M 74 in Pisces (detail)

Mouse-over image to see the location of a newly discovered 10,000 solar mass black hole.

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It's interesting how a casual evening stroll under a cloudless sky can tug you outward into the sea of space. It can turn an ordinary conversation with a companion into a cruise from this star to that planet. And if the place is dark and the horizon is low, the vastness of this ocean can seem to swallow you whole. While taking these type of space walks are exhilarating, more time than I care to admit is spent face glued to a monitor, mind fixed on a puzzle, hand trying to stretch the truth out of a port-hole view picture like the one to the left. Quite frankly, I have never(!) experienced anything so challenging (and fun!) to navigate since I taught myself programming, years ago...

Anyway, my interest in the subject of this image started to swell as soon as it came floating into the evening sky- I have noticed that many translucent arms of this supple spiral are tipped with a delicate sway as if caught in a current. But, learning that one arm was also home to a black hole finally convinced me to fish or cut bait with a picture before it became another one that got away.

She put up quite a struggle as I reeled her in that left more than a few holes in my net. So, please try to overlook these as you check out my catch, fresh from Pisces: M-74.

August 1-23, 2005
h, SBIG STL-11000

285 minutes Luminance, 90 minutes Red, 54 minutes Green and 108 minutes Blue (All 1X1)