Click here for a higher resolution image of NGC 300 (1.18 Mb)



The Details
NGC 300 in Sculptor
Astro-Physics 12" Mak-Cass f/8
Astro-Physics 1600 Mount with absolute encoders
FLI 16803 Proline CCD
Tru-Balance LRGB Filters - Gen 2
16/17/19/20 November 2014
Las Campanas Observatory, Chile
L 39 x 900 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 28 each x 600 sec, 1x1 bin
ACP, Maxim DL/CCD, CCDStack 2, Photoshop CS5
Field of View: 40' x 40' centered on RA 00h54m55.1s
DEC -37°40’41” (2000.0) . North angle 179.91 °; east 90° CCW from north
NGC 300 is a diffuse spiral galaxy spanning 50,000 light years across and lying about 6 million light years from Earth.  One of the closest galaxies to our Local Group, it is situated between us and the neighboring Sculptor Group.  Massive HII regions abound in its spiral arms with the largest measuring 2000 light years across, it being visible in the above image at an 8 o’clock position from the galaxy’s core near the end of a spiral arm.

An interesting binary system was recently discovered in NGC 300 consisting of a 15 solar mass black hole and its 30 solar mass Wolf-Rayet star companion locked in a cosmic dance, the most distant such pairing yet found.  The Wolf-Rayet, a furiously burning star in its own right and destined to eventually evolve into a black hole itself, completes an orbit around its dark companion in 32 hours.  Vast amounts of material are accreted off the Wolf-Rayet star by the black hole gravitational pull, being heated to very high temperatures which are detectable as X-ray emissions by satellites in Earth orbit.  Changes observed today in the core of the Wolf-Rayet star indicate it nearing the end of its life in about a million years.  Owing to the fact that this system is approximately 6 million light years away, that change has already occurred but will not be detected on Earth for another 5 million year.

Total exposure time was 23 hours 45 minutes. This image is the result of a collaborative effort between Howard Hedlund of Astro-Physics, Inc. and Dave Jurasevich.




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