Antennae Galaxies – NGC 4038 and NGC 4039

Antennae Galaxies

Introduction

I had high hopes up front about this subject. I just find it very beautiful and never quite understood why it got a nickname like the ‘antennae galaxies’, instead of something referring to the heart shape of the interacting galaxies. To me I just see a heart in the sky consisting of 2 entities ‘colliding’ with each other. It’s hard not to see the symbolic meaning this can obviously have.
It was the first image I started working on when I was on La Palma, but I must say I was a bit disappointed about the detail both in the galaxy’s cores and the tails. In hindsight I had some trouble with the focuser of the telescope and wasn’t properly focussed and collimated. Considering this I can actually be quite satisfied with the image I got in the end, but it’s definitely still on my ‘to-do list’ to proper image.

About NGC 4038 and NGC 4039

NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 are also called the Antennae galaxies because the two long tails of the galaxies resemble an insect’s antennae. It’s a pair of galaxies that is currently in a galactic collision and as a result of this collision we see the long tails that consist of stars, gas and dust ejected from the galaxies. The two cores of the galaxies are joining up to form a new galaxy.
The galaxies are located in the constellation of Corvus at a distance of approximately 45 million light-years.
NGC 4027
Also in this image is NGC 4027, a barred spiral galaxy approximately 83 million light-years away. NGC 4027 is also known as Arp 22 since it has a peculiar shape because of one of it’s arms extending and going out more than the other.

Image acquisition details

Date: 21/04/14 and 22/04/14
Location: La Palma
Optics: TS 10″ Newton
Mount: NEQ6 on fixed pier
Camera: Unmodified Nikon D7000 used at ISO800
Guiding: Lacerta MGEN
Exposure: 33 x 300 sec.

Processing
Processed in PixInsight
No darks, no flats, no bias

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