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NGC 5128: Radio galaxy (Centaurus A) in Centaurus

RA = 13 hrs 25 min; Dec = -43 deg 01 min.

Date & Site:

Imaged on 5/17/15;Little Blair Valley, Anza Borrego Desert, CA

Conditions: mild winds; 50 degrees; gradually worsening seeing from very good to poor; clear and transparent


Telescope: TEC 140 Refractor f/7 980mm fl

Mount: AP 1100 GOTO CP3
Camera: ST-10XME; CFW10; Internal auto guiding


Exposures: 80 min (10 min subs) of Lum and 20 min each RGB (5 min binned subs) for total of 2.33 hours

NGC5128 is described in Halton Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as one of the best examples of a "disturbed" galaxy with dust absorption. The galaxy's strange morphology is thought to be the result of a merger between two smaller galaxies. The center of the galaxy contains massive black hole with a mass equivalent to 55 million solar masses, which ejects a jet that is responsible for emissions in the X-ray and radio avelengths. By taking radio observations of the jet separated by a decade, astronomers have determined that the inner parts of the jet are moving at about one half of the speed of light. The emission jet is over a million light years in length. (Credit: Wikipedia)

NGC 5128 is a challenging target to image from northern latitudes. The galaxy resides very low in the southern skies and generally remains visible for only a few hours and only in late Spring evenings. Deteriorating weather conditions cut the imaging session short to only 2.5 hours.

Field of View =52 x 35 arc minutes

~13 million light years away

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