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Dates & Location

26th March -3rd May 2011 using the SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W  

Catalogue identification

NGC 4438 and along with its smaller close companion galaxy NGC 4435 arealso called "The Eyes". These are the twg galaxies in the lower left of the frame.
NGC 4438 is also catalogued as Arp 120.

Equipment Used

Officina Stellare RC400 at 3278mm focal length, F8.2.
Paramount ME German equatorial Mount.
Camera SBIG ST-11000M with FW-5L filter wheel.
TheSky V6 telescope control.
CCDSoft V 5.0 camera control.
ScopeDome remote observatory.


Where it is in space

In the constellation of Virgo. NGC 4438 has an integrated magnitude of 10.0 but its apparent visual size is quite small at 8.5 x 3.0 arc minutes which is 1/4 the apparent diameter of the Moon. It is located about 9 degrees east of the star Denebola in Leo and about 9 degrees west of the star Vindemiatrix in Virgo. In this image North is up.

Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
Exposures: 18 x 20min Luminance:120:120:120 mins R:G:B, using 10 min sub-exposures
-15°C. All images binned 1x1. AllC

  What it is

NGC 4438 and NGC 4435 appear to have passed very close to eachother in the past, stripping much of the gas, dust and stars out of NGC 4435 and creating gravitational chaos in NGC 4438. They are estimated to be about 50 million light years away and presently about 50,000 light years apart. These galaxies are part of a large string of galaxies known as Markarians Chain. The whole area of the sky in this part of Virgo also reveals a gigantic amount of inter-galactic matter and streamers which can only be seen on very deep images. The negative of this image is deep enough to show the faintest of streamers which have been highlighted here About This Site


Processing Methods

Image acquisition and telescope control with CCDSoft V5/ TheSky6.  
  Data reduction with CCDStack. Lum and RGB masters and RGB colour combine prepared and in CCDStack.  

Final LRGB processing using PhotoShop CS2.