- Art by Judy Schmidt

NGC 45 (2014)

This could be the poster child of low surface brightness galaxies if the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) didn’t take that place already. I find it to be exceptionally diffuse, even more so than M33, but it also has a clear spiral structure and is also large enough that amateurs can also easily observe it. A lot of LSBs are simple irregular dwarfs amounting to nothing more than the faintest of nondescript smudges. See: Rob Gendler’s, James Foster’s, and Bernd Flach-Wilken’s. There are more but I just picked the first three in the result list. Hubble’s version provides a lot of detail but the amateur images are perhaps more pleasant to view, capturing the whole galaxy and not being riddled with cosmic rays and noise like this image.

I actually tried working on these datasets a long time ago thinking it was some glorious, missed spiral galaxy in the archive because the thumbnails at the HLA (Hubble Legacy Archive) are deceptively bright. When you open the FITS file expecting this grand design to illuminate your screen, it’s a pretty big letdown to be confronted with this strange, dim creature. Now that I understand low surface brightness galaxies a little better, I am interested in them and I want to share them with everyone so it was time to revisit the data. It’s still a bit ugly but it’s not the galaxy’s fault. There just aren’t enough exposures to easily remove the cosmic rays and it’s really quite noisy as well because of this. There’s not much that can be done to fix the noise and I got rid of the CRs as well as I could.

These data were acquired for Proposal 9774 “Young Massive Clusters in Spiral Galaxies and the Connection with Open Clusters”

Red: HST_9774_03_ACS_WFC_F814W_sci
Green: HST_9774_03_ACS_WFC_F555W_sci
Blue: HST_9774_03_ACS_WFC_F435W_sci

Chip gap filled with some WFC3 / UVIS data from Proposal 13364.

North is NOT up. It is 60.8° clockwise from up.

Copyright information:
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.