Mark Hanson, S. Mazlin, R. Parker ,W. Keller, T. Tse, P. Proulx, R. Vanderbei, M. Elvov; SSRO/PROMPT/CTIO   

Mark Hanson, S. Mazlin, R. Parker ,W. Keller, T. Tse, P. Proulx, R. Vanderbei, M. Elvov; SSRO/PROMPT/CTIO

 

Messier 61 (NGC 4303)

Explanation:

Discovered in 1779 by the Italian astronomer Barnaba Oriani, M61 is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Virgo. Charles Messier noticed it on the same night as Oriani, but he mistook the galaxy for a passing comet. A member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, M61 is roughly 55 million light-years away from Earth.

M61 is a type of galaxy known as a starburst galaxy. Starburst galaxies experience an incredibly high rate of star formation, hungrily using up their reservoir of gas in a very short period of time (in astronomical terms). But this is not the only activity going on within the galaxy; an X-ray source has been detected deep at its heart, leading astronomers to believe that a supermassive black hole sits at its core. This galaxy has also been host to seven observed supernovas — the most of any galaxy in the Messier catalog.

Telescope:16" RCOS f11.2 Planewave HD Mount

Camera: FLI 16803

Location: SSRO, Cito Chile

Exposure: LRGB, 20,12,12,12 Hours

 Full Resolution Crop

Full Resolution Crop