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Astr112 Photography Projects, Spring 2006

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The Bear Paw Galaxy, Corrie Okkema

Bear Paw Galaxy

The Bear Paw Galaxy or NGC 2537 is a small, but very bright Dwarf irregular galaxy located in the Lynx constellation. This type of galaxy is the most commonly found in the universe and several can be found nearby. Dwarf Galaxies are sometimes known as the "building blocks of the universe" because there are the most numerous type of galaxy and lead to the formation of larger galaxies through collision. Dwarf galaxies also help astronomers deduce information about the birth of stars.

The Bear Paw is listed in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies because of its distinctive visual appearance. Irregular galaxies are called this because of their unpredictable nature. There is no known reason for the dissimilar formations. In this unrotated image, the galaxy appears as a paw print with the claw marks pointed towards the bottom of the frame. In other images, a partial ring around the galaxy can be seen, indicating areas of star formation. The Bear Paw Galaxy is approximately 5.9 Mpc away and is 1 kpc in diameter.

 

References:
E. M Wilcots and M.K. Prescott, National Radio Astronomy Observatory http://www.nrao.edu/imagegallery/php/level3.php?id=329

Dr. Halton Arp, Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies http://members.aol.com/arpgalaxy/

Sloan Digital Sky Survey http://www.sdss.org/iotw/archive.html

Right Ascension (J2000) 08:13:12
Declination (J2000) +46:00:00.0
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds in BVRC
Date observed

March 14, 2006 (VR)

March 21, 2006 (C)

April 8, 2006 (B)