M77 – Spiral Galaxy in Cetus

Telescope: Meade SN8 at f/4, Orion Atlas EQ-G
Camera: ZWO ASI071MC, Orion Imaging Skyglow Filter
Sensor Temperature: 0C, Gain: 200, Offset: 50
Guide scope: Williams Optics 50mm, Meade DSI Pro II, PHD
Exposure: 47x120sec saved as FITS
Darks: 32x120sec saved as FITS
Flats: 32x10sec, LED tracing tablet darkened with 3 layers of muslin
Average Light Pollution: Red zone, fair transparency
Lensed Sky Quality Meter: 18.5 mag/arc-sec^2
Stacking: Mean with a 2-sigma clip.
White Balance: Nebulosity Automatic
Software: Nebulosity, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop

M77 is the closest and brightest example of a Seyfert Galaxy. These galaxies are characterized by a bright stellar core and very strong radio emissions. It is now known that these arise from a super massive black hole at the galaxy’s core. At the core of M77 lies a black hole with an estimated mass of 11 million suns. As a radio source M77 is known as Cetus A.

Although M77 was the primary target for this image, I framed it to include the edge-on spiral NGC 1055 at the top, and the star delta Cetus in the upper right corner. To the upper left of M77 is NGC 1072, a tiny magnitude 14.4 edge-on spiral. If you look closely at M77 you can just barely detect an outer veil of stars. It might be worth trying this field again if we get a night of exceptional transparency to see if I can pick up a little more detail in the outer regions of the galaxy.

-John

M77 (8-23-2017)-1j.jpg