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Photogenic red spiral with strange background galaxies

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#1 Rick J

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:23 PM

NGC 4448 is a rather red flocculent galaxy in northern Coma Berenices some 44 to 52 million light-years distant. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1785. It made my list initially because it was a Herschel 400 galaxy but when I looked into it I saw it was quite interesting and the field contained some really strange galaxies so it got bumped up to high priority last spring. My entry from April 23, 1985 in my Herschel 400 log isn't very encouraging. It reads: "Large, oval galaxy, brighter toward center, otherwise featureless, little detail seen. Seems larger than indicated." This image of it certainly shows plenty of detail. It is classified as SB®ab  (Read that as SB( r )ab without the spaces as this system can't understand correct astronomical terms) with HII emission from the very core. Otherwise it seems to make few stars. I don't know if the red is dust or old red stars. Probably both. Redshift puts it at the nearer distance while the median of 5 widely differing measurements by 4 different methods gives a distance of 52 million light-years. They range from 31 to 153 million light-years. If the distance is assumed to be 50 million light-years its size is 70,000 light-years which is a reasonable size for it.

The field contains a polar ring galaxy UGC 07576 at 330 million light years and a strange curved flat galaxy FGC 171A (no connection to FGC 171 which is in another part of the sky entirely). NED gives two positions for it one from the 2MFGC and the other from the FGC. The VV catalog considers it a pair of galaxies and says VV 279 is a triple galaxy. The two NED positions for the curved flat galaxy are at its core and a spot between the core and the north end of the galaxy. The error bars are somewhat larger than normal but not large enough to overlap the two positions. I have no idea if VV 279a is related as I find no redshift for it. The flat galaxy has a redshift that puts it only slightly further away than NGC 4448 so the two may be related. How it got its curved shape remains a mystery, to me at least.

The polar ring galaxy has a huge narrow polar ring. It may be really narrow or it might be just flat and seen edge on. One paper argues for the latter. I just call it strange. At 333 million light-years it is unrelated to the others. Assuming the stated distance the polar ring is some 145,000 light-years across while the main disk of the galaxy is only 60,000 light-years across.

The very blue UGC 7597 lies above and a bit east of NGC 4448. It appears to have a rather bright core (bar?) and a faint blue disk. It is a large galaxy about 100,000 light-years across. LEDA 1839783 at 290 million light-years looks like a small close by blue dwarf but is actually a rather large low surface brightness blue galaxy some 50,000 light-years in size.

All galaxies with redshifts noted at NED are shown in the annotated image as is one quasar. Those whose catalog name is just its sky coordinates are listed by G for galaxy or Q for quasar.

14" LX200R @ f/10, L=4x10' RGB=2x10', STL-11000XM, Paramount ME


Full image at 1" per pixel






Anyone know how to keep this program from changing my typing of correct astronomical terms to junk?  I wasted several hours trying to find a solution.

Attached Thumbnails

  • NGC4448L4X10RGB2X10R-CROP.jpg

Edited by Rick J, 17 August 2014 - 12:52 PM.

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#2 blueman


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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:58 PM

Great group of galaxies.


#3 Rankinstudio



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Posted 17 August 2014 - 01:04 PM

Very cool image!

#4 MikeK314


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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:14 PM



I found a couple quasi-solutions to your question of how to write SB(r)ab (note that I just succesfully wrote it!) without this system mangling it.  It seems that the system always replaces the sequence of characters ( r ) with the registered trademark sign, so a workaround is to break up the sequence somehow, like you did by writing it as SB( r )ab.  But can we break it up in a way that it doesn't appear to have been broken up?


The way I did it in the previous paragraph is to write SB([sizeEQUALS0]r[/size])ab, where EQUALS actually means that you type an "=" sign.  This is using BBcode for setting the text size - but saying size=0 has no effect on the size.  Ugly, I know, but it works.


Another semi-solution is to make just the "r" italics or boldface (using the "B" and "I" button at the top of the compose window).  Of course that means the "r" will come out italic or boldface - not ideal, but might be o.k. in a different situation.  Alternatively, you could make the two parentheses boldface.


- Mike

Edited by MikeK314, 17 August 2014 - 02:30 PM.

#5 kfir Simon

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:53 AM

WOW - a very unusual group!





#6 HunterofPhotons



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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:03 PM

Hey Rick,

What a fun house of strange characters.

I can't recall a more diverse grouping.

To have so many rare galaxies in one area is certainly more than rare. <g>

That's well imaged.


dan k.

Edited by HunterofPhotons, 18 August 2014 - 12:04 PM.

#7 bill w

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:23 PM

very cool galaxies in that field, love the polar ring

#8 Dan Crowson

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:51 PM



really nice and interesting. I really like the polar ring galaxy.



#9 rigel123


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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:12 PM


#10 Rick J

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 02:52 AM

Thanks all.


Mike -- I was hoping the powers that be will find a way to allow proper notation without jumping through a lot of hoops.  Most, like me won't realize it is messing with the post like that.

I post to several sites so rather than rewrite it I do it in a text processor with a dictionary that handles astronomical terms, something the old site didn't do and this one apparently has no spell checker at all or I'm missing it.  I just paste the text in rather than retyping it over and over.  Having to edit specially for one site (no one else does this) is a pain.  Also I find it removes paragraphs randomly.  I have to go back and redo them and hope I catch them all.  The preview will show different ones than the final post further messing me up.  A few kinks they will likely work out in time.


Next up is a commonly imaged object and one I break my usual rule and retake annually but that's because it is always slightly different which is an exception to my general rule to not retake an object unless it was pretty bad the first time around.  Too many still on my to-do list to retake much.  I have to laugh when someone asks "What should I take tonight?"  My problem is there's too many to take any night I have to use a ranking system to decide which of dozens is that nights target.  But with nothing but clouds the last few months or when clear smoke from out Washington and Canadian fires dimming the sky by 4 magnitudes and wiping out any hope of blue getting through I've not been able to do much at all this summer.  Helps the backlog!  I'm still in February so the backlog is still rather large but under 100 at least.



Edited by Rick J, 19 August 2014 - 02:53 AM.

#11 Mike Phillips

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:12 PM


I really love your image and the contextual information you give is awesome as well!  I find your image well processed and very inspiring!



#12 David Rosenthal

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:45 PM

That is spectacular Rick !!!!!

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