Solar System

(The Giraffe)

What was on the mind of Jakob Bartsch in 1613 when he decided to place this intergalactic giraffe next to Ursa Major the bear? This rhetorical question is quite irrelevant as many incongruous objects are near each other in the night sky.

A faint constellation that can be seen in the spring and autumn, it contains a wide swathe of fascinating popular galaxies and delightful obscure nebulae.

NGC 2403  
Big and beautiful, NGC 2403 is a joyful spiral galaxy dotted with many hydrogen filled nebulae and blue starclouds.    
Image copyright T. Hallas
NGC 2403:

Structually similar to the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), NGC 2403 is a powerhouse of activity and contains multiple HII regions that are currently beavering away at producing brand new stars. The special attribute of this highly luminous spiral galaxy is that it contains six giant HII regions. The largest one is akin to the size of 50 Orion Nebulas! This makes it almost as large as the Tarantula Nebula in Dorado.

The brightest part of this galaxy is the core and the sweeping spiral arms are slightly fainter. The distance is only four times more than the Andromeda Galaxy, a very close 10 million light years.

IC 342:

This unfortunate spiral galaxy is magnitude 9 but it is only 6 million light years away. "Shouldn't this galaxy be brighter?", you might ask. The factor that contributes to its relative faintness is intergalactic dust inside our Milky Way galaxy obscuring the view of IC 342. If not for this dust, it could possibly be magnitude 8. One way of overcoming the dust is taking a long exposure astroimage of it and then deliberately brightening the galaxy slightly. This could give the impression of the galaxy not being obscured by dust although this wouldn't be exact.

The spiral arms are laced with gigantic hydrogen clouds that easily stand out against the fainter background. It is permissible to ascertain that these clouds are brighter than the main galactic structure but this may be an illusion.

Since this galaxy is very close, it is part of the Local Group of galaxies and therefore it has very strong gravitational influence. At the moment it is not known if any galaxies are going to collide with it millions of years in the future.

NGC 1501:

Five thousand times brighter than our Sun is the central star of this magnitude 12 planetary nebula. Again this proves the insignificance of our solar system besides just being the residence of humanity.

Structually advanced, this bright blue nebula has a multitude of filaments and strands that pervade the interior regions of it.

NGC 2146:   Reflection nebulae vdB14 and vdB15

Disturbed and deformed is what this barred spiral galaxy is, it is almost impossible to distinguish the barred spiral structure. It is also very active and consequently a starburst galaxy.

The reason for its bizarre appearance is because of a possible collision with nearby galaxy NGC 2146a, a few million years ago.

vdB14 and vdB15:  
A glittering pair of blue and purple reflection nebulae. vdB14 is lit up by the magnitude 4 star, B Camelopardalis. vdB15 surrounds the 5th magnitude star, C Camelopardalis. This nebula is more spectacular than vdB14 because it is larger, more multitoned and also because it contains some emission nebulosity.  
vdB14 at the top and vdB15 at the bottom are a pair of reflection nebulae near the edge of Camelopardalis. vdB15 also has an emission component.
Image copyright A. Block/T. Puckett
Pazmino's Cluster (Stock 23):
One of the few deep sky objects in Camelopardalis visible without a telescope, Stock 23 consists of 10 stars and some dark nebulae. The name comes from John Pazmino who rediscovered it in 1977. Near this cluster is the massive emission nebula Sh2-202, which lies in the neighbouring constellation of Cassiopeia to the left of the large Soul Nebula. In fact Sh2-202 is so large that part of it invades the boundaries of Camelopardalis and the cluster is near the middle of it in front of the nebulosity.
Integral Sign Galaxy (UGC 3697):

If it was possible for a galaxy to lose weight, then this galaxy would probably be the result! Thin as a knife edge, UGC 3697 is a magnitude 13 edge on spiral galaxy. Its size would make it a bit of a challenge to locate it in the sky but coincidentally it is in between two bright stars so this lessens the challenge of finding it.

The name comes from a symbol used in the branch of mathematics called calculus.

NGC 1530:
A barred spiral galaxy with a spiral core. Two faint shock fronts curl off the two spiral arms and the overall structure is slightly helix like.
NGC 1961:

A deformed and assymetric galaxy, it is unknown what the cause of the disturbance is. There are no nearby galaxies strong enough to interact with it. The visual appearance is of a blob with a yellow core with one spiral arm spiralling from one end and looping around the edge. An alternative designation for this fascinating galaxy is Arp 184.

NGC 2523:
This unique barred spiral galaxy has a ring that encircles the core. The bar touches the ring on both sides and the spiral arms seems to sprout from where the ring and bar meet. It is also known as Arp 9 due to its abnormal composition.