The Pinwheel Galaxy (M33)

Posted by CraigAndTammy
on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

by Craig and Tammy Temple

Messier 33 (NGC 598), located in the constellation Triangulum, is a spiral galaxy that lies approximately 3 million light years from Earth. It was discovered by Charles Messier on the night of August 25-26, 1764 and was published in his Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters (1771) as object number 33. The Triangulum Galaxy, with a diameter of about 50,000 light years and home to around 40 billion stars, is the third largest member of the Local Group (a group of galaxies which also contains the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy) and may be a gravitationally bound companion of the Andromeda Galaxy. Although this galaxy has an apparent magnitude of 5.72, it is known to be a diffuse object and its visibility is strongly affected by small amounts of light pollution. Under excellent viewing conditions with no light pollution, M33 can be seen with the naked eye, making it one of the most distant permanent objects that can be seen without the aid of a telescope.

Telescope: Sky Watcher Quantum 120mm @ f/7
Accessories: SW Quantum flattener; Dew control by Dew Buster; Alnitak Flat-Man
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma2
Camera: QSI583wsg CCD @ -10.0C
Guiding: Starlight Xpress Lodestar via PHD
Filters: Astrodon Tru-Balance E-Series Generation 2 LRGB
Exposure: 60 x 6min. (L), 13 x 4min. binned 2x2 (R, G & B)
Acquisition: ImagesPlus 4.0c Camera Control
Processing: ImagesPlus 4.0c
Post-processing: Adobe Photoshop CS5; Noel Carboni’s Actions; Gradient XTerminator; Noise Ninja; HLVG
Date(s): October 2, 3 & 4, 2011
SQM reading (begin - end): N1:19.24 - 19.50; N2:18.90 - 19.49; N3:18.62 - 19.27
Temperature (begin - end): N1:46.9ºF - 44.4ºF; N2:52.5ºF - 47.1ºF; N3:57.0ºF - 51.6ºF
Location: Hendersonville, TN, USA
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