The very first image taken by CFHT-IR attached to the telescope: the
Globular Cluster M15. This image was obtained under good seeing conditions
(0.5arcsec) with a broad filter centered at 1.6 microns, the H-band.
Image courtesy of R. Doyon and M. Riopel (Université de
Montréal), J.-L Beuzit (Observatoire de Grenoble), B. Calder
NGC 253 is one of the brightest and nearest galaxies located outside the Local Group of Galaxies, the group our Milky Way is part of, together with M31, the Andromeda galaxy. It is the brightest member of the so-called Sculptor group. The group is centered in the constellation "Sculptor".
This excellent image shows elements that are typical of spiral galaxies: it has a complex structure of clumpy gas, dark dust lanes, and spriral arms. The central star clusters also appear very luminous at the center of this near-infrared view of the galaxy.
NGC 253 was discovered by chance in september 23rd, 1783, by Caroline Herschel, the sister of the famous astronomer William Herschel, as she was looking for comets!
On this color-composite image, the true orientation of the object is
conserved, with North up and East to the left. The final image was obtained
by combining three images taken in the I-, H- and K-bands, at 800nm, 1600nm
and 2200nm respectively. Total exposure time was about 10 minute on-source
in each filter. Image courtesy of J.-L Beuzit (Observatoire de Grenoble),
R. Doyon, M. Riopel (Université de Montréal), B. Calder
This magnificent spiral galaxy, known as NGC 1068 or Messier 77, is located some 60 million light years away from us. This galaxy is also an active galaxy, which mean that there is likely a black hole at its center. It belongs to a class of objects called Seyfert II galaxies. It is the closest Seyfert Galaxy to us.
The proximity is this spectacular spiral galaxy allows us to study its central parts in greater details than any other of this class. Extensive research work was done to understand this peculair object. It has been found that the "object", the "thing" located at its center had to be extremely massive and compact to at least 10 million solar masses located inside less than 10 light years or so, hence the nickname "monster" for the central object. With such properties, you guessed it, the central object is likely to be a "black hole".
In the disk of NGC 1068 surrounding the central active nucleus, intense star formation activity has also been found. Some of these star forming regions are visible in the image shown here as little bright "blueish dots" located along the inner spiral arms of the galaxy. They appear bright as they emit more than their immediate surroundings in an emission-line of ionised Hydrogen called Brackett Gamma. In this case, images in the Brackett line was obtained by using a narrow-band filter center on the proper wavelength, at 2.16 microns. This emission line traces ionised hydrogen emission typical of intense star forming regions. These star formation regions are among the brightest known, and perhaps the most luminous within a distance of 100 million light years from us.
This color-composite image was obtained by combining three images taken in the broadband filters covering the I- and K-bands, at 800nm and 2200nm respectively. A third image was obtained in a narrow filter centered on the Brackett Gamma line of ionised Hydrogen, at 2.166 microns. This emission is a good tracer, in the infrared, of star formation activity. The true orientation of the object is conserved, with North up and East to the left. Image courtesy of Olivier Lai (CFHT).