Mirach's Ghost - NGC 404 in Andromeda


Copyright 2008 Hap Griffin

NGC 404, seen here to the upper right of the bright star Mirach, is a classified as a dwarf lenticular galaxy.  It is difficult to observe visually because it lies only 7 arc-minutes from being in line with the bright star Mirach in the constellation of Andromeda and is overcome by the glare in most small scopes.  This is a good example of two apparently close objects being at vastly different distances due to our line of sight.  Mirach is only 200 light years away, while NGC 404 lies at 10.3 million light years.  Mirach is classified as a red giant star.  It is much cooler than our own sun, but because of its size, shines 1900 times as brightly. 

Date/Location:    October 26, 2008     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 40D (modified) Digital SLR through Orion 10" Newtonian on an Astro-Physics AP-1200 mount 
Focal Ratio:   f/4.7
Guiding:    Auto through Takahashi FS-102NSV w/ SBIG ST-402
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    60 degrees F, still
Exposure: 24 minutes (8 x 3 min @ ISO800)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR block internal to camera
Processing:    Focused, captured, RAW conversions, frame calibrations, alignment, Digital Development with ImagesPlus v3.50a.  Final tweaking with Photoshop CS2.