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Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2009

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Spindle Galaxy (NGC 3115), Katie Broekhuizen

Spindle Galaxy

The spindle galaxy is found in the constellation Sextans. It was founded by William Herschel in 1787. It appears to be about 32 million light years away from us. Being a disk galaxy, it has little spiral structure. It has no dust, so it is transparent, and is made of old stars. It is an edge-on disk, which means that its dynamics are dominated by rotation.There was a supermassive black hole found in this galaxy that is 1 billion the times of the sun. It is close enough that we can see the effects of the black hole on stars that are nearby.

The angular size of this object is 3 arcmintues. Based on the agular size here and its distance, I calculated the linear size to be about 30,000 light years. This number indicates that it is much smaller than the Milky Way galaxy. I found conflicting research regarding if the Spindle galaxy was bigger or smaller than the Milky Way galaxy. The color appears to us as mostly yellow. We see it in a straight line, with a buldge in the middle. We view this galaxy as it is on its side.

References:
Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_3115>

The Internet Encyclopedia of Science <http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/Spindle_Galaxy.html>

The RASC's Finest N.G.C. Objects List <http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n3115.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 10:05:14
Declination (J2000) -07:43:07
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 10x30 seconds in BVRC
Date observed

March 19, 2009 (BR)
April 1, 2009 (CV)