PGC 57129 - The Tadpole Galaxy
Optics: RC Optical System 20" F/8.2 (4165.6 mm Focal Length) Date: April 2017
Camera: SBIG STXL-11000 with AO-X Adaptive Optics Location: Columbus, Texas
Exposure: LRGB = 390:80:60:100 minutes Imager: Kent E. Biggs
The Tadpole Galaxy lies 420 million light years from earth in the direction of the constellation Draco, the dragon. This galaxy is so distant and faint that it is reasonably difficult to image and process well. Light left this galaxy so long ago that earth was still in the beginning of its Paleozoic Era when most life was simple multicellular and mainly existed in oceans. The Tadpole Galaxy is so faint it is not in the common Messier (M) or even the New General Catalog (NGC), but it is identified in the Principal Galaxy Catalogue first published in 1989 and containing 73,197 galaxies. The visible galaxy "tail" giving it the name tadpole, is actually a disruption in the galaxy's stars and dust caused by another galaxy that merged with it about 100 million years ago. That galaxy is still visible in the upper right portion of the tadpole's "head" appearing as two small, blue, fuzzy dots. During that encounter, tidal forces drew out the galaxy's spiral arms containing stars, gas, and dust. The tail will likely dissipated eventually forming smaller satellites of the parent galaxy. Hover your mouse over the image to see four other galaxies labeled as well as several other fainter and more distant galaxies that do not even have a name or designation. Note the bright star at the bottom of this image is GSC 3880:1814. It is 6 times fainter than the faintest star a human can see at a very dark site, yet it is visually 363 times brighter than the entire Tadpole Galaxy. The stats for PGC 57129 are as follows: RA 16h 06m 04s, Dec +55° 25' 29", Mag: 14.4, Size: 3.8'x0.9', Class: SB(s)c pec.