Billions and Billions

Galaxies in Coma Berenices

Galaxies in Coma Berenices


I revisited my image of the Coma Berenices galaxy cluster to see how far some of the background galaxies are. It’s been a fun datamining activity during the “processing season”. It’s amazing how far a medium-sized refractor can go when equipped with a CCD camera! Some of the galaxies here are easily fainter than 20th apparent magnitude..
Using the redshift data in TheSkyX for these objects (my image has several galaxies which are uncharted in TheSkyX!), I applied Hubble’s Constant as recently observed by the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (~68km/sec per Mpc). So digging around the image, I found a galaxy that is over 4 billion light years away!! That’s looking back a THIRD into the universe’s entire timeline, from what is essentially a backyard telescope!! Obviously these distance estimates are rough. Even “nearby” NGC 4921 in the Coma Cluster, a “foreground” galaxy is said by multiple sources to be 300-320 Mly away, but if I pull from the same redshift data and newest Hubble’s constant, I get closer to 260 Mly. Here’s a cropped view with a sampling of galaxies I selected. I don’t have much more of a point to this other than it was a fun little astronomy exercise!

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