30 December 2016 | IC 1459

IC 1459

Credit & copyright: CEDIC & processing: Bernhard Hubl | Click image to enlarge

Image Data

  • Date: 2015-10-06 + 2015-10-07 + 2015-10-10
  • Location: Chile
  • Camera: FLI PL16803
  • Optics: TEC RC 20″ f/9 with corrector
  • Mount: Astro-Physics AP1600GTO
  • Filters: Astrodon
  • Exposure: L 27x6min / R 11x6min / G 11x6min / B 11x6min

Taken under the dark skies of Chile, the giant elliptical galaxy IC 1459 is the central focus of this superb image. At a distance of between 65 and 100 million light years, it anchors a small group of galaxies, a part of which is seen in this image.

This galaxy has been of great interest to professional astronomers and there are many telltale signs of a colourful history involving a merger event. This is evidenced by a counterrotating core and faint outer tidal shells. A counterrotating core is a nucleus that rotates in the opposite direction to the rest of the galaxy. This type of strange kinematical feature has been found in other galaxies such as M64. Another signature of a past merger event is an ionized gas disk located at its core.

The other galaxies surrounding IC 1459 in the above image include the edge on galaxy IC 5264 below it, the dwarf spiral IC 5269A to the right and the elongated spiral galaxy IC 5269B to the north. IC 1459 was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard in 1892 but it was also independently discovered in 1896 by Lewis Swift and erroneously included in the Index Catalogue a second time as IC 5265.

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