The spiral galaxy NGC 3190 and its cosmic friends: a stunning view – 23 Mar. 2022

The sky up there is always ready to amaze us. This time, the superb NGC 3190 and its cosmic friends offered a memorable view and we are pleased to share it here.

Galaxies NGC 3185, NGC 3187, NGC 3189/90, NGC 3193(Hickson 44 group) and many more fainter ones. 23 Mar. 2022.

Galaxies NGC 3185, NGC 3187, NGC 3189/90, NGC 3193(Hickson 44 group) and many more fainter ones. 23 Mar. 2022.

The image above comes from the average of 16, 300-second unguided exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The resulting frame was carefully and gently processed, to preserve and show all the available details.

As we can see, many galaxies are visible. The four brightest ones are (from the top of the image to the bottom) NGC 3185, NGC 3187, NGC 3189/90 (same galaxy) and NGC 3193: they form the Hickson 44 (HCG 44)  galaxy group, located at about 80 million light years from us. Part of this group is also designed as Arp 316, part of the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. Many fainter ones are visible all around.

In order to help you identifying “who is who”, here it is a star chart with the main object labelled. Note there are also an asteroid and artificial satellite trails on the right.

NGC 3190 and surrounding objects, properly labelled.

NGC 3190 and surrounding objects, properly labelled.

NGC 3190 had a special moment of glory when in 2012 Apple Inc. used the Hubble Space Telescope view of the galaxy as the desktop image for OS X Mountain Lion. Effectively, the idea to grab this image came after the discussion the author, Gianluca Masi, had with his colleague at the Rome Planetarium, Stefano Giovanardi, about the impact of Hubble imagery on our imagination.

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