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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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The Fath Galaxy Cluster, Rachael Afman

Helix Nebula

The Fath is a Galaxy Cluster. Galaxy clusters are groups of Galaxies that are relatively close to each other in space. Regular Galaxy Clusters have a well-defined spherical center around which the other galaxies are oriented. The Fath is an irregular cluster because it has no well-defined center. The Fath is found in the larger galaxy cluster of Abell 262. The galaxies in galaxy clusters are in mutual gravitational interaction, which is why they are oriented around themselves in this way. The galaxy that is closest to the center is NGC 708 and is approximately 260 million light years away. 

In the image of the Fath Galaxy above, 11 different galaxies are visible. In the picture, galaxies are the brighter lights that have a cloud of material around them. Some of the galaxies have an obvious shape such as the spiral galaxy in the bottom of the photo, while others simply appear as bright spots with clouds around them. While a few of them are closer than others, no obvious center of the cluster exists. The galaxies that are closest to the center are in gravitational interaction, which is what keeps them so close to each other. Some of the galaxies appear brighter than others; this is because some of the galaxies are farther away from the camera than others. The image was taken using 20 minutes worth of exposure time, which made it possible to see the dimmer galaxies that would not be visible using only one minute of exposure time. A few artifacts are on the image. The artifacts appear as small white lines made up of several pixels, and they are all the same shape and size. These come from the telescope and camera, not the galaxy cluster or anything in the universe. The linear diameter of The Fath is approximately 820,000 lightyears.

References:
"Galaxy Clusters and Large-Scale Structure." Cambridge Cosmology:Galaxies N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <http://www.amtp.cam.ac.uk/research/gr/public/gal_lss.html>.

Kronberg, C. "Groups and Clusters of Galaxies." The Munich Astro Archive N.p., 6 June 2006. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <http://www.maa.clell.de/Messier/gal_clus.html>.

"Astroimaging Gallery Six." PAO's Garden Spot Observatory N.p., 1998. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <http://home.comcast.net/~observatory/dsogallerysix.htm>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 01:52:48
Declination (J2000) +36:10:00
Filters used Clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 20x60 seconds in C
Date observed

November 07, 2009 (C)