Waid Observatory

NGC 3718, NGC 3729, Hickson 56

Date: May 2021  -   Location: Davis Mountains, TX
Telescope: 10in. RC   Mount: Paramount MX   Camera: Apogee ALTA F8300M
Exposure:   L = 360 min. (bin 1x1 - 15 min. exp)
R&G = 210 min. each, B = 220 min. (bin 2x2 - 10 min. exp)

Click on the image to view at higher resolution.




NGC 3718, NGC 3729, Hickson 56 1,2,3

NGC 3718, also catalogued as Arp 214 is located in the northern constellation Ursa Major.  It lies approximately 52 million light years from the Earth.  The galaxy is classified as spiral by many astronomers; however, it has been warped into a distorted "S" shape by gravitational interaction attributed to the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3729.  This companion, located to the lower right in the image above, lies only 150,000 light years from NGC 3718.  It may in fact be a satellite of NGC 3718.

Many small, faint "background" galaxies are evident in the image.  Most apparent is the grouping of 5 distant galaxies located just above NGC 3718.  This group of interacting galaxies is catalogued as Hickson 56Red shift analysis has determined the distance to the group to be about 425 million light years.

Located around NGC 3718 are several quasars.  These objects are very distant and appear only as dim, star like, dots.  Located in the field of view of the image above are 8 detectable quasars.  The distance to a quasar is measured in light travel time and is usually in the range of billions of years.  Normally, one would consider the distance to a quasar to be the same number of light years; however, due to the expansion of the universe that has taken place while the light was traveling to Earth, the quasar is actually much farther away.  Click here to view an image with the quasars identified.


Copyright Donald P. Waid