NGC 3733 Spiral Galaxy and Abell 1318

Introduction by R. Jay Gabany

Childhood Recovered

The sense of wonder, so bright in the eyes of children, becomes dimmed by the onset of our maturity. The gentle spirit of a child is eager to discover the world around themselves, perhaps, because they see the Earth, the sea, the sky and the stars though a lens untarnished by life's experiences. It seems we pay a price for the wisdom that accompanies aging by loosing our exuberance for the moments celebrated during childhood and by having possessions or self-worth replace the fascination of simply being. Like early frost on new spring flowers, time nips our desire to ponder the imponderables- and as everything settles into hard reality, we let ourselves toughen similarly.

A picture can conjure profound emotional responses but most are bent on stirring our reactions to things like fashion, injustice or toothpaste. For example, many ad photos conspire to renew our childlike awe even if it means shelling out several thousand from our bank account to accomplish it!

Interestingly, we are also engaged in this enterprise for attention as we seek to waken the wide eyed child that's still alive and curious within us. But, our commerce blends rational understanding with mystical enchantment and suggests new truths about and beyond our human existence. Thoughts about something or someone, yesterday or tomorrow seem less important when the majesty of the Universe is illuminated in its full splendor. Whether it depicts one star or thousands, our imagery reveals a path leading back to a place where childhood, for a moment, is recovered.

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About this Image

The bright star SAO28064 in Ursa Major is shining at glaring mag 5.63 intensity, yet it is hiding a very faint jewel: A large but faint spiral galaxy (NGC 3733) is situated just 4 arc-minutes north from this dying red giant star. It is mixing it's blueish light travelling 55 million years through space to the young photons sent from the star just 411 years ago.

The surface brightness of NGC 3733 is 23.5 mag per square arc-second (50 x dimmer than my sky background in this area), it belongs to the class of low surface brightness (LSB) galaxies.

To the left side of the image the compact edge-on galaxy NGC 3737 is situated, probably part of Abell 1318, a large galaxy cluster spread out in this field. This cluster is part of the Ursa Major supercluster, situated in a distance of approx. 780 million light years.
North is to the top left corner.

Reference: 1.


Technical Details


16" cassegrain in secondary focus at f/10

Mount MK-100 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -30C, internal filter wheel, AO-L
Filters Astronomik LRGB
Date Jan 10-18, 2007.
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5.5 sky, 1.8" FWHM, temperature 0 C
Exposure L:R:G:B = 200:120:120:120 minutes (20-minute sub-exposures),
Processing Image aquisition in Maxim 4.56, preprocessing in CCDStack; final processing in Photoshop;