Monday, May 19, 2014

M106

M106 is a galaxy 20-25 million lightyears away. What's astounding about M106 is the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. The mass of this black hole is about 30 million times the mass of our sun. As a comparison, the black hole in our milky way has a mass of 4 million suns. And the black hole in our milky way is not active (i.e. it's not actively eating up material) - whereas the black hole in M106 is very active. And because it is so big and active, it eats up a lot of material, and in the process emits some material back out with very high energy. These rays of high speed material slam into the gas in the galaxy, heating it up to over 1 million degrees (in comparison our sun is 10 million degrees hot on its surface!) and making it emit X-rays.
... that doesn't sound like the best galaxy to live in!


This image consist of 150 min Ha data, 110 min Luminance data and 60 min each RGB data. I used a light pollution filter (IDAS-P2 from Hutech) as the luminance filter for this image. I also used the HaRGBCombination script from Silvercup (instead of the SHO-AIP script that comes with Pixinsight). I found that it creates a better color mix. And I used a different approach to process the luminance image. Not bad for only 7.3 hours imaging time from my light polluted backyard - but when you zoom in you can see that this image could use more data.