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Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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NGC 2841 Galaxy in Ursa Major, Anna DeKievit

NGC 2841

This image is of a galaxy, or "a large assemblage of stars, gas, and dust bound together by their mutual gravitational attraction," and this particular galaxy is a classic example of a spiral galaxy which is "a flattened, rotating galaxy with pinwheel-like spiral arms winding outward from the galaxy's nuclear bulge" (Comins). The spiral arms are more dense and less dense areas of material on a sort of disk which has a concentration in the center. The center's bulge is the point around which the waves rotate. In the more dense areas, the spiral arms, materials are pressed together and new stars are formed which are seen as blue stars. This galaxy is found in Ursa Major and has a magnitude of 10.11. It's arms are tightly wound, and the galaxy is known to have a history of supernova explosions within it.

My image was taken in a number of small intervals to prevent blooming or streaks of light coming from the magnitude 8.5 star nearby, which is seen in the image in the upper left-hand corner. Despite my 20 minutes of exposure, this image is faint and the colors are muted, which is common and experience by others photographing this galaxy as well. However,you can still see the bright magnitude of the center bulge despite the faint picture. Also, the new blue stars can be seen around the galaxy. This galaxy is 31 million light years away and using the small angle formula I calculated this galaxy to be 25,955 light years across, which is a rough estimate because of the nature of the spiral arms. Also, as the picture shows, the galaxy is longer in the vertical direction than the horizontal direction because we are looking at the galazy at an angle. This too makes calculating its distance difficult.

References:
NGC 2841. 4 Jan. 2003. NOAO. 6 Nov. 2007 <http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/n2841.html>.

Comins, Neil F., and William J. Kaufmann. Discovering the Universe. 5th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 2000.

Right Ascension (J2000) 09h 22m 00.0s
Declination (J2000) +50°58'00"
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 10x50 seconds in B, 5x50 seconds in VRC
Date observed

October 20, 2007