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Winter is coming to an end, so it’s galaxy season again!
Constellation Canes Venatici (The “Hunting Dogs”) is home to a number of spring season gems, the most notable of which is M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. However, there’s more to this small constellation than one can imagine, as it contains a number of other notable galaxies: M63, M94, M106, etc.
This time I pointed my telescope at M106, a SAB spiral galaxy lying in the northeastern part of the constellation. Shining at 9.1 apparent magnitude, M106 is known for its anomalous arms and is thought to have a massive black hole with a MASER in its core.
Below (and at the top of this post) is a medium-field picture of M106 and its surroundings (about 1.3° x 1.0° wide) taken on 5th February 2016 with my Pentax 105 SDHF refractor and my Moravian G2-8300 CCD. Click each image to bring up a higher resolution version with more details on the exposure.
Lying far enough in the sky from star-packed Milky Way, M106’s neighborhood is crawling with faint galaxies. Here is a plate-solved version of the above image:
M106 & Friends Annotated Version
Besides M106, the brightest galaxies of the group are a bunch of NGC objects (see table and close-up below). However, dozens of very dim PGC galaxies can also be spotted, the dimmest of which are shining at 17+ apparent magnitude.
Object size (arcminutes)
18.6 x 7.2
4.6 x 1.5
3.9 x 1.5
1.0 x 0.5
2.3 x 0.6
0.7 x 0.6
0.9 x 0.5
M 106 and nearby galaxies
Finally, I would like to thank my good friend, fellow astroimager and PixInsight guru Edoardo Radice for his invaluable tips on taming the noisy RGB component of this image!