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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2010

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Twin Galaxies , KJ Van Ek

Twin Galaxies

The Twin Galaxies, also known as Keenan's system are two objects, NGC 5216 and 5218 which appear to be connected by a string. Both are galaxies, and in a natural way appear to be headed towards each other and will someday merge. Galaxies are large masses of stars that are pulled together by their gravitational force. The two galaxies are connected by a 22,000 light year cosmic trail, and lie 17 million light years away from Earth in the Ursa Major constellation. This pair of galaxies was first discovered by PC Keenan in 1935.

NGC 5216 is the uppermost galaxy in this image, with its "twin," NGC 5218, below it and a bit off to the right. NGC 5216 is a spiral galaxy, as is evident by its spiral nature in the image. also, if one looks closely at the image, the two galaxies are connected by what appears to be a faint aura in the image--this is the cosmic trail described above. On the picture, this object's angular size is about 1.6 arc minutes in length. It's linear size is 6.5 thousand lightyears.

References:
NASA Picture of the Day.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Science. Galaxies. Keenan's System.

Right Ascension (J2000) 13:32:06
Declination (J2000) 62:42:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 1 x 300 seconds in BVRC
Date observed

March 11, 2010 (BVRC)