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The Details
NGC 3718, NGC 3729 and Hickson 56 Group in Ursa Major
12.5" RCOS Ritchey-Chretien at f/6.9
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Tru-Balance LRGB filter set
11 April 2005
Plomosa Mountains of La Paz County, Arizona
L 13 x 600 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 4 ea x 300 sec 2x2 bin
Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, Photoshop CS
Field of view: 21' 44 " x 15' 44 " centered on RA 11h32m57s
DEC 53°02'56" (2000.0) North angle 180.3°; east 90° CCW from north

Lying at a distance of about 52 million light years from earth, NGC 3718 (left center) is one of the most interesting and beautiful galaxies in the north circumpolar region. Its unique shape, eerie glow and contrasting spiral dust lane make it one of my favorite objects. Classified as a barred spiral of the peculiar type with either a Seyfert or LINER type nucleus, this galaxy most likely supports a massive black hole at its center. A close examination of the above image reveals that NGC 3718 lies in a rich field of galaxies, including its barred spiral companion NGC 3729 (lower right), and the obvious Hickson Group 56A (Arp 322) at the top of the image. Hickson Group 56A is located approximately 425 million light years from earth and consists of five galaxies which, from left to right, are identified as follows:

PGC 35609 (barred lenticular, peculiar) Vm=16.37
PGC 35615 (spiral, peculiar) Vm=17.01
PGC 35618 (lenticular, peculiar) Vm=15.82
UGC 6527 (barred lenticular) Vm=14.69
MCG 9-19-113 (edge-on spiral) Vm=14.78

Galaxies PGC 35618 and UGC 6527 are seen here to be interacting, with a stream of material being pulled off UGC 6527 toward its nearby neighbor.

This image was the result of a collaborative effort between Dave Jurasevich and David Held, sharing data acquisition and processing tasks.




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