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The Draco Trio

The Draco Trio - NGC5981/NGC5982/NGC5985 The Draco Trio - NGC5981/NGC5982/NGC5985 ©2015 Frederick Steiling
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Target Information
Main Target Designations NGC5981, NGC5982, NGC5985
RA Center 15h 38m 43.838s
DEC Center +59° 21' 11.80"
Rotation 1.882°
One-shot color 25x900" (ISO1600)
Total Integration 6hrs 15min
Date(s) of acquisition 18May2015, 21May2015
Location Whiteside, MO
Imager Olympus E-P5
Telescope/Lens Orion 8" f/3.9 Astrograph
Mount Celestron CGEM
Guiding Apparatus Orion ST80 (piggyback)
Guiding Camera Orion SSAG
Coma Corrector Baader MPCC Mark III
Collimator Orion LaserMate
Focusing Bahtinov mask
Acquisition Manual (remote shutter)
Guiding PHD2
Processing PixInsight 1.8

Sometimes it just seems like these galaxies want to hang out with each other.  In a wonderful collection of best buddies in the constellation Draco, we get an excellent look at the different forms (and angles) that galaxies may take.

On the left we get a face-on view of the spiral galaxy NGC5981.  This is a particularly active galaxy with high surface brightness and a quasar-like nucleus, classified as a Seyfert galaxy.  On the right, we get a different look at a spiral galaxy with NGC5981, this time edge-on.  In this view, the relative thinness of a spiral galaxy becomes immediately evident, with a nice bulge at its nucleus.  Lastly, we have NGC5982 in the center, a more diffuse style of galaxy known as an elliptical galaxy.  As compared to its friends to the left and right, the elliptical galaxy has a much more prominent 3D structure and far less definition.

In this effort, I've maintained my approach with 15' subexposures.  There is more trailing present in the stars, which is most certainly an artifact of flexing between my guidescope and my imaging telescope, as well as magnification by the image scale.  (These are some small galaxies for me at .2.8' x 0.5', 2.6' x 1.9', and 5.5' x 3.0'!)  I'm really stretching the gear I have to its greatest extent now.  The next step for improvement will likely be to invest in an off-axis-guiding setup where flexure is no longer an issue and guiding occurs through the same optical path as the imaging.  The hunt is on!

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