The Hydra Cluster (Abell 1060)
Far beyond the realms of our own Milky Way galaxy lies the large galaxy cluster Abell 1060, beautifully framed by a brilliant pair of orange giant stars. This is a rich cluster located 158 million light years away in the southern constellation Hydra. Abell 1060 is also the brightest galaxy cluster in the Hydra Supercluster, which is 100 million light years long and also contains the nearer Antlia Cluster.
The field of view is aimed on the cluster's core where a dominant pair of giant ellipticals are visible in between the two bright stars. The brightest star is HR4162; a fifth magnitude red giant star some 490 light years away, and the other is HD 91964; an orange giant of magnitude 6.50 lying 1000 light years distant.
The brightest of the two giant elliptical galaxies, NGC 3311, has a noticeable large asymmetrical halo that seems to also envelop its neighbour NGC 3309. The large bluish galaxy further towards the upper right is the spiral NGC 3312 which is viewed somewhat from the edge, and appears distorted by gravitational interactions with other members of the cluster. Several bright knots of pink HII regions are visible in the spiral arms, possibly triggered by close encounters with other galaxies in the past. Further towards the right lies NGC 3316, a beautiful SB type galaxy with a huge central bar structure and what appears almost as a ring shaped halo. Near the top of the frame is the most unusual feature of this cluster; the overlapping galaxy pair NGC 3314. Here the dusty spiral arms of a foreground member galaxy is clearly silhouetted against the brighter galaxy behind it.
Abell 1060 has over 150 bright galaxies and is unusual because it contains more dark matter than expected, and more so than other similar galaxy clusters. The cluster remains a focus for continued study of dark matter distribution as well as cluster formation and evolution.
Date: 27th, 28th February and 1st, 2nd March 2017
Exposure: LRGB: 350:140:125:130 mins, total 12 hours 25 mins @ -25C
Telescope: Homebuilt 12.5" f/4 Serrurier Truss Newtonian
Camera: QSI 683wsg with Lodestar guider
Filters: Astrodon LRGB E-Series Gen 2
Taken from my observatory in Auckland, New Zealand