Oakland Astronomy Club Image
NGC-2903, Sb+ Galaxy in Leo
NGC-2903 is a barred spiral galaxy found just below the end star of Leo's head (lambda Leonis, or Alterf). It is estimated to be 20 million light years away. This is one of the objects Messier missed for some reason - its magnitude is 9.6, which is in the brightness range of other Messier galaxies. NGC-2903 is also known as a "starburst galaxy" and has been the subject of Hubble Space Telescope studies. The tightly wound spiral arms are host to many regions of rapid star formation. These starburst regions normally show up as blue specks against the orange-yellow glow of the nucleus, but in this image the blue light was greatly reduced by a high, thin layer of clouds present when it was taken.
Color CCD image, 8 minute composite exposure, taken by Dave O'Toole on 3/6/2000 from Lake Orion, Michigan. The telescope used was a Celestron 8" SCT operating at f/3.3; the CCD camera used was an SBIG ST-237. Post processing was done with Adobe Photoshop
Image © 2000 David J. O'Toole, used with permission.