Realm of the nebulae

Student Gareth Hill decided to try something quite difficult as part of his project for his second year module Exploring the Sky. He homed in on the Virgo Cluster, the closest (!) cluster of galaxies to the Milky Way

 At an average distance of 55 milion LY away, most of the galaxies would be faint: visible through an optical telescope, yet very difficult to image the large central portion of the cluster as the field of view is far to wide for a conventional CCD camera. neverthless, Gareth thought he’d try a widefield shot and see what he could get. An exposure of several minutes brought out the brighter galaxies, whilst the dimmer members can be glimpsed in the background.

 This wonderful area was named the "Realm of the Nebulae" by Edwin Hubble and has been a focus of attention ever since the late 1920’s as cosmologists grappled with the significance of their distance and their role in the saga of distance scales across the universe.

Congratulations to Gareth for his perseverance in getting this shot

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