Project Description

Fireworks Galaxy/ NGC 6946

The Fireworks Galaxy/NGC 6946 is a mag. 8.9 face-on spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Cygnus about 10 million light years away. It is reddened due to its location near the galactic plane and the considerable amount of intervening dust. Nine supernova have been observed in NGC 6946. This galaxy is characterized by rapid star formation. It is now known as a “nuclear starburst galaxy” with new star formation due to an interaction between a hydrogen molecular cloud and the barred structure of the core.

There is significant star formation in the spiral arms, which also host many bright pink HII emissions that glow in hydrogen-alpha light. A primary objective of this image was to highlight the HII regions in the spiral arms.

Constellation: Cepheus
Ra: 20h 24m 52s
Dec: +60d 9m 14s
Distance: 10 million light years
Image Size: 36′ x 36′
North: Upper left
Image Credit: Don Goldman, PhD

Exposure: 23 hrs Total: 9 hrs Luminance; 13 hrs RGB
Telescope: RCOS 16
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount ME
Oag: Astrodon MonsterMOAG
Acquisition: CCD AutoPilot4
Calibration: CCDStack2
Observatory Site: Sierra-Remote Observatories, Shaver Lake, CA
Camera: Apogee U16M
Filters: Astrodon Gen 2 LRGB
Guider: SBIG ST-402
Camera Operation: MaximDL4.62
Processing: Photoshop CS5 Extended
Image Date: 07/04/2010 – 07/15/2010

View more of Don Goldman’s images at