Abell 426 - Galaxy Cluster in Perseus

The magnificent galaxy cluster Abell 426, part of the Abell Catalogue, rides high in the Autumn skies. Its two brightest members are NGC 1272 and 1275 (centre left and right), but there are at least 25 other galaxies visible in this image. In total the cluster has 400 members across 4 degrees of sky. NGC 1275 is some 235 million light years away and is a type 1.5 Seyfert galaxy. In actual fact it is two galaxies, one in front of the other, although you can't see that on my image.

There is another interesting feature of NGC 1275: deep inside there are rapidly expanding bubbles of hot plasma gas, the motion of which has created a sound wave which the Chandra X-ray observatory in 2003. For interest, the note is B flat, some 57 octaves below middle C.

Here's an annotated version showing the main protagonists in the images. 


Pegasus I Galaxy Cluster

The Pegasus I cluster is dominated by the two elliptical galaxies NGC 7626 and NGC 7619, both 11th magnitude. NGC 7619 (centre) exhibits an X-ray tail and it is believed that this may be because there are two smaller galaxy clusters in the process of merging.

Here's an annotated version showing some of the NGC galaxies in the field. There are several other unidentified galaxies also. 


Quasar APM 08279+0255

At magnitude 16.6, this quasar in Lynx is probably the most distant object which average amateur setups can image. Despite being so faint, the object is actually very luminous, but also very distant. It has a red-shift of 3.87 which puts it at around 12.9 billion light years away from us.

Although not visible on this monochrome image, the red-shift leads to a very deep red hue to the quasar. For a while this led people to believe it was a carbon star in our own galaxy. When its red-shift was detected, it became clear that it was a very distant and therefore very bright object. For a time it was thought to be the most luminous known object. In fact it appears so bright because a massive galaxy lies between us and APM 08279+0255 which magnifies the quasar through a process of “gravitational lensing”. So, it's not the brightest known object, but it is still incredibly luminous and distant.

APM 08279+0255 lies in Lynx at R.A. 08hours 31 minutes 41.60 seconds and DEC. +52 degrees 45 minutes 16.80 seconds. The image was taken over 40 minutes (5 minute subs) through an LX90 @ f/3.3 and an SXV-M7C CCD on 27th December 2008.

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