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Astronomical Observatory: Cool Images

Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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M94 Galaxy, Michael Kraai

M94

All Galaxies are an incredible, beautiful part of the universe. Each galaxy contains over 1 billion stars, and if that is not enough, they produce one or two more stars each year. The M94 spiral galaxy (also known as NGC 4736) shown above, is in fact a quite special galaxy. M94 is unique because it contains what is known as a pseudobulge. A classical spiral galaxy is made up of a disk of gas and young stars that intersect a large bulge of older stars. "In contrast, a galaxy with a pseudobulge does not have a large bulge of old stars but instead contain a bright central structure with intense star formation that looks like a bulge when the galaxy is viewed face-on." Another distiguishing factor of M94 is that "M94 is one of the relatively rare galazies in which two waves of steller formation can be observed. In very long exposures a further very faint ring about 15 arc minutes across becomes visible."

If you look closely at my image above, you can see that the central bulge of older stars appears to be in an oval shaped structure. My image clearly demonstrates that the central core of the galaxy is much brighter than the surrounding disk. You can also see a thin ring around the oval core, this is a blueish ring, which indicates this is where new stars are located. In addition, notice the dimmer outer disk, this area contains the largest stellar formation. If you were not impressed by M94 yet, you should be, the M94 galaxy is 33 million light years away, and I solved to find the linear size is 2399 light years. A light year is the distance light travels in one year, light travels at 186,000 miles/sec (299,000 km/sec). Take a second to ponder that. One second. 186,000 miles.

References:
Arnette, Bill. "M94 Galaxy ." Nine Planets. <http://astro.nineplanets.org/twn/n7293x.html>.

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "NGC 4736." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/MESSIER/xtra/ngc/n7293.html>

J. Kormendy, R. C. Kennicutt, Jr. (2004). Wikepedia.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_94>

Right Ascension (J2000) 12:29:53
Declination (J2000) 41:04:03
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in CBVR
Date observed

March 11, 2007 (CBVR)

 

 

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