Image of the Month - February 2005

Distant Wanderers

The globular cluster NGC 2419 is located in the constellation Lynx, roughly in the direction of the galactic anticenter. The cluster is also known as the galactic Wanderer because of it's distance of roughly 300.000 light years. While the cluster is gravitationally bound to our Galaxy, it's distance places it nearly twice as far out as the Magellanic Clouds. The brightest stars in this cluster are around magnitude 17, though NGC 2419 is also one of the intrinsically brightest globular clusters of the Milky Way - it would easily outshine the famous Hercules cluster, M 13.

NGC 2419 and (70308)
Credit & Copyright: Wolfgang Ries, Seng Observatory, Austria

When Wolfgang Ries took this image of the cluster using a Starlight Express SXV-H9the CCD camera on the 0.3m f/6 Newtonian reflector of his private observatory, he captured another wanderer: The faint trail of minor planet (70308) 1999 RO135 (18.9mag) is visible north-west (upper-right) of the cluster, just north of the bright star. Ries, who is well-known for his excellent images of the Sun, the Planets, Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies, discovered his first asteroids while taking images of the galaxy NGC 3628 in Leo in February 2004. Since then, he has been credited with a dozen more discoveries.

The image above is a composite of 20 exposures of four minutes each. Click on the image to see the full resolution image (115 kB).

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