Astronomy Photographs by Mike Dodd

These high-quality images are printed on real photographic paper - they are not inkjet prints. Each measures 11” x 14”, and is mounted in a 14” x 18” dark blue mat with backing board. Each print comes with details of the deep-space object, how it was photographed, and information about the photographer.

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NGC7331 NGC2244 – Rosette Nebula

The huge Rosette Nebula is about 5,000 light years away toward the constellation Monoceros, and measures about 90 to 100 light years across. In the center of the nebula, young stars are forming from the gas cloud. Intense radiation from these stars excites the gas, causing it to glow brightly.

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NGC6992 NGC6992 – Eastern Veil Nebula

More than 15,000 years ago, a giant star exhausted its fuel and exploded as a supernova. The exploding star blasted its shell into space as super-heated clouds of glowing gas. Even now, the gas still glows brightly.

Known as the Veil Nebula, in the constellation Cygnus (“The Swan”), this nebula consists of three distinct clouds – this eastern arc (known to astronomers as NGC6992), a central section (see below), and a western arc. The red color indicates ionized hydrogen, while the bluish wisps are ionized oxygen.

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NGC6979 NGC6979 – Central Veil Nebula

Here is the central cloud of the Veil Nebula, known as “Pickerings Triangle” or NGC6979. As with the eastern portion shown above, this cloud consists of red ionized hydrogen laced with bluish wisps of ionized oxygen.

Please note: This photograph has a narrow black band above and below the image. This was necessary to retain the full image, instead of cropping it and losing the left or right side.

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M78 M78 – Reflection Nebula

An ominous dark arch and eerie blue glow highlight this cloud of gas and dust located in the winter constellation Orion (“The Hunter”). The dust not only absorbs light, it also reflects and scatters the light from several bright stars inside the cloud.

Here is a nursery for stars! Radiation from brilliant blue newborn stars is carving huge voids in the cloud. In time, most of the dust and gas will be blown off into space, leaving behind a cluster of young stars.

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M13 M13 – Globular Star Cluster

Our Milky Way galaxy contains dozens of star clusters distributed in a sphere around its core. Stars in these clusters are packed so tightly that mutual gravity binds them together throughout their lifetime.

This cluster, known as M13, contains at least 300,000 stars; some observers believe it contains nearly a million. The cluster is 25,100 light years away (a light year is about six trillion miles). Recent estimates state its age at 13 to 14 billion years, almost as old as the Milky Way itself.

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M51 M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

This large face-on spiral galaxy rises high in the spring and summer night sky. The galaxy is passing in front of a nearby companion galaxy, and the interaction is disrupting both. Note the distorted left and lower spiral arms.

Astronomers estimate M51 is 35 million light years away, contains 150 billion stars, and is 100,000 light years across (a light year, the distance light travels in a year, is about six trillion miles).

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M33 M33 – The Pinwheel Galaxy

When contemplating a galaxy's vast size and billions of stars, it is easy to overlook that it is just one of more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Did you know that galaxies tend to clump together in groups?

Welcome to the neighborhood! M33, the Pinwheel Galaxy, is a nearby neighbor in the Local Group, which includes our own Milky Way and about 40 other galaxies. The Pinwheel is only 2.5 million light years away, and measures some 50,000 light years across. Astronomers believe the Pinwheel Galaxy resembles our Milky Way, except the Milky Way is twice as big, at 100,000 light years across.

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NGC4565 NGC4565 – Edge-on Spiral Galaxy

Many astronomers believe this is how our own Milky Way galaxy would appear if viewed edge-on. Astronomers estimate this galaxy is 25 to 30 million light years away, and is at least 100,000 light years across, about the size of the Milky Way.

The bright center of the galaxy is visible just below the dark band. Orbiting the center are billions of old stars and star clusters. Beyond these are spiral arms containing billions more stars, dust, and gas. New stars form in these arms as gravity condenses the dust and gas.

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NGC7331 NGC7331 – The Deer Lick Group

Spiral galaxy NGC7331 is dominant in this group of galaxies. It is about 50 million light years away, and 64,000 light years across. Close to NGC7331 are four other galaxies, plus two more near the edges of the photo.

It is awe-inspiring to consider that each of these galaxies contains billions of stars, and there are billions of galaxies in the universe. Consider that we on Earth orbit one star in one galaxy.

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Hydrogen Volcano “Hydrogen Volcano”

High in the summer night sky lies an immense cloud of dust and gas known as the Pelican Nebula. Here, ionized hydrogen glows brightly, while clouds of dust form intricate dark patterns in front of it.

This photograph captures a small area of the Pelican's neck. A special camera filter passed only the wavelength of light emitted by the glowing hydrogen. During processing, color was added to the resulting black-and-white image to portray a volcano erupting violently, spewing fire, lava, and gas into the night.

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Updated September 7, 2016