Waid Observatory

Object: NGC 6946

Date: June 19/20/21, 2021     Location: Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, TX
Telescope: 10 inch RC    -    Camera: Apogee Alta F8300M
Exposure: Ha = 180 min. - L = 240 min. - R,G,B = 120 min. each  -   Binned 1x1

Click on the image below to view at higer resolution.


NGC 6946

NGC 6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy 1,2

Discovered by William Herschel in 1798.

Located on the border of the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus approximately 25 million light years distant is the impressive galaxy designated NGC 6946.  It is classified as a starburst galaxy as it is experiencing a high rate of new star births.  Many reddish areas are visible in the image above.  These areas are HII regions comprised of mostly hydrogen gas that is being excited by radiation from massive new stars embedded within the gas clouds.  This radiation causes the hydrogen to glow in the red part of the color spectrum in much the same manner as a neon light.  NGC 6946 is also experiencing a high rate of stellar supernova explosions.  Over the last century, 10 supernova events have been observed in the galaxy.  Even though our Milky Way galaxy is approximately twice the size, it only has 1 or 2 supernova events each century.  The high rate of supernova explosions in NGC 6946 is the root of the galaxy's nickname of The Fireworks Galaxy


Copyright Donald P. Waid