Targets on 17 March
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Targets on 17 March

INGRID is the new near-infrared camera for the William Herschel Telescope. This device will be the default detector for the state-of-art adaptive optics NAOMI instrument expected to be commissioned next summer. INGRID which will see first light next 16 March. The following is a list of tentative first light objects:

. Orion Nebula (M42 or NGC 1976). This is a star-forming region. The gas and dust in the nebula emits light because it is irradiated by nearby emerging stars. Shown here are 10s exposure true-colour pictures using BVR imaging on the new WHT prime focus camera.

. M67 Open Star Cluster. M67 is one of the oldest known open clusters, being aged at 3.2 billion years. It has been calculated that M67 can expect to exist as a cluster for about another 5 billion years. The total number of stars in M67 is probably at least about 500.

. M87 Galaxy. The giant elliptical galaxy M87, also called Virgo A, is one of the most remarkable objects in the sky. It is perhaps the dominant galaxy in the closest big cluster to us, the famous Virgo Cluster of galaxies (sometimes also called "Coma-Virgo cluster" which is more acurate, as it extends into constellation Coma), and lies at the distance of this cluster (about 60 million light-years). M87 lies well in the heart of the Virgo cluster. It contains much more stars (and mass) than our galaxy, certainly several trillion (10^12) solar masses. M87 is famous for two peculiar and perhaps unique features, a huge globular cluster system found on long exposures, and a spectacular jet which is better seen on short exposure photographs.

. M100 Galaxy. The galaxy M100 is one of the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. M100 is spiral shaped, like our Milky Way, and tilted nearly face-on as seen from earth. The galaxy has two prominent arms of bright blue stars and several fainter arms. The blue stars in the arms are young hot and massive stars which formed recently from density perturbations caused by interactions with neighboring galaxies. Shown on the left is a true colour image obtained using BVI CCD imaging on the INT. New infrared and optical images taken with the WHT suggest that this "normal" spiral galaxy hides a barlike structure in its heart.

. The Sombrero Galaxy (M104 Galaxy). This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero Galaxy because of its appearance. According to de Vaucouleurs, we view it from just 6 degrees south of its equatorial plane, which is outlined by a rather thick dark rim of obscuring dust. This dust lane was probably the first discovered, by William Herschel in his great reflector. This galaxy is of type Sa-Sb, with both a big bright core, and also well-defined spiral arms. It also has an unusually pronounced bulge with an extended and richly populated globular cluster system. This galaxy was the first one with a large redshift found, by V.M. Slipher at Lowell Observatory in 1912. Its redshift corresponds to a recession velocity of about 1,000 km/sec.

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Last modified: 13 December 2010