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M77 and other galaxies in Cetus


 2012 Jan 16

Canon EOS 5D MkII ISO6400 51x32s
254mm Newtonian f=1200mm f/4.8
HEQ5 equatorial mount, driven but not guided
2012 Jan 16 20:14:22-20:44:11 UT
From Rookhope 54.8N 2.1W 330m asl. Rural, almost no light pollution (3 Bortles)

M77 (NGC1068) is an active galaxy of the Seyfert type, so it is a radio source (catalogued as 3C71). My photo managed to show the fainter outer set of spiral arms as well as the brighter inner ones. The faint blue streak going rightwards (west) from the galaxy must be an artefact. I guess it is an aircraft trail but it seems remarkably stationary over the 30 minutes exposure time.

Also in the picture, top right, is a fine spiral galaxy seen edge on - NGC 1055. (The 2 bright stars above that are magnitudes 7.6 and 6.7.) M77 and NGC1055 both lie at a distance of about 50 million light years and form a gravitational pair.

Near the top of my photo, above M77, is another galaxy, NGC1072. Down from that and further left is a short streak that is another edge-on galaxy with a thin disc.

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