NGC 604 (Hubble Legacy Archive and Chandra data)

Image processing Steve Cannistra
Raw optical data Hubble Legacy Archive
Raw X ray data Chandra X ray Observatory

Please click here for a larger view (optical light image) (70%)

RA: 01h 34m 33s
Dec: +30 degrees 47' 00"

The most conspicuous characteristic of the spiral galaxy M33 is the large number of HII star forming regions it contains, seen as red regions of Ha emission within the spiral arms.  One of these HII regions, known as NGC 604, extends for over 1,500 light years and is shown above in data obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) and the Chandra X ray Observatory.  I processed the optical light data from the HLA using 4 different channels: R = 814W; G = 555W; B = 336W; Ha = 656N (this optical light image, without the Chandra X ray overlay, may be found here).  The FITS files from the HLA were opened, adjusted, and saved as TIFFs using FITS Liberator, and then processed in the usual manner in Photoshop CS5.  I then folded in the Chandra X ray data, assembling the data as a GIF animation.  Combining optical and X ray images for this target is not my original idea- it was done previously by the Chandra team and was also featured on APOD.  My purpose in doing this was to gain familiarity with using HLA data to assemble a high resolution image of targets that are not easily acquired by typical amateur astrophotographer set-ups.

The hottest regions containing strong X ray signal can be seen in the areas that appear cleared out in visible light.  NGC 604 is a robust star forming factory, as can be appreciated by the cluster of young, blue stars in its center.  More information about NGC 604 may be found here.

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