Monday, December 22, 2014

wiffed on einstein's cross: happy solstice

Gravitational lensing is a phenomenon predicted by einstein's general theory of relativity wherein the warp in space due to the gravitational field of a large galaxy or group of galaxies causes a magnification or lensing effect upon light from a galaxy that is more distant.  
einstein's cross a/k/a cgcg378-15 is a galaxy who's lensing effect splits the image of a distant background quasar into four separate images.  

i've been trying to image this elusive structure for years.  failing time and time again to even find it.  last year, i thought i'd caught it, but entered the incorrect catalog number, imaging the wrong galaxy (cgcg 378-14 instead of cgcg 378-15):

this year i'm sure i actually caught the right galaxy:

though the core doesn't look quite round, i certainly can't claim to have resolved the cross.  There do appear to be interesting reddish Ha emissions in the spiral arms.  
this one stays on the list for next year.

PS what i should see is 4 dots in the center instead of one. the dots represent the single distant quasar viewed through the distorted lens of the galaxy's gravitational field.
Here's a shot from a professional observatory with a an aperture measured in meters:

here's the Hubble super close up of the core only

with a little imagination, a close look at the core suggests it's not quite round, but not convincing enough to say i'm seeing the lensing effect.

happy solstice xmas and hanukka

8" LX200R, SX AO, SX H9/H9C, .6"/px
IDAS LPR filter
lum 113x5 min, RGB 13x20 min
Newport Beach, CA


  1. Good job! Looks like an abnormally bright core--and it DOES look irregular!