Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology.

Barred spiral galaxy M95 with company

During our recent vacation at our favorite location in southern France, a new combination of equipment was used. One of our targets with a LZOS Apo 123/738 was the galaxy group of M95 and M96. Together with an SBIG ST8300 CCD-Camera, we exposed 20 unfiltered images of 600 seconds each on March 13, 2018 from 20:29 UT to 23:43 UT. The entire two-week stay was characterized by extremely bad seeing and repeatedly interrupted by many clouds. The galaxy is located in the constellation Leo and very close to the ecliptic. Therefore, it turned out that a lot of minor planets were to be expected on the images. The field of view of the entire image is 84x63 arcminutes. Already in the small section around M95 there were 6 minor planets down to a magnitude of 19.9 mag after only 10 minutes exposure time. Here again it shows what a dark sky can do. At home in Germany, we reach this maginutude with the 14-inch mirror after a good 20 minutes. From a small section centered around M95 we made an animation where you can see very well how the main belt asteroids move in the same direction with almost the same speed. You can also see the considerable air turbulence and a drifting focus.

The field size of this image detail is approx. 30 x 20 arcmin., North is down and East is to the right. Overall, the image was exposed for 11 hours 20 minutes. A LRGB color image as final result can be found in the gallery here..