NGC 404 – The Ghost of Mirach

Mirach is a red giant in the constellation Andromeda, and is around 100 times the size of our Sun. Mirach varies in luminance from 2.01 to 2.10 magnitude, and lies in our galaxy roughly 197 light-years from Earth. Right next to Mirach, in the view through a telescope, lies a lenticular galaxy, NGC 404. Lenticular galaxies are disk shaped with no little ongoing star formation, and no spiral arms. It slightly resembles a faint globular cluster, or a faint round nebula with no details which make it seem like a galaxy upon viewing it.

‘X’ marks the spot of NGC 404

Through the telescope in my yard I was not able to make out this dim galaxy due to the bright glare of Mirach. I knew that if I had Mirach centered in my frame then I would get the galaxy with enough images taken at a long enough exposure. I had a bit of issue with tracking, but in the end I’m still quite happy with this image. I think the diffraction spikes on Mirach add to this image as they cut through NGC 404.

NGC 404 and Mirach on 11-11-12

15 images at 1 minute exposure and ISO 800, but only 8 of the total images stacked with 10 dark frames in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing in Photoshop. I had a bit too much star trailing in the majority of my images due to the previously mentioned tracking issues.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Canon 350D
T-ring adapter
DIY Reticle eyepiece for drift alignment