In the far southern skies is the constellation Piscis Volans, the flying fish. Within Volans lies this galaxy NGC 2442. It is distorted from the more common spiral shape into a meathook appearance. The unusual shape is likely the result of a close encounter with another galaxy not in the field of view. The galaxy lies about 50 million light years away. Visible are darkened dust lanes, young blueish star clusters, and reddish star forming regions. More views are from Astronomy Picture of the Dayhere, here, and here.
I tried my hand at producing a color version of the Meathook galaxy using 3 greyscale images from the Hubble Telescope. The process is described in this previous post. The Hubble images provide rich detail.
Evening arrived with very clear sky and mild temperature. It was the last night of winter. The International Space Station was due to pass directly overhead from SW to NE. It would pass near the Moon, Mars, Taurus and Orion. The iPad was set with NightCap app to record for about 3 minutes. After recording the scene, I enjoyed some telescope time.
iPad with NightCap in ISS mode, 171.75 sec exposure
Centaurus-A is located in the southern hemisphere skies. I have never seen it from my location 42˚ north latitude. It rises only 5˚ above my southern horizon in early December. I’m certain it is very familiar to my blogger friend Roger in Australia. It is the 5th brightest galaxy and easily viewed by amateurs. It contains a black hole of 55 million solar masses ejecting jets of x-ray and radio wavelengths. Models suggest the galaxy collided with another smaller galaxy in the past leading to areas of star formation in the resulting complex structure. I enjoyed combining 3 greyscale Hubble images into this composite. In the center are several newly formed bluish stars. The dark areas are dust blocking the passage of light.
This wood engraving by an unknown artist appeared in Camille Flammarion‘s 1888 book L’atmosphère : météorologie populaire (“The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology”). There are multiple interpretations of the engraving.
Flammarion authored more than fifty works, including those about astronomy, science fiction novels, psychical research and related topics. He also published the magazine L’Astronomie, starting in 1882 and had a private observatory at Juvisy-sur-Orge, France.
In 1907, he wrote that dwellers on Mars tried to communicate with the Earth in the past and that a seven-tailed comet was heading toward Earth. In 1910, he believed the gas from comet Halley’s tail would kill all life on planet Earth.
“A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch.”
The very popular web site Astronomy Picture of the Day featured this black and white engraving on 5 April 2020. Readers were invited to colorize the image using any method they preferred. I was happy to give it a try using Photoshop Elements. Many others before have done so as evidenced in this Google Image search result.