NGC 3718, NGC 3729, and UGC 06527

NGC 3718
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here or on image for a higher resolution view.

Magnitude:  11.6
Size: about 8'
Distance: 42 million light years
RA: 11h 32m 56s
Dec: +53 degrees 01' 55"

NGC 3718 is the larger of the two prominent galaxies in the image above, characterized by the diffuse "S" shape of its arms, as well as the tan brown dust lane that runs through the center (reminiscent of Centaurus A).  The dust lane as well as other detail is better seen on the larger image shown here.  The smaller companion to its left is NGC 3729, which is thought to distort NGC 3718 through gravitational interaction.  Near the bottom edge of NGC 3718 can be found a cluster of 5 galaxies known as Uppsala General Catalog (UGC) 06527 (aka Arp 322 or Hickson 56).  Most of my astrophotography colleagues know that I'm trying to push the limits of a 4" refractor, and this widefield galactic view is no exception.  However, it cannot compare to larger aperture and dark skies, as can be seen in this image from Rob Gendler.  I would like to think that widefield galactic images like mine have their own unique appeal, and will leave the high resolution work to those with permanent set ups under much darker skies.  More information about NGC 3718 may be found here.

Photographic Details:

Date:  April 29, 2006.
Takahashi FS-102 at f6 , on the G11 Losmandy Mount. 
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Maxcam CM10
Astronomik Type II R, G, B, plus clear filter set; IDAS LPS.
Exposures:  L:R:G:B (160, 40, 40, 50 minutes, unbinned).
Conditions:  Temperature 50 degrees F, dropping to mid 30's by dawn; good transparency; average seeing.
Debloomed with Ron Wodaski's Debloomer software, calibrated and aligned in Maxim, combined using RC Sigma Reject MaximDL, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Levels, curves, high-pass sharpening in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).

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