Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leo 1: a local group galaxy

Leo 1 is a dwarf galaxy located about 800,000 light years away in the constellation Leo. In fact, you can nearly pinpoint the location of the galaxy with your naked eye by looking at the bright blueish star Regulus. (You can find Regulus, if you don't know many constellations, by looking at the Big Dipper. Know the pointer stars on the bowl that point to Polaris? If you go backwards from them, they point to Regulus). Regulus is only a 1/3 a degree away from this galaxy, and its glare is always in the way. Take a look at this fantastic image from Russell Croman

Occasionally slightly crazy, I decided to attempt to image this galaxy last Friday. The moon had just risen and it was slightly hazy. In other words, I was completely crazy.

Leo 1
About 45 minutes exposure. Click to enlarge

It's tough to see, but look at the slightly knobbier noise just to the bottom right of center. Compared that to the noise in the rest of the image. You can use the two stars in the upper left to compare the frame with this image from Wikipedia/Digital Sky Survey/STScI:

I definitely need to get some better flats made.

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