NGC 1365 ~ The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy!
Optics:   Ritchey–Chrétien 20" F/8.2 (4166mm FL) Processing:   PixInsight, Photoshop
Camera:   SBIG STXL-11000 with Adaptive Optics Dates:   2017, 2019 & 2021
11 Megapixel (4008 x 2672 16-bit sensor) Location:   Columbus, Texas
Exposure:   LRGB = 700:120:100:140 minutes Imager:   Kent E. Biggs
NGC 1365, also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, is about 56 million light years away, or 330 billion, billion miles located in the direction of the southern constellation Fornax the furnace. NGC 1365 is one of my personal favorite objects, perhaps because of both its great beauty and its extreme difficulty to image form the northern hemisphere. This galaxy sits very low in the sky as seen from southeast Texas and never exceeds an altitude of 24 degrees! Consequently, the above resulting image required about 200 separate images, each 10 minutes long, or a total of 33 hours of telescope time. Roughly 2 out of 3 of these images had to be discarded due to atmospheric turbulence caused by the low elevation even on otherwise pristine nights.

Astronomers classify NGC 1365 as a double-barred spiral galaxy since its main “bar” that connects the outer spiral arms appears to have a second much smaller bar, where it connects to the inner nucleus of the galaxy. The inner bar is visible in this image by clicking and zooming to full screen view. The inner bar is even more visible in infrared images. Of course, like nearly all large galaxies, NGC 1365 has a supermassive black hole at its center. The black hole has the equivalent mass of 2 million suns compressed into an infinitesimally small point. Stars, gas and dust feed the black hole in a star-forming frensy. The entire barred spiral galaxy spans over 200,000 light years (about 1 billion billion miles) and is about twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy.

NGC 1365 has also been a source of multiple supernovae over the past few decades including one observed in 2012, 2001, 1983, and 1957). Hover over the image with a mouse to highlight three additional much fainter galaxies.

The first image below show NGC 1365 without stars. Hovering over the image will bring all the stars back! In the second image below, is NGC 1365 zoomed in with and without stars (hover over). In the third image below, all data combined is exactly the same, however hovering over the image will compare the old (Gen 1) and new (Gen 3) processing techniques showing how improved the same data can become using new tools and techniques.

More statistics for NGC 1365 are RA: 03h 33m 35.9s, Dec: -36° 08' 16", Mag: 10.3, B-V: +0.69, Size: 11.3'x6.6', Class: SB(s)b, Position Angle: 32°.

NGC 1365 without Stars

NGC 1365 Zoomed-In

Old and new images of NGC 1365 compared!