Galaxies / by Conor Cunningham

NGC 253, The Sculptor Galaxy

I've been working on a project for a few weeks now, and the result of that project is above. It's a galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor which lies a "mere" 10 million light years away. 70 000 light years across, it was first discovered by astronomer and mathematician Caroline Herschel. She was the sister of astronomer William Herschel and was just as prolific when it came to discovering night time goodies in the sky.

I took this image using a large remotely operated telescope in Australia. For the geeks amongst you, the image is comprised of 11 x 300s Luminance frames and three each of 300s RGB frames.

It's been a lot of work to process this image to my liking, but I think all the trial and error has paid off with what I believe to be a good result and a lot learned about astronomical image processing.

If you live towards the equator, or better yet, in Australia, Southern Africa, Southern America or New Zealand, you can spot this galaxy in a pair of binoculars. If you're lucky enough to have a telescope I can highly recommend getting out there to have a look.

The position of NGC 253 when standing in Brisbane at approx 9:30pm on the 27th December. Image from Starry NIght 6.