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NGC 7331 | Hyperion Astronomy

NGC 7331


Among the stars of Pegasus, the Winged Horse, are some of the fall sky’s best galaxy groups for backyard observers. Stephan’s Quintet is probably the best-known example of such a compact gathering, comprised of four gravitationally interacting galaxies and a prominent foreground galaxy, projected onto the more distant group by chance. But have you ever heard of the “Deer Lick Group”? No? Well, read on.

A trail blaze on the path to Stephan’s Quintet, NGC 7331 also anchors its own galaxy grouping. It is accompanied by several faint companions, including the smaller spiral galaxies NGC 7335 and NGC 7337, which are probably ten times farther away than NGC 7331. In the 1980s, author Tom Lorenzin bestowed the common name on this galaxy group to honor the Deer Lick Gap, which lies in the mountains of North Carolina. Apparently, Tom had a memorable view of these galaxies from there.

NGC 7335 and NGC 7337 are often erroneously referred to as satellites, but they are not associated with NGC 7331. The two companions glow at around magnitude +14, way too faint for most amateur scopes. NGC 7331, however, can even be spotted with larger binoculars.

Located about 4.5° northwest of Eta Pegasi, near the border of Lacerta, NGC 7331 was discovered in 1784 by William Herschel, and was one of the brightest galaxies overlooked by Messier in his catalog. It appears nearly edge on, tilted at an inclination of 77°. Its structure is remarkably similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy, with a comparable overall mass, spiral structure, distribution of stars, and central supermassive black hole.

Shining with the combined light of a 9th-magnitude star, NGC 7331 appears as a small fuzzy patch when viewed through binoculars. With an 8-inch telescope, a bright core appears and the beginnings of wispy arms. At 12-inches in aperture, spiral patterns emerge, and with good seeing conditions you will observe “patchiness” in the structure. Nebulous areas are revealed and the western half of the galaxy is deeply outlined with a dark dust lane.


Capture Details

Location: Southern Arizona

Telescope: OOUK AG16 @ F/3.8

Mount: Paramount MEII

Camera: Atik 11000

PRISM v10: Planning, Autofocus, Plate Solve, Automation, Automation, Pre-processing

AstroPixel Processor: Post-Processing

Data Details

L: 58 x 300s binned 1x1

R: 12 x 300s binned 1x1

G: 12 x 300s binned 1x1

B: 12: 12 x 300s binned 1x1

Download the dataset: NGC7331 LRGB ZIP


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Exceptional Mount

A couple of years ago, I wanted to replace my old VMA200 mount with something more modern.
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Great lightweight guide scope

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Still learning Prism using Wireless links...

I have much of your software working at this time... I have it parked on my main computer, and a notebook... My main computer is a OverClock computer with 32 Gigs of RAM Clocking presently at 4400MHz with software parked on SSD drives... The rotation dome by NexDome is still not working... Most problems like this have to do with ASCOM Drivers... There is not very much detail information on how to use this software... I have to feel my way to a total operational staus... Second issue... The rain in the San Francisco Bay Area this year has limited my access to my larger telescope (12 inch SCT)... This rain has been so significant, I was force to weatherize my observatory... My goal here is,,, I am trying to remotely control my observatory totally. I have used Netgear Powerline 2000 to handle camera images and discover controlling rules to do that... High speed is vital for images with cameras over 3 Megs... I have both 12 Mega sensors and 24 Mega sensors... I am also using Netgear Nighthawk router and its mating extender to increase control signals to my observatory that is about 100 feet on the side of hill... I am also using Virtual Here software on a Raspberry Pi inside the observatory to solve the USB interface requirements... I started out using Model B and B+ on level 3 raspberry Pi's... I have moved to Level 4 Raspberry Pi to gain access to USB 3.0 technology... Big difference! I hope by early spring to have everything working... Bob Ritter MicTechS