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Dates & Location

17th December 2009 - 12 January 2010 using the SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W  

Catalogue identification

NGC 660 irregular polar ring galaxy.

Equipment Used

Officina Stellare RC400 at 3304mm focal length.
Paramount ME German equatorial Mount.
Camera SBIG ST-11000M with FW-8L filter wheel.
TheSky V6 telescope control.
CCDSoft V 5.0 camera control


Where it is in space

In the constellation of Pisces. Visual magnitude 10.7. NGC 600 is approximately 8.3 x 3.2 arc minutes in apparent size. In this image South is up and East is to the right.

Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
LRGB exposures:- 200:90:90:90 mins total, using 20 min sub-exposures for Luminance and 10 min for RGB at
-30°C. All images binned 1x1. AllC

  What it is

NGC 660 is designated as a Polar Ring Galaxy due to the high eccentricity of the principle spiral arms which have been gravitationally disturbed by another galaxy in its neighborhood of space or possibly the collision with another galaxy. Such is the strength of the disturbance that the main arms appear to pass over the galaxy's poles rather than the galactic plane of rotation. The red hue of the arms also indicates a high level of induced star formation caused by the re-distribution of the gas within the arms caused by the same gravitational disturbance. The principal distorted spiral arm/ring spans about 40,000 light years. The central region of the galaxy is very active in new star creation - a state described as "starburst" due the large number of new very luminous stars populating the region.

Processing Methods

Image acquisition and telescope control with CCDSoft V5/ TheSky6.  
  Data reduction and Luminence De-convolution with CCDStack. RGB colour channels prepared in CCDStack.  

Master RGB image and Master Lum Image finished with Photoshop CS2.Final LRGB image using PhotoShop CS2.