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Hal Heaton

Location of Photo:

Chilescope-Telescope 3

Date/Time of photo:

March 7, 2021 (moonless)


ASA 0.5-m field-corrected Newtonian (f/3.8); Camera: Unbinned FLI ProLine 16803; Filters: Red, Green, Blue and H-alpha; Exposure Time: 5 and 10-min, guided.


Seen from a distance of about 30 million light years, NGC 2903 in Leo seems to emerge from the screen as its prominent nucleus and bright spiral arms lie embedded in broader, more diffuse tilted planes of unresolved stars evident in its outer regions. Delineated by dark dust lanes, the bright spiral arms host a bevy of young blue star clusters and reddish HII areas of glowing hydrogen gas. The star-sprinkled spur that branches off the galaxy to the lower left extends well out into the circumgalactic medium as if being torn away by an unseen companion. A prominent (yellowish) central bar feeds gas into the chaotic inner region, fueling additional star-formation in a circumnuclear ring. The low surface brightness galaxy UGC 5806 can be seen also as the faint blue blob at the lower center of the field. This image was made by stacking individual 10-min exposures taken through red and H-alpha filters for 30-mins, and 5-min exposures taken through green and blue filters for 35 and 40-mins, respectively, using CCDStack software. The resultant mean band images were processed to color subsequently using Photoshop CC. After cropping the result to 24.3 arcmin x 19.4 arcmin, the frame is presented with N to the left and E down.