What’s happening this month at Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory?
A new project is started on the 16″! The “Needle Galaxy” NGC 4565. This is a fantastic edge-on fairly bright galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is well positioned, now visible almost the entire night so we should be able to complete the project in the next month or 2.
Single raw red filtered image of NGC 4565 , the “Needle Galaxy” viewed edge-on from Earth. 15 minute image taken with the RiDK 400 telescope, SBIG 16803 camera. Note the galaxies visible to the lower left, NGC 4562 and lower right IC 3546. The image is annotated with some of the Tycho catalogued stars labeled as well in yellow
Work continues on M77 galaxy in Cetus. Luminance is completed and red channel almost done. The recent supernova in the galaxy discovered in Nov. continues to fade. M77 is getting pretty low in the sky and is only a suitable target until around 10pm or so. This will likely have to wait until next year to complete. Weather in Mayhill has generally been poor this Winter, uncharacteristically.
M77 galaxy in the constellation Cetus. Single raw luminance image, 15 minutes, also obtained with the RiDK 400mm and SBIG 16803 camera
No major operational issues to report except 2 of the mirror shutters on the 16″, which we have been struggling with since the initial installation, have basically failed. We had to manually open them at a recent observatory visit and leave all of them full open. This does not affect the imaging operations at all. It’s a very cool feature but so far I think more of a hassle than perhaps it’s worth. You have to accept gradual accumulation of dust on the mirrors regardless! An upgraded shutter system is supposed to be available soon.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.
On November 24 a supernova was discovered in the galaxy M77. Named “SN 2018 ivc” it is the only supernova to date discovered in the brightest Seyfert galaxy we know! M77 is an active galaxy with a quasar-like nucleus. It is pretty bright for a galaxy, about 9th magnitude, and is located in the constellation Cetus. A supernova discovery in a Messier object is pretty rare, and as it just so happened I had started an imaging project at Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory on the galaxy when one of the Astronomical Society members alerted us to the discovery! The supernova is a “Type II” which is distinguished by the presence of hydrogen in the spectrum. (Perhaps a spectroscopy project for a future event!) I was able to locate the star in one of the 15 minute frames I had taken of the galaxy (see below). Initially it was around 14-15 magnitude, located pretty close to the core . In the image I obtained nearly 2 weeks later it does not appear to have changed significantly in brightness.
Single raw uncalibrated 15 minute image, unfiltered, of SN 2018 ivc. Dec 5 at 5:20 UT. From Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory, Mayhill NM. The supernova is located at the intersection of the 2 black tic marks