20min each, Ha 9x30min, 79 images over 28 hours
Acquisition: MaxIm DL
Processing:  MaxIm DL, Photoshop CC2020