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Centaurus A : A beautiful Galaxy

Galaxy Centaurus A, in X-ray

Galaxy Centaurus A, in X-ray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Centaurus A (also known as NGC 5128) is a prominent galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus. There is considerable debate in the literature regarding the galaxy’s fundamental properties such as its Hubble type (lenticular galaxy or a giant elliptical galaxy) and distance (10-16 million light-years).NGC 5128 is one of the closest radio galaxies to Earth, so its active galactic nucleus has been extensively studied by professional astronomers. The galaxy is also the fifth brightest in the sky,making it an ideal amateur astronomy target, although the galaxy is only visible from low northern latitudes and the southern hemisphere. Credits : Wikipedia

I think  this video needs to be shared. Showing galaxies or other interesting celestial objects in multiple wavelengths is a superb job. I wonder there’s more in reserve for us by ESA.

But a deep sky object like NGC 5128 could also be seen by amateur astronomers and with the right tools and some stacking you can have a marvellous  image. What made me amazed is you could have this beautiful image with an 8″ dobsonian. ( This image is by an 8″ newtonian, but for me it’s the same) A perfect debutante telescope.

Centaurus A Gradient Removed

Credits: split_city @

First attempt at Centaurus A.

Scope: 8″ Newt
Mount: EQ6
Camera: unmodded Canon 400D
Exposures: 25x60secs unguided
Stacked in DSS and processed in CS3

This is a cropped version. Focus slightly off and stars a little elongated.

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Stellarium is a Planetarium on your desktop . That is what it is.

You see the sky ?

Have your laptop with you?

Stellarium is installed?

If you said yes to the above ?

Start Stellarium

And Behold!! The sky wherever you are is on your screen.

Now just look up and down, up and down, up and down.

You will be able to surf around the sky in a few minutes.

Short but sweet

Stellarium, it helps you to learn the sky a lot.

  1. Learning the constellations: Names of the 88 constellations.
  2. Know about the boundaries of the constellations: Constellation Lines
  3. Astro Art of the constellations.
  4. Know about the major and minor stars in the constellations: You know their minutest details, like how far is the star, e.g:  Rigel: 772.88 years light years, the RA/DE, the parallax, the star magnitude and a lot of other details.
  5. Knowing about the planets
  6. Knowing about the asteroids
  7. Individual Stars
  8. Binary Stars
  9. Nebulae
  10. Deep sky Objects
  11. Zooming facility
  12. Indication of the Cardinal Points
  13. One great feature is Rewind, Fast-forward, Pause and Play……. Time. You can obviously predict which star will be where and when. Or just see how the moon orbits around the earth.
  14. Wherever you are in the world you can observe the sky with Stellarium. You can obviously observe How constellations form in Paris, Germany, or even in Australia or Mauritius. Have fun while learning at the same time.

Actually it is a fun way to learn the Universe in a more visual way. I recommend it to every newbie interested in knowing about our amazing universe.

One more thing, if you just want the universe for yourselves than so be it, but if you want to share, than it is good to know that Stellarium is good for presentations too. If you want the professional touch then you have Stellarium Console. Or, you can even have Stellarium on your Mobiles. The universe on your palms.

You can have a rough introductory guide here and more about functionalities here.

For more informational and detailed features on Stellarium I would  rather recommend the reviews here and here.

There are many other cool features, you just have to try it. And if you’re kind enough, then let me know too…… through your comments below.

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