Photo of the Week for September 29, 2017
One of the loveliest face-on galaxies is NGC6946, situated in southwestern Cepheus, on the border with Cygnus. If you don’t recognize the galaxy shown here right away, perhaps it’s because you’re not accustomed to seeing NGC6946 pictured without the neighbouring open cluster NGC6939. Indeed, this celestial odd couple comprise one of the most interesting two-for-one telescope views in the heavens. Under a clear, very dark sky, they can even be glimpsed in binoculars. NGC6946 is also known as the Fireworks Galaxy—and for good reason. It has been the site of numerous supernova explosions, including one as recently as this past May, which was designated SN2017eaw. If you know where to look, you can spot the “new star” in the above image.
This galactic portrait was produced by Patrick Dufour who acquired the data remotely from his observatory located in Saint-Urbain, Quebec. The 157 exposures combined for this image totalled nearly 10 hours exposure and were recorded using a 10-inch Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope and a QSI 660WSG monochrome CCD camera.