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Hickson Galaxy Group H44 - Posted March 14, 2007

The four main galaxies in this image are NGC3193, the eliptical galaxy on top, NGC3190, the spiral in the middle, NGC3187, the deformed spiral on the right, and NGC3185, the spiral at the lower right. There are also a couple of much smaller galaxies in the background. I shot the luminance for this image on a clear night with above average seeing, but with the moon blazing away just 4 days after full. That caused lots of gradients so I had to keep the background very dark. The color was taken a couple weeks later, with no moon but poorer seeing. Subexposures were 10 minutes each, guided, which is a breakthrough for me at this image scale. I have previously kept my exposures at this scale to 5 minutes to avoid football shaped stars. I've spent a great deal of time recently improving my cabling, tweeking my guiding parameters, and most importantly eliminating flexure in my guiding setup. Going with 10 minute exposures really helped to keep the noise down and improve depth.