Click here for a higher resolution image of NGC 1365 (2.25 Mb)

 

 

The Details
Object
NGC 1365 in Fornax
Optics
Astro-Physics 12" Mak-Cass f/8
Platform
Astro-Physics 1600 Mount with absolute encoders
Camera
FLI 16803 Proline CCD
Filters
Tru-Balance LRGB Filters - Gen 2
Date
Several nights during December 2015
Location
Las Campanas Observatory, Chile
Exposure
L 47 x 900 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 15 each x 300 sec, 1x1 bin
Software
ACP, Maxim DL/CCD, CCDStack 2, Photoshop CS5
Orientation
Field of View: 37' x 37' centered on RA 03h33m33s
DEC -36°08’26” (2000.0) . North angle 359.5°; east 90° CCW from north
Notes
The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, NGC 1365, lies 60 million light-years from Earth and is the dominant member of the Fornax Galaxy Cluster.  It spans an incredible 200,000 light-years across, rotating in a clockwise direction with a period of 350 million years.  The prominent bar feature of this galaxy is responsible for generating the abundant star-forming regions seen in the spiral arms as well as funneling gas and dust inward toward the core where a several million solar mass supermassive black hole resides.

A 2013 study by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA), using data from the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESO’s XMM-Newton X-Ray satellites, were able to determine the spin rate of the black hole at the center of NGC 1365.  This 2 million mile diameter monster was found to be spinning at nearly the speed of light at its event horizon “edge”, dragging the fabric of space-time around with it and creating a massive accretion disc of material inspiraling toward the hole as gravitational and frictional forces heat up the material to incredibly high temperatures resulting in X-ray emissions. 

Total exposure time was 15 hours 30 minutes. This image is the result of a collaborative effort between Howard Hedlund of Astro-Physics, Inc. and Dave Jurasevich.

 

 

 

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