NGC 4038 (and NGC4039 or the Antennae Galaxies) is a mag 11.2 (visual) pair of
interacting galaxies in the constellation of Corvus. The galaxies are colliding and the
interaction and resulting compression of gas and dust is creating a tremendous
starburst effect (rapid stellar creation), which shows up in the bright blue 'knots' in the
central lobes. This object is noted for two long star stream 'tails' that resemble giant
insect antennae. The distance from Earth is estimated at 45 million light years.
Corvus lies low in the Southern sky from my observatory at a declination of -19 degrees
and imaging is very difficult when the object barely gets to 30 degrees above the
horizon. The dense atmosphere that exists between the telescope and the object
distorts the image and reduces the resolution that can be obtained. This is an
interesting object, however, so we get what we can. The main components of the
colliding galaxies and even the 'antennae' were captured in the image.
Date: Mar 23 - Apr 27, 2014
Location: New Ringgold PA
Optics: Hyperion f/8 12.5 inch, FL 2540 mm
Mount: Paramount ME
Camera: Apogee U8300
Guiding: ST-402 on Innovations Foresight On-Axis Guider, SharpLock focusing method
Exposure: LRGB: L:24x10min R:21x8 min, G:11x6 min, B:24x10 min for a total of 11.9
Processing: Image acquisition using CCD Autopilot. Initial processing was done using
Maxim DL with subsequent processing with Photoshop.