Reader’s wildlife photo

Well, it’s not really wildlife, but on this site astronomy photos fall under that rubric. Reader Tim Anderson from Australia sent us a nice galaxy pic. His notes (click photo to enlarge):

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy lies approximately 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. It will be about 14.999 million years before I Love Lucy comes to the attention of any intelligent life in that neighbourhood.

The image is a combination of forty 240-second frames captured with a 100mm refracting telescope and a colour astronomical camera.



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink


    And I apologize but this is a genuinely naive question:

    How is it that objects between the galaxy and the lens do not interfere? How does one plan this shot? I figure there could be earthlings that interfere as well – an owl flying by for instance.

    • Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      All of the stars scattered across the image are objects between the galaxy and the lens. An owl flying past is possible but pretty unlikely; the field of view here is pretty small.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Also because the light is focused – that is, the focal plane is exactly at the galaxy, perhaps a celestial object in a line of sight but out of the focal plane is completely missing?

        • Posted May 24, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Not really, all celestial objects would be at “infinity” so would all be in focus.

      • Mark Jones
        Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Also fast moving objects can completely disappear over a 240 second exposure.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          How long an exposure of the (presumably) CCD more likely to pick up cosmic rays?

      • Jim batterson
        Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Also, this is a small patch of sky. Wikipedia has the apparent diameter of the pinwheel at about twelve minutes of arc which is less than half the size of our sun or moon which each subtend about thirty minutes (half a degree)of arc.

        • Jim batterson
          Posted May 24, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Disambiguation: this is southern pinwheel in hydra. The larger pinwheel galaxy, found in ursa major i believe, is about thirty minutes across.

      • Michael Watts
        Posted May 24, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Also some of the small blobs do appear to be even more distant galaxies in the background.

  2. Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Awe inspiring.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 24, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    14.999 million years and Lucy will still have some ‘splainin’ to do.

    Great pic.

    • Stephen Wilson
      Posted May 25, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

  4. Posted May 24, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    It always amazes me that we can get news from so far away (even if restricted) and that we can figure out how far away that is, too!

  5. rickflick
    Posted May 24, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I see the number 2 in the galaxy’s arms. Great shot!
    With only a little imagination, I can see other civilizations of sentient beings somewhere in that array of billions of stars. They can’t all be void and without form can they? If none exist, how’d we get here? Maybe we’ll have to wait for and answer until their version of I Love Lucy reaches us.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted May 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Impressive…Lucy in the sky with diamonds?

  7. Posted May 24, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Great shot, Tim! Simply beautiful.

  8. Posted May 26, 2019 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photo!

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