Physics Photo of the Week
Galaxy Gallery - Photos and Discussion by Raya Cooper and Chelsea Gandy
|M51 - Chelsea Gandy
|M106 - Chelsea Gandy
We obtained these photographs by taking about 60 exposures
30 sec through red, green and blue filters on our portable telescope
behind the Spidel Math, Physics, and Economics building at WWC.
The camera is a CCD camera - an astronomical digital camera. We then
processed the images by stacking all the images of each color. We then
combined the three colors and adjusted the color balance to create
accurate color rendition.
Messier 108 is an edge on
barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major, near the bottom
star across from the handle of the Big Dipper. It is a distant member
of the Virgo Super Cluster of galaxies. M108 has an estimated mass of
over 125 billion times the mass of the sun and includes over 200
globular clusters. At the center of the galaxy is a super massive black
hole estimated to be 24 million times the mass of the sun. The galaxy
has no pronounced central bulge or core. Dusty spiral arms
composed of many Hydrogen Alpha regions of star forming nebula heavily
obscure the axis. First discovered in 1781 by Pierre
Méchain, this object was added to Messier’s catalogue in 1953. -
M51 and its companion are a
galaxy pair 31 million light years away. One can find M51 in the night
sky near the big dipper’s handle with a small telescope. The larger is
NCG 5194 and the smaller is NCG 5195. The blue color of the
spiral arms indicates the presence of young stars. One can
observe from this picture how the smaller galaxy has disrupted the
larger’s spiral arms. This disturbance was effected over the course of
millions of years.
M106 is a galaxy 20 to 25
million light years distant. It is thought that matter from the galaxy
is being sucked into a super massive black hole, due to the observed
emission lines and x-rays. - C. G
Raya Cooper and Chelsea
Gandy recently completed a second course in Astronomy at Warren Wilson
College. Raya is graduating this weekend with a major in Outdoor
Leadership. Chelsea is a rising senior majoring in Mathematics
and minoring in Creative Writing. Both these students completed
extensive research projects in this course.
This is the last Physics Photo of the Week due to summer
vacation. Physics Photo of the Week will resume on Friday, August
27, 2010 - D. C.
Photo of the
published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren
Wilson College Physics
Department. These photos feature interesting phenomena in
the world around us. Students, faculty, and others are invited to
submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and
explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.
Please send any photos to email@example.com.
All photos and discussions are copyright by Donald
Collins or by the person credited for the photo and/or
discussion. These photos and discussions may be used for private
individual use or educational use. Any commercial use without
written permission of the photoprovider is forbidden.
the Physics Photo
the Week Archive.
Observers are invited to submit
digital photos to: